In this collection, you'll find the process to creating and using your own nature-inspired stencil, inspired by Cooper Hewitt's Katagami exhibition on view from March 30, 2019 to October 27, 2019. Grab materials and follow along, or find inspiration for later!
In this collection, explore prototyping. Here, you'll find examples of prototypes from the Cooper Hewitt collection and a prototyping activity to do at home or in the classroom.
Try something new with us. Selecting from the objects in this collection, pulled from current Cooper Hewitt exhibitions Contemporary Muslim Fashions and Willi Smith: Street Couture, craft a narrative, real (researched) or imagined. Think of it as a creative exercise using creatively-designed objects.
I created this collection for families to do together while schools are closed. I will be making a collection a day while we are out of school. Today we will be exploring spiders. The idea is for families to look at the items in the collection and consider what they see in the objects and paintings, what they think, and what they wonder. Families can also watch a free Brainpop video about spiders and arachnids as well as listen to the read aloud Sophia's Masterpiece. Families can watch science videos and read articles about spiders and scorpions. They can also explore art inspired by spiders and Spiderman the superhero. At the end of the collection I have provided a few ideas for families about what to do next.
If you want to learn more about more about See Think Wonder you can click here to see a video of a teacher using the routine in her classroom.
This collection was developed as part of the 2019 Smithsonian-Montgomery College Faculty Fellowship Program under the theme of “The Search for an American Identity: Building a Nation Together.” It has been modified by Jodi Halligan to use as a learning activity on observing differences between Soviet and American space suits and related technology and design.
What: Learn about history, art, culture and science while creating a fantastic creature with the Smithsonian's Open Access collections.
1. Download the COLLAGASAURUS! how-to book created by author/illustrator of the "Astronuts", Jon Scieszka and Steven Weinberg: https://learninglab.si.edu/cab...
2. Use some of the images in this set to make your own creature!
a. For younger children, review body parts they need to make a creature; print out images and have kiddos work on scissor and glue skills. Once their creature is complete, ask them how it would move, how it would eat, where it would live.
b. For older kids, either do the analog method used for younger kids (see 2a.) or use it as an opportunity to work on computer skills using imaging software. Talk with them about the collections they chose; how old they are, where they are from, etc. Discuss how the creature would move and interact with the world given the body parts that were chosen.
3. Afterwards, get a behind-the-scenes peek at how Steven and Jon collage Smithsonian Open Access images -
The Tsimshian People and Their Culture
By David Boxley (Tsimshian), 2009
(This is shortened version of a longer essay from the Smithsonian book Living Our Cultures, Sharing Our Heritage: The First Peoples of Alaska.)
Land, Sea, Rivers
Most Tsimshian live along the coast of northern British Columbia between the Nass River and Queen Charlotte Sound. The shores and islands are covered by northern rain forests of hemlock, spruce, fir, red cedar and yellow cedar, woods that were the basic raw materials of our culture. Tsimshian territory extends into the mountainous interior as well, following the valley of the Skeena River.
At one time at least eight thousand Tsimshian lived there, located in twenty winter villages and many seasonal camps. Today about thirty-five hundred live in seven Canadian towns. In 1862, a Tsimshian group led by an Anglican missionary, William Duncan, broke away from Fort Simpson to found a religious colony at Old Metlakatla. Twenty-five years later they moved again, building New Metlakatla on Annette Island, in southeast Alaska. Generations have lived there since, and that is the community in which I was born and grew up. I was very fortunate to be raised by my grandfather and grandmother, Albert and Dora Bolton, who gave me a strong foundation in our culture. When I was young they took me with them to their fish camps and on trips all over our island for subsistence activities.
