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Found 6,988 Collections


Africa Behind and Beyond the Headlines

A lesson plan in this 1980 issue of Art to Zoo introduces students to the interplay between environment and traditional culture in sub-Saharan Africa. Students learn about the significance of African masks and create their own masks. Click the PDF icon to download the issue.

Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access

Civil War

Glenn Wiebe

Does taking a stand effect change?

Some short and long-term effects of Rosa Parks Taking a Seat
#C3 Framework
Wendy Curry

You Might Remember This Movie Quiz Question #28

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. Click the last box for details on the answer.

Smithsonian Movie Quiz

What makes someone an American?

This set was developed for my class on Teaching Historical Inquiry with Objects. In this hypothetical lesson I would pose the question "What makes someone an American?" along with supporting questions such as "what did the founders say about being an American?" "how has the definition of American changed over time?" and "how have outside groups been treated in American history?" This collection of images will focus primarily on the last question about how outsiders have been treated in American history.
#C3Framework #TeachingInquiry
Peter Merkel

What do Americans Look Like?

The concept of racial identity and stereotypes is explored through art from different periods in U.S. history. Students explore the question of "What do Americans look like?" The aim of the activity is to demonstrate how early perceptions of American identity have become deeply embedded in the American psyche, and have resulted in racial tensions and conflict that continue to affect our country today. #SAAMteach
Ellen Fisher

Telling Edward Hopper's Untold Stories

This lesson was designed for the 6th grade language arts class. The purpose is to review with students the key elements of a story and to position them to create a short story based on one of the works of Edward Hopper. Our end products will be collected into an ebook of Hopper’s works and the possible backstories behind them as written by the students.
In the class meeting prior to these activities the students will have participated in a videoconference with a SAAM representative who will explain the ways an artist uses color, shape, line, form, etc. to convey meaning. Earlier in the year, students will have been exposed to elements of a story. Their understanding of these will be reviewed and reinforced through these activities.
Three days of activities outlined in the Lesson Concept document. They include activities related to close looking and incorporate the Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) of "See, Think, Wonder" (STW), the "I Used to Think...But Now I Think" strategy, and the "Collaborative Poem" strategy (CP).
Keeping the middle school students' needs and interests in mind, I have incorporated group work --both large and small groups-- and hands-on activities that respect their need to move around.

Peggy Veltri

The Odyssey

Rebecca Marks

The Seeing Eye: Using Edward Hopper's CAPE COD MORNING as Inspiration for Creative Writing

Objective: To examine art and poetry in an effort to see beyond the ordinary, using observation, collaboration, analysis, and inference. To create an original short story and corresponding visual text based on evidence presented in Edward Hopper’s "Cape Cod Morning." // Art is integrated into this lesson in two distinct ways: with the student as consumer AND as producer. By engaging deeply in the artwork and creating multiple artistic responses to it, students truly experience not only the genius of established masters, but the relevance of their own ideas. Benefits beyond the usual curricular outcomes include building cultural literacy and gaining confidence in "reading" art. #SAAMteach

The idea for this lesson came from an article on the Smithsonian website by Helen Appleton Read, in which the author praises Edward Hopper's "seeing eye," which is to say, his uncanny ability to create extraordinary art from mundane subject matter. The students will begin with a close look at "Cape Cod Morning," followed by a structured discussion and analysis of it. After reading Read's article, the students will explore the Seeing Eye as a literary concept by delving into the exquisite Robert Frost poem, "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening." Throughout the lesson, students will practice visual thinking in reading and writing and go on to create both an original short story and a picture inspired by Edward Hopper's "Cape Cod Morning."
Kristen Hill

Tenement Lesson Concept

The purpose of this lesson is to examine tenement housing in London and New York City during the Industrial Revolution, and California during the Great Depression. The lesson will begin with a teacher led discussion/evaluation of an artwork by Millard Sheets, Tenement Flats, in which the "Claim, Support, Question" method will be utilized. Next, students will break into groups to analyze additional artwork and photographs to continue examining tenement life. They will access their assigned work and sources through They will also Close Read a primary source that provides further information on the era. In small groups they will create a poster size Claim/Support/Question chart that will later be presented to their peers. The class will engage in the "Ladder of Feedback" strategy to analyze and evaluate each others work. The culminating activity will be a low-stakes writing assessment in which groups will open and share a Google Doc to write a thesis, three supporting claims followed by bulleted evidence. Each group will post their final product on Google Classroom. For homework, each individual student will be asked to read and review at least three groups' thesis/claims and post a minimum of two responses providing feedback to their peers. #SAAMteach
Ann Campbell

Work and Leisure--Independence (Squire Jack Porter) and "Rip Van Winkle"

Independence (Squire Jack Porter) is the image of a self-made man at leisure on his porch. However, surrounding him are the symbols of his humble past...and possibly of the work not yet completed. Rip Van Winkle is the image of a lazy man who is more content with having fun than in working. These two characters, one from the artwork and the other from literature, provide an excellent contrast with each other and provide an opportunity for student discussion and writing.
Randy Jackson

A Golden Destiny: Manifest Destiny and Westward Expansion

This collection explores Leutze's Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way in connection to westward expansion, Lundeberg's Pioneers of the West, and Whitman's poem "Pioneers! O Pioneers!".

Lauren Chavey

North American Indian

in progress
andrew cashin

Lawrence's The Library and Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird

This collection has a lesson plan to connect Jacob Lawrence's painting The Library with Harper Lee's novel To Kill a Mockingbird. Students will connect Scout's love of reading with their own interests using Think, Pair, Share. They will explore the painting using Visual Thinking Strategies. They will discuss empathy in the context of the novel and use Perceive, Know, Care About to write from the perspective of someone in the painting. Pdfs of the strategies and the lesson plan are included.

