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Found 5,422 Collections


Inventions: The mousetrap

In the 1800s there were several designs of the mousetrap that came into prominence. This collection shows some of the various designs that were used. One great extension activity is for the students to design and create mousetrap cars.
Chris Campbell

Reading Companion: Hot-Air Balloons and the Civil War

In this collection, students will explore the Union Army's use of hot-air balloons during the Civil War. Two articles - "Professor Lowe's Adventure" [Cobblestone; Nov/Dec 2015] and "Civil War Air Force" [Cricket; Oct 2015] - serve as an introduction to Thaddeus S.C. Lowe, an aeronaut, and his influence in the creation of the US's first air force. Additional resources, such as photographs of the balloons, letters written from the Secretary of the Smithsonian to Lowe prior to his involvement in the Union Army, the remnants of a Confederate balloon, and more, help situate these articles into a larger, historical context. Suggestions for use located in "Notes to Other Users."

Uses the Project Zero Visible Thinking routine "Think Puzzle Explore." This routine sets the stage for deeper inquiry.
Tess Porter

You Might Remember This: Movie Quiz Question #54

These still pictures remind me of a motion picture. Which one? Click the question mark and take the quiz to see. Click each picture to enlarge.

Smithsonian Movie Quiz

Art in American History--ISTE Conference 2016

A collection of resources used for a mini-session at the ISTE Conference 2016. Includes strategies and resources for integrating art into an American History course, utilizing Harvard University & Project Zero's "Making Thinking Visible."
Kate Harris

Inventions: The washing machine

This collection follows the development of the washing machine through time.
Chris Campbell

Test gallery

Here is a test gallery
Julian Miller

Apollo 11 Crew

This topical collection details the human stories of the Apollo XI mission by giving details on the lives of each crew member; it includes pictures and an external link. There is a list of the resources in each section at the beginning of that section.
Goal: Students will understand the lives of the Apollo XI crew members and be able to assess how their lives as people influenced their accomplishments as astronauts.
Tags: moon, moon landing, Apollo 11, Apollo XI, Armstrong, Aldrin, Collins, space, space race, space travel, rocket

Inspired by the Harvard Project Zero thinking strategy unveiling stories
Jade Lintott

Thomas Alva Edison

Edison resources
Jane Bosarge


Beth Hullender

13 Revolutions

"The Revolution was in the Minds and Hearts of the People," John Adams wrote on 13 Feb. 1818. The colonists' drive to independence marked a new era of American history, Adams thought, when "Thirteen Clocks were made to Strike together; a perfection of Mechanism which no Artist had ever before effected."

So how did people experience the American Revolution?

1. Take a look at the material culture and manuscript resources shown below. Using 3-5 items ONLY, write a SHORT recap (1 paragraph) of the Revolution's rise and progress, ca. 1760s-1780s.

2. Then, nominate 1 MORE Smithsonian item to join this gallery. Choose any artifact/manuscript that you think we MUST see in order to understand vast early America's revolutionary culture--and tell us WHY.

As you build your history, which episodes and people come to the fore? How does the big picture change?
Sara Georgini

Star Spangled Banner

Use pictures and books to learn about the origin of "Star Spangled Banner"
Beth Hullender

Seeing, Thinking and Wondering About Space Food

Astronauts need food and good nutrition to stay healthy in space. This collection looks at the challenges in preparing, packaging, transporting, and storing food in space. What innovations were required? What problems needed to be solved? How did the problems change over time?

This collection uses the "See Think Wonder" visible thinking routine developed by Project Zero at Harvard University. This strategy encourages students to make careful observations and thoughtful interpretations. It helps stimulate curiosity and sets the stage for inquiry.

First, Watch the Apollo 11 TV broadcast of July 22, 1969 of an astronaut eating in space (22 seconds). Use the "See Think Wonder" routine to stimulate interest among students about the problems encountered by astronauts when trying to eat. Ask, "What do you see? What do you think about that? What does it make you wonder?" Next look at the second image in the collection, "Space Food, Meal Package, Day 11, Meal C, Apollo 11 (white)". Repeat the questions examining both the food and the label.

Next, ask students to search the collection for "space food" and assemble one meal -- breakfast, lunch or dinner. Compare the different meals created by students using the see, think, wonder routine. For example, what kinds of foods do they see (or not see)? How are the foods packaged and how does it change over time? How are the more recent foods different from the first meals? The purpose of this discussion is to help students see how engineering problems and solutions evolve over time. Ask students, what impact would longer missions have on packing meals for space?

Watch the video, "Three Types of Food," and compare the information in the video with student ideas. Then ask students to propose solutions for the current question -- "How can we grow food in space?"