Most people still rely a great deal on fish, seals, berries and other traditional foods, supplemented by commercial fishing and other sources of cash income. In historical times, the year’s food gathering began in spring when the ice broke up on the Nass River and the eulachon began running there. People traveled from their winter villages to harvest the fish in nets, drying some and fermenting and boiling the rest to extract the oil. Trade in eulachon grease, which no other people could produce in such quantity, was one of the sources of Tsimshian wealth and prosperity. In spring they also gathered seaweed and herring eggs, fished for halibut, and collected bird eggs and abalone. During summer and fall they relocated to fishing sites on the rivers to catch salmon with weirs and traps, drying and smoking them for winter. At the winter villages they gathered clams, cockles and mussels, and if you visit those old settlements today you can still see the mounds of discarded shells. At different times of the year they hunted seals, sea lions, deer, elk, mountain goats and mountain sheep.
Archaeological sites in Prince Rupert Harbour demonstrate that this way of life goes back at least five thousand years. Crest objects such as chiefs’ headdresses and masks are connected to origin stories and to the succession of clan leaders who have owned and passed them down to their descendants, along with name titles and titles to land. This is important in British Columbia where the Tsimshian Nation is attempting to reclaim territories that were taken by the Canadian government in the 1870s. Crest objects and the histories attached to them validate those aboriginal claims and link the people to specific places on the land where they lived and harvested food in the old days.
Family and Community
My people are divided into four equal groups. Each is a pteex (clan) with its own principal crest: Eagle (Laxsgiik), Raven (Ganhada), Wolf (Laxgibuu), and Killer Whale (Gisbutwada). Crests are symbols of matrilineal connection, so whatever pteex your mother comes from, you will be the same. Because clans marry out, your father will be from a different one of the four. Within each pteex are multiple lineages, like branches on a family tree. Eagle, Raven, Wolf, and Killer Whale each have as many as twenty-five subcrests, a few available that are to everyone in the clan and the rest limited to certain branches. As a Laxsgiik, I may use the Eagle, Beaver, and Halibut crests; I inherited other, more restricted crests from my close maternal ancestors.
Crests represent social identity and its corresponding rights and privileges. Crest images appear on robes, button blankets, headdresses and other regalia that people wear at potlatches to show their ancestry. They are shown on ceremonial drums, staffs and rattles; on dishes and ladles used for serving food at potlatch feasts; and on the totem poles, house fronts, posts and screens of traditional lineage houses.
If you could go back in time to visit a coastal Tsimshian village of two centuries ago, you would see our social system at work. The community is built along the shore, with palisades around back to guard against possible attack from land. You arrive by canoe and announce your person and business while still afloat, waiting for permission to land. Jumping ashore without proper protocol would have been life threatening in those days. Coming up from the beach in the company of your hosts, you see the big red-cedar longhouses, lined up in a row with their doorways facing the water. Each is home to thirty or forty people, most of them matrilineal relatives but including wives and children of other clans.
The village chief’s house is the largest and is located in a central position. Its painted front panels show his crests. The other dwellings are positioned in relation to the chief’s house according to the social ranking of their household heads. In front of prestigious homes are totem poles, carved with crest emblems and figures. Poles are sculptural narratives, telling who lives in a house, the ancient origin and recent history of their lineage, and the achievements of their deceased chiefs and nobles.
Entering one of the longhouses requires that you stoop down to pass through a low door, a vulnerable position for any would-be attacker. Depending on the status of the house, the interior is lined with one or more levels of wood-planked sleeping platforms, like wide bleachers that step down to the central fire pit. The platforms are divided into family living areas, cordoned off with mats or boards. The house chief and his family have a private apartment at the far end of the house, behind a carved and painted wooden screen. Inside the house you see lots of preserved food—dried salmon and halibut, bentwood boxes filled with fish oil, seal grease, and berries; containers of dried meat. All of this came from hunting and fishing territories owned by the house members.
The original Tsimshian way of life began to change when British, Spanish and American fur traders arrived in the late 1700s. The Hudson’s Bay Company built Fort Simpson at the mouth of the Nass River in 1831, and missionaries of several Christian denominations came to work among the Tsimshian, Haida and Tlingit people who had gathered near the fort for trade. The missionaries were successful at converting a large part of the population, which was in rapid decline as a result of smallpox and other new diseases. The people gave up their traditional beliefs, ended their ceremonies and even cut down many of the totem poles.
