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Music and the Other Arts: Renaissance and Baroque as Examples

The National Association for Music Education Composition/Theory Connect #11 standard asks: Demonstrate an understanding of relationships
between music and the
other arts. One entree into the subject is to consider the correspondences of artistic movements in very different art forms.
For example: Just as we identify sixteen-century Italian art and architecture as Renaissance and seventeenth-century art and architecture as
Baroque, so we identify the music of those centuries as Renaissance and Baroque. Presented here are ideas on looking at the Renaissance com-
poser Palestrina and the Baroque composer Monteverdi  in light of the Renaissance and Baroque designs below. See READ MORE or click the text
box to the right of the rightmost picture.


The term Renaissance, meaning “rebirth,” refers to the rediscovery of artistic and architectural principles of ancient Greece and Rome, which began in Italy in the 1400s. Baroque comes from the Portuguese word barocco, meaning “irregular pearl.” The very name Baroque suggests everything that Renaissance is not.  

In architecture, common adjectives to describe Renaissance are: symmetrical, geometrical, proportional, restrained. For Baroque: sweeping, dramatic, ornate, contrastive, and, yes, irregular. The two architectural plans here, both from the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, might give an indication of the differences.  

At left is a theater building in the manner of Antonio Palladio (1508–80), who gave his name to a specific Renaissance style: Palladian. On a Palladian facade such as this, the main entrance is at the exact center, topped by a pediment. The pediment rises to a point, but does not rise steeply. The round arch of this central entrance is flanked by two identical entrances. The three entrances are flanked by three round-arched windows on either side. As we move up, the steps are gradual: rectangular and then smaller square windows on the upper floor, then a low balustrade above. The two sides of the facade are identical.

At right is a plan for an unnamed Italian Baroque church. Students looking for differences in symmetry might see one right away: on the left of the upper section is a decorative urn; on the right is a much more prominent sculpture of a saint. The upper section itself tells us much: nothing in the Palladian building rises steeply like this.

A musical analogy might be found in the Renaissance church music of Giovanni P. da Palestrina (1525–94) and the Baroque church music of Claudio Monteverdi (1567–1643). Aaron Copland wrote of Palestrina: “Part of the unworldly quality of many of Palestrina’s melodies is due to the fact that they move conjunctly, that is, stepwise from note to note, with a minimum number of skips. This restraining discipline, which makes so many of Palestrina’s melodies seem smooth and imperturbable, has the added advantage of making them easy to sing.”  

Monteverdi wrote something quite different about his own work: “I was aware that it is contraries that greatly move our mind. When I have not been able to find variety in the affections I have at least sought to bring variety into my music.”  


Available in public-domain recordings are an Agnus Dei by Palestrina and a Deus ad adiutorium by Monteverdi. The Palestrina is represented only by the melody; the Monteverdi in voices. As you listen to both, try to concentrate only on the melody of the Monteverdi. Ask students:  

Which piece has the broadest range in pitch?  

Which piece do you think would be more difficult to sing?  

Show students the two pictures, the Renaissance and Baroque buildings, without identifying their time periods. Ask:  

Which building reminds you most of the Palestrina? Which of the Monteverdi? Can you explain the analogies?  

Scroll down the main screen to find samples of sheet music for Palestrina and for Monteverdi. The Palestrina contains only one skip of a third. The rest of the notes move, as Copland says, conjunctly—one step at a time. Ask students to concentrate on the mere shapes that the notes form as they make their progression along the staffs.    

Which looks most like the Baroque church? Which looks like the Renaissance building?  

Palestrina composed for the ancient, relatively austere St. John Lateran Church in Rome. Monteverdi composed for the sumptuously Byzantine St. Mark’s Church in Venice. Were they influenced by their architectural surroundings?  

It is one of the sweet mysteries of art: Impressionist music somehow sounds like Impressionist painting. Did Impressionist painters and musicians learn from each other? Or Modernist composers and Modernist architects? Or was there just something in the air?

The question is without clear answer, but clearly there is an analogous relationship between architecture and music. As musicologist Joseph Machlis put it: “It has been said that architecture is frozen music. By the same token, music is floating architecture. Form is the structural principle in music.”

