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Found 736 Collections

 

Origin Stories from Around the World

 Creation myths, or origin stories, tell us what a culture believes about how humans came to be. They can also tell us much about what that culture values. These are often religious or spiritual explanations for human life. 

Choose one of origin stories on this page to focus on. Read, watch, or listen to the story. Then, create a visual that illustrates a scene in the story that you think is revealing about that culture's values. Finally, write a paragraph summarizing what you learned about that culture based on their origin story.

To recap:

1. Read/watch listen.

2. Create a visual of 1 scene in the story. 

3. Write a paragraph summarizing what you learned about that culture based on their origin story.  

Kate Harris
8
 

America the Beautiful

This lesson makes an important connection to novel The Westing Game which uses clues from the lyrics of "America the Beautiful."

As students read, they will discover that certain clues from the novel make up the lyrics from "America the Beautiful." Students can analyze the lyrics by looking at locations that served as source of inspiration for the original poem by Katherine Lee Bates.  They can fill out the attached worksheet as they "travel" through Bates's journey across the country which served as her inspiration.

Student can then do a Think / Puzzle / Explore with "Electronic Superhighway" by Nam Jun Paik. They can discuss what served as inspiration for this artist's depiction of the United States. They can make connections between Paik and Bates. What did their creations say about the country? What is similar or different about their work or interpretations?

The artwork can then serve as a catalyst for student creative writing. Students will write their own short stories as if the artwork is a time/travel warp to the depictions of whatever state(s) they choose to visit.

Overall, students will examine the vast beauty of the United States through a variety of information.

Yolanda Toni
9
 

Carnival Celebrations: Masks (Lesson Plans, Activities, and Background Information)

This collection comes from a set of lessons plans to introduce students to the culture of Puerto Rico by looking at customs and objects - specifically masks - connected to the annual celebration of Carnival. The lessons are split into four levels, covering grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. They were originally adapted from a set of activities that appeared in Our Story in History: A Puerto Rican Carnival, a website produced by the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History - also shown in a link inside the collection, along with instructions for students to make their own masks. The lessons include objects from the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian in New York, the George Gustav Heye Center, and the Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History.


Philippa Rappoport
6
 

The Romantic Era ♥

The Romantic Era can be characterized as a time for "release." The writers at the time embraced nature and considered nature to hold the truth. The Romantic era was also a backlash against "the enlightenment values of reason in the aftermath of the French Revolution of 1789." (metmuseum.org) This time period reflected the blooming of America as a nation, there was strong anti-British sentiment and much excitement about democracy. The Romantic era highlighted the creative capabilities of America and is responsible for giving us literary giants such as Edgar Allan Poe, Walt Whitman and Nathaniel Hawthorne. 

Victoria Ajao
15
 

A "Family Lessons" Storybook Activity for the Classroom or Home, with examples of student work

This collection includes instructions and ideas for a classroom activity designed to get children and their families talking and creating together. It is suitable for K-5 classrooms, as an art, English, or social studies-based activity. Included here are examples of student work (images and video of students reading their books), as well as images from classroom displays.

In this activity, a 1st grade teacher from a bilingual school in Washington, D.C., used what we called the "Connections" handmade storybook design to have her students share important family lessons. She described how she did the activity: "I loved the book project and found that it was a way to get parents involved in making a book with their child at home. I pre-made the books since I thought the instructions were a little tricky. The instructions were to discuss and write about a Life Lesson that their families taught them. Our students created bilingual Spanish/English books. The format was perfect for this because it could be English on one side and Spanish on the other. Students enjoyed hanging their books up outside of the class for others to read and then sharing them with the class. It really helped them to understand what important life lessons families teach them and it helped to bring students' home knowledge into the classroom. We connected the books to our Life Lessons unit and plan to do the same thing this year."

This project is based on a handmade book design that can be found, along with several others, in another collection: Fun for the Whole Family: Making "Family Memory" Storybooks: http://learninglab.si.edu/q/ll-c/1tozk88HXhnFBU6d.