The converts who followed William Duncan from Fort Simpson to Old Metlakatla and then to Alaska were making a new start, trying to survive in a world that was rapidly changing. Now, more than one hundred years later, Metlakatla is a pretty distinctive place. Little about its everyday appearance would remind a visitor of the lifeways of the past, but we are still proudly Tsimshian, with a strong sense of our unique identity. Our language, Sm’Algyax, has changed from the way it is spoken in Canada, and unfortunately Metlakatla has only a few fluent speakers left, all elders. That frightens me, and I’ve been trying very hard to hold on to what I know and to learn more. We are who we are, but we are what our language makes us, too.
Ceremony and Celebration
Halaayt is spirit power, which comes from above. It gave chiefs and high-ranking people the knowledge and strength they needed to be leaders and to make good decisions. Halaayt enabled them to be the link between their people and the next world, where our ancestors dwell, and to communicate with the spirits of animals. The frontlet of a chief’s ceremonial headdress was a symbol of his halaayt. The face in the center was a crest, surrounded by abalone, sea lion whiskers, feathers and ermine fur. The chief’s headdress, woven robe and Raven rattle all represented his leadership and spiritual power.
Historically, potlatch feasts celebrated events and transitions in the community – death, marriage, the completion of a new house, the raising of a totem pole, or the settlement of a dispute between clans. The largest and most important of these feasts were memorial potlatches, when new chiefs were installed and took the names of their predecessors. Potlatches have always been based on a whole system of reciprocity. During the feast, hosts of one clan recognize and repay debts that they have incurred through services given to them by people of other clans, who come as guests.
Three things are essential to a potlatch. First, it has to be done publicly. The guests are there to serve as witnesses to what is taking place, and that is what makes it legal. Second, the hosts have to gift every guest in payment for his or her witness. Finally, everyone must be fed and fed very well. More than they need. The food they take home with them is another gift.
In 1982, I set out to organize Metlakatla’s first potlatch. For our community it would be the revival of a tradition that we had left behind over a century before in the historical move to Alaska. Many potlatches have been held in Metlakatla since then, and one of the largest was in 1994. It was originally planned as a celebration of my grandfather’s hundredth birthday, but it became his memorial after he passed away at age ninety-eight. I realized that in order for the potlatch to happen on the scale that I had hoped, it would have to include all four clans. Their involvement not only ensured the amazing success of the event but also paved the way for the future, because so many participated and learned so much. We fed a thousand people every evening, three totem poles were raised, and over fifty-five button robes were dedicated on the first night alone. I feel lucky to have come along when I did, at a time when it was right for these changes to take place. The way I grew up, and the gifts of language and culture that my grandparents gave me, prepared me for the journey.
Tags: Tsimshian Alaska Native, Indigenous, Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska
Look at various community workers and read the book, The House that Jane Built, about Jane Addams who built a community center in Chicago, IL.
Welcome to the Grade 4 Beliefs Unit Collection. Please enjoy. Below there is information about:
- How the lesson was used specifically at Washington International School (WIS) in Washington DC in 2019
- The role of STEAM at WIS
Additionally, within the collection, the markers will help guide the teacher through each component. The collection is broken up into: Educating the teacher team (preparing for the unit), STEAM teacher resources, Student activities, and Student learning extensions.
Enjoy and all feedback is welcomed.
Washington International School is an International Baccalaureate (IB), Primary Years Program (PYP). I am the STEAM Specialist who integrates 21st century skill inquiry projects, hands on science and engineering, and digital tools/technology. This collection is to support many teachers who will contribute to content for this unit. The Language specialists, art teacher, design technology, STEAM Specialist and physical education.
STEAM at WIS:
My role will be to host an experience that role-plays early civilizations and their interactions with sun, moon, and stars. Students will interpret their experience and create a piece of art that demonstrates their translation of the experience. The follow up will be to help the students connect their experience with ancient cultures. Then, the conversation will further develop to challenge the students to think how science changes our understanding of our universe. The overall theme is to encourage students and give them confidence to explore various belief systems, challenge their own understanding of the world through their beliefs, experiences, and science.
