There were hundreds of different native communities, and with each, there was a distinct history, language, and musical culture. Musical culture played a vital role in the life of Native Americans. It was used for recreation, healing, expression, and ceremonial purposes.
Music was the foundation of Native American culture that worked its way into rituals, customs, and daily life. Much of the foundational personality and uniqueness of Native music that is known, originates from the instruments themselves, most notably, drums, rattles, and flutes/pipes.
Originating in the 1500's and ending in the 1700's Native Americans adopted and adapted many European instruments. However, before learning of the European instruments, the natives already had many of their own. Even though their instruments weren't as advanced as those of the Europeans, they had what they needed which were these beautiful percussive and woodland instruments. Still, when borrowing and adapting European instruments, the Native Americans managed to make these them their own by decorating them.
Decorations would often have some sort of spiritual significance, or could oftentimes refer to sacred narratives. However, it is not only the decorations that tell stories. Usually, the names of the instruments themselves reflected some sort of symbolic significance. Also, some instruments are thought to be sentient and require special treatment.
There are several techniques that are employed in making these instruments. One of the most abstract being the art that was often carved, painted or placed on these instruments. Some devices would take an hour or two to make and were able to be built by practically anyone in their tribe. However, some instruments were so complex that only certain tribe members could make them and it could take up to weeks to finish.
Unlike the Europeans, instruments were much more than just instruments to the Native Americans, they were spiritual symbols and carried a lot of cultural significance for their individual tribes.
Native Americans put a lot of work and effort into these devices, and even though they didn't have the modern tools and knowledge that we have today, they had what was necessary for their practices.
This collection brings together EDSITEment and Smithsonian resources to support the initial research into a project for National History Day.
These resources - including portraits, articles, primary source documents, videos, and websites - highlight four abolitionists profiled in American Experience film The Abolitionists and the National Youth Summit on Abolition: William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and John Brown. Additional resources related to abolitionism and other important abolitionists are located at the end. When navigating this collection, please see the standalone text tiles for summaries of section resources.
By no means is this collection comprehensive; instead, it provides a launching point for further research.
This collection was created in collaboration with the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access.
Tags: civil war; slavery; underground railroad; african-american; national endowment for the humanities; #nhd; #NHD2017
Uncle Devin uses different musical instruments, along with his award-winning book, “The ABC’s of Percussion with Music CD,” to help students construct and demonstrate an understanding of how the sounds made from percussion instruments were used to communicate long before the telephone, computer, email, and other modern forms of communication. Ausiwnces connect the sounds and rhythm of percussion instruments with the three “r”s—with Uncle Devin as the guide. Presented by Discovery Theater--a pan-institutional museum theater dedicated to bringing theatre to young audiences and general visitors on and off the Mall since 1969.
Talk with Me!
Having conversations with young children contributes to their thinking and language development. All conversations are good, but research shows that the quality of words children hear matters more than the quantity. Further, what’s best is an exchange; in other words, talk with children, not at them.
The Talk with Me Toolkits give parents and caregivers thematically organized high-quality, authentic materials to make children their conversational partners in discussions that matter. Each online toolkit features captivating videos and real-world photographs, as well as intriguing paintings and other artworks to observe and discuss through conversation prompts. Hands-on activities and books complete each toolkit. Simple instructions appear right in the toolkits, so you can jump right in. See what interests your child and get started. There’s a lot to talk about!
To read more, see, from the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Usable Knowledge site, The Brain-Changing Power of Conversation.
This 1990 issue of Art to Zoo asks students to “visit” eighteenth century Philadelphia and to think about communities as “organisms.” Includes a map and a “step-by-step” guide of the sights of old Philadelphia. Click the PDF icon to download the issue.
We will be exploring the following collection of inventions to understand how advances in technology affected individuals and business.
Explore bees' behavior and their role in pollination through real-world sources and data and meet Smithsonian experts in the field. This collection includes instructional strategy, student activities, assessment, and extension ideas. Organization is made visible by divider tabs indicating such components as concept understanding, Project Zero thinking routines, and calls to action.
This collection was developed by Sandra Vilevac, STEAM Specialist, Washington International School. See Sandra's other collections by searching the Learning Lab for #SmithsonianSTEAM.
Keywords: animal, insect, plant adaptation, animal communication, flowers, pollen, honey, hive, engineering, entomologist, pollinator, colony, system
Thank you to our sponsor, the Smithsonian Women’s Committee.
How is identity constructed? What role does biology play?
This collection will highlight:
-how portraiture can be integrated into the science classroom by making connections between identity and genetics
-how we can explore identity from a broader perspective, utilizing global thinking routines
This collection is a collaboration between a Portrait Gallery educator and a high school IB Biology teacher, and was the topic of a professional development workshop at the museum and an NAEA session, both in March 2018.
View selected prints of different places, then discuss:
- What is the first thing you notice?