Philippa Rappoport
11
 

The Global Implications of HIV/AIDS - An Interdisciplinary Exploration

This collection includes several images that could be used as starting points for students to engage in a dialogue about the complexities of HIV/AIDS. I would very much encourage students to be given choice when exploring a topic from an interdisciplinary approach, but often it can be helpful to provide a starting point.  Works of art can be used, as there are opportunities for students to engage in conversations in pairs or small/large groups about multifaceted issues such as this.  A painting or photograph can provide a low-risk way of beginning a discussion about challenging topics. 

Students should feel free to use other areas of knowledge beyond what I have included such as Geography and History or more detailed topics such as stigma or virology.  Data from the local Department of Health could also be used in addition to or in place of the Gapminder HIV Chart. To see a sample exploration that could be used in place of a much larger interdisciplinary exploration, please see the collection titled "The Global Implications of HIV/AIDS."

Emily Veres
18
 

Exploring the Science of skin color

What was the role of Science in the construction of race? How can various written works and works of art begin a conversation about race as a social construct? These series of activities allow for a dialogue about this complex issue.

This collection includes a three-part activity that can be modified by choosing to spend more or less time sharing out as a group and whether TED Talks are watched as a class or individually as preparation for class. 

Part I begins with a work of art to stimulate thought using the Project Zero Thinking Routine "See-Think-Wonder."  Students will then read an article and view an advertisement. Another thinking routine is used here to uncover the complexities of this particular advertisement. In the next parts, students view TED Talks followed by different kinds of media. Several Project Zero Thinking Routines can be used to stimulate and record thinking.

 

Part I: Identifying the focus and beginning a conversation

Starting with an artwork by Byron Kim and Glenn Ligon, students use the "See-Think-Wonder" Project Zero Thinking Routine to try and make sense of the image. After a class discussion, students should be guided to read a short article about skin-colored ballet shoes that would be more representative of the skin tones of actual ballet dancers. Teachers could choose to help students digest this article or move directly into the Ivory soap advertisement. Using the "Beauty and Truth" Project Zero Thinking Routine, students can uncover the underlying complexity of this image.

 

Part II: The evolution of skin color and telling the story of a work of art

After viewing the TEDTalk by Nina Jablonski about the illusion of skin color, students can reflect individually by answering the question "Why is it problematic to view race as a biological concept and categorize individuals based on skin color?" Then, using Project Zero’s "The Story Routine," students can create meaning for a work of art. Students can share out in pairs first or simply share out to the whole group depending on class size, etc.

 

Part III: Photography, an essay on color and race and a work of art from that essay

  Angelica Dass’s photography challenges how we think about skin color and ethnic identity. The TEDTalk describes her Humanae project and allows for further dialogue about the complexity of skin color. Teachers could choose to help students identify important aspects of the talk or move directly into silent reading of Zora Neale Hurston’s essay "How It Feels to be Colored Me." Students can use the "Step inside-step out-step back" Project Zero Thinking Routine to identify perspectives addressed in this essay. Glenn Ligon created a work of art using this essay and students can use this piece to further the conversation with the same thinking routine or simply as part of the reflection.  A final reflection about skin color and the social construct of race can be completed either as a group or individually using the "I Used to think…; But Now I Think…" thinking routine. Teachers should consider providing a more focused prompt that suits the goals/objectives of their lesson.

Emily Veres
12
 

Dorothea Lange, Photographer & Artist

Dorothea Lange took images of the bread lines during the Great Depression, migrant workers displaced, destitute families, Japanese internment camps, and the removal of a town in Monicello, CA. Her work inspired others to put themselves in the shoes of the very poor and the displaced, humanizing their predicament, with the hope of leading to social justice and change.

Hannah
8
 

The Fifteenth Amendment

February 25th, 1896, the 15th amendment was passed by the House Of Representative with a vote 144-44. The 15th Amendment states" The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race,color,or previous condition of servitude". 

David Clark
6
 

Highlights Collection: Mystery Learning Resources

This is a Smithsonian Learning Lab topical collection, which contains images, text, and other multimedia resources that may complement the Tween Tribune feature, Without Edgar Allan Poe, we wouldn't have Sherlock Holmes. Use these resources to introduce or augment your study of this topic. If you want to personalize this collection by changing or adding content, click the Sign Up link above to create a free account.  If you are already logged in, click the copy button to initiate your own version. Learn more here

Ashley Naranjo
36
 

Decades of Transformation: Bridging the 1920s and 30's

Each item in this collection reflects the changing culture of America between the two World Wars. As we read The Great Gatsby and Of Mice and Men, consider how these pieces show the change of mindset across the decades.

