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Behind Design: Exploring American Indian Cultures Through Artifact Investigation

Introduction

How might we learn about cultures through the study of artifacts? What role could the study of design elements and process play in in deepening our understanding? How could we leverage student agency of the design process to gain opportunities to recognize relationships between artifacts and culture.

This collection provides opportunities for students to uncover complexity by looking closely and making connections between cultures and the design process behind the artifacts. Student claims are based on evidence using provided resources for investigation. The Artifact Investigation Map serves as a visible thinking tool for documenting our understanding of a culture by making connections between the artifact and our research.

Procedure

Begin by looking closely at an artifact, Lone Dog Winter Count, using a Project Zero Routine, See, Think, Wonder. Through close examination, we begin to develop hypotheses about the object and the connections to the culture. While a main goal is to learn more about the culture related to the artifact, we are also building a capacity for using this thinking process to build understanding. Record and display class ideas generated through this routine. In the discussion of culture, we are looking at how people live: What do the people value? What are their priorities and motivations?

Introduce the points of The Artifact Investigation Map. Ask students, “How could this be used to organize the ideas documented from the thinking routine about the artifact and the people who created it?”. (Students may recognize this as the Engineering Design Process.) Building on our initial See, Think, Wonder documentation, the group connects the artifact ideas to the map points. Different questions within each point may serve as prompts to continue making connections and lead to more questions about what we still wonder, guiding the next research steps. Provide a space to record and share new questions during the process.

Begin the research process with the first video Lakota Winter Counts. Using information from the source, model the process of organizing the findings using the different points on The Artifact Investigation Map. Be sure to highlight unanswered questions in the map as the class decides the future steps in the research. Support the student use of resource-based evidence starting from this Learning Lab collection when making and documenting claims. Depending on the learners, this phase may vary in the structure of guidance and interaction. Documentation is shared with an emphasis on providing opportunities to discuss the claims, findings, and analysis.


Guiding Points for Inquiry using The Artifact Investigation Map:

Ask: What needs or problems might this artifact address/solve? Does this design reflect empathy for a particular group or person?

Imagine: What possible prototypes or variations might have been produced in the timeline of this artifact? Could there have been earlier versions leading to this one?  

Plan: Identify and describe what could have been key factors influencing design process. Examples: materials/natural resources, people power, skills, technology/tools, historical and natural environment….

(Re)Create: Describe the possible steps taken to create the artifact. What could this look like? Options include for this exploration: Try to create a mini-version or reenact one of the steps of the process. Use observations of the process to draw possible conclusions about the culture. Sketch or act out the steps. Take a part of the process and use the Step Inside thinking routine. *Document and share this process with the group in order to prepare for the next phase of The Artifact Investigation Map

Improvements: Since the creation of this artifact, what versions do we see today? What would the biography of this type of innovation look like? How might this type of artifact connect to modern innovation? *Extension for Improvements: Use the thinking routine Imagine If to evaluate a modern iteration of the artifact. How does it compare to the original?


Documenting Ongoing Conclusions/Questions/Reflections

Throughout the investigation, students share and post supported claims about the culture and reflect upon the process of using the design cycle to guide the study.

For the final reflection, use the thinking routine I Used to Think, Now I Think… to look for changes in thinking. Keep the process and research lines of thinking open for continued exploration with the unanswered questions.

#PZPGH

Andrea Croft
31
 

Who am I?

Choose at least three items (image, audio, video) that tell something about you; who you are as a person, what you think is important, how you want others to “see” you.  Make sure you caption your items with your first and last name and an explanation (1-2 sentences).

Charla Floyd
3
 

Exploring identity - Japan and the Western culture

Using "See, Think, Wonder" and "Parts, Perspective, me", this collection explores how cultural shock influences the way artists see themselves or are perceived by others. The careful analysis of 100 Pounds of Rice by the artist Saeri Kiritani provides an opportunity for students to reflect on the similarities and differences with the novel Fear and Trembling by the Belgian author Amelie Nothomb. It also invites students to reflect on their own cultural identity.

Time- 1 or 2 class periods with optional homework and extension activities

Guiding Questions:

  • How do art and literature shape our understanding of cultures?
  • What kind of knowledge about a literary text and about art do we gain when we compare and contrast them?
  • How does language in art and literature represent cultural distinctions and identities?