These exercises scaffold learning to align student inquiry to the Social Studies standards:
- Distinguish between personal beliefs and belief systems (PYP Scope and Sequence Pg. 29)
- Define the elements of a belief system (creed, codes of behavior, rituals, community.) (AERO CC+ G5 p22 4.5.f)
- Identify the major religions of the world in terms of their beliefs, rituals and sacred texts. (referenced: AERO CC+ G6 p30 4.8.f)
- Reflect upon how beliefs affect the individual and society (PYP Scope and Sequence Pg. 29)
Important to know: The teachers at WIS took the students on two days of field trips to visit various areas of "worship" in the DC/MD/VA area: Buddhist Temple, Mosque, Jewish Temple, Catholic Church, and African American Christian Church. Students had worksheets to complete for each location that included observations of icons, the use of shapes in the visual devotional symbols, and to draw the various religious icons. After, they engaged in discussion about their experiences. If your school does not have the ability to do an elaborate field trip like this, we recommend having devotional leaders and/or parents visit as subject matter experts to demonstrate their systems of faith, icons, devotions, and symbols.
- I used this collection to train the teachers about the new thinking routines (Beginning slides)
- There are samples from students learning about Sun, Egyptian use of sun in their beliefs (art and architecture)
- Students looked at Egyptian sun use and modern NASA sun data to inspire them for their STEAM Challenge
- Their STEAM Challenge was to create a pyramid (cardboard) with a devotion (clay), and decorate with sun symbols (crayons/markers).
- Our students just completed a cardboard challenge (Cain's Arcade - check out on Youtube) so they were cardboard construction "experts". Therefore, they only had 40 minutes for their challenge. You will need to either have a lesson on cardboard construction before, or give them more samples and/or time. Hypothetically, this could be a 1/2 day project for students.
- The goal is then for students to look at other cultures and other NASA data (Incas (or other Native American tribes) African Tribes, and/or Australian Aborigines, etc. and have them do the same STEAM challenge (format) by creating a model structure decorated by symbols inspired by both indigenous symbols and modern NASA data (sun, stars, planets, or Earth's Moon). Therefore, they will have a "Maker Collection" that demonstrates various engineering styles as well as belief systems.
International Baccalaureate Transdisciplinary Unit of Inquiry: Who we are. Beliefs - An inquiry into the nature of the self; beliefs and values; personal, physical, mental, social and spiritual health; human relationships, including families, friends, communities and cultures; rights and responsibilities; what it means to be human.
Central Idea: Humans have common beliefs that attempt to answer life’s big questions.
- The main line of Inquiry this collection will align with is: Global religious beliefs and practices
The following subject teachers plan to do the following:
- Art = Beliefs and metaphors with clay
- Digital Technology = Building sacred structures
- STEAM = Engineering and Science of sacred structures globally and historically
Global thinking routines: Step In, Step Out, Step Back; Beauty and Truth; Unveiling Stories
STEAM Challenge: Students can further their inquiry from ancient beliefs with their experiences with modern organized religion into modern spirituality by analyzing the exhibition for Burning Man Festival. Students will complete a STEAM Challenge to build their own sacred structure that honors their own belief systems.
What can we learn about ancient China by studying artifacts? What does the intricate detail of works of art suggest about values and beliefs in ancient China? In this Learning Lab Collection, students will study ancient Chinese works of art via Project Zero Thinking Routines. Working in groups, students will be assigned to either research ancient Chinese bronze bells or ancient Chinese bronze vessels and make inferences about ancient Chinese values and beliefs based on their research. Then, inspired by taotie, mask-like design patterns of ancient Chinese bronze objects, students will etch their own zoomorphic creatures into metal foil.
This Learning Lab Collection contains a lesson plan, images to research, Thinking Routines, design worksheet, and sample final artwork. Download the pdf Lesson Plan located in the "Teacher Materials and Lesson Plan" section first for instructions and art materials needed.
Tags: metalwork; etch; repoussé; vessels; bells; ritual; Shang; Zhou; dynasty; China; composite animals
"No one plans to become a refugee—to flee your home because your life is in danger. Yet today, there are 25.9 million refugees, more than the world has seen in nearly a century.
