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Found 756 Collections

 

Running Fence

This teaching collection includes images and video of Running Fence, a work of installation art by Christo and Jean Claude. Included at the end is a lesson plan that engages students in analysis of Running Fence and details the steps for a student-designed installation art work at their school.

Learning goals include:
• Define installation art
• Analyze the process and results of the work of Jean-Claude and Christo to develop Running Fence
• Use the design process to develop a proposal for an installation art piece
• Use persuasive speaking skills to pitch your plan to the relevant stakeholders in your school community
• Plan and execute a piece of installation art on your school grounds, working cooperatively with a team
Kate Harris
46
 

Libyan Rock Art

This collection contains images of rock-art of the Wadi al-Ajal, in the Fezzan region of south-west Libya. Several hundred engravings have so far been identified here. This rich concentration of rock-art spans the phase from at least 7,000 years ago until the present - a critical period of time which encompasses major transitions in human economy, culture and ideology from hunting and gathering to raising livestock, then to agriculture and more recently to industrialization. Rock-art provides fascinating evidence of how human groups were living during this period, what their relationships with their environment were and what they considered of importance and value. Because rock-art is deliberately placed at specific locations in the landscape, a powerful relationship can often exist between rock-art sites and natural landscape features.
Kelly Heilman
16
 

An Introduction to Hawai'ian Lei Making

All Polynesians have a history of making and giving of lei. From early times, Hawaiians have fashioned lei from shells, seeds, bone, and feathers and from more temporary materials such as leaves, vines, and a few indigenous flowers. Colorful flowers and greenery are braided, twisted, wrapped, or strung together to create lei for the neck, head, wrists and ankles. Lei are made and given for marriages, birthdays, luaus, and funerals. Leis are also given on informal occasions to express gratitude or warmth of friendship. In this collection, you’ll learn how to make your own lei and explore other examples of leis made from a variety of natural materials.
Ashley Naranjo
6
 

From Silk Worms to the Silk Road

This is a collection of resources that could be used to support a lesson on the discovery of silk and the impact of the silk road(s). Artifacts include images of silkworms and the silk-making process, websites with information about the luxuries traded on the Silk Road, and video summary.

Possible guiding questions include:
-Why did silk become such an important commodity in China?
-How did the development of the silk trade routes impact both Europe and Asia?
-In what ways do artifacts from Europe and Asia reveal the cultural connections created by the Silk Road?
Kate Harris
19
 

English Language Learning with Artifacts and Portraits

This collection for teachers brings together relevant learning resources and an archived webinar (collaboration between the Smithsonian and American English "Shaping the Way We Teach English" webinars from the U.S. Department of State). It includes a webinar with three educators from the National Museum of American History, National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access. During the webinar, strategies are explored for engaging students in looking at and analyzing portraits, as well as eliciting thoughtful questions about objects that help tell a story. The webinar also features an emphasis on how visuals, such as collection objects, photographs, artworks and videos with experts, can serve as a springboard for rich discussions and inspire curiosity in the classroom and beyond.
Ashley Naranjo
21
 

Tools for Meditation

Are you interested in meditation? This topical collection includes a variety of tools for meditation, including mandalas, music, prayer beads, labyrinths, and a video of a guided meditation and pranayama (breathing) practice. Web links to additional background information are embedded throughout.
Kate Harris
16
 

Pennants, Pins, Paintings & Posters: Artifacts of Political Protest

A mixed bag of artifacts of political and social protest movements in United States history. This collection can serve as a source of inspiration for students creating their own protest posters around a cause they believe in. The collection begins with a video by KQED Art School describing the characteristics of political art and a formula for making it.
Kate Harris
42
 

STEAM/MAKER Earth Day Program - Pollinators

This collection was specially designed for American Spaces, and it contains a variety of Smithsonian content resources and suggested maker/hands-on activities related to April’s theme of Earth Day. It aims at promoting learning in the fields of science, technology, engineering, arts & design, and math (STEAM) through the application of curated content from the Smithsonian Institution.
Daniela Lyra
23
 

Artful Animals: Leadership

What traits make a good leader? What can we learn about ourselves by looking at our relationship with animals? This student activity explores these questions through animal symbolism in African art, focusing on an embroidered Fante “Cloth of the Great.” Includes multiple objects, short-answer questions, an mp3 of a folktale read aloud, and a creative writing activity.

Tag: Africa

This collection was created to support the 2016 CCSSO Teachers of the Year Day at the Smithsonian.
Deborah Stokes
14
 

Artful Animals: Conservation

This student activity analyzes our relationship to three types of African animals – antelope, elephants, and primates – through their representation in African art and a discussion of the real-world threats that face them. Focuses on three species: scimitar-horned oryx, African elephants, and western lowland gorillas. Includes photographs, art objects, fact sheets, a reading-level appropriate article, discussion questions, and a collection-building activity.

Tag: Africa

This collection was created to support the 2016 CCSSO Teachers of the Year Day at the Smithsonian.
Deborah Stokes
17
 

Artful Animals: Storytelling and Symbol

This student activity explores African animal symbolism through visual art and folktales. Twelve animals are profiled, including leopards, primates, spiders, chameleons, and the mythical chi wara. Includes objects, an audio folktale ('The Leopard’s Drum’), short answer questions, a creative writing exercise, and opportunities to learn more.