Scroll farther down the main screen to see a graphic representation of this.

Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access

Music and the Other Arts: Impressionism as Example

The National Association for Music Education Composition/Theory Connect #11 standard asks: Demonstrate an understanding of relationships between music and the other arts. One entree into the subject is to consider the correspondences of artistic movements in quite different art forms. For example: Just as there was a nineteenth-century Impressionist school in painting, which began in France, so there was Impressionism in music, which also began in nineteenth-century France. Presented here are ideas for a comparison of one of the best-known pieces of Impressionist music, Claude Debussy's "Clare de lune," to the Impressionist
 artworks below (by Edgar Degas and the Americans Mary Cassatt and Childe Hassam). See READ MORE or click the text box


What is Impressionism?

Impressionism is most simply defined by the word it looks like: impressions, as in first impressions. Following the lead of the French Impressionist painters (Monet, Pissarro, Degas, Renoir, et al) the Americans Childe Hassam and Mary Cassatt sought to capture the ephemeral—fleeting sights, fleeting feelings, postures and gestures of a moment. Like Monet and Pissarro, Childe Hassam did much of his work outdoors, quickly, using paints that were not premixed on a pallet. A new Impressionist idea was that we the viewers do the mixing of colors in whatever we see. Like her friend and teacher Degas, Mary Cassatt spent more time and care on the composition of the picture, but gave a sense of the temporary with quick brushstrokes, sometimes leaving the work unfinished. The similarity in styles can be seen here in Degas's oil portrait of Mary Cassatt and Cassatt's watercolor portrait of herself, both at the National Portrait Gallery.

What is Impressionism in music?

Music considered Impressionist is often described as “atmospheric,” which might mean an attempt to express the literal atmosphere of a scene (such as Debussy’s moonlit landscape) or it might mean a pervading mood. The word atmospheric cannot help but suggest an airinessa lightness of treatment, a delicacy that is indeed a hallmark of Impressionism in all its forms. 


After students have seen the artworks, listen to Claude Debussy's 1890 Suite bergmanesque, or just the movement  "Clair de lune" in this public-domain recording. You might also share Debussy's inspiration for the piece, Paul Verlaine's  1869 poem of the same name:

                    Clair de lune                                                                                        Moonlight

Votre âme est un paysage choisi                                                Your soul, the landscape that you chose, 
Que vont charmant masques et bergamasques                       Is charmed by rustic marches, masquerades,
Jouant du luth et dansant et quasi                                             And lutes.  Some masks disguise and some disclose
Tristes sous leurs déguisements fantasques.                             Faint sorrows underneath. That too parades.

Tout en chantant sur le mode mineur                                        The songs are in a minor key,
L'amour vainqueur et la vie opportune                                       Though songs of love triumphant, opportune.
Ils n'ont pas l'air de croire à leur bonheur                                  The singers seem to doubt their revelry
Et leur chanson se mêle au clair de lune,                                   And mix their voices with the light, the moon:

Au calme clair de lune triste et beau,                                          The moonlight's sad tranquility,
Qui fait rêver les oiseaux dans les arbres                                    Which lulls the birds in trees into a dream
Et sangloter d'extase les jets d'eau,                                             And stirs the fountains' weeping ecstasy,
Les grands jets d'eau sveltes parmi les marbres.                        Svelte jets of water which, mid marbles, stream.

                                                                                                                          (translation by Stephen Binns)

Verlaine is more often put into the category of Symbolism than Impressionism, but the two schools shared many ideas. Inspired by the poetry of Edgar Allan Poe and led by Charles Baudelaire, the Symbolists sought to suggest, through symbols, rather than describe. Verlaine wrote that he was after "nuance," which "unites dream with dream and flute with horn." The Symbolists aspired to the purity of music, which need only be, and need not represent. At the same time, composer Debussy represented Symbolist poetry with music. His other best-known work, Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, is based on a poem by Stéphane Mallarmé.

Questions for Non-Musicians

Composer Aaron Copland described Debussy's typical melodies as "elusive and fragmentary." Musicologist Joseph Machlis described the typical harmonics as "evanescent" (on the verge of vanishing).

