Skip to Content
  • Language
  • End User
  • Educational Use
  • Time Required
(397)
(1,346)
(1,516)
(1,335)
(1,684)
(30)
(696)
(586)
(301)
(968)
(335)
(358)

Found 1,743 Collections

 

The Achievements of Ancient Mayan Civilization

This collection reviews the major achievements of the ancient Mayan civilization, including its great cities, use of writing, calendar, religious beliefs, art, and architecture. Resources are provided as a basis for student research. Several of the videos are available in Spanish and English and would be useful for a Spanish language teacher who wants students to research the Maya.

Guiding questions to consider while reviewing this collection:
1) In what ways did observation of the sun influence multiple facets of ancient Mayan life?
2) Which elements of ancient Mayan life persist in Mayan culture today?
3) How are art, religion, and architecture seemingly intertwined in ancient Mayan culture?
4) What are the various theories about the demise of the ancient Mayans?

This collection focuses on the achievements of the ancient Mayans; however, it is critical to remember that the Maya are a living people and continue to preserve old traditions while building new ones in the modern world. For those interested, here is a collection on the modern Maya: https://learninglab.si.edu/collections/the-maya-people-today/yKMyzCEPMadkGgA8.
Kate Harris
25
 

The Alamo and Texan Revolution

During the early 1800s American's newly found values of independence and freedom flowed throughout the lands. One of the boldest and most remembered acts was the triumph of Texans at the Alamo February - March of 1836. Through a series of hard fought battles, William B. Travis led a group of Texans to victory. By never giving up these events caught the attention of all America. The creation of the Republic of Texas showed people everywhere that through perseverance and determination people could defy overwhelming odds. 

chris pulido
5
 

The Amendments

Students will make connections between art and the literature we read in class to the concept of Truth and Justice.

Students will first do a whole class See / Think /Wonder on Amendment 8 by Mark Bradford. They then will choose or be assigned to an amendment and artwork that they will research further. By answering their own See / Think / Wonder about the artwork they will connect meaning of the artwork to the words of their amendment. They will then do further reading and research on their amendment by going to the provided links. Student will answer questions via their class link on the Learning Lab or on the Google Docs document in their online folder.

**The Rockwell painting will be assigned to Amendment 1, Westward Course to Amendment 2, Training for War to Amendment 3 and Independence to Amendment 4.


Yolanda Toni
12
 

The American Story - Thankgiving, Pocahontas, Little Bighorn

Resources to virtually accompany "Telling the American Story", an exhibit of the Museum of the American Indian. Three events are explored: the first Thankgiving, Pocahantas, and the Battle of Little Big Horn.

#TUTEACH

Carey Churchill
10
 

The Arrival of the Americans and the end of Edo Japan - Post Assessment Activity

This collection serves to end the unit on Edo Japan and retake the discussion of how the period fits within the greater scene of world history. In our class, seclusion and openness of countries is an common through line, and so the arrival of the Americans effectively ending the Sakoku period is an important historical milestone. The main goal of this collection is to lead students into this dialectical reflection of how these two countries interacted and what this meant for a Japan that had consciously shut down most trade relations.  The opening lesson on Edo Japan puts in doubt how closed the country really was; this last lesson highlights how Edo Japan had evolved since the edict of 1635, and how it had to open its ports and face the conjunctions of the 19th century's international scene. 

This collection also brings into light reactions on both sides of the American arrival. Images and archives from both Japanese, as well as American witnesses, allow students to understand the motivations coming from East, as well as the West. 


Lesson plan (2 hours) 

1. Provide the students with the resources "4c United States-Japan Treaty single." "Black Ships and Samurai," "Founding Fragments - Commodore Perry," and "Matthew Calbraith Perry." Allow students time to browse at least two topics from the website and play the video "Founding Fragments - Commodore Perry" for the entire class. 

2. Using all the resources in Step 1, lead class through the visible thinking routine "True for who?" While completing this routine, highlight how each country struggles to defend their views. 

At the end of this unit, students have a fairly strong understanding of Japanese national interests. For this reason, the teacher can help provide information of the U.S.'s international stance during the 19th century. While the U.S. plays a background role in our curriculum, we do a quick mention of the Manifest Destiny and the Monroe Doctrine, as ways in which the students’ own country emulate cycles of international openness or seclusion. Following this through line, it is necessary to stress the arrival of Commodore Perry to Japan as a thematic intersection. The moment marks both the end of Edo period for Japan, and the United States’ efforts to expand their field of influence.

3. Allow students time to read further into the "Black Ships and Samurai" website. Students can also conduct quick research on the arrival of the Americans in 1853, and Japanese-American relations previous to this date.

4. Provide students a copy of Commodore Perry and President Fillmore's letter to the Emperor of Japan. Use resource "Letters of the Commodore Perry and President Fillmore to the Emperor of Japan (1852-1853)"  Do a close reading of the letters and highlight the main passages. 

5. Present the remaining images and complete a visible thinking routine "Parts/People/Interactions." Allow students to cite the letters in Step 4, as well as the images in this collection. At the end of this lesson, students are able to compare, as well as to question each country’s discourse of seclusion or non-intervention.