Tag: Africa

This collection was created to support the 2016 CCSSO Teachers of the Year Day at the Smithsonian.
Deborah Stokes
20
 

Identifying Characteristics of Renaissance Art

This collection will teach you about how Renaissance artists changed the style and focus of art in the period between 1300 and 1600 CE. When you are done, you should be able to thoroughly answer the question: How did the art of the Renaissance reflect the new emphasis on humanism and science?

First, review the painting, Raphael's School of Athens, and learn about the new techniques used.
Then study the additional works in the collection and try to use them as examples of the different techniques. Some of the works are from the Renaissance period and others are more modern interpretations. A worksheet is included at the end of this collection to record your work.
Finally, test your knowledge with a quick quiz. Use your worksheet to help!
Kate Harris
11
 

Artful Thinking About America's Capital City

What do you think you know about Washington, D.C.? This collection is designed to help students develop and practice their skills for examining and thinking about art that was created to represent America's Capital City.
Linda Muller
9
 

The Process of Invention

This collection uses objects from the National Museum of American History to describe the process of invention--from the "think it" step, when inventors come up with a great idea, to the prototyping or "create it" step, all the way through the "sell it" or marketing stage.

This collection was created to support the 2016 CCSSO Teachers of the Year Day at the Smithsonian.
Tricia Edwards
7
 

The Brown Sisters: Forty Years in Forty Portraits

This collection includes a unique series of portraits of four sisters. Every year, for forty years, one of the sisters' husbands captured the four women in a black and white photograph. A New York Times article introduces the project, paired with the forty photographs and some discussion questions considering elements of portraiture that are captured in these images.
Ashley Naranjo
43
 

Expansion (1800-1860), Set 4

Set 4 of 4
Jeff Holliday
38
 

Expansion (1800-1860), Set 3

Set 3 of 4
Jeff Holliday
32
 

Expansion (1800-1860), Set 2

Set 2 of 4
Jeff Holliday
44
 

Expansion (1800-1860), Set 1

Set 1 of 4
Jeff Holliday
42
 

Writing Inspiration: Using Art to Spark Narrative Story Elements

The Smithsonian museum collection inspires many to research the history behind artifacts, but this collection explores the use of art and artifacts to spark creative story writing. Students will choose artifacts to craft characters, a setting, and a plot conflict to create and write a narrative story.

Targeted Vocabulary: Narrative, protagonist , antagonist, character, character traits, setting, plot, climax, and conflict.

After reading and analyzing several narrative stories for story elements such as character, setting, plot, climax, and conflict, students will use this collection to begin planning their own narrative stories.
Individuals or partners will first view the portraits and discuss possible stories behind each face before choosing a protagonist, antagonist, and supporting characters. They may begin to discuss and imagine character traits for each subject.
Next, the student will select a landscape setting in which the story may take place. The writer will describe the landscape, imagine a time period, and name the location.
Finally, the student will either choose an action artifact around which to build a major plot event, or have that slide as a minor scene in their story.
Students may use the Question Formulation Technique to garner ideas for background stories behind the faces. http://rightquestion.org/
Once the story elements are in place, the students may begin to draft narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.

With the artifacts selected as the major story elements, the students may begin crafting their narrative story. The artifacts can then be displayed as illustrations in the published narratives.
Kathy Powers
66
 

Proud Publisher: Heritage Bookmaking Activity

The Smithsonian has joined with book artist Sushmita Mazumdar to create a series of easy-to-do book projects designed to get families talking and creating together. In the "Today I am Here" storybook, students explore their heritage by identifying a person, place, and object to tell the story of their own personal history. Included here is a video demonstration and accompanying downloadable instructions to make your own “Today I am Here” storybook!
Ashley Naranjo
13
 

The Art of Writing and Calligraphy

This collection includes a variety of resources representing styles of writing from around the world. It encourages viewers to consider writing not only for its ability to communicate through letters and symbols, but also for its artistic value. The collection includes a video on Sumerian writing, a website on African writing systems and art, and artifacts that are examples of the writing of East Asian, Arabic, Cherokee, Hebrew, and Modern European alphabets. In addition, a few tools used for writing are included. There is some background material on each type of writing as you read through the collection.

Questions for classroom discussion and research might include:
-What is the purpose of writing? Why use hand-writing or calligraphy instead of using a computer?
-How do alphabets differ?
-How can a style of calligraphy (or font change) the interpretation of a written work?
Kate Harris
29
 

Great Ideas, Modern Art, and Advertising

This collection consists of advertisements created for the Container Corporation of America in the 1950s. Each advertisement pairs a quote from a "Great Idea of Western Man" with a work of original art. After reviewing the collection, students will create their own art work to reflect a "Great Idea" that they think is important and meaningful in the world today.
Kate Harris
11
 

Visual Thinking Strategies

The goal of teaching visual thinking strategies is to encourage students to observe independently and back up their responses with evidence.
Annotations for each image contain key questions to help students practice visual thinking.
Linda Muller
5
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