In this student activity, analyze the timelessness of myth through three works of art by modern African American artists. Each artist, inspired by Ancient Greek myth, retells stories and reinterprets symbols to explore personal and universal themes. Includes three works of art, summaries of the myths they reference, and discussion questions. Also includes a video about the artist Romare Bearden and his series 'Black Odyssey,' that details Bearden's artistic process, the significance of storytelling in his art, and the lasting importance of 'Black Odyssey.'
Using the Project Zero Visible Thinking routine "What makes you say that?," students will examine the 1947 mural "Achelous and Hercules," by Thomas Hart Benton. This artwork explores the relationship between man and water in post-war agricultural America through the retelling of an Ancient Greek myth. Collection includes a video analysis by a museum director and an interactive exploring areas of interest in the artwork.
Tags: greece; agriculture; agricultural; missouri river; marshall plan; truman; cultural connections; midwest
This collection invites users to explore how Americans have voted throughout our history and the innovations that have improved the voting process. Students will closely investigate images from the 19th and 20th century in order to determine potential flaws and improvements in the democratic process. Links to websites for additional reading are included as well as assessments and a possible extension activity.
-How has the process of voting changed in the last two centuries? Consider who, what, when, where, why, and how when answering this question.
-How have technological changes enhanced voting? What challenges remain?
Tags: civics, elections, campaigns, vote, ballot, ballot box, democracy, electoral process, change over time, cause effect
This student activity includes a variety of types of propaganda related to World War I. The United States government took great action when it came to World War I—they helped organize workers, recruit military members, and regulate the economy so that American could have a successful impact on the war. The Committee of Public Information formed by George Creel and other propaganda-producers used advertising techniques from businesses to make appeals to the average citizen and encourage them to make a difference. This assignment will ask you to connect each piece of propaganda to one of four major goals of the U.S. government during the war and to analyze a few specific pieces for author, audience, purpose, and even the medium/form.
Essential questions include:
- What are the four main goals of the government during World War I?
- Why and how did propaganda creators target specific audiences with their messages?
- What are the effects of changing the medium or form of propaganda on how it might be received?
Tags: World War I, WWI, selective service, draft, liberty bonds, propaganda, music, Uncle Sam, persuasive writing, cause effect
Paintings and photographs that represent the Lakota, Inuit, Kwakiutl, Pueblo, and Iroquois tribes. This aligns with Virginia SOL USI.3b. Teachers may have students look critically at each image. Students can then create a claim or hypothesis of what tribe they think it represents, along with supporting details. Teachers should use the "what makes you say that" strategy (described on the first image). This is a great check for understanding or formative assessment of student learning.
This student activity teaches students about the Chinese creation story of Pangu and introduces them to other common symbols in ancient Chinese mythology.
Guiding questions include:
-How does this story compare to other creation myths you may know? Are there common elements?
-In what way does this story reflect a distinctly Chinese culture or system of belief?
Tags: Pan gu, Panku, creation, origin, myth, compare contrast, yin yang, Taoism, Daoism, Buddhism, Buddhism, Confucius, Laozi, dragon, qilin, turtle, phoenix, ancient China, religion
This learning lab consists of portraits painted by John Singleton Copley, one of America's first painters. The subjects included all played a role either prior to or during the revolution.
"Remember Pearl Harbor" was a call to action, that rallied all Americans to step up and support the war in any way they could. This collection explores the symbolism and impact of lapel pins produced during World War II.
This collection includes a variety of photographs taken by Lisa Law. Students will examine the photographs and a few artifacts and try to draw conclusions about the ways in which the commune or back-to-the-land movement challenged the norms of traditional United States society in the 1960s and 1970s. A link to an exhibit website is include and allows students to check their assumptions, and students are asked to compare elements of the counterculture with that of mainstream 1960s and 1970s culture.
Tags: counterculture, commune, hippie, granola, back to nature, communal living, co-op, cooperative, sixties, seventies, Woodstock, change over time, compare, ashram, silent majority
Collection of Political Cartoons from the late 1800s/early 1900s (Mostly Imperialism)
This collection explores the essential question: How are robots changing human life? Students will lead an inquiry into this question through a variety of resources - objects, videos, articles, and websites - examining the history of robotics from the 16th century to the present, the problems robot designers have attempted to address with their inventions, and how they try to address them. Supporting questions to scaffold students' inquiry include: What problems were these robots designed to address? Have these problems changed over time? Have strategies for addressing these problems changed over time?
In this collection, students will review the life of Frederick Douglass and learn about one of his most famous speeches, "The Meaning of Fourth of July for the Negro" (it is also commonly referred to as "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July). They will explore the strategies he uses to persuade and compare staged readings of the speech. Next, they will consider the central question posed by Douglass--how does the history of racial injustice in the United States affect our understanding of national symbols and what they mean? In addition, how do the diverse opinions of the many citizens of the United States present both challenges and opportunities for our nation?
Teachers may draw relevant connections to today and recent protests during the national anthem by professional, collegiate, and high school sports teams.