Your task: select 5 artifacts and write a short paragraph for each saying how the object relates to 1) the era it is from, 2) to two texts, and 3) the other objects in you collection. Do not answer the three items like a list; rather, think about having your entire paragraph answer these questions: Why did I choose this object for this collection? What does it add to the whole? How can I interpret this object for the visitors of my gallery?

For your writing voice, sound authoritative, like a museum placard (those little signs next to objects). You do not need direct text evidence, but you do need to reference one or both of the texts.

Jacob Carlson
29
 

Civil Rights

This collection of artifacts and images represent visual evidence of the struggle for Civil Rights and include images from the March on Washington in August of 1963.

Hannah
48
 

Constructing History: Exploring Primary Sources.

This unit explores different historical artifacts and the stories they tell. Students will investigate a range of objects, ranging from prescriptions to buffalo hides sourced from different Smithsonian collections.

Guiding Questions:  How do humans shape the narrative of History? Whose History is being told? Is it possible to have multiple versions of the “past”?

The collection consists of 5 sets of artifacts, connected by some aspect such as culture, time period, event or movement. However, these objects each tell a very different story. 

Working individually, in pairs or in small groups, students choose  a set to explore. The students spend time quietly and carefully looking at the sources and investigate what they can tell us about our world, both locally and globally.  This activity encourages students to reveal the multiple layers of meaning in an artifact from the most visible story to what it helps us to understand about the lives of our fellow human beings. 

Students can share their ideas in pairs, or small groups, before coming together as whole class to share their findings.

Time: 40-60 minutes

As a follow up activity, students reflect on what new connections and information they discovered, new ideas that came to light, and what they found puzzling.

Students can complete the handout individually, in pairs or groups. 

Time: 30-50 minutes depending on the length of the follow up discussion.

It might be interesting for students to watch the brief video included, where anthropologist Candace Green and curator Emil Her Many Horses, discuss the Lakota Winter Count as a form of historical record. 

The duration of the video is just under  5 minutes.

For more information about the thinking routines visit:

http://www.visiblethinkingpz.o...

Lisa Holden
18
 

The Types of Print Culture

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.

Lauren McIver
12
 

American Transcendentalism

Transcendentalism is a philosophy that is rooted in the belief that man is inherently good but has been corrupted by society. Self reliance, self improvement, and peaceful protest were some methods practiced to reverse this effect. 

Linked in this collection are examples of the movement's influence in society, writings, and art.

Katie ODell
10
 

Images for Of Mice and Men

These are images from the Great Depression which fit the time period of the novel.

Bonnie Thoreson
14
 

Making "Family Memory" Storybooks: Fun for the Whole Family

This collection includes a series of easy-to-do book projects designed to get families talking and creating together. Any of them can be used in the classroom (English, art, social studies), as a home project, or in an informal learning setting. All books are made from a single sheet of paper.

Titles are ordered generally from most complex to least complex for topic, and include:
"Our Home" Nature Walk Album
Today I Am Here
Connections
My Hero
Music Memories
Kitchen Memories
Special Person
Family Treasure
Things That Make Me Me!
I Am A Star
My Clubhouse
Family Flag
My Name

At the bottom, you'll also find an interview with the creator of these design templates, book artist Sushmita Mazumdar, and a video of her reading one of her own books.

Click on any of these demos and accompanying downloadable instructions to make your own "family memory" storybook!

tags: art, crafts, crafting, how-to

Philippa Rappoport
28
 

Internal Dialogue

#SAAMTeach

Katie Cahill
8
 

Photojournalism: A Study of Perspective

This collection contains a series of photos from Camilo Jose Vergara.  The students will be asked to rate a series of photos for their chronology and how those photos can be interpreted by the viewer.  In the end, students will be asked to document an important part of their family history through photo journalism and then write about their choices and the importance of their selected art. #SAAMteach

Danielle Clayton
9
 

Creative Writing Exercise: Dress for Success

In this activity, you will create and develop characters based on the following images. For each resource, you will be give five minutes to write a brief scene in a character would wear the featured garment. 