There are many reasons a person might become a refugee.
Maybe you live in a country torn apart by war, and your house was bombed to rubble.
Maybe you live in a place where you and your family are being attacked for your religious beliefs.
Maybe you live in a region plagued by famine, and you are facing starvation.
Or maybe you are like 15-year-old Bilan, and you were chased from your home by violence."
Lewis, K. (2019, September). I Live in a Refugee Camp. Scholastic Scope.
As you read Bilan's story, look at the photos and artwork included in this collection. These include all types of refugees from many locations and times in history.
Choose one photo or document that speaks to you. Research it by looking at the "more info" tab. You may also conduct your own personal research. You can use the questions below to guide your research and thinking.
- What was the primary reason these people were fleeing?
- What made them refugees?
- How does this particular document make you feel?
- How can you make connections between the experiences of the people in the documents and Bilan's experience?
Write a (minimum) one page essay in response to this collection and the story My Life as a Refugee. Share it with me via Office 365.
This collection will explain the changes brought to American Life during the Industrial Revolution.
This playlist on Westward Expansion of the United States is designed for self-guided learning with intermittent check-ins for middle school age students. The learning tasks are divided over five days, designed for 30-35 minutes per day, and build on each other. However, students are able to work on this playlist at their own pace. They will engage with primary and secondary sources as well as visual art, videos, and written texts. Students can complete the tasks online by connecting through Google classroom for each formative and summative assessment.
By the end of the week, students will create an original piece that an expresses an evidence-based argument that expresses their opinion how well the impacts of westward expansion align with its goals.
- Formative assessments are represented by a chevron (Learning Tasks and Daily Check Ins).
- Additional processing questions are included with select resources, marked by a question mark in the upper left hand corner of the resource tile.
- Google Doc versions of all formative and summative assessments are in the tiles immediately after the digital versions.
1. Can you guess who made these? Look at each picture and decide which type of maker created it: Painter, Sculptor, Potter, Printmaker, Weaver, Architect
2. Can you guess what culture or time these things are from? Write your guess, then click on the picture. Click the i symbol to learn the answer.
3. Choose a picture and tell why you think this object is special or useful.
4. How do you think it expresses something important to the people of that culture?
These resources can be used in an activity that introduces a lesson on Japanese-American Internment during World War II.
1. To begin, show students Roger Shimomura's painting entitled Diary: December 12, 1941. Without providing any background information, use the "Claim, Support, Question" routine to have students make claims about what they think is going on in the artwork, identify visual support for their claims, and share the questions they have about the painting. Document responses in three columns on large chart paper or a whiteboard.
2. Following this initial conversation, share the title, artist's name, and date of the painting. Ask students to consider the date in the title, and discuss what significance this date might have. If they don't figure out that this date was five days after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, share that information. Share with students that this painting is part of a series Roger Shimomura created based on the wartime diary entries of his grandmother, Toku, who was born in Japan and immigrated to Seattle, Washington in 1912. Along with thousands of other people of Japanese ancestry living on the West Coast during World War II , Toku and her family were forcibly relocated to an internment camp after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Roger was a young boy during World War II, and remembers spending his third birthday in the Puyallup Assembly Center on the Washington state fairgrounds, where his family was sent before being transferred to Minidoka Reservation in Idaho for the duration of the war.
3. Jigsaw Activity, Pt. 1. After sharing this context, tell students they will each be receiving a primary source document that relates to the painting in some way. Distribute copies of "Woman at Writing Table," the Superman comic, the Instructions to All Persons of Japanese Ancestry, and Toku Shimomura's diary entries. Divide students into four groups, one per document. Give students time to analyze their document as a group and discuss how it affects their interpretation of the painting.
4. Jigsaw Activity, Pt. 2. Next, create new groups so that each group includes students who received each of the four sources. Ask students to briefly report on their document and what their original group discussed as its possible meaning and relation to Roger Shimomura's painting.
