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Found 655 Collections

 

Senses Series - Sight in Humans and Animals

How do we see what we see? This collection is about seeing the world in unexpected ways through human innovations and animal adaptations. Meet a teen who invented a new way to see infrared, a visually impaired woman with a bionic implant, a shark whose eye is similar our own, a Giant Squid with the world's largest eyes, a mantis shrimp who sees many colors in all directions, and a nocturnal sweat bee who navigates the jungle in the dark. Learn about why human vision can only see a certain type of light within the electromagnetic spectrum. Background information from the website Neuroscience for Kids provides an overview of how the eye and brain function together, and experiments to try. The collection concludes with a cross-cultural examination of seeing from a Tibetan monastic Buddhist perspective. How might their experience of sight differ from your own? 

Based on exhibition project work through Science for Monks and The World of Your Senses Exhibition (2010).

Tracie Spinale
15
 

Senses Series - Smell

How do we experience the sense of smell? This collection explores the variety of human and animal smell experiences. Videos examine ants that use smell to communicate, orchid bee perfumery, and the unique smell adaptation of the maned wolf. Background information from the website Neuroscience for Kids provides the structure and function of the nose, as well as olfaction experiments. The collection concludes with a cross-cultural examination of touch from a Tibetan monastic Buddhist perspective. How might their experience of smell differ from your own?

Based on exhibition project work through Science for Monks and The World of Your Senses Exhibition (2010).

Tracie Spinale
9
 

Senses Series - Taste

How do we taste what we taste? This collection is about the kinds of tastes that the human tongue experiences. Background information from the website Neuroscience for Kids provides an overview of how the tongue and taste function. Included are experiments to try, as well as examples of the kinds of tastes: sweet, salty, sour, hot and bitter. The collection closes with a cross-cultural examination of tongue function and tastes from Tibetan monastics—who recognize thirty-six different tastes!

Based on exhibition project work through Science for Monks and The World of Your Senses Exhibition (2010).

Tracie Spinale
14
 

Senses Series - Touch

How do we experience the sense of touch? This collection explores the variety of human and animal touch experiences. From the characteristics of a variety of objects, to a video which examines the touch experience of tortoises and pandas... we all experience touch differently. Background information from the website Neuroscience for Kids provides touch experiments; an examination of pain and why it hurts, and the functionality of the body's largest organ—the skin. The collection concludes with a cross-cultural examination of touch from Tibetan monks' Buddhist perspective. How might their experience of touch differ from your own?

Based on exhibition project work through Science for Monks and The World of Your Senses Exhibition (2010).

Tracie Spinale
19
 

Shelley's "Ozymandias" Poem: Museum Objects and Inspired Art

How have museum objects and antiquities inspired arts and literature? Read and listen to a famous poem written two hundred years ago by English author Percy Bysshe Shelley, "Ozymandias." Then, view artworks which in turn were inspired by the poem. View the environmental landscapes and settings in ancient Egypt which inspired the original poem about the colossal sculpture of a famous ruler from over three thousand years ago. The collection concludes with a link to view a draft of the poem. Will Shelley's work inspire the creation of your own poem or artwork about a place you've traveled, or an object you've seen in a museum?

keywords: sonnet, Ancient Egypt, Ramesses II, Thebes, impermanence, cultural patrimony

Tracie Spinale
14
 

Should President Truman have dropped the Atomic Bomb(s) on Japan during World War II?

The following pieces in this collection look at the Pacific Theater of World War II and President Truman's decision to use the world's first atomic weapons on Japan. As students work through this collection, they should take their outside knowledge to form an opinion on whether the decision to drop the atomic bombs were justifiable with military necessitiy.

Matthew Stagl
13
 

Sitting for a Portrait

Have you ever sat while someone painted your picture or took a photograph? How does it feel? What do you think about while it occurs? This student activity begins with a portrait of George Washington and a letter describing his attitude towards portraits. After students reflect on these, they will choose another portrait from the set and focus on developing observational skills and an attitude of empathy by examining the work closely and imagining the perspective of one of the people in the image.

Tags: portrait, point of view, perspective, Washington, Pine, de Kooning, John F. Kennedy, JFK, Norman Rockwell, Mitchell, Spalding, video, self-portrait

Kate Harris
9
 

Six Degrees of Separation: An APUSH Review Activity

Use this collection as a starting point for an AP United States History review activity that emphasizes connections and cause-and-effect. Students will copy the collection and add in four resources that form a chain of connection from one item to another (ending with six resources total). For each resource, they should add an annotation describing each of the events or items included, analyzing any important details in the resources themselves, and explaining how each connects to the next one.
Hattie Petty
2
 

Slavery

Stimulus for art work or essay on slavery in America. Students  to create a drawing or painting using images to portray the the pain of slavery. Student can select a variety of media.  The essay could be based upon the first person experience  looking through the eyes of a slave.

Mark Poore
8
 

Slaves and Religion: A Blend of African Religion and European Christianity

This collection of items shows things like items and objects that were used to carry out religious ceremonies of the enslaved African people. This collection will also look at what exactly religion was and looked like during slavery times. The Africans that were brought over to the Americas for the purpose of slavery had no knowledge of Christianity or any other European religion. Africans had their own beliefs and since brought over to slavery, could no longer practice them freely. Slaves were eventually exposed to Christianity by their slave masters  and that was the only religion that the master permitted. Slaves ultimately saw the European religion, Christianity, as possible freedom.  The slaves often resisted the teachings and exposure of Christianity because of their strong commitment and belief in their motherland religion. Eventually there was a mixture of the slaves original religion back in their homeland and the newly learned Christianity. Enslaved people also eventually appealed to Christianity and turned it into a possible road to freedom. This was no good sign for slave masters, which soon leads to punishment of things like open worship and Bible reading. We will be looking at many things in this collection from items to secret gathering places that the slaves used.

Tyeema Brockington
10
 

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
 

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
 

Smithsonian Pioneer: Solomon G. Brown

In 1852, Solomon G. Brown of Washington D.C. became the first African American employed by the Smithsonian Institution. He was an unusual man of his time, as he was a literate free person of color in Washington D.C., where slavery was legal until 1862. Additionally, Mr. Brown was an influential member of the African American community in Washington D.C, before and after the Civil War. For 54 years, Mr. Brown worked at the Smithsonian Institution in a variety of positions. He saw the institution change and grow. In 1902, the Smithsonian honored Mr. Brown for his time and service.

 This Learning Lab explores the experience of Solomon G. Brown and his work at the Smithsonian Institution. Exploring his career can highlight the complexities of slavery, freedom, race, and citizenship that African Americans experienced in Washington D.C. through the latter half of the nineteenth century, which included the late Antebellum Period, the Civil War, the Gilded Age and the beginnings of the Jim Crow Era. His life poses an interesting contrast to the more normative narratives of African Americans during the mid to late nineteenth century.

Discussion questions are included at the beginning of the Learning Lab.

 

Keywords: nmaahc, African American, Smithsonian, Institution, museum, castle, secretary, freedom, slavery, Washington D.C. DC, district, Columbia, research, pioneer, Solomon, Brown, first, civil war, antebellum, reconstruction, Jim Crow, 19th century, 20th century

National Museum of African American History and Culture
23
 

Soap – History, Uses, and Chemistry

Soap is a common household chemical used around the world. Using the See/Think/Wonder visible thinking tool, this collection explores:

  1. The history of soap,
  2. Why Ivory soap floats,
  3. Why soap can be used for cleaning, and
  4. How is soap made.
Kitty Dang
10
 

Socially Constructed Learning Through Art

Visual art is a language that is socially and culturally constructed.  Socially constructed learning values diverse perspectives, engages with local and global experts, and employs inquiry, discovery and exploration to move students toward global citizenship.  Because the visual arts leverage the power of dialogue and debate to sharpen critical thinking, starting with the arts is a logical place to help students develop empathy for others while increasing their cultural intelligence.

This collection was created to support teachers and administrators who wish to better understand the various cultures in their schools.  Using both Project Zero's Global Thinking Routines and strategies from Amy E. Herman's Visual Intelligence book, participants will practice articulating cultural perspectives and communicating across differences using artwork and primary sources from the vast collections of the Smithsonian Learning Lab.  Participants will learn how to read a work of art, understand compositional hierarchy, and question what is missing.  The frameworks provided by Project Zero and Amy E. Herman will allow everyone, even those not accustomed to discussing art, a place from which to begin using art as a foundation for building culturally-responsive curriculum.

Participants will see museums as the cultural ambassadors that they are and ask whose culture is being represented and whose is missing and why.  Extending from this inquiry, participants will recognize the role schools play in nurturing and shaping the lives and identities of our students.

Julie Sawyer
24
 

Sonia Sotomayor

Sonia Sotomayor was the first Latina justice appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. This collection was created for the Learning to Look workshop for teachers offered @NPG. The collection is intended to enhance a unit in which students will read excerpts of My Beloved World, the autobiography of Sotomayor, and Facing the Lion, the autobiography of Joseph Lekuton. The students will compare common values in both autobiographies. The activity described in this collection will help students understand Sotomayor as a person and also infer what values she is expressing in portraits.

Mary Ann Zehr
6
 

Sorting Activity New Deal Organizations: Relief, Recovery, or Reform?