Can you find moments in Debussy's "Clair de lune" that fit these descriptions?

Can you find areas in any of the paintings that might also be described as "fragmentary,"or even on the verge of vanishing?

Is there a subject in any of the paintings that seems "elusive" (something barely captured by the artist)?

What is the subject of the poem on which Debussy based his "Clair de lune"?

is the subject sharply defined, or is it otherwise?

Questions for Musicians 

A section of "Clair de lune" is marked un poco mosso ("a little agitated" or "a little animated").

Can you find the point in the piece when this animation or agitation begins? How is the effect achieved?

Can you find areas of the paintings that might also be described as "un poco mosso"? (Hint: In reference to pictures, the Italian mosso means "blurry," as if a camera moved or an artist's hand shook.)

Debussy's original title for "Clair de lune" was "Promenade sentimentale" ("A Sentimental Walk."), which was also a reference to the poem by Verlaine.

Is there an element of the music that suggests walking to you? If so, how is this achieved?

Do the sentiments accompanying this "walk" correspond to sentiments in the poem?

 Copland wrote that it was only in the nineteenth century that composers began to explore the two "sides" of the piano's nature by taking advantage of the possibilities of the pedal. On one "side," the piano's strings can be made to vibrate to produce "a sensuous and velvety or brilliant and brittle conglomeration of tones." On the other,
the piano can produce "harsh, percussive tonal effects."

On which "side" does Debussy most often come down?

Since "tone" can refer to color as well as to sound, which "side" of such tonal effects is found most often in the Impressionist paintings?

Note on the Translation of Verlaine's "Clair de Lune"

The translation strays from the exact at times to retain Verlaine's ABAB rhyme scheme and his meter (iambic tetrameter in the first lines of the stanzas, then iambic pentameter) in order to give a better sense of the rhythms Debussy heard in his native language. Not included in the translation:

Verlaine uses the word bergamasques, for which Debussy titled his piano suite. A bergamasque, or bergomask, was a rough, rustic dance, named for Bergamo in Italy.

Verlaine describes the moonlight not only as tranquil and sad, but also as beau: beautiful.

Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access

Considerations for Composition Students: What Do We Mean When We Say "Composition"?

A National Association for Music Education Responding standard asks high school composition students to consider how we judge a composition 
according to structure. One of the great American compositions, George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, was similarly judged at its debut in 1924—
and for decades after—with a startling conclusion: While this great composition was undoubtedly great, it was not a composition! Students might
listen to Rhapsody in Blue in light of another groundbreaking work from the 1920s, Wassily Kandinsky's Composition, seen here. Such paintings
by Kandinsky are recognized as the very first in the form of Abstract Expressionism. We might ask of Kandinsky's Composition what was asked of 
Gershwin's Rhapsody: Yes, but is this a composition? To continue, click the text box For further standards information, see READ MORE.



Essential Question: How does understanding the structure and content of music inform a response?

Essential Question: How do we judge the quality of musical works?


Develop and explain interpretations of varied works, demonstrating an understanding of the composers’ intent by citing technical and expressive aspects as well as the style/genre of each work.

Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access


Discovery Theater is a pan-institutional museum theater dedicated to bringing theatre to young audiences and general visitors on and off the Mall since 1969. Recommended for children between the ages of 3 and 7, this delightful Discovery Theater original offers a fresh take on three classic tales . The Little Red Hen asks the question “Who will help?” Jack and the Beanstalk proves that small is mighty. And The Gingerbread Man… well, he’s just one bad cookie. Filled with delightful songs, puppets, and audience participation, this bilingual story-time spectacular is not to be missed! 


Jack and the Beanstalk: Our version of this classic story teaches kids about overcoming adversity and intervening on behalf of those with less power than you.

The Little Red Hen: This story teaches kids about the important of helping others!

The Gingerbread Man: This fun tale also serves as an example of not trusting someone without carefully considering what their motives might be.

Discovery Theater

Native American Women

Historical and contemporary contributions by native american women to visual art.

Lisa Steiner

Ancient Civilizations - Egypt

Artworks about Egypt in the Smithsonian American Art Museum's collection.