- What do you believe is special about this place?
- How did the artist use composition to highlight what is special?
Choose one print to examine:
- What kinds of lines, patterns or textures did the artist use?
- How did the artist use tools to create areas of light and dark?
Apply in your own work:
- What makes a place special or meaningful to you?
- What clues will help capture the uniqueness of your special place?
- Draw a picture of a special place using foreground, middle ground, and background. Use a variety of lines and cross hatching to create texture and value.
- Sketch your special place, then transfer the design to a soft rubber printing plate. Using a lino cutter, outline the major areas and cut away areas that will remain light. Use a variety of lines and cross hatching to create areas of light and dark in the prints. Ink your printing plate and pull several prints.
- Create a painting of a special place using foreground, middle ground, and background. Mix tints and shades. Use color to communicate an emotion linked to your special place.
Balloons have a long and colorful history. After all, the first hot-air balloon passengers were a sheep, duck, and rooster who flew from France in 1783. Since then, balloons have been a mode of transportation, a military asset, and a source of entertainment for many. Join STEM in 30 as we come to you live from the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, bringing you the history of balloons, the science behind hot-air and gas balloons, and the pageantry of the Fiesta.
October 5, 2016
Shape-note singing is a tradition that began in the American South as a simple way to teach the reading of music to congregations. Each note head has a distinctive, easy-to-remember shape. What a great way, then, to introduce the reading of music to children!
In this issue of Smithsonian in Your Classroom, "A Shape-Note Singing Lesson," you'll find a lesson plan and a background essay. Click the PDF icon to see the issue. Click the last box for audio samples of shape-note hymns from the Smithsonian Folkways archives.
These items are housed in the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum and appear in the exhibit A Right to the City curated by Samir Meghelli.
"The history of Washington neighborhoods reveals the struggles of DC residents to control—or even participate in—decisions affecting where and how they live. Prior to passage of Home Rule in the 1970s, Congressmen, private developers, appointed members of the local government, and even sitting Presidents decided the course of the city’s development, often with little or no input from residents.
In the mid-twentieth century, massive federal “urban renewal” projects, school desegregation, and major highways, both proposed and built, spurred civic engagement, protest, alternative proposals for development, and a push for self-government. By 1968, “White man’s roads through black man’s homes” became a rallying cry, pointing to the racism that afflicted the urban and suburban planning of the era.
A Right to the City highlights episodes in the history of six neighborhoods across the city, telling the story of how ordinary Washingtonians have helped shape and reshape their neighborhoods in extraordinary ways: through the fight for quality public education, for healthy and green communities, for equitable development and transit, and for a genuinely democratic approach to city planning."
Slavery in the United States serves as one of the darkest times for american society, yet its end was one of the most influential ones in helping shape a more equal modern society. This period showed a complete disregard for the humanity of slaves, not solely represented by the harsh treatment they endured or by the poor conditions they lived in, but by the way society had perceived them as well, all of which, this collection aims to illustrate
The following collection is a reflection of slave life, such as: the harsh treatment slaves received, the almost complete control that their owners had over them, or just how they were perceived as seemingly meaningless pieces of property. Since many slaves were illiterate, primary literary resources from slaves themselves are scarce, therefore much of the cultural history of slaves are portrayed by records slave owners and/or merchants, or material items from either slave masters or slaves themselves. The collection begins with a few historical items representing the origin of one's life as a slave, such as a diagram of a crowded slave ship or a receipt of purchase, which illustrate how slaves were seen as property rather than human. The collection then proceeds into some cheaply made material possessions a slave would have owned, then takes a rather darker turn. The collection proceeds into evidence of harsh punishment towards slaves, such as a high bounties for escaping and torture devices, before finally ending off with a picture of a slave who had been brutally beaten, and a book from an escaped slave girl herself. The two latter items are examples of pieces that helped lead America towards the emancipation proclamation, resulting in the total abolition of slavery in 1863.
This learning lab will help aid the unit plan based on engineering and design. The learning lab "A Plane's Purpose" will be used during the first of three lessons in the unit plan.
The first lesson is where the students will learn all about the functions and purposes of certain planes. This lab can be used during and after the lesson. When used during the lesson, the instructor can use it to provide information about the planes. After the lesson, students can refer back to it on their own to help them with research, details, or ideas.
When using the learning lab during the lesson, make sure to go over each plane and what is was used for. The last plane in the learning lab should specifically be the Douglas C-47 because it is a plane that had a variety of uses. Emphasize that the way that the C-47 was designed, allowed it to be versatile, which is why design is important when the students begin their own. With the different images of the C-47, you can show how it is used differently in each mission. At the end of the lesson, go back and review the different aircrafts and what they were used for. You can also introduce other aircrafts that have other uses that were not mentioned in the lab.
The purpose of the lab is to help students identify details that they might want to incorporate when designing their plane.