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Found 736 Collections

 

Investigating a Place: The Pacific Northwest

What defines a place? Is it its people? Economic life? Physical characteristics?

Examine this collection of images from or about the Pacific Northwest (loosely defined as Washington and Oregon states and British Columbia) to answer these questions: What are its unique set of physical and cultural conditions? How do these physical and cultural conditions interact? How does the economy of the PNW connect to its culture and geography? What are the consequences of human activity on the cultural and physical landscape?

Ask students individually or in small groups to create a collection in Learning Lab to represent the physical and cultural characteristics of another place (city, region, state). Using these collections, ask students to write summary statements describing the unique human and physical characteristics of places researched. Discuss student collections and what makes each place unique.

Tags: Portland, Seattle, Oregon, Washington, Vancouver, Native Americans, American Indians, grunge, space needle

Kate Harris
38
 

American Enterprise: Corporate Era (Great Depression, New Deal)

During the Corporate Era, the United States experienced its most serious economic crisis; in response, political leaders intervened in the economy in innovative ways. In this collection, you’ll explore life during the Great Depression and evaluate New Deal policies by participating in a learning activity the teacher specifies.
Zach Etsch
5
 

Money, Money, Money

A examination of currency from various cultures and eras.
Brian Ausland
19
 

Droughts and Dust Bowls

This is a collection of teaching resources about droughts and the Dust Bowl. While it is mainly focused on 20th century American history, there are also some links to articles that cover droughts more broadly across time and cultures. I have included some artists (Woody Guthrie, John Steinbeck, nda Dorothea Lange) who recorded the effects of the Dust Bowl on American society. There is also a selection of lesson plans and videos that explain how farming practices and environmental changes lead to droughts, and how people have responded by changing practices and developing new technologies.

Resources in this collection might be used in Language Arts, Social Studies, or Science classrooms. Questions to consider might include:
-How do people impact their environment?
-How do changes to the environment impact peoples' lives?
-How did government and society respond to the disaster of the Dust Bowl?
-What is government's responsibility in times of natural disaster?
-What steps can be taken to prevent future environmental disasters?

Kate Harris
27
 

California: A Land of Opportunity?

As we continue to read "The Grapes of Wrath," I'd like you to consider the way in which California represents the "American Dream." How has this changed over time? Has California always lived up to its image? Consider who has access to dreams and opportunities in California at any given time.

After you look through the collection, choose one of the following assignments to complete and submit your assignment using the "Submit File" option that is part of the last resource. Hint: you may want to take notes and/or save images as you are browsing the resources here.

Possible assignments:

1) Create a timeline of "Opportunities Gained and Lost" in California using at least 8 images from the collection. For each image, identify who is gaining or losing an opportunity in this instance, and what kind of opportunity is being referenced. Remember this is a timeline and will need to be in chronological order by year. Complete your timeline with an image that you have found (from the Learning Lab or an outside resource) that represents California today.

2) Would you argue that "California is a land of dreams"? How could you change that statement to make it more accurate? Write an essay defending your statement that references at least 4 images from this collection. You may want to do some additional research to supplement your essay.

Tags: point of view, change, continuity, cause, effect, Dust Bowl, drought, migrant, migration, chronology, Steinbeck

Kate Harris
34
 

30 Second Look Strategy: Learning to Look with the National Portrait Gallery

In this collection, we look at portraiture through the lens of the 30 second look strategy. This looking strategy allows participants 30 seconds to look at a portrait, and then turn away from the portrait and have a conversation about what they saw. This activity challenges participants to first look on their own and then have a collaborative conversation with their peers.

Visually rich portraits, with both objects and setting, are most effective when using this strategy.

Included in this collection are examples of portraits National Portrait Gallery educators have had success with when faciltiating the 30 second look while teaching in the galleries: George Washington, Men of Progress, Shimomura Crossing the Delaware
Briana White
10
 

Jumping In Looking Strategy: Learning to Look with the National Portrait Gallery

In this collection, we look at portraiture through the lens of the jumping in looking strategy. This looking strategy allows participants a more sensory experience with the portrait.

Visually rich portraits, with both objects and setting, are most effective when using this strategy.