Peg Koetsch

Antique and Vintage Fastener Collection

The Scaglione Antique and Vintage Office Museum

This collection features  paper fasteners manufactured between the years 1889 and 1955. It is one of the the most complete collections of antique and vintage paper fasteners in the world. It is interesting to note that some of the machines in this collection have not been seen in years. 

Paper fasteners have been around since the early 1850’s therefore, we have a great selection of antique and vintage machines for review and examination. The development of fasteners really took off in the early 1900’s and improvements followed. Many machines produced today are based on designs dating the early 1930's.

Today, we refer to this office machine as a stapler. But early paper fasteners included the Eyelet machine and pin fasteners.

Even now, some examples are proving to be more desirable to collectors and are harder to find. 

When examining the early machines, it is easy to see these machines are historic. They were developed and manufactured during the mechanical revolution, Simple in design yet dependable.  These  19th century and early 20th century designs are what you would expect of the era and this is where the concept of paper fasteners began. 

Curtis Scaglione

Introductory Lesson

Use this if you want to introduce a group of WL teachers to the Learning Lab.

Elizabeth Matchett

African-American Experience

Primary sources and cultural artifacts related to the African-American experience.

Elizabeth Schuster

Do symbols mean the same thing in every culture?

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.

National Museum of the American Indian Education Office

Getting Beyond the One Right Answer

Activity to encourage imagination, creativity, and students' self confidence as we encourage them to move beyond finding that "one right answer" they believe a teacher is seeking. 

Annette Spahr

Educating for Global Competence: A Professional Development Workshop

This is a lesson designed for a teacher workshop on using Thinking Routines to spark curiosity and a desire to explore topics in depth. The estimated length of the workshop is 45 minutes, although there are extensions to the learning that could easily double that time (see below).

The first step is to engage in slow looking with the image. I will project it on a screen and we will get close in order to see all of the details. It's a dense image, with copious detail. I'll ask the teachers to look closely, noting where their eyes go, what they focus on.

Once we have had time to scan the image a few times, I'll introduce the See-Wonder-Connect Thinking Routine. See the next resource for the sequencing of questions. For the connect in this instance, I'll ask: How does this painting's subject matter connect to topics you teach, or that are taught in your school?

After completing the Thinking Routine, I'll reveal the title, Manifest Destiny, and ask for reactions to it. Why would Rockman choose that title? What do you think the artist is trying to say?

I'll give some background information about the artist and the painting. There are resources posted that give further information.

The teachers will go back to small groups at tables and brainstorm further how the image (or perhaps another image) could be used in their own context.

The lesson can be extended in a variety of ways. It can be a kick-off to an interdisciplinary study of various issues raised by the small groups, for example. I've used the 3Ys Global Thinking Routine to evaluate the significance of the various issues. Following the 3Ys, I then ask: How can you go more deeply with this topic? What more do you need to learn?

This image is a strong example of an artist's response to contemporary issues. One can't understand the potential impact of global warming without knowledge of science. In that way, it offers great potential for interdisciplinary exploration. But it could also connect to dystopian views in art (literature, visual art, etc.); artistic responses to the contemporary world; the ephemerality of human creations; etc.



Jim Reese

Photography and News

Guiding Questions:

  • How much of a story can a photo tell? What are the limits?
  • Why do journalists take photos?
  • How is news photography different than other types of photography? What is photojournalism?

Time- 1-2 class periods with optional extension activities

This collection provides an opportunity for students to consider a first impression of news photos through careful image analysis. The initial viewing of the image is followed by reading historical newspaper articles or other primary sources about the event in question to compare their thinking with some context to their initial impressions. Images can be powerful and can greatly influence our impression of events, but without context, we can form inaccurate impressions based on our own biases. Students need to be careful and critical viewers of media as well as media creators. Images include events covered in history/social studies courses such as the Civil Rights Movement, Little Rock Nine, World War II, Japanese internment,  9/11, the Detroit Riots, the Scopes trial, women’s suffrage, Dolores Huerta and United Farm Workers, and the Vietnam War.

Day 1:

Warm Up/ Engagement:

Have students journal or a mind-map about the following questions:

  • How much of a story can a photo tell? What are the limits?
  • Why do journalists take photos?
  • What is photojournalism?
  • How is news photography different than other types of photography?