5. Return to the painting as a large group, and discuss how the primary source documents have influenced students' reading of the artwork.
6. Optional additional resource: If time allows, have students watch excerpts from Roger Shimomura's artist talk at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
The Annie Appel collection at the NMAH Photographic History Collection consists of forty-two gelatin silver portraits of people who attended various Occupy protests.
Copyright Anne Appel
In the lesson in this issue of Smithsonian in Your Classroom, students closely examines four of the 13 million photographs in the Smithsonian. The pictures represent four important steps in the history of the medium: the introduction of portrait photography, the invention of a photographic printing process, the capture of instantaneous action, and the advent of home photography.
Click on the PDF icon to download the issue.
I created this collection for families to do together while schools are closed. I will be making a collection a day while we are out of school. Today we will be exploring the Olympics. The idea is for families to look at the items in the collection and consider what they see in the objects and paintings, what they think, and what they wonder. Families can also watch a free Brainpop video about the Olympics, the Special Olympics and athletes who competed. Families can also read articles about the Olympics, learn about the first Olympics, and explore the amazing athletes who have competed to be the best. At the end of the collection I have provided a few ideas for families about what to do next.
If you want to learn more about more about See Think Wonder you can click here to see a video of a teacher using the routine in her classroom.
This playlist on "What makes a place? Memorials in the U.S." is designed for self-guided learning with intermittent check-ins for elementary school age students. The learning tasks are divided over five days, designed for 30-35 minutes per day, and build on each other. However, students are able to work on this playlist at their own pace. They will engage with visual, video, and written texts. Students have the option to complete the tasks online by connecting through Google classroom or print word doc versions of each formative and summative assessments for work offline. By the end of the week, students will create a work of art. Modify the lessons as needed.
- Formative assessments are represented by a chevron (Learning Task and Learning Check In).
- Summative assessments are represented by a circle (Final Task).
- Word doc versions of all formative and summative assessments are in the tiles immediately after the digital versions.
*Social Studies and Visual Arts standards vary by state for elementary grades. We recommend educators and caregivers consult their student and child's state standards for these two subjects.
Latino Patriots in American Military History | Patriotas Latinos en la Historia Militar Estadounidense
This bilingual (English/Spanish) collection highlights Latino contributions in American Military History. Resources serve grades 7/8 and 9/10 social studies, U.S. History, AP Military History, Spanish Language courses and life-long learners. They include critical thinking, writing, language arts, visual arts, historical inquiry activities. Wars and topics covered include:
- American War of Independence
- Texas Revolution and the Mexican American War
- Manifest Destiny
- U.S. Expansionism
- Civil War
- World War I
- World War II
- Korean War
- Vietnam War
This collection features bilingual Create-It! STEM activities from ¡Descubra!, the Smithsonian Latino Center's national public education program for kids, teens, and families. These activities can be recreated with materials found at a local grocery or hardware store at home or in the classroom. These bilingual resources can serve teachers in grades 2-5, 6-8, and high school science.
The activities help participants place themselves in the role of scientist as they work on a STEAM-H project. Through active learning and problem solving, students are fully engaged and better able to understand the concepts being presented. This collection also includes interviews with science experts as well as note cards featuring profiles of U.S. Latina/os that have made notable contributes to STEM fields.
¡Descubra! Meet the Science Expert promotes STEM education for youth, with a specific focus on Latino youth, by showcasing Latino role models in STEM fields and discussing career paths and different interests in these areas.
See: Where are these people? What are they doing?
Think: Have you ever done something like that outside?
Wonder: I wonder what it would be like to go there. What would I see, smell, taste, touch, or hear?
Choose an image and imagine yourself being in that place. Then use that as inspiration for a drawing, painting, or collage.
Using the Project Zero Visible Thinking routine "What makes you say that?," students will investigate two photographs, taken from different angles, of Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu and General Yoshijiro Umezu aboard the USS Missouri as they signed the surrender that would officially end WWII.
Keywords: world war 2, world war ii, general macarthur, carl mydans, primary source, ww2, japanese instrument of surrender, potsdam declaration, inquiry strategy, japan