Denise Rodriguez
12
 

The ART of AFRICAN TEXTILES

African textiles have long served as communicative notations and expressions of identity.  An extraordinary array of weaving and dyeing fashioned into textiles  transforms into works of art.  Embedded in various textiles are symbolic patterns of rank and status, color codes, and embroidered symbols.  New forms are being added by the current digital generation through the vast fabric of data, information, and rapid communication systems.  We see contemporary cloth printed with cellphones, computers, and other devices making modern visual statements! 

Deborah Stokes
23
 

The Art of American Industry

This collection explores the growth of American industry as seen through the lens of artistic production throughout the twentieth century. It can be paired with a multi-day lesson plan on American industrialization in a Social Studies, History, or Economics context. Students can begin to explore and understand the layered narratives and consequences involved within the rapid chances in mechanized American life. The lesson would begin with students examining the first row of resources to become acclimated to expansive impact of American industry. Students would then be able to use the Connect/Extend/Challenge thinking routine to examine how these fluctuations profoundly reformed societal, familial, and personal relationships. By considering multiple perspectives and outcomes, participants can begin to better identify their connection to broader industrial trends today. 

#SAAMteach

Evan Binkley
33
 

The Art of Portraiture

How do artists create portraits? Students will take a close look at modern and contemporary portraiture through the lens of artists’ decisions, paying particular attention to the different approaches that artists take to their subject matter and the different processes that they use in making their art.

#NPGteach

Briana White
15
 

The Art of West Virginia

Art and photography of the Mountain State
Pamela Curtin
45
 

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
 

The Athabascan Peoples and Their Culture

By Eliza Jones (Koyukon Athabascan), 2009

(This is shortened version of a longer essay from the Smithsonian book Living Our Cultures, Sharing Our Heritage: The First Peoples of Alaska.)

Sea, Land, Rivers

When I was growing up in the 1940s and ’50s, our family moved in every season – to spring camp for ducks and muskrats, to fish camp in summer, and to hunting and fur-trapping sites during fall and winter. That kind of traveling life was once universal in Athabascan country, from the Arctic Circle to Cook Inlet in Alaska and across the western interior of Canada. It’s a vast territory, hundreds of thousands of square miles covered by boreal spruce and birch forest. The rivers that cross it were highways for dog sledding in winter and canoe voyages in summer. Today the rivers, along with air and snow machine travel, still link our scattered communities, but roads reach only a few.

Athabascan peoples are an ancient family that spread out across the land and gradually grew apart. Koyukon, Gwich’in, Han, Holikachuk, Deg Hit’an, Upper Kuskokwim, Tanana, Tanacross, Upper Tanana, Dena’ina, and Ahtna communities occupy different areas of interior and southern coastal Alaska. Their languages share the same complex grammar yet have developed different vocabularies. The people have varying subsistence practices, customs, ceremonies, and clan structures. The Eyak, who live on the southern Alaskan coast around the mouth of the Copper River, are more distant relatives.

In Athabascan belief, everything around us has life. The land and trees have spirits, and we treat them with respect. If we need to cut a tamarack, which has the best wood for making fish traps, it is Koyukon courtesy to explain our need to the tree and to leave an offering of a bead or ribbon behind. Animals and fish are given the same kind of care. Before bringing a mink carcass into our cabin, my mother or stepfather would rub its nose with grease so that its spirit would not be offended by the human scent inside. If they trapped a fox, they put a bone in its mouth, because the animal was seeking food when it met its death.

Community and Family

Western cultural influence came to Athabascan country in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries when Russian fur traders set up forts in southern Alaska and the Hudson’s Bay Company built a post at Fort Yukon. Later in the century, the U.S. government and the Alaska Commercial Company took over from the Russians. The gold rushes of the 1880s and 1890s brought a flood of miners, settlers, and traders into the region. Our communities became less nomadic, more tied to trapping and a cash economy, and increasingly dependent on clothing, guns, food, and tools from the company stores. Through the efforts of missionaries most Athabascans adopted Christianity by the early 1900s. The twentieth century brought new technologies, mass media and Western schools where the teaching was in English only.

One of the biggest changes in my lifetime has been in the way that our children learn. I grew up in an oral tradition in which all our teachers were family and kin. Story telling time, as we called it, began in October after freeze-up. We would be home in our small cabin, chores finished for the day, our mother sewing by the light of an oil lamp. My stepfather would tell a kk’edon ts’ednee, a story in our language about ancient times when animals were human beings. It would include a lot of repetition to make it easier to learn and remember and a lesson about living in harmony with nature and people. Before he continued the next night, we had to repeat the story back to him, line by line. At other times we listened while adults talked and reminisced but were not allowed to interrupt. If we had a question we asked our grandmother or someone else about it later.