First, review the images in the collection and the information provided with each, then determine which New Deal organization it is representing. Think about whether that organization is a good example of relief, recovery, or reform. At the end of the collection, you will be asked to sort the images into categories and answer some evaluative questions.


tags: Great Depression, FDR, Roosevelt, New Deal, Agricultural Adjustment Act, Tennessee Valley Administration, 1930s, sort

#historicalthinking


Kate Harris
23
 

Sorting through astronomical nebulae.

At the turn of the nineteenth century, astronomers using basic telescopes recorded the existence of an amazing collection of nebulae. These appeared as different types of fuzzy gray material. At that time, technology did not exist to separate the nebulae into different categories. This mini lab has selected representative types of each nebulae and the characteristics of each.

Arthur Glaser
8
 

Spacesuits: Working Under Pressure

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

#MCteach

Virginia Miller
19
 

Spark!Lab Invention Steps with Shopping Carts

Explore Spark!Lab's invention steps through the process of a real inventor, Orla Watson, who changed grocery shopping for millions of people with his telescoping shopping cart. Then make your own cart with our final invention challenge! Click through each of the items below and be sure to read the information (i) sections

Objectives:

  • Understand the invention process by examining one specific invention 
  • Discover and critically analyze objects and primary sources from the National Museum of American History's archives and collection

The Draper Spark!Lab is a hands-on invention activity center housed at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. 

Marie-Louise Orsini
22
 

Sports and Pastimes Pertaining to Colonial America Before 1865

This is a collection of the sports and recreational activities enjoyed by the early colonial Americans of this time period before 1865. Not only played by the civilians but also soldiers as well ,to occupy themselves while they were away from home.

Brandon Okiche
10
 

STEAM Learning: Beauty and Truth in Science and Art

Overview: Within the new realm of STEAM learning, students explore transdisciplinary themes connecting Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math in new ways, finding similarities and differences.  The overall goal of STEAM learning is to link the subjects for 21st century career paths.

Use this lesson as a provocation to a unit on planet Earth, our solar system, and/or space and the human interaction within those topics. This will get students thinking about how we translate the world around us and motivate them to dig deep when researching.

Use the thinking routine: Beauty and Truth for an engaging discussion with students. The discussions will help you assess students’ prior knowledge of space, Earth, and our solar system.

Purpose:  In this lesson students explore their knowledge of science and art. Students are asked to make connections with the two as they use a Project Zero thinking routine: Beauty and Truth. This lesson can be adapted to students Grades 5-12 to work collaboratively and enhance their communication skills within the regular classrooms or Design Thinking and Maker Space learning workshops when available.

History connections: This collection offers a historical perspective of the synergistic role of art and sciences for innovations used for human exploration both on Earth and in space. The images and artifacts have been selected to capture science and art from the early 20th century to current times.

Directions: In order to allow student led learning, model the activity (described below), then allow the students to explore the activity. The very last resource in the collection is a video entitled “Heaven and Earth”. Use this as a tool for a reflection discussion in the beginning and end of your lesson. Please feel free to modify the lesson. Note that it is imperative to discuss Science and Art before and after the lesson to show the growth of understanding from beginning to end. 

A sample discussion to get students thinking about how to describe art and science can use the following questions: "Where do you see art in these images? What, to you, makes it "art"? Where do you see science? What, to you makes it "science"? Let's look deeper, could you say that what you thought was art could have aspects of science? What could make it science? And now the opposite, could you say that what you thought was science could have aspects of art? What could make it art?" As a teacher, document the descriptions on the board for the students to see the words they are using. Create a Venn diagram of the words used, each circle being science or art with the overlap being similar descriptions. Use your personal style to dig deep in the discussion, working on the students' abilities to communicate effectively and with metaphors. Highlight when they use powerful metaphors or challenge them to make associations when speaking to best express themselves. 

Teacher will demonstrate a sample first: Choose two images (Art and Science): one that you think best demonstrates concepts in science that you are interested in and one that best demonstrates art concepts that you are interested in.  Please explore the artifact by exploring the tabs that display more information about the piece. 

The teacher demonstrates the thinking routine to analyze the images: Beauty and Truth. Document both beauty and truth evidence for each image. Compare the list and see if there are similarities. Then the students pair up to do the same: choose two images and explore Beauty and Truth for each image. Have them chart using 4 squares to get the beauty and truth observations for each of the two images. After, share out their findings and have a reflection discussion for any similarities amongst students. The main goal is to have the students realize on their own that science and art overlap in many ways, and that beauty and truth can be extracted from each. 

The purpose of first exploring science vs. art and then beauty and truth is to increase the sophistication of the discussion and students' abilities to communicate effectively and clearly. After all four words are analyzed for the two images, students will have both exercised their communicative abilities and their reasoning of the world around us created and real. This challenges their point of view of the world around them and calibrates their critical reasoning skills. 