Context:

In Fear and trembling, Amélie, who is the main character of this autobiographical novel, shares her struggles as a foreign employee in a big Japanese corporation where she is confronted with Japanese protocols and habits that are culturally new to her. In her story, Japanese culture is exposed through a foreign perspective. The aim of the collection is to bring a different perspective to our study, these of a Japanese women living in the US, in order to build a better intercultural understanding of the Japanese culture.

Prior knowledge:

Students have read the novel Fear and Trembling and analysed the way Western and Japanese cultures are perceived by the different characters. They have explored how the autobiographical novel offers insights on the Japanese workplace culture and reflected on its limitations (a single story embedded in fiction). This teaching unit can be done without the comparative component of literature. It can also be adapted to any other literary work that explores the topic of identity. 

Day 1:

Step 1: Have them do "See, Think, Wonder"individually with 100 Pounds of Rice by Saeri Kiritani. Do not show the caption to students yet. The "See, Think, Wonder" routine is good to help students pay attention to details and unveil the artist's choices. It also encourages them to initiate a first interpretation.

Step 2: Debrief as a whole group- Discuss the self portrait of  Saeri Kiritani. 

Step 3: Show the Saeri Kiritani 's youtube video

Once students have discussed the sculpture, show them the video and ask them to take notes on the new information the artist provides.

Next, go back and look at the sculpture and see how their understanding has shifted from their initial interpretation.

Step 4: Read the caption

Have students read the caption and answer the questions of the Design Thinking routine "Parts, Perspectives, Me". The routine encourages students to consider the various viewpoints of an object, its users, and stakeholders, and reflect on their own connections and involvement with it. It helps them connect with the perspectives taken in the novel as they are complementary, yet different. It also lead them to reflect on their own identity and prepares them for possible extensions to the activity. 

Step 5: Debrief the questions as a group

Day 2 or Homework

Step 6: Have them write an individual synthesis:

  • What did I learn about Saeri Kiritani self-portrait? Fear and trembling? Me?
  • How do Saeri Kiritani and Amelie Nothomb express how they experience cultural differences?
  • What are the similarity and differences between them? How does it impact your understanding?

Step 7: Debrief in pair or small group, then as a whole group

Extensions

Creative project: 

Step 1 - Once they have completed these activities, ask them:

  • What material or fabric would better represent who you are? Why?
  • What part of you would better represent who you are? Why?

Step 2 - Debrief in group - reflect on the idea of cultural stereotypes: what role do cultural stereotypes play in the construction of self-identity? To what extent do cultural stereotypes limit or facilitate self-identification? Identification of others?

Step 3 - Have them sculpt their self-representation with the material of their choice.

Step 4 - Exhibition and presentation of the creative process.




Anne Leflot
7
 

Progress: Who's Affected?

Students often understand that technological innovation makes our lives better, but they do not see the backstory. There are people who lose their livelihoods as machines replace them. What was once a necessary job is now obsolete--even the people themselves might feel obsolete. This lesson is designed to help students understand the drawbacks of progress and, more specifically, how it affects those people who were replaced.

#SAAMteach

Madison Doss
9
 

Biodiversity! Podcasting Module

In this modular, multi-part lesson, learners will focus on a Sidedoor podcast discussing biodiversity. Learners will focus on the content the podcast is delivering and then analyze the podcast for production techniques. The content of the podcast will give the team a base understanding for the focus of their own podcast. 

#YAGSidedoor2019

Sidedoor for Educators
7
 

Food! Podcasting Module

In this modular, multi-part lesson, learners will focus on a Sidedoor podcast discussing food. Learners will focus on the content the podcast is delivering and then analyze the podcast for production techniques. The content of the podcast will give the team a base understanding for the focus of their own podcast.

#YAGSidedoor2019

Sidedoor for Educators
7
 

ACCESS SERIES | Nile, Nile Crocodile

IMPORTANT: Click on the "i" for information icon and the paperclip icons as you move through the collection.

Exploring: Ancient Egypt, the Nile River, and glass museum objects, papercraft, and sand art

Rationale for Instruction:

  • Through the introduction, museum visit, and activities, students connect with an ancient and diverse culture in ways both conceptual and concrete. The ancient Egyptians shaped our modern civilization in fundamental ways and left legacies that are still present today. 

Objectives:

  • Explain features of the daily life of an Ancient Egyptian living on the Nile River, including boat transportation, dress, and animal life. 
  • Explore the ancient origins of glass making in Egypt.
  • Examine how glass making relates to object making, animal representation, and the desert environment of Egypt
  • Plan, create, and share digital and physical works of art that represent ancient (sand art) and modern art forms (digital photography with filters) as well as representational art (papercraft) landscape.