Stephanie Norby


Marlen Harrison

Astronaut Life

What is life for an astronaut like? How has it changed over the years? What different kinds of challenges do they face?
This topical collection describes certain problems astronauts face and follows with resources that show how people have tried to solve those problems; it includes pictures and videos.
Goal: Students will be able to identify a problem, brain storm solutions, and then compare the actual answers to their solutions.

Tags: space, astronaut, food, exercise, problem solving, space travel, brain storming
Jade Lintott

A Man on the Moon, but a Woman Got Him There: The Story of Margaret Hamilton

This topical collection includes images and links that give a short biography of Margaret Hamilton, the forgotten hero of the moon landing who invented software engineering.
Goal: Students will be able to synthesize the information from different sources and answer the questions at the end cohesively.
Tags: Margaret Hamilton, Apollo VIII, Apollo 8, Apollo XI, Apollo 11, moon landing, computer science, software
Jade Lintott

NASM Archives - Ruth Law and Sally Ride

Images from NASM Archives Powerpoint Presentation on Ruth Law and Sally Ride
Elizabeth Borja

LGBT Rights and History

This teaching collection contains resources to support a U.S. history lesson. It includes documents, videos, and websites related to the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans-, and other sexual minorities) movement. The four themes of this collection are:
-Pride and Diversity of Experiences (reflecting a range of LGBT identities)
-History, Challenges, and Accomplishments
-Additional Resources
Jade Lintott

Harlem Renaissance Art

A collection of art and photographs from the Harlem renaissance.
Bryce Huckabay

Glass: One of America's First Industries

America's first colony, Jamestown, initiated glass production with the hope that it would be an important product in the mercantile trade with the mother country. Although, the production of glass was successful, the quality did not measure up against that of British producers and the glass business soon waned in Jamestown. At the end of the eighteenth century, Pittsburgh found that it had all of the raw materials to make high quality glass and imported skill glass blowers from England to begin full production. So glass preceded the production of steel and became Pittsburgh's first large scale industry.
Arthur Glaser

Moon Rocks

Twelve men have walked on the Moon. While the rest of us remain Earth-bound, we've been able to learn about the Moon from the rocks these 12 astronauts brought back for scientific study. We have also found lunar meteorites here on Earth—meteorites produced by impacts hitting the Moon.

May 25, 2016

STEM in 30 at National Air and Space Museum

Civil Rights Sculpture: Claim Support Question

Using the Project Zero Visible Thinking routine "Claim Support Question," a routine for clarifying truth claims, students will examine a portrait of Rosa Parks, a prominent civil rights activist whose refusal to give up her bus seat to a white passenger prompted the 1955-56 Montgomery bus boycott. After discussing the portrait with their peers, students will learn more about the arrest this sculpture depicts by reading the original police report, with notes by a Smithsonian curator.

Created for the 2016 National Portrait Gallery Summer Teacher Institute.

Keywords: african-american, black, civil rights movement, female, woman, women, segregation, NAACP, justice, arrest, #BecauseOfHerStory

Tess Porter

Who provoked the Korean War?

"On June 25, 1990, the North Korean Army launches it surprise assault on the South." But what led up to this moment? This activity asks students to read primary source documents and interpret historical events surrounding the Korean conflict. Students will look for motives and evidence in a variety of accounts and determine who was responsible for starting the Korean War.

There are resources with quiz questions that students can answer directly, or teachers may prefer to print documents and resources for in-class use. It is recommended that teachers preview the materials in this teaching collection as there are a variety of ways to structure the lesson.

Essential questions include:
-How would you describe the relationship between Kim Il Sung and Joseph Stalin?
-Was North Korea, a smaller country, pulling a superpower into a conflict?
-Was the Soviet Union using North Korea to further its goals?
-Why did the United States choose to respond via the United Nations forces instead of unilaterally? How did this decision impact the conflict?
-How does this incident reflect larger themes and issues of the Cold War, especially the role of the United Nations, over-arching foreign policy strategy, and nuclear fears?

Tags: Wilson Center, Cold War, Korea, China, Truman, Eisenhower, Macarthur, Soviet Union, USSR, Communism
Kate Harris

Building the Berlin Wall

This teaching collection explores the Berlin crisis leading to the building of the Berlin Wall. It addresses the following guiding questions through primary/secondary sources and teaching suggestions:
-Why was Berlin the center of crisis in between 1958-1961?
-Why did the Soviet Union sanction the construction of the Berlin Wall?
-Why did the United States allow it to happen?
-How did the Wall affect the lives of East and West Berliners?
-Does the end (no more crises in Berlin) justify the means (the Wall)?
-How does this incident reflect the greater issues of the Cold War?

Students will practice reading primary sources and analyzing multiple perspectives.

Tags: Wilson Center, Cold War, Khruschev, Stalin, Berlin, Wall, Kennedy, Soviet Union, USSR, Communism
Kate Harris
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