This activity serves a warm-up for having users think more critically about how they write characters and how details, such as clothing, can impact the greater narrative. 

At the end of the assignment, you will share your characters with the class or group and compare and contrast the different approaches to the images.

tags: character study, fashion, warm-up

Alexander Graves
7
 

What Did Gatsby's America Look Like?

Select up to five artifacts that best reflect the setting of the novel. Justify your selections by considering the information provided for each artifact. You can access the information once you select an image and press the lowercase i tab on the left.


Consider how the information from the Smithsonian Learning Lab compares to Fitzgerald's use of setting  throughout The Great Gatsby.

Reminder about setting: five key components that establish the setting:

1: time [moment/hour/morning/evening/season],

2: era, 

3. place {village/city/country], 

4: location{inside a house, at a park, on a front lawn}, 

5: occupation (of protagonist, antagonist especially)

Scott Tuffiash
13
 

Place, Community, and Representation in Photography

Guiding Questions:

How do photographers represent places and other people? What is the goal?

What are the ethical considerations in that representation for photographers?

How can we use images and photography to convey a message and persuade?

How have photographers throughout history used their images to create social change?

How can media, especially photography, raise awareness for social problems and challenges?


The lesson will provide examples of how analyzing and creating documentary photographs can foster deep thinking about global and local issues. Additionally, students will consider how to use digital photography and other digital media tools to communicate ideas or persuade an audience. Students will look at photos from social reformer Jacob Riis who documented the poverty and poor living conditions of immigrants to New York City. His work led to social change and reforms. His images also raise questions about the ethics obtaining photos and representation. The collection also includes images from the Smithsonian’s “Down These Mean Streets” exhibit. Students will consider a view of New York life through documentary street photography and how place and city life are represented in photography.


Time- 1-2 class periods with optional extension activities

Day 1:

Warm Up/ Engagement:

Have students do a chalk talk on chart paper on the following terms:

immigration, urbanization, sweatshop or factory, New York City

These concepts will be important for students to consider and have some familiarity with prior to discussing the work on Jacob Riis.

Looking Closely:

Next, show a photograph from Jacob Riis using the Project Zero Global Thinking Routine, "The 3 Ys" to analyze the story the image tells about living conditions for immigrant workers in New York City.

Students should consider why someone might be taking this photograph and who the intended audience might be.

Additionally, students might read some primary sources from that period written by Jacob Riis or others about the living conditions for immigrants on the Lower East Side of New York in the late 1800s.

Next, have students consider or take on different perspectives in the image by drawing the scene to include the photographer.

Have students read the Smithsonian article about Riis and watch a short video about his life and work. Alternatively, there’s an article from the Click! exhibit on Riis that students can read about how photography changes our awareness of poverty.

Exit Ticket/Reflection:

What did Jacob Riis intend to communicate through his photographs?  Do you think his images are respectful of immigrants and poor people? Why or why not?

Day 2

Today’s work focuses on exploring images from the “Down These Mean Streets: Community and Place in Urban Photography” exhibit. Allow students time to explore the gallery and identify photos that are meaningful to them.

In small groups, have students work in groups of two or three to analyze an image of their choosing in the collection using the “3 Ys” routine. Have students share their findings with the group.

As a reflection, have students consider some of the guiding questions about how photographers choose to represent places and communities.

What associations does the viewer have with these photographs?

What mood is created with these photographs?

How might you be able to create a sense of place with photography?

Extensions:

Additional resources related to Jacob Riis:

Library of Congress Exhibit

Magic Lantern Presentation from Riis

Jacob A. Riis: Revealing New York’s Other Half Educator Resource Guide

  • Have students complete their own documentary photo essay on their own neighborhood or community.
  • Have students read excerpts from ‘Down These Mean Streets’ and connect them to the images in the collection.
  • Join the Out of Eden Walk community and have students document their neighborhood and gather stories.
Allie Wilding
24
 

Inventing Scotland

What makes something Scottish and who decides this? Using the Smithsonian archives this collection features a range of objects and images, some traditionally Scottish and some less so, and asks students to consider how we represent countries and what problems that can present. See 'Information' button for lesson plans.

Amy Johnstone
35
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