EDUCATORS | For the LESSON PLAN of the original "Nile, Nile Crocodile" << CLICK HERE >>

SET THE STAGE:

  • Maps - Look at the maps in the Smithsonian collection; Where do you think you'll journey to in this collection?
  • "This is Sand" App - an tablet app that changes the pixels on the screen into digital sand.
  • Video about The Nile (for learners who prefer a concrete example)
  • Thought journey down the Nile River; Ask questions about observations along the way. If you are able to transform the furniture to reflect a boat, do so. 
  • Glass making video as well as a primary source text from 1904 (for learners who prefer a concrete example); Help make the connection between the desert sand environment and glass making. 

MUSEUM "VISIT"

  • Go to the gallery; read the panels and explore the objects. The gallery has been re-created in the Learning Lab collection
  • Explore the glass vessels-->What do you notice?
  • Observe the glass animals-->Take turns reading the informational texts; What do the animals represent?

~ BREAK ~

ACTIVITY STATIONS (rotate between activity stations)

  • SAND ART - Create your own ancient Egyptian glass vessel through a sand art design similar to the decorated glass in the museum.
  • "ANCIENT" PHOTOS - Use digital tablets to take photos in a museum gallery and use the built-in filters to create 'ancient-looking' photos like the ones that document historic museum excavations. 
  • PAPERCRAFT LANDSCAPE - Create a three-dimensional landscape of ancient Egypt based on the animals and structures observed in the museum gallery and in the introductory materials. Templates and examples are included. Document your results using photography.

Tags: decision-making, self-determination, access, disability, accessibility, neurodiversity, special education, SPED, out of school learning, informal learning, cognitive, social skills, engagement, passion, creativity, empowerment, All Access Digital Arts Program

Tracie Spinale
119
 

Slow Looking: Untitled, by El Anatsui

In this collection, students will explore an artwork by El Anatsui, a contemporary artist whose recent work addresses global ideas about the environment, consumerism, and the social history and memory of the "stuff" of our lives. After looking closely and exploring the artwork using an adapted version of Project Zero's "Parts, Purposes, and Complexities" routine, students will create a "diamante" poem using their observations of the artwork and knowledge they gained about El Anatsui's artistic influences. Additional resources about El Anatsui, how to look at African Art, and Project Zero Thinking Routines are located at the end of the collection.

This collection was created for the "Smithsonian Learning Lab, Focus on Global Arts and Humanities" session at the 2019 New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association (NJPSA) Arts Integration Leadership Institute. 

Keywords: nigeria, african art, textile, poetry, creative writing, analysis

Deborah Stokes
20
 

Women and men who helped New York immigrates' living conditions during the 19th and early 20th century.

This collections shows men and women who helped change the living conditions of the immigrants that flooded into New York City during the 19th and 20th centuries. They changed the way people lived by shining a light on the poor living conditions of the newest Americans.  The following people are discussed in this collection: Lillian Wald, Jane Addams, Margaret Sanger, Jacob Riis, and Theodore Roosevelt.  The themes that are discussed are: tenement living, women's health, and immigrants. 

This collection was created in conjunction with the National Portrait Gallery's 2019  Learning to Look Summer Teacher Institute. 

#NPGteach


leigh lewis
17
 

Understanding Opera

A learning resource for students about opera. The images in this collection focus on different portrayals of opera singers and different types of spaces. As you look through them and complete the activities, think about how they change your viewpoint and understanding of opera.

#SmithsonianMusic

Alexander Graves
12
 

Frank Sinatra's Musical Genius, Part I, the Skinny Years

This collection provides a chronology of Frank Sinatra's musical life and influences that shaped his career. There are three stages: Skinny Years, Hat Years and Tux Years, all based on Will Friedwald's book entitled "Sinatra! The Song is You" and other references, which have been cited.

Quizzes, video and audio files are included to provide a greater understanding the of man and his talents. #SmithsonianMusic

Friedwald, W. (1995). Sinatra! the song is you: a singer's art. New York: Scriber.

To see PART II “The Hat Years” please click on the here.

To see PART III "The Tux Years” please click on the here.

Rhonda Davila
17
 

Frank Sinatra's Musical Genius, Part III, the Tux Years

Part III presents Sinatra's career as it shifts and evolves again to his temporary retirement. His closing years includes more on Reprise Records and his exploration into other musical genres. 

