Found 5,963 Learning Lab Collections
Print culture in and before the 17th century, before 1865 to be exact, took the world by storm. It shows the developlment of human communication, political expression, it provides a sense of self worth, and it holds a vital role in today's society. In this collection, each photograph will show the advancement in human intellectuality, advancement in technology, and advancement in creativity and self-expression. This collection will have not only literary pieces and documents, but will also have paintings and photographs.
By Alice Petrivelli (Unangax̂), 2009
(This is shortened version of a longer essay from the Smithsonian book Living Our Cultures, Sharing Our Heritage: The First Peoples of Alaska.)
Sea, Land, Rivers
More than three hundred Aleutian Islands clustered in groups stretch westward across the Pacific from the tip of the Alaska Peninsula. In summertime they are just gorgeous. The mountains are snow-capped, with green grass and tundra plants spreading up their sides. Even out on the water you can smell the flowers. In fall the vegetation turns shades of red and brown, and in winter there is a clear, blue, endless sky between periods of storm. The islands have no trees, but driftwood from around the whole North Pacific washes up on our beaches. People of the Aleutians call themselves Unangax̂, meaning “sea-sider.” We are also called Aleuts – a name first used by Russian fur traders in the eighteenth century.
To our south is the Pacific Ocean, to our north the Bering Sea. Everything our ancestors did was connected to the marine world around us. They built beautiful kayaks with split bow tips to cut swiftly through the waves. Their clothing was made of sea mammal hides and intestines and the feathered skins of ocean birds. The sea provided nearly all of our ancestors’ food – seals, sea lions, ducks, salmon, all kinds of fish and shellfish—and that’s still true today. From the time we’re little we’re taught to respect the water and to keep it clean, because that’s where our living comes from.
I was born in 1929 on the far western island of Atka and grew up speaking the Niiĝux̂ dialect of Unangam Tunuu (the Unangax̂ language). Until 1942 we used to go camping all summer. With the first warm days of spring we would travel by boat to Amlia Island, where we planted potatoes and other vegetables. Gardening was impossible on Atka, because rats had invaded from a shipwreck sometime in the past. We fished for cod and halibut, and later in the summer we’d fish for red, pink and dog salmon. We preserved fish by salting, drying, and smoking. We lived mostly on subsistence resources, because the supply ship came to Atka only twice a year, bringing in the staples we needed: butter, flour and sugar. Growing up I learned to fillet fish, hunt birds, harvest grass for weaving baskets, and gather roots, plants, and shellfish.
Community and Family
We have always had strong leaders in our communities. Traditionally a chief would inherit his position, but for his authority to be recognized he had to excel as a hunter and be spiritual, generous, fair and kind in his dealings with the people. The shamans, or medicine men, took care of the people’s medical needs. They possessed detailed knowledge of the human body and had names for every part of it, both inside and out. There were no elections until the U.S. government started them in the 1930s.
Russian fur traders came to the islands in the mid-eighteenth century following Vitus Bering’s discovery that sea otters were abundant there. The Russians set up a colony that lasted until 1867, and they were cruel, especially in the early years. They enslaved the people, forcing the men to hunt and the women to serve the traders. The population declined as a result of this mistreatment and disease until the majority of our people and over two-thirds of the original villages were lost. The Orthodox Church urged the Russian government to treat the people more kindly, and the situation improved. The Russians built schools to educate the Aleuts, and when the United States came in they reeducated us in the American way.
In December 1941, I was a twelve-year-old school girl when our teacher told us that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. In April we learned that an invasion of the Aleutian Islands was feared and that the United States wanted to get us out of the way of the war. Only a few weeks later the Japanese bombed Dutch Harbor and invaded Attu and Kiska islands, at the west end of the chain. In June a U.S. Navy ship came to Atka to evacuate everyone. Before leaving, the navy burned our village to the ground, even the church. It was devastating to the whole community. No one was allowed to get anything from the houses before they were destroyed, and we left with only the clothes on our backs. No one told us our destination.