Have them do a Think-Pair-Share

Debrief as a whole group

As a whole group, discuss the photo of the female students who integrated Central High School in Little Rock. Do not show the caption to students. The global competency thinking routine, “Unveiling Stories,” is good to use for news or other current event photos because it allows students the opportunity to explore multiple layers of meaning.

Once students have discussed the image, show them the caption. Then give additional background on the Little Rock Nine. To review/background on the Little Rock Nine, consider exploring resources from Facing History and Ourselves. There is a New York Times article listed below as well.

Next, go back and look at photo with the caption and see how the initial understanding has shifted with the Connect-Extend-Challenge routine. This is a thinking routine that is great for connecting new ideas to prior knowledge.

Day 2

Have students read the article from the Click! Exhibit, “Photography Changes How We Read the World.”

After reading, lead students through the What Makes You Say That? Routine which encourages interpretation with justification and evidence.

Small Group Jigsaw activity

In pairs or small groups, assign one image in the collection to each group. Make sure they know they will present their findings to the whole class. Have them go through the “Unveiling Stories” routine with their new image. Give students 10 mins to record their thoughts and ideas on chart paper or sticky notes. Next, give each group the related primary source news article (listed below through ProQuest) or your choice of a primary source. Have students read the article together. Then, have them go back to the image and do the Connect-Extend-Challenge routine while visualizing their thinking on the same chart paper or with additional sticky notes.

Have each group share out and summarize their findings from their initial reaction to how their thinking changed after reading an additional primary source.

As a final debrief, make sure that students reflect on their learning from their image analysis.

A great reflection routine is “I used to think… Now I think…”. Have students complete this routine with the topic of photojournalism/news photography.






  • Report on an event with images and in writing  

Companion Article Sources on ProQuest Historical Newspapers:

For 9/11 Photos-



New York Times (1923-Current file); Sep 12, 2001;

ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2011) pg. A1

For D-Day Photo:

Allies Seize Beachheads on French Coast, Invasion Forces Drive Toward Interior

By the War Editor of The Christian Science Monitor

The Christian Science Monitor (1908-Current file); Jun 6, 1944; ProQuest Historical Newspapers Christian Science Monitor (1908 - 2001) pg. 1

For Detroit Riot Photo:

Detroit Is Swept by Rioting and Fires; Romney Calls In Guard; 700 Arrested

New York Times (1923-Current file); Jul 24, 1967;

ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2011) pg. 1

For Vietnam Withdrawal Photo:

A Farewell to Vietnam: 2 Flown Out Tell Story

New York Times (1923-Current file); Apr 28, 1975;

ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2011) pg. 1

For Dolores Huerta Photo:

Farm Labor Law Chances Improve

By Susan Jacoby Washington Post Staff Writer

The Washington Post, Times Herald (1959-1973); May 2, 1969; ProQuest Historical Newspapers The Washington Post (1877 - 1998) pg. A24

For Little Rock Photo:


By BENJAMIN FINE Special to The New York Times.

New York Times (1923-Current file); Sep 26, 1957;

ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2011)

For WWII/D-Day Photos:


New York Times (1923-Current file); Jun 6, 1944;

ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2011) pg. 1

For Scopes Trial Photo:


Special to The New York Times.

New York Times (1923-Current file); Jul 16, 1925;

ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2011) pg. 1


The Christian Science Monitor (1908-Current file); Mar 3, 1913; ProQuest Historical Newspapers Christian Science Monitor (1908 - 2001) pg. 1


Allie Wilding

Photography and Image Manipulation

Guiding Questions:

What should a photograph look like?

Why might someone want to alter, change, or edit a photograph? What is the goal?

What are the ethical considerations regarding image manipulation?

Time- 1-2 class periods with optional extension activities

This collection includes images related to the topic of image manipulation and artistic photography, and includes a lesson plan for teachers as well as images and students activities related to media literacy across the curriculum. The collection of images and articles is designed to facilitate conversations around how and why images might be manipulated and for what purpose. Discussion questions and thinking routines allow for students to critically analyze the images as whole group and in small groups to consider why and how a photographer or artist might alter an image. Extension activities and resources are also included.