As noted, this collection provides a chronology of Frank Sinatra's musical life and influences that shaped his career. There are three stages: Skinny Years, Hat Years and Tux Years based on Will Friedwald's book entitled "Sinatra! The Song is You" and other references, all which have been cited.

Quizzes, video and audio files are included to provide a greater understanding the of man and his talents. #SmithsonianMusic

Friedwald, W. (1995). Sinatra! the song is you: A singer's art. New York: Scribner. 

To see PART I “The Skinny Years” please click here.

To see PART II “The Hat Years” please click on the here.


Rhonda Davila
13
 

Frank Sinatra's Musical Genius-Part II, the Hat Years

The "Hat Years" explore Sinatra's career shift and his recordings with Capitol Records. This period reflects Sinatra at his prime with top hits and venturing out to other musical pursuits. 

Again, the overall collection provides a chronology of Frank Sinatra's musical life and influences that shaped his career. There are three stages: Skinny Years, Hat Years and Tux Years all based on Will Friedwald's book entitled "Sinatra! The Song is You" and other references, all which have been cited.

Quizzes, video and audio files are included to provide a greater understanding the of man and his talents. #SmithsonianMusic

Friedwald, W. (1995). Sinatra! the song is you: A singer's art. New York: Scribner.

To see PART I “The Skinny Years” please click here.

To see PART III "The Tux Years” please click on the here.

Rhonda Davila
11
 

Becoming the Historian: Historical Context

Historical thinking skills allow historians to better practice and interpret history. This series teaches students how to develop these skills to become better historians themselves.

This Learning Lab will guide students through the process of defining historical context and practicing employing strategies from an example dealing with the 1968 Poor People's Campaign. 

 Historical context is the background information that informs a deeper understanding of a historical individual, group or event. Historical context is important because it allows historians to better understand history in the ways a historical individual or group understood the world around them, which leads historians to analyze the past more accurately. 

 Keywords: nmaahc, African, American, historical, thinking, skills, context, historical, contextualization, background, 1968, Poor People's Campaign, history, interpret, analyze

NMAAHC Education
16
 

Spacesuits: Working Under Pressure

A collection of articles, images and videos about the function and necessary components of a spacesuit.

#MCteach

Virginia Miller
19
 

Slow Looking: Untitled, by El Anatsui

In this collection, students will explore an artwork by El Anatsui, a contemporary artist whose recent work addresses global ideas about the environment, consumerism, and the social history and memory of the "stuff" of our lives. After looking closely and exploring the artwork using an adapted version of Project Zero's "Parts, Purposes, and Complexities" routine, students will create a "diamante" poem using their observations of the artwork and knowledge they gained about El Anatsui's artistic influences. Additional resources about El Anatsui, how to look at African Art, and Project Zero Thinking Routines are located at the end of the collection.

This collection was created for the "Smithsonian Learning Lab, Focus on Global Arts and Humanities" session at the 2019 New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association (NJPSA) Arts Integration Leadership Institute. 

Keywords: nigeria, african art, textile, poetry, creative writing, analysis

Tess Porter
20
 

What is an ecosystem?

In this collection students will compare and contrast ecosystems in order to define them.

It can be used as part of a larger study on ecosystems and interconnections.

This collection contains images and videos depicting the biotic and abiotic elements of a desert and rainforest ecosystem. The accompanying note catcher links to an article on ecosystems from National Geographic and a TedTalk about the body as an ecosystem.


Guiding Questions: Students will construct responses to the following guiding questions as they work with this collection: 

GQ 1:  What is an ecosystem?

GQ 2: What makes a healthy ecosystem?

Big Idea: As students work with this collection to answer the guiding questions, they will understand that an ecosystem is made up of the living and non-living elements of work together to create a bubble of life. Students will learn that all of the elements of an ecosystem are interconnected and that a healthy ecosystem is diverse and well-balanced.


#learnwithTR


Elizabeth Weiss
24
 

Immigration & The Face of American Identity

This collection provides resources that can be used to introduce and discuss the following essential questions, as part of a larger "American Identity" literature-based unit:  

1) In what ways do immigrants change America?

2) What would America be like without immigrants?

3) How do immigrants' experiences contribute to a complex and multifaceted American Identity?