Jennifer Bates

Manifest Destiny

Emma Cisneros

The Reconstruction, Art, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Title: Reconstructing African-American Roles in Post-Civil War America.
Subject: American Literature
9-12 grades
Objectives: Using close reading of texts, themes, tying art to literature, students will consider the impact of Reconstruction on African-Americans in post-Civil War America.
Resources: art in this collection; student copies of Huck Finn; Fishkin article (in collection)
Methodology : CLAIM / SUPPORT / QUESTION METHODOLOGY (see collection)


Cynthia Storrs

Creating Our Footprint: Art and the Environment

Senior English: Great Outdoors Unit

Objectives: Students will do a close reading of Samuel Colman's Storm King on the Hudson and analyze the elements present in the artwork, in order to come to a conclusion about its major themes. These major themes will then form an introduction to the 10-week Great Outdoors Unit we will be studying.

Additional activities in this unit:

--A close reading of the introduction to Rachel Carson's Silent Spring;

--One artwork analysis technique to discuss Alexis Rockman's Manifest Destiny

--A different artwork analysis technique to discuss/compare "A General View of the Falls of Niagara" and "Niagara Power Plant" (make local connection) OR "The Rouge: Detroit, MI" and Automotive Industry

--Socratic Seminar to discuss, analyze & conclude ideas from the above.

--Common Core assessment: Synthesis essay which uses ideas from both literary texts and 2 different art forms (mural/painting, photography) to illustrate a central idea about the effect of industrialization on the natural world.

--Multi-genre study: Discuss 1) Midway film trailer, 2) TED Talk by Captain Charles Moore "Seas of Plastic" on the Great Garbage Patch and 3) recycled ocean trash sculptures from the Washed Ashore Project by Angela Hazeltine Pozzi. Conclude with a research-based speech/Student TED Talk on issues facing the ocean environment.


Cheryl Donovan

Using Art to Understand Reconstruction

This lesson is designed for a middle school (7th grade) US History lesson on Reconstruction. It is aligned with Virginia SOL USII.3B. The teacher will use Visual Thinking Strategies to help students interpret Winslow Homer's "Visit from the Old Mistress" and create more interest in the personal side of this time period. Then, students will work in partners to read a text and complete interactive notes on terms and ideas from Reconstruction. Finally, the class will come back together to use Harvard Project Zero's Visible Thinking Routines to modify their understanding of the painting based on what they have learned from the reading passage. #SAAMteach
Michelle Moses

Political Philosophy in Cape Cod Morning

This lesson asks students to contemplate Edward Hopper's Cape Cod Morning from a philosophical perspective.
Michael Hristakopoulos

Think Like a Curator: George Catlin and La Malinche

This activity is designed for high school students for a unit on the Spanish Conquest of Mexico and Michael Wood's Conquistadors.

After working with primary sources from the point of view of Mexicas when the Spaniards first arrived in Mexico (from First Encounters: Native Voices on the Coming of Europeans edited by Howard B. Leavitt (2010)) and Bartolome de Las Casas' "Brief Account of the Devastation of the Indies" (1552), students will curate their own gallery comprised of Catlin's depictions of white Europeans, Native Americans, and American landscapes and various artists' depictions of Hernan Cortes' translator La Malinche.

Students will engage with the questions about Malinche that have survived to modern-day Mexico: was she a victim of conquest, or a traitor who aided in the destruction of the Aztec culture? Students will also explore poems from Gloria Anzaldua's Borderlands in considering the dual identity of Malinche and of the Native Americans depicted in Catlin's paintings.

The "Think Like a Curator" technique will guide students to place the artwork into categories, develop names for those categories, think about the order in which a museum visitor should encounter the artworks, what they would name the exhibit overall, etc. In this way, students will write their own story of La Malinche - do they want their museum visitors to walk away seeing her as a victim, or as a traitor?

Following the gallery creation, students will work individually to write a paragraph using the Claim/Support/Question thinking routine in response to one of the La Malinche paintings. Students will then share their paragraphs in small groups. This extension activity will allow students to further engage with La Malinche’s legacy after exploring different visual interpretations of her.

Rebecca Marks

Identity/ Expansion Defining America

Indian Removal Act. This is an introductory lesson on the Indian Removal Act and president Jackson's Presidency. This lesson touches on the 5 civilized tribes and foreshadows Manifest Destiny. Students will use Visual thinking techniques and observation strategies to Create a two voice poem and a short constructed Response.
Barbara Summey

Dual Identity Project

Students will use George Catlin's "Wi-jun-jon, Pigeon Egg Head (The Light), Going to and Returning from Washington" and a sketch from Sherman Alexie's "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" to explore how communities and others' perceptions can affect our identities. Students will end this study by creating their own dual identity project.

This project is intended for 8th or 9th grade students who are reading "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" by Sherman Alexie. However, there are ideas on how to adapt this project to a variety of different situations in the "Adaptations" section of the Lesson Concept document.

This project is broken down into a 4 stages:
Day 1: Analyze Catlin's "Wi-jun-jon," make claims and support them, and connect the portrait back to "Absolutely True Diary."
Day 1/Day 1 HW: Read "How to Fight Monsters," make a claim about the dual identity portrait and support it, complete the Dual Identity Preparation Sheet.
Day 2: Discuss the dual identity, view an example project, brainstorm requirements, review the assignment, and begin working.
Day 3/Project Due Date: Discuss what makes identity complicated and how Catlin and Alexie express this in their portraits.

Sydnee Lindblom

Vietnam War Virtual Museum

Students will collaborate in partners to look closely at a series of images from the Vietnam War. Then, each partner group will choose one picture to apply the "See, Think, Wonder" thinking routine (from Harvard's Project Zero).
Michelle Moses
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