Found 843 Learning Lab Collections
Everyone enjoys a festival or celebration! Let's look at some. . .
- Observe images and guess which culture each represents.
- Play "I Spy Juxtaposition." Work with a small group to examine an image and find where the artist has juxtaposed symbols or text with the image to create meaning.
- What might you include in an artwork about a festival or celebration? Would there be dances, special music, food, clothing, or activities?
Art making challenge: Collaborate in a small group to create a design for a booth, stage, or other area for a cultural tradition at a festival. Designs will be combined into a festival mural.
This collection contains three instructional videos on how to create authentic Native American crafts. The items used in the videos can be substituted for other materials to adapt to different age levels.
Note: The last resource is a document available for download with detailed instructions on how to make a daisy bracelet.
The cultural online programs and resources developed by The Smithsonian Latino Center (SLC) featuring Dia de los Muertos represent groundbreaking efforts by the Smithsonian to promote a deeper appreciation for Latino heritage and our connections to the ancestral past. In addition to its online festival, complete with bilingual interactive online resources based on Smithsonian scholarly research, is a vehicle for the exploration of this traditional practice which has become a phenomenon of popular American culture today. The online programming is in part a collaboration with Michigan State University (MSU) and other key community partners across the country.
Generous support for the Smithsonian Latino Center's bilingual digital educational resources provided by the following Education Sponsors: Target and The Walt Disney Company.
During an excavation in New Mexico in 1908 broken pieces of polished, jet-black pottery were uncovered by an archeology professor named Edgar Lee Hewett. He sought out native people who worked in clay to recreate these older pieces in the Pueblo style.
Maria Montoya Martinez, (born Maria Poveka Montoya was a Native American ceramicist who created internationally known pottery. She and her family members examined traditional Pueblo pottery styles and techniques to create pieces which reflect the Pueblo people’s legacy of fine art and crafts.
Here is an article that discusses how Maria and her family grew a business and brought attention and acclaim to Native American artist. https://www.khanacademy.org/hu...
Watch Maria putting slip on a pot and using a rubbing stone, to create the sheen that set her pots apart.
Look through the different styles of vessels and their decorations.
This collection explores plaited and twined woven objects from the North Pacific Coast. A link to the website "Woven Together" introduces students to the Nuu-chah-nulth community and language. Simple step-by-step illustrations using easily accessible materials allow students to learn plaiting and twining techniques.
Two videos at the end introduce the classroom to master weavers and sisters, Teri Rofkar and Shelly Laws. They explain the twining technique with examples of their work, including Chilkat woven blankets.
This is a Smithsonian Learning Lab topical collection, which contains images, text, and other multimedia resources that may complement the Tween Tribune feature. 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.
This student activity explores the Holocaust through art - three sculptures and one photograph of an artwork, with additional references to give historical context . Using two of Harvard's Project Zero Thinking Routines, students take a deeper dive into the material through guided looking and by considering the significance of the Holocaust personally, to the country and to the world.
This collection comes from a family festival at the National Museum of the American Indian that explored uses of leather in Native communities - literally from the hunting and tanning of deer and their hides, to their use in ritual and everyday life. The collection includes demonstrations of deer-hide tanning, moccasin making, bead working, instructions to make a leather pouch and a daisy chain bracelet, and an interview and performance by Lawrence Baker and the White Oak Singers.
Plains Native people have always depicted star images on their clothing, tipis, and containers.
Formative Task: In a class discussion list three ways Western cultures think about stars. Use this collection to discover what stars mean to the Lakota and other Native people.
Summative Performance Task: Use the star quilt pattern to create a symbolic quilt that represents your school.
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.
Lei making is an important part of Hawaiian culture. These twisted strands are worn on important occasions and given as gifts of welcome. In this collection you'll find a demonstration video by Mokihana Scalph, as well as performances of children's stories, dance performances, and images of leis and ti leaves, to give context to the performances.
Native American Beading: Examples, Artist Interview, Demonstration and Printable Instructions for Hands-on Activity
This collection looks at examples of bead work among Native American women, in particular Kiowa artist Teri Greeves, and helps students to consider these works as both expressions of the individual artist and expressions of a cultural tradition.
The collection includes work samples and resources, an interview with Ms. Greeves, demonstration video of how to make a Daisy Chain bracelet, and printable instructions.
In this collection, Educator Ramsey Weeks (Assiniboine, Lenape, and Hidatsa), from the National Museum of the American Indian, talks about Native American Ledger Art, and shares ideas for family and classroom "winter count" activities. The activities are suitable for English, art, history, and social studies classrooms.
The collection also includes information and resources about Winter Counts from the National Museum of the American Indian, the National Museum of Natural History, the National Anthropological Archives, the Smithsonian Institution Archives, the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Smithsonian Libraries, and the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access.
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.
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.
Here is a collection of English and Scottish ballads, recorded by Smithsonian Folkways and sung by Ewan MacColl, who is sometimes referred to as the "godfather of British folk revival." These recordings are in the Folkways Records Collection, 1948-1986.
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.
Today, the United States' borders are much larger than what they were 250 years ago. With the release from British authority, the United States faced the challenge of expanding westwards, bound by no outside law.
Art was perhaps the most compelling form of storytelling. Whether it was about certain war victories, discovery of land, or peace treaties, art was a popular way of depicting what had taken place.
Art during this era was also a form of propaganda: it had to be beautiful, depict the west as a place of grand spectacles and such. It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that heavy romantic themes would dominate this era of art. This was called the Hudson River School movement, which often exaggerated the beauty of American nature. As a result, we get to explore three major themes associated with Western Expansion: discovery, exploration, and settlement. Examine how these pictures make you as the audience feel, and how it might relate to the successful expansion westwards.
Through this collection students will learn about how people exposed systemic societal issues to advocate for change in policy and change in thought. The thread that brings these practitioners together is that they slowly looked at the issues, exposed the truth, and did not only rely on data but a combination of people, stories, to back up their claims and advocate for change and education.
How does Art shape our knowledge of the world? What is the purpose of Art? What shapes our ideas about Art?
These are some of the questions students will explore in this collection. The focus of this collection is on visual art, including images drawn from photography, painting and sculpture. The 17 images are drawn from a variety of Smithsonian museums.
I use two activities, built on Project Zero thinking routines, to guide and scaffold the students' thinking. For more information and resources visit,
The activities can be done sequentially or individually over two 50-60 minute class periods, depending on how far the teacher would like to extend the follow-up discussion after the first activity or the number of images explored in the second.
The first activity, “What makes you think that? invites students to identify their own ideas about art, what they consider “good” art and to reflect on how they arrived at their conclusions. Students are invited to sort the works into two categories, "good" or "bad" art. Once they have sorted the works, they document the reasons for their choices and then compare with a partner, followed by whole class sharing.
It is interesting for students to think about where their beliefs come from and the discussion may extend to the influence of culture, perspective, religion, or personal versus public opinion.
In the second activity “Parts, Purposes, Puzzles students delve deeper into individual works. Students make careful observations, analyze component parts, consider the purpose of the artists choices, and pose questions.
The activity can be done individually or in groups.
As a concluding activity, students might find it interesting to revisit their initial rankings, and consider what they might now change and why?