#SAAMteach

Joanna Dickinson
13
 

Perspectives on Japanese-American Internment

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor by Japan during World War II, anti-Japanese paranoia increased in many parts of the United States. Many persons of Japanese decent, even those who were American citizens, were suspected of loyalty to Japan. In response to this perceived security risk, in 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which authorized the internment of thousands of American citizens of Japanese ancestry and resident aliens from Japan.

This lesson is intended to be used as an extension to the study of the Holocaust in English-Language Arts. Students should have some prior knowledge of World War II, Nazi propaganda and the Jewish experience in concentration camps. 

This collection was created in conjunction with the Learning to Look Summer Teacher Institute at the National Portrait Gallery (2019). #NPGTEACH

Tracy Biondi
10
 

Identity

English 12 unit 

Focus on "Identity" and transition to "Conformity" and the response of the individual to environmental sources that might seek to suppress individuality

#SAAMteach

Marie Meyer
15
 

AFRICAN COSMOS

Put the ARTS in STEM - From Egypt to South Africa, take a brief tour of the African Cosmos  and have your students discover the intersection of Art and Astronomy in the southern hemisphere.   Explore constellations only seen on the African continent.  See why the Goliath beetle became a symbol of rebirth for the Egyptian scarab.  Learn about celestial navigation by people and animals. 

Create Your Own Constellation!  Request Activity sheets for your classroom.

Submit your class constellations to our Student Gallery and be a part of your own school's online exhibition!


Deborah Stokes
73
 

Environmental Advocacy through Art

This collection was designed to enable students to reflect deeply on their understanding of local and global human impacts on the planet and how they can inspire others to care about/collectively work to solve one of these issues.  Students will use Project Zero Thinking Routines to examine various pieces of environmental art before they create their own visual call to action focused on the environmental issue that they care most about.

Global Competency Connection:

  • This project was designed to be the culminating project in a high school Environmental Science class, thus it is the expectation that students have “investigated the world” as they explored environmental and social issues throughout the course.  
  • This project will incorporate a level of choice as students “communicate their ideas” on the environmental issue that resonated most with them.
  • As a part of the project, students will share their campaigns with their teachers, peers, and families, and through this awareness raising thus “take action” on issues of global significance.

Using the Collection: A detailed description of daily activities can be found within the "Lesson Sequence" document. Additionally, notes regarding the use of each Project Zero Thinking Routine are documented as annotations within each individual Thinking Routine tile and provide specific instructions on how align these routines with this collection.  

#GoGlobal #ProjectZero #EnvironmentalScience

Aleah Myers
37
 

When Marian Sang: Using Portraiture for Pre-reading and Post-reading Activities

In this collection, portraits are used for both pre-reading and post-reading activities in connection with reading a biography of Marian Anderson. The pre-reading activity uses Betsy Graves Reyneau's oil on canvas portrait, Marian Anderson, to begin to reveal Anderson to students. Post-reading activities include the use of photographs, video and William H. Johnson's oil on paperboard Marian Anderson to enhance understanding of Anderson's 1939 concert and to informally access student learning.  

When Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian Anderson: The Voice of a Century is a picture book written by Pam Munoz Ryan and illustrated by Brian Selznick. This biography shares the story of opera star Marian Anderson's historic concert of 1939 on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to an integrated crowd of over 75,000 people. The book recounts Marian's life as a she trains to become an opera singer and as she struggles with the obstacles she faces in pre-Civil Rights America. This picture book is an excellent choice to use in the upper elementary classroom in the context of a unit that focuses on "challenges and obstacles."

This collection was created in conjunction with the National Portrait Gallery's 2019 Learning to Look Summer Teacher Institute. 

#NPGteach

Katie Oxnard
8
 

Visual Connections between Buddhism and Ancient Greece

Using the Project Zero Visible Thinking routine "See Think Wonder," this activity investigates the cultural connections between Ancient Greece, Rome, and Gandhara* as seen through a sculpture of the Buddha created in the 2nd century CE. Buddhist sculptures from Gandhara are significant not only because they show the extent of Alexander the Great's influence on Asia, but also because they are some of the first human depictions of the Buddha in the history of Buddhist art.

Even without a deep knowledge of the art of this period, students can make visual observations and comparisons that reveal the blending of Asian and Greco-Roman culture in this particular region.

*Gandhara is a region in what is now modern Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Keywords: greek, kushan, mathura, india, inquiry strategy, classical, roman, gautama, siddhārtha, siddhartha, shakyamuni, lakshanas, signs of the buddha

#visiblethinking

Rose Krieg
6
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