Included in this collection are examples of portraits National Portrait Gallery educators have had success with when facilitating the jumping in looking strategy while teaching in the galleries: George Washington Carver, Alice Waters, E.O. Wilson, George Washington, Men of Progress, Shimomura Crossing the Delaware, and Tony Hawk
Briana White
13
 

Women's Suffrage

The Woman's Suffrage movement in America began in 1848 at the Seneca Falls Convention in an effort to allow women the right to vote.
Linda Muller
20
 

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
 

Thanksgiving for English Teachers

A learning resource for students about Thanksgiving. The images in this collection are different portrayals of aspects of Thanksgiving from 1863 during the Civil War to the 1970s.
Michelle Smith
12
 

Gettysburg Address

Why was the Gettysburg Address one of the most famous speeches in American history? This Collection contains images that illustrate how President Abraham Lincoln looked during this period in history; information that explains how Lincoln came to be in Gettysburg and images of where he delivered his famous speech; the Nicolay copy of the Gettysburg Address along with a video recitation of the speech; and, an image of the statue that memorializes the event that occurred at Gettysburg National Military Park, PA.
Linda Muller
14
 

How Do Real Historical Resources Help Us Understand Fictional Characters? To Kill a Mockingbird

To explore this "essential question," the resources here offer different contexts for the novel To Kill a Mockingbird. They can help visualize and comprehend the setting of the book and the social issues of the Depression era in the South. With that understanding, students may better apprehend the choices and values of the characters in the novel.

Supporting question: "What was it like to live in small-town Alabama during that time?"

To Kill a Mockingbird is set in the ficticious Maycomb, Alabama, which author Harper Lee modeled on her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama. Students may approach the images from the time period and place of the story (1930s) to consider how race and social class make a difference in how one answers that question.

Supporting question: "What important matters were in the news during that time?"

It's not a fact that Harper Lee based the trial in the novel on the Scottsboro boys, but it may have influenced her. Have students look for similarities and differences. What other events were going on? (e.g., Great Depression).

Have students explain how these resources help understand the characters in the novel.

Michelle Smith
14
 

Innovations in Coffee Cup Lids

Sometimes innovations are about something completely new and sometimes innovations are about small refinements in design. What can we learn about innovation from looking at something as ordinary as a coffee cup lid? Read the article about coffee cup lids and write a description for one of the lids, capturing its unique qualities. How do changes in coffee cup lids reflect larger changes in our society? Predict what will be the next innovation .
Stephanie Norby
57
 

Giant Panda Baby - Video resources to complement nonfiction book

A collection to complement "Welcome, BaoBao," a Smithsonian nonfiction book published by Penguin Young Readers, 2015. The book presents facts about pandas and their care at the National Zoo and describes their natural and zoo habitats. The videos in this collection allow children to see the baby panda in motion, hear the noises it makes, and find out what its fur feels like. The video "Sleepy Panda" shows the animal's habitat in China, with a map to indicate where it is on the continent. The final resource connects to the National Zoo's live "panda cam."
Michelle Smith
7
 

National Letter Writing Day- December 7

Learning resource collection introducing some letters in the Smithsonian's collections to provide inspiration for celebrating National Letter Writing Day! Letters can be written for a number of purposes. Here, a few examples are explored including a professional inquiry, a condolence letter, opinion sharing and a love letter.

You’ll have access to the transcript of the text, as well as the primary source. Highlight some key facts about each letter to determine its main idea and purpose, by answering some guiding questions.
Ashley Naranjo
8
 

Latino Family Stories through Art

Student activity collection analyzing the work of two very different Mexican American artists, identifying aspects of culture and exploring expressions about Latino experiences in art. Included in this collection, are five paintings highlighting Latino families, paired with observation and analysis questions and interviews with the artists, Carmen Lomas Garza and Jesse Treviño, as well as podcast analyses of the paintings from the museum's director. As a supplement, students could read a book by Garza depicting her childhood memories of growing up in a traditional Mexican American community, or lead a discussion comparing this artwork with other images of families found in the Smithsonian collections. #LatinoHAC

Ashley Naranjo
16
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