This collection of photographs provides insight into the Scopes Trial in 1925. "Marcel C. LaFollette, an independent scholar, historian and Smithsonian volunteer uncovered rare, unpublished photographs of the 1925 Tennessee vs. John Scopes “Monkey Trial" in the Smithsonian Institution Archives. The nitrate negatives, including portraits of trial participants, and images from the trial itself and significant places in Dayton, were discovered in archival material donated to the Smithsonian by Science Service in 1971."
"Science Service is a Washington, D.C.-based organization founded in 1921 for the promotion of science writing and information about science in the media. Watson Davis (1896-1967), the Science Service managing editor, took these photographs when covering the Scopes trial as a reporter. In the 1925 trial, John Scopes was tried and convicted for violating a state law prohibiting the teaching of the theory of evolution. William Jennings Bryan served on the prosecution team, and Clarence Darrow defended Scopes."
Collection users might consider the following questions:
-How effective are court cases at swaying popular opinion? Can you think of other examples of this?
-How did this trial reflect the changes in mass media, science, and religion occurring in the 1920s?
-It is said that Bryan "won the case, but lost the argument." What is meant by that statement?
-How do these archival photographs challenge previously held conceptions of the case?
Source for text in quotes throughout collection: Smithsonian Institution Archives. Web. Accessed 16 Aug. 2016 http://siarchives.si.edu/research/scopes.html.
this collection, we look at portraiture through the lens of the 30
second look strategy. This looking strategy allows participants 30
seconds to look at a portrait, and then turn away from the portrait and
have a conversation about what they saw. This activity challenges
participants to first look on their own and then have a collaborative
conversation with their peers.
Visually rich portraits, with both objects and setting, are most effective when using this strategy.
The 30 Seconds lesson helps students to use their visual and memorizing skills. The lessons will sentence starters like "I think and I know" to introduce fact and opinion, which will encourage creativity.
The activity can also help to exercises their....
Focusing on key details
The activity can be done as a whole group discussion, partner work, or independently. I will use the Kagan strategy Rally Coach on the second portrait with the purpose of building their language skills and taking ownership of their learning. Students will work with a peer what they saw during the 30 seconds of looking at the portrait. Then, they will share in their opinion what they think is happening in the setting and what is the person in the portrait doing and thinking.
This collection was created in conjunction with the National Portrait Gallery, as well as resource and information.
This collection examines the causes of U.S. imperialism at the turn of the century through the lens of two political cartoons. Students will investigate both cartoons and develop a definition of imperialism based on what they find.
Ever since their first appearance in the 1939 release of The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy's ruby slippers quickly became one of the most iconic pieces of pop culture. But, did you know that other notable events also took place in 1939? In the same year that Dorothy walked down the Yellow Brick Road while wearing the ruby slippers, Germany invaded Poland, Batman first appeared in comics, Lou Gehrig retired from the New York Yankees, and much more. Explore this collection of images to witness key moments from 1939.
A learning resource to help develop students' ability to analyze an image and form an argument. The images in this collection are different portrayals of women in the United States during the 1950s. As you look through them, have your students think about these three key questions:
-What is being shown in the image?
-How is the woman represented in the image? Use concrete details from the image.
-Does the image compare to modern representations of women? Why or why not?
The collection ends with a quiz that can either be used as assignment to gauge the students' ability to pull together their analysis into a conclusion or a class discussion.
This student activity focuses on the concepts of globalization and cultural diffusion. Students will look at a variety of artifacts and explain how they illustrate the two concepts and/or help answer the guiding questions below:
- What is globalization and how does it affect people and places?
- What leads to cultural diffusion?
The Vin Fiz was the first aeroplane to cross the United States from coast to coast. At a maximum speed of 51 mph and many in flight set backs, the Vin Fiz made the crossing in over 84 days.
In this collection, students will review the life of Frederick Douglass and learn about one of his most famous speeches, "The Meaning of Fourth of July for the Negro" (it is also commonly referred to as "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July). They will examine primary and secondary sources related to the speech to determine what Douglas's goal was with this speech and how it is often percieved today.
Students are to read a series of primary sources from the survivors or witnesses to the Holocaust during World War 2. Students then look at various memorials that were created to remember the Holocaust and decide which is the most applicable to their person. Students need to explain using evidence from both the primary source and the memorial.
Through photographs, text, videos, interviews, a map & a 3D model, students can explore the history of the oldest surviving American naval vessel, the Gunboat Philadelphia, which is in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. The Philadelphia (1776) played an important role during the Revolutionary War. The first five resources in this collection show the discovery and preservation of the sunken boat, while the last three offer more information on its historical significance.
This could be used by students to consider what each type of media reveals. What information can you learn from the single resource? From the collection of media combined? What more context is needed?
Soap is a common household chemical used around the world. Using the See/Think/Wonder visible thinking tool, this collection explores:
- The history of soap,
- Why Ivory soap floats,
- Why soap can be used for cleaning, and
- How is soap made.
How did apartheid affect the lives of blacks living in Johannesburg in the late 1940s and early 1950s? What was the purpose of forced removal?
This student activity uses the examination of historical photographs as an entry point to learning about the forced removal of blacks from urban areas to townships & homelands under apartheid in South Africa. The images here are all from Sophiatown and Soweto. What details emerge about the life changes that resulted from being moved? What questions remain?