All of the Unangax̂ refugees were taken to internment camps in southeast Alaska. My family was at Killisnoo until 1945. It was very poorly set up, and we had little food and no medicine or appropriate housing. In that two and a half-year period we lost almost all of our elders and newborns, a total of seventeen deaths out of eighty-five who had left Atka together. We almost lost our culture entirely because of that, and the way I grew up no longer exists.
Before the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 everyone had summer camps. When we got food, we shared it, and you could use another person’s camp as long as you kept it clean and replenished what you used. Land claims introduced the word "mine," as in, “That’s mine. You can’t use it.” After that, people didn’t share as much and started expecting to be paid to do things instead of just helping, as in building a house. And the Native corporation leaders didn’t want to involve elders in the new enterprises, thinking they were too old and not ready to do things in the Western way.
Those were the negative effects of land claims, but things have improved over the years, and ANCSA has brought us many benefits. I first went to work for the Aleut Corporation as a receptionist in 1972 and was eventually employed in each of the departments. I wrote up land selections, helped with the accounting, and ended up getting elected to the board in 1976. I served until 2008, including a long term as president. It was a challenging and terrifying ride, because we were a “have not” corporation with no forests, oil or minerals on our lands to generate profits. Yet we needed to do the best we could to support our communities and shareholders. Your heart really has to be in it, because it takes a lot of personal sacrifice.
Ceremony and Celebration
Father Yakov Netsvetov (later Saint Yakov), whose mother came from our island, was the first resident priest. He consecrated the church on Atka in 1830, and ever since then Russian Orthodoxy has been a foundation of community life. Christmas, New Year’s Day, Easter and other feast days mark our calendar of worship and celebration. Starring and masking – still practiced in some villages during the midwinter holidays – are similar to rituals carried out before the Russians came.
The original Unangax̂ festivals were held in the fall and winter, when people celebrated successful hunting and food gathering and asked for the animals to return. Those ceremonies survived Russian rule but were banned after the United States took over in 1867. In the decades that followed, the Aleuts adopted new music and dances for fun and entertainment, such as polkas, two-steps and waltzes. Since 1992, groups of young people have formed to restore and perform some of the original Unangax̂ dances.
This issue of Smithsonian in Your Classroom includes a lesson plan in which the class arranges pictures of heavenly bodies according to the students' best ideas of size, distance, and age. This active introduction to the cosmos can be a pre-assessment for a unit on space science. In a follow-up modeling exercise, relationships in space are brought down to a scale of two inches.
Click on the PDF icons to download the issue and ancillary materials.
Explore the observable universe. Think about the size of space and where we fit in.
This lesson features an issue of Smithsonian in Your Classroom, Minecraft: Education Edition extensions, and is part of the 2017 Museum Day Live! STEM Challenge.
Examine these photos. Predict how these photos could lead to a war.
A collection of education and teaching images that help us assess the value and utility of using real objects when presenting classes that involve language, communication and information exchange skills. #Teachinginquiry
The Valentine Dress is the focus of a Visual Arts Lesson beginning with the Slow Look Strategy. This is followed with three ideas that may be incorporated into a high school fundamentals class. #npgteach
This collection was created in conjunction with the National Portrait Gallery's 2016 Learning to Look Summer Teacher Institute.
TAGS: #NPGteach ; portrait; National Portrait Gallery
A design project’s aesthetics and cultural impact are usually the primary consideration as to the effectiveness and quality of a designer's approach to problem-solving. What is often overlooked in these perspectives are the various preliminary approaches that designers employ—how do we visualize and ultimately share our ideas with others?
Within design education, projects are usually conceived to help expose students to the “design process,” an often-complex journey of experiments and discoveries. This process helps guide students in the creation of future successful design solutions. With the progress of the digital experience (PowerPoint presentations, iPhone apps, and Virtual Reality), the art of the sketch seems to be a casualty of the current state of the design process.
What can we learn from a sketch? Is the sketch a dead art form, forever packed away in folders or archives never to be seen again? Or, can we reevaluate its historical contributions in the design process and creation of artful typographic syntax and hierarchy, image creation, and narrative development?
