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Basic Needs

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Activity examining the unique and diverse historical artifacts that people have designed to fulfill their everyday needs in extraordinary ways.

Design a Better Classroom Workplace

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Teacher-created math lesson in which students find a more efficient arrangement for their classroom. They use area formulas to identify any problems with the existing arrangement. They use volume formulas to design a solution.

Let the Games Begin

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Teacher-created lesson in which students work collaboratively to design a game with clearly written instructions. The game requires players to round three- and four-digit numbers to the nearest ten, hundred, and thousand.

The 3Ys: Project Zero Global Competency Routine

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
A Project Zero "Global Thinking" routine to discern the significance of a topic in global, local, and personal contexts. This routine encourages students to uncover the significance of a topic in multiple contexts, make local-global connections, and situate themselves in local and global spheres. Asks the questions: "Why might this [topic, question] matter to me?", "Why might it matter to people around me [family, friends, city, nation]?”, and "Why might it matter to the world?"

THE 3Ys

A routine to discern the significance of a topic in global, local, and personal contexts

1. Why might this [topic, question] matter to me?

2. Why might it matter to people around me [family, friends, city, nation]?

3. Why might it matter to the world?

Purpose: What kind of thinking does this routine encourage?

This routine encourages students to develop intrinsic motivation to investigate a topic by uncovering the significance of the topic in multiple contexts. The routine also helps students make local-global connections and situate themselves in a local and global spheres.

Application: When and where can it be used?

The routine can be applied to a broad range of topics (from social inequality, to a mathematician’s biography, balance in ecosystems, writing a story, to attending school) and questions. You may use a rich image, text, quote, video, or other materials to ground students' thinking. You may find this routine useful early in a unit after the initial introduction of a topic, when you want students to consider carefully why it might be worth investigating further. Teachers have also used this routine to expand on a given topic to help students become aware of how it has far-ranging impact and consequences at the local and global levels. In other cases (i.e., studying poverty in Brazil), the routine is used to create a personal connection to a topic that seems initially remote.

Launch: What are some tips for starting and using this routine?

Ensure that the students have clarity about the focal point of the analysis. For example, you might ask “Why might understanding social inequality matter to me, my people, the world?” as opposed to “Why might this image matter?” Use the questions in the order proposed or in reverse order beginning with the most accessible entry point. For instance, students might unfold the purpose and significance of a story they are writing by first reflecting about why the story matters to them, and then moving out to the world from there. In other cases, a teacher may seek to construct a more personal connection to a distant event (e.g., the Holocaust), thus beginning with the world, then working inward. It is recommended that students work on one step at a time as nuances and distinctions between the personal, local, and global may be lost if they work with the three questions in mind at once. If time allows, compare and group students’ thoughts to find shared motivations and rationales for learning the topic under study.

The Gettysburg Address

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Online exhibit telling the story of the Gettysburg Address by focusing on the last handwritten copy of the speech, a manuscript that usually resides in the Lincoln Bedroom of the White House. Includes background information, printable version of the manuscript, transcripts in English and Spanish, and an interactive document that features actor Liam Neeson reading the address.

A Nation of Immigrants - Latino Stories

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Online exhibit presenting the stories of immigrants from Mexico, Cuba, and other Latin American countries. View objects related to the journey to America and learn about the experiences of workers in the mid-twentieth century bracero guest worker program. This page is included in the online exhibit America on the Move.

Courtyard Design

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Teacher-created lesson in which students design and construct a proportionally accurate model of their "dream playground/courtyard.'

Letters from the Heart

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
In this lesson plan, students consider ways to create positive social change, then write letters to share their thoughts with a larger community.

How Else and Why: Project Zero Global Thinking Routine

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
A Project Zero “Global Thinking” routine for cultivating a disposition to communicate across difference. This routine asks students to consider that they have communicative choices and that intention, context, and audience matter when communicating appropriately with diverse audiences. The routine asks students to make a statement (“What I want to say is…”) and then answer the question, “How else can I say this? And why?” multiple times.

HOW ELSE AND WHY?

A routine for cultivating a disposition to communicate across difference

1. What I want to say is… (Student makes a statement and explains intention)

2. How else can I say this? And why? (Student considers intention, audience, and situation to reframe things such as language, tone, and body language)

3. How else can I say this? And why? (Student considers intention, audience, and situation to reframe things such as language, tone, and body language)

(Repeat question)

Purpose: What kind of thinking does this routine encourage?

This routine is designed to develop students’ dispositions toward appropriate communication with diverse audiences, where students understand (a) they have communicative choices and (b) that intention, context, and audience matter in communicating appropriately, especially across cultural, religious, economic, or linguistic differences. Through multiple reflective iterations of a particular statement (comment, question, story), the routine invites students to: consider content, audience, purpose, and situation for communication (what, to whom, why and where), refine the use of symbols (verbal, visual, nonverbal) to find forms of expression appropriate for the context, and reflect about communication and miscommunication.