Day 1:

Warm Up/ Engagement:

What should a photograph look like?

Have students do a think-pair-share together addressing the question. Alternatively, this could be done as a silent chalk talk.

Debrief as a group.



Why might someone want to alter, change, or edit a photograph? What is the goal?

Have you ever altered or changed a photograph? How? Why? (Think Shapchat, Instagram, Photoshop, etc.)

Is it ever a problem to manipulate a photography? Why?

As critical viewers of media and images, students should always consider the audience and purpose of photographs. For example, an artistic photograph doesn’t have the same audience or purpose as a journalistic photograph.

Explain to students:

We’re going to look closely at the work of two photographers (Jerry Uelsmann and Robert Weingarten) to see how photographers might manipulate their images (digitally or otherwise), why they might do this, and the effect it has on the viewer.

Close Looking:

Lead students through a discussion of one of Uelsmann’s images by looking closely at one image as a group using the Visible Thinking routine, “See Think Wonder.”

Discuss the photographer’s likely message, audience and purpose of the image. Then have students consider how Uelsmann might have created the image.

Then, read an article about Jerry Uelsmann in Smithsonian Magazine, “Before Photoshop.”

Debrief the article and have students journal on their reactions to Uelsmann’s quote, “The camera is a license to explore.”

Alternatively, students can read and discuss the article,"Photography Changes What We Think 'Reality' Looks Like."

Have students share responses with the group as a closing activity.

Day 2

Warm-Up: Recap learning/connections from last class.

Explain that in today’s class we’ll consider the work of another artist and photographer, Robert Weingarten. Weingarten’s work is a “non-traditional” form of portraiture. Before looking at his images, have students brainstorm their ideas on what is a portrait. Students could engage in the 3-2-1 Bridge Routine on this topic.

Close Looking:

Lead students through a discussion of one of Weingarten’s  images by looking closely at one image as a group using the Visible Thinking routine, “Zoom-In.” After looking at the image as a whole, have students consider the image as as whole using the “Connect-Extend-Challenge” routine.

Weingarten’s portraits of Colin Powell and Celia Cruz are linked in the collection.

Discuss the photographer’s likely message, audience and purpose of the image. Then have students consider how Weingarten might have created the image.

After discussing the image, watch the video about Weingarten’s process.  

If time allows, group students into small groups to visually compare/contrast the works of Uelsmann and Weingarten on chart paper.

Exit Ticket:

How do these photographs change your understanding of photography and what can be done with images?

I used to think…

Now I think….

Possible Extension Activities:

Have students create a composite image (surreal landscapes or portraits)  inspired by Robert Weingarten or Jerry Uelsmann with their own photographs and Photoshop.

Have students explore other historical images that have been manipulated (intentionally or unintentionally) that are included in the collection.

Article on historical image manipulation from the ClickIt Exhibit

Have students look at the ethical issues in digitally manipulating photographs

Have students consider other ways in which the evolution of technology has influenced the images we create.

Using Agency By Design, a design thinking framework, have students complete the following activities:

Parts-Purposes- Complexities Routine-- Digital Camera

Take-Apart Activity w/ digital cameras/analog camera

Have students research different topics in the history of photography including camera obscura, daguerreotype process, Muybridge and moving images, and Kodak.


Additional reading on Uelsmann:


Allie Wilding

Hispanic Women

What's missing in today's history books, especially in the Southwest? Quite a lot actually.  Today's social studies textbooks reflect the standards each state has adopted and in many cases, when it comes to learning about people who have sacrificed their lives or changed the way we live here in United States, there are groups of people who are missing.  Even in 2019, more than 50 years after the Civil Rights Movement, there are only minimal standards acknowledging the contributions of people of color.  In Texas, women are marginally covered with the standards, and women of color even less so.  In elementary grades, only five Hispanic women are included within the standards, most of them being in 4th grade Texas history.  Only two are a part of the middle school state curriculum, both in 7th grade Texas history.  In high school, Dolores Huerta and Sonia Sotomayor are the only Hispanic female individuals judged worthy to be included although the Las Madre's e la Plaza de Mayo, a group of Argentinian women are included in the world history standards.