Most often, these small, thumbnail sketches speak only to a limited audience (Art Directors, other designers, or only the designer themselves) and, therefore, usually have a limited impact. But, in the hands of a skilled and creative designer, these sketches can mean the difference between success or failure, the green light, or the idea being squashed.
As a supplement to several educational design projects, this collection attempts to expose students to the value of the simple pencil sketch. How can we use the sketching process to encourage young designers to visualize away from the computer and avoid the digital “sameness” pervasive in our visual world?
This collection attempts to chronicle the process of various designers and their projects (both large and small, complex, and simple) and presents their approach to preliminary ideation through the sketching process. The collection includes thumbnails, photographs, color studies, line reductions as well as the completed project in hopes of revealing The Value of a Simple Sketch.
Willi Kunz, (1943 - ) Swiss-born Kunz, played a significant role in the introduction of the new typography developed from Basel to the United States, where he currently lives and works.
Dan Friedman, (1945–1995) noted American graphic and furniture designer and educator. One of the significant contributors to the New Wave typography movement.
Painter Piet Mondrian (1872–1944) was the leader of the Dutch De Stijl movement, where he implemented an extreme visual vocabulary consisting of planes of primary colors, simplified right angles, and linear accents.
Tom Engeman, (1934 - ), American designer and Illustrator who has designed and illustrated several stamps for the United States Postal Service, including the Flags of Our Nation forever stamps and the 150th Anniversary of the Smithsonian commemorative stamp.
This is a topical collection of artworks related to the Virgin Mary, a religious figure honored by many faiths and particularly revered in the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches.
Compare the many ways that Mary is portrayed across the globe. How is she posed? Are others included in the image? What colors or symbols are prevalent?
This collection gives insight not only into the religious significance of Mary, but also into the spread and adaptation of Christianity as it is practiced in various parts of the world. In addition, viewers might consider how different artists add their unique perspective to a common and widely-known subject.
tags: religion, Christianity, Jesus, Maria, Mary, Virgen, Virgin, Madonna, Maria, Theotokos, comparison
Analyze the origins of War of 1812 and the effects on the United States of America that resulted from the war during the period 1787-1830.
This collection contains the provocative piece The Way They Was and asks students to make parallels to the novel To Kill a Mockingbird. It uses thinking routines such as "See/Think/Wonder", "Circle of Viewpoints", and "Claim/Support/Question". There is also a graphic organizer in the shape of a door that allows students to record the connections they see between the piece of art and the novel. This lesson can be used after Chapter 25 or at the end of the novel.
Resources to accompany a unit on the YA novel The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt.
Painting by Charles M. Russell. He is a famous artist who painted pictures of the Wild West during the 1800's.
The West has always held a special place in American culture. In 1893, Frederick Jackson Turner wrote what is known as the "frontier thesis," arguing that our sense of democracy and hard work has been shaped by experience of survival and growth along the frontier. More than a century later, Americans still idolize the cowboy image and are fascinated by the train robbers, saloons, and violence of the era. How accurate is our mental picture of the "Wild West"? What were the realities of life on the frontier in the late 19th and early 20th century? What was lost and what was gained as America closed out the frontier? Most importantly, why has the West continued to fascinate Americans and play such a prominent role in popular culture?
This learner resource includes essays, images, artifacts, and movies that deal with the concept of the American West. Essays? Students will want to read Turner's essay and answer the attached questions. Then, they will focus on choosing images and ideas to include in a movie trailer or poster advertisement that presents a more accurate image of turn of the century western life.
Known as the Wilderness Road, the trail would serve as the pathway to the western United States for some 300,000 settlers over the next 35 years. Boone’s pioneering path led to the establishment of the first settlements in Kentucky, including Boonesboro, and to Kentucky’s admission to the Union as the 15th state in 1792.
Source: The Wilderness Road. History.com. A&E Network. 2010. Web. 2 Aug 2016.