Application: When and where can it be used?

This routine is broadly applicable to many communicative situations. These may include distinctly intercultural scenarios that are present in the curriculum (e.g., a story, historical event, conflict, scientific finding). They may also include moments when students re-represent ideas or phenomena (e.g., when producing a graph in statistics, a poster design, an interpretation of a work of art). Communicative situations may also include regular classroom discussions or informal interactions in and outside of school. In selecting communicative situations for analysis, you may prioritize ones that present an opportunity to reflect on the complexities of dialogue across difference and the broad repertoire of possible communicative choices. Examples of provocations include but are not limited to film excerpts, students’ own writings, classroom dialogue, and works of art.

Launch: What are some tips for starting and using this routine?

The phrase “How else can I say this? And why?” can be used with varying degrees of structure. In some cases, students may use the multiple iterations proposed by the routine to explore possible communicative choices in a given scenario and select the one they prefer. In guiding students through this routine, you may consider pairing students up for feedback. Peers can help students construct a concrete sense of audience. It is important to encourage students to consider speakers’ intention, audience, and context when they begin to revise the claims under study. Without doing so, the routine risks inviting students to repeat less-effective forms of communication or reinforce communication misconceptions. Regardless of the topics or contexts in which the routine is used, it is important that students offer an explicit rationale for their communicative choices, as students’ explanations will reveal their current understanding of communicative demands. As with all global thinking routines, students' responses are best seen as the beginning, rather than the end, of a conversation that will enable teachers and peers to offer perspectives and enrich communicative capacities.

Preservation and the Power of Light

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Activity about the power of light based on a comparison of what happens to paper that has been placed in sunlight with paper that has been placed in the dark. Includes making a prediction and comparing it to the results of an experiment. Concludes with consideration of how light has affected the Star-Spangled Banner and how the flag can be preserved. Part of the resource 'Making the Star-Spangled Banner.'

Redesign the Rover: Mars Research Year Round

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
This lesson plan incorporates a study of design into a study of astronomy. Students read about the NASA Mars program and identify the problems that impede exploration of the planet. As they design a new Mars rover to work throughout the year, they recognize factors influencing periods of orbit.

National Postal Museum Object of the Month

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Every month, the National Postal Museum highlights an object from their collection and shows/describes it on their website.

Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center Resources

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Webpage offers teacher resources developed by the Smithsonian's museum lab school. Includes articles, lesson plans, and podcasts.

Chips and Salsa: A Taste of Mariachi Music for the High School Orchestra

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Through this set of lesson segments, students will engage with the mariachi music of Mexico through discussing audio and video clips, listening to individual instruments within the ensemble and imitating them by ear, and through playing an arranged mariachi piece.

Introduction to Lead Belly: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Take a behind-the-scenes look into the production of the new box set with Smithsonian Folkways archivist and producer Jeff Place.

What's Tops at the National Air and Space Museum?

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Self-guided tour of the National Air and Space Museum, exploring four aircraft and two spacecraft and encouraging students to vote for their favorite at the visit's conclusion. Includes gallery map.

Asian Pacific American Program Collections

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Webpage featuring the Smithsonian's newest acquisitions such as posters, quilts, and costumes related to the story of Asian Pacific Americans. Viewers are invited to donate objects and submit comments.

Hokusai

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Online exhibit that includes works from throughout the career of the famous Japanese printmaker and draftsman, Hokusai. Includes information on his composition, technique, and subjects. Also has a bibliography.

Lewis and Clark as Naturalists

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Follow the Lewis and Clark trail. Use the interactive map or browse by category. Contains images, drawings, journal excerpts, and historical notes. Includes teaching guides, suggested resources, and lesson plans.

Speaking of Pictures: Charles Burchfield?s Orion in December

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Using your mouse, discover details about the watercolor Orion in December. Includes background information on the artist.

The Bracero Archive-Learning From Photos

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Lesson has students discuss their thoughts on immigration, learn about the Bracero labor program, and use photographs to deepen their understanding of the program. Students will utilize the Bracero archive, a collection of oral histories, photos, and objects documenting the history of the Bracero program, a little-known chapter of American history in which an estimated two million Mexican men came to the United States between 1942 and 1964 on short-term labor contracts. Targets grades 6-12.

Science in Focus: Force and Motion

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Eight-part content workshop for K-8 teachers, engaging viewers in an exploration of the science concepts of force and motion.

Living Fossils of the Deep, an Expedition to the Bahamian Seafloor

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Website for an undersea expedition that advances our understanding of the ocean and its animals. Includes photo gallery of sea creatures, biographies of the biologists, descriptions of the technology and tools, and information pages on the Bahamas and silt snails.

Cooper-Hewitt Educator Resource Center

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Extensive listing of Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum's educational resources. Includes lesson plans, videos, design resources, books and articles, and curriculum guides. Promotes design-based learning and connects concepts to real-world applications.
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