This collection seeks to provoke thinking about the lives, contributions and sacrifices of Hispanic women in American history.  

#EthnicStudies #BecauseOfHerStory

Leticia Hallmark

Harlem Renaissance Art and Music

This collection was developed for a unit based upon the Harlem Renaissance and the art movement incorporating the style of visual artist Romare Bearden for students PreK thru 6th grade.  Students were exposed to different musical artists such as Cab Calloway, Louis Armstrong, and Duke Ellington to make the connections between Bearden's art work and their musical abilities.  This group of artifacts was beneficial for students to be exposed to people, art work, and history that they may not have been exposed to before.  Using the thinking routines such as 'See, Think, Wonder' was a great way for students to dive deeper into images, not just art work but even images of people and the differences in time periods.


Rebecca Grubbs

Paths to Perspective: How the Past Connects to Our Present

This lesson is inspired by Out of Eden Learn, the journey of Paul Salopek, and the idea that each person is an amalgamation of the people and events that came before them. These people and events include the nature of their birth, the lives of their parents, the experiences of their grandparents, the creation of the printing press, etc. The idea behind this lesson is, in its inception, to expose students to milestones in black history, and to use that rich history to challenge them to look into their past to see how they connect to larger events that came before them last week or even a century or millennia ago.

This lesson is especially crafted for Black History Month (though of course it can be used at other times) to have students from multiple ethnic backgrounds try to find a connection to the African American Experience in the United States. It removes students from an ethnic vacuum and asks them to see how the journey of others not like them has an impact on their, their family's and their country's history.

To begin your use of this collection please read the lesson plan at the beginning labeled Lesson Plan: Paths To Perspective. It is the full lesson for using this Learning Lab collection. You may use it in full or alter as you see fit for the needs of your class. It is by no means exhaustive, especially in terms of Project Zero ideas that can be used with the collection, but it is a good starting point for how to use this material in class.


Sean Felix

Santa Claus: Comparing Evolving Imagery and Text

This collection gathers depictions of Santa Claus from ads, paintings, photographs, stamps from 1837 to today. Also, includes analyses of his evolving image from the Smithsonian Magazine and the National Museum of American History blog. How does the description of Santa in the Christmas poem, "A Visit from St. Nicholas" compare with the images that follow? Includes a discussion question extension: How might you revamp Christmas stories to better reflect the time and country that you live in?

Keywords: Saint Nicholas, holidays, poetry

Ashley Naranjo

The Living Room War-How the Vietnam War changed American culture

Resources to exemplify how the war in Vietnam shaped the culture of our country, including art, book excerpts, song lyrics, op-eds, and stories about how even the Vietnam War memorial caused controversy.


Amanda Dillard

H.G. Wells: The Time Machine

The White Sphinx both physically and psychologically plays an important role in the novel and the early 1900s.

Aashi Goel


This collection demonstrates a variety of ways pastels are used interms of genre, style and subject.

Michelle Boyce

Crafting Newspaper Headlines for Civil War Art

This lesson will be completed halfway through a choice historical fiction unit highlighting books from the eras of naturalism and realism during the Civil War.  With background knowledge of the historical eras and content knowledge of one of the four possible books they will now jump into the picture and write a newspaper article.  The must be able to imagine where in their text they would place this article.  They are ultimately creating a group primary source for their choice book in completing this task.


Leslie Reinhart

The Pony Express

 The Pony Express was a mail service delivering messages, newspapers, and mail.
Officially operated as the Leavenworth and Pike's Peak Express Company of 1859. In 1860 it became the Central Overland California and Piles Peak Express company . It was founded by , William H. Russell, Alexander Majors, and William B. Waddell, all of whom were well-known in the shipping business. 
During The Pony Expresses 19 months of operation, it reduced the time for messages to travel between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts to about 10 days.  From April 3, 1860 to October 1861, it became the West's most direct means of east–west communication before the Telegraph was established. It was important for connecting the new state of California with the rest of the United States.
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Lanette Quillian

Narrative Writing

Create a nice narrative writing that is very fun...

Ansley Herndon
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