This should lead some rich discussions as well as powerful creative expression and scientific reasoning. These are the skills that students need to analyze the world around them to further extend their STEM skills and best prepare for the 21st century workforce. Take your time to use this as a platform for discussion in your classroom and continue to have student discuss their perceptions of the world. 

Learning Integrations:

  • Literacy: Have the students write a persuasive paragraph that promotes either of the images as more beauty or truth with multiple reasons why and concrete examples to demonstrate.
  • Science: Have the students research more about the science they observed. You can even combine literacy by having them complete a technical article where they place themselves within that time period of the scientific discovery and write a “Breaking News” article telling the general public about the amazing new science discovery.
  • History: Create a timeline for 5-10 images. Discuss the progression of discovery and innovation. Discuss the impact on society and humans.

Learning Extensions:

  • Use design thinking to extend the learning. Pretend there will be a circus coming to town that gets everyone excited about STEAM. Use graphic design tools to combine both images and create a promotional poster.
  • Create a model or diorama of the scientific discovery.

Let the learning take you on an STEAM adventure.

Enjoy this lesson!

Ages: Grades 5-12, scope per ability

Learning objectives:

  • Students understand the similarities and differences of science and art.
  • Students learn historic scientific discoveries.
  • NGSS - Use these objectives after using this lesson as a provocation to learn about our Earth, the Universe, and the solar system. Sample science units can include the following learning standards:
    • MS-ESS1-2 Earth's Place in the Universe

    • Develop and use a model to describe the role of gravity in the motions within galaxies and the solar system.  Grade: Middle School (6-8)
    • HS-ESS1-1 Earth's Place in the Universe

    • Develop a model based on evidence to illustrate the life span of the sun and the role of nuclear fusion in the sun’s core to release energy that eventually reaches Earth in the form of radiation.  Grade: High School (9-12)
    • HS-ESS1-2 Earth's Place in the Universe

    • Construct an explanation of the Big Bang theory based on astronomical evidence of light spectra, motion of distant galaxies, and composition of matter in the universe.  Grade: High School (9-12)

Cultural Connections - Global Perspectives

  • Investigating the world: With prompting and support, I can ask a question about an idea that is important to my community.
  • Recognizing perspectives: With prompting and support, I can identify when someone else has an idea that is different from my own.
  • Communicate Ideas: I can speak and write to share my ideas with others. This means with help I can look at my audience, speak loudly and clearly, and share my ideas so that my audience can understand them.

#GoGlobal #STEAM #STEM #designthinking #makeractivity

Sandra Vilevac
47
 

Stories of the American Dream

The resources in this collection are assembled to present a range of perspectives on the American Dream. After we have delved into the concept of the American Dream and its evolution over time, you will examine and consider examples of Americans' attempts to accomplish their unique aspirations.

After surveying the collection, choose one of the following assignments to complete and submit it.  As you are browsing the resources in the collection, you may want to take notes and/or save images.

Possible Assignments:

1) Compare and Contrast: Write an essay that examines how the images reflect or represent  the American Dream. Choose 5 images and for each image, identify the time period, the person/people and place featured, and  the American Dream  referenced. By describing and analyzing each image, evaluate the American Dream. How do the images reflect the idea of the American Dream? What conclusions can we draw from examining the American Dream through these images? How has the dream changed over time and what does it mean today? Are there any aspects of the American Dream that hasn't changed? 

2) Argument: Select a combination of articles, images, and videos (at least 5) to examine. Reflecting on the quote from class consider the extent to which you agree or disagree with the argument presented. To support your claim, use the sources from this collection to write an essay in which you argue whether or not the American Dream still exists. 

Quote: "People have long held the view that America is a place where everyone can freely and successfully seek their dreams. We are a nation of potential success stories, emerged from simple beginnings. We've been told that within each of us lives the spirit of entrepreneurial or educational achievement. Up until recently, this was widely believed as true. But as a result of current economic conditions, this opportunity has been lost and the American Dream of the past no longer exists." (Levy)

Levy, Ellen. "Pursuing the American Dream." Constructing Meaning Instructional Unit. E. L. Achieve, Inc. 2012 


Anita Leonard
34
 

Storytelling Training: Brainstorming and Going into the Field

Whether you're participating in the Stories: YES program in conjunction with a Museum on Main Street exhibition or creating digital stories on your own, the six modules in the Storytelling Training Series will help you think through everything to help get started. Unlike the other Storytelling Training courses where information is given to you, you'll be asked to contribute ideas for your own potential story in this course. There's no right or wrong answers here. It's a way to help you start planning. Remember to make a copy of this collection first if you want your answers to be saved so you can revisit them!

This training module was created by the Smithsonian's Museum on Main Street program, a part of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, in conjunction with the MuseWeb Foundation.

SITES Museum on Main Street
12
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