I was taught to read and write in English by my mother, Josie Peter Olin, who was educated as a child at the Allakaket Episcopal mission school. I was fourteen when the first one-room government school was built in our village, and I attended it for three years to finish the work of all twelve grades. I moved to Koyukuk to marry Benedict Jones, and there we raised our children. I worked as a volunteer health aide, and he was village Chief. In 1970 we moved to Fairbanks, where I worked at the Alaska Native Language Center editing a Koyukon Athabascan dictionary compiled by Jules Jetté, a Jesuit priest who came to the region in 1898 and learned to speak our language fluently. That dictionary turned into my life’s work. It contains detailed information about Koyukon culture as well as language, including knowledge that no longer exists in our communities. After we retired and came back to Koyukuk, I taught Koyukon in the school, hoping that a new generation would know and continue our culture despite the huge changes and challenges that affect their young lives.

Ceremony and Celebration

Our midwinter celebrations take place between Christmas and New Year’s. There are church gatherings, children’s programs, snowshoe races, dogsled races and dances. On New Year’s Day we finish with a celebratory potlatch. People save and prepare special foods and make new clothing and beaded moccasins to wear for the dances. Spring Carnival takes place in early April at the end of beaver trapping season. We do a lot of traveling to other villages to share in their celebrations. It’s a wonderful and exciting time, with high-stakes dogsled races, snowshoe competitions, ice-picking contests, Athabascan fiddling and dancing every night.

Today, Athabascan communities hold potlatches on various occasions. Some are informal festivities to celebrate holidays, and others are formal and spiritual occasions to recognize turning points in the lives of community members. Potlatches can mark a first successful hunt, a homecoming, recovery from an illness or settlement of a grievance.

The most important and universal events are memorial potlatches held a year or more after a death to honor the memory of the deceased and to repay those who assisted the family during their time of grief. These are the helpers who built the casket, dug the grave, provided food for the vigil or sewed traditional clothing to dress the body. To prepare for a memorial potlatch, the hosts make, buy and gather large quantities of gifts and food. Often several families join together to share the financial burden. Hosts are not trying to show off their wealth. It is our way of thanking those who generously gave service. The protocols, songs, and dances for memorial potlatches vary among the different Athabascan peoples, yet the fundamental idea of the whole community marking the passage of a human soul to the world beyond is the same for all.

In Koyukuk, a memorial potlatch takes place over a three-day period. Residents and guests from other villages arrive with food for a gathering in the community hall. Friends and relatives sing songs they have composed for the deceased to commemorate his or her unique accomplishments, personality and service to others, and with the songs there is dancing. It is an emotional and difficult time for the family. To lift their spirits everyone joins afterward in singing old familiar songs and dancing to fiddle music or rock and roll. On the last day all of the guests sit down for a feast of special foods, including dishes that the deceased person most enjoyed. After the meal the hosts distribute gifts to everyone in attendance, with the finest presents reserved for the funeral helpers and composers of memorial songs.

Tags: Athabascan, Alaska Native, Indigenous, Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska
20
 

The Bikini Atoll and Operation Crossroads: Unveiling Stories

In this activity, students will analyze photographs documenting the exodus of Bikini islanders from Bikini Atoll prior to Operation Crossroads, a pair of nuclear weapons tests and the first detonations of nuclear devices since the bombing of Nagasaki. These photographs were taken by Carl Mydans and were published in the LIFE Magazine article, "Atomic Bomb Island," on March 25, 1946.

Using two Project Zero Global Thinking Routines - "Unveiling Stories" and "The 3 Ys" - students will analyze the stories these photographs communicate about the experiences of the Bikini islanders and America's perspective on military advancement after WWII. They will also consider the perspectives presented by these photographs, in multiple contexts from the personal to the global. Additional resources (primary sources and the original article) and information on using this collection in the classroom can by found by clicking Read More ».

Keywords: atomic testing, atomic bomb, operation crossroads, bikini islands, bikini atoll, rongerik, able test, baker test, nuclear bomb, photojournalism, inquiry strategy, global competence, global competency, 1940s, 40s, 1950s, 50s, 1960s, 60s


Tess Porter
17
 

The Bikini Atoll and Operation Crossroads: Unveiling Stories

In this activity, students will analyze photographs documenting the exodus of Bikini islanders from Bikini Atoll prior to Operation Crossroads, a pair of nuclear weapons tests and the first detonations of nuclear devices since the bombing of Nagasaki. These photographs were taken by Carl Mydans and were published in the LIFE Magazine article, "Atomic Bomb Island," on March 25, 1946.

Using two Project Zero Global Thinking Routines - "Unveiling Stories" and "The 3 Ys" - students will analyze the stories these photographs communicate about the experiences of the Bikini islanders and America's perspective on military advancement after WWII. They will also consider the perspectives presented by these photographs, in multiple contexts from the personal to the global. Additional resources (primary sources and the original article) and information on using this collection in the classroom can by found by clicking Read More ».

Keywords: atomic testing, atomic bomb, operation crossroads, bikini islands, bikini atoll, rongerik, able test, baker test, nuclear bomb, photojournalism, inquiry strategy, global competence, global competency, 1940s, 40s, 1950s, 50s, 1960s, 60s


Renea Reichenbach
15
 

The Black Arts Movement

“Sometimes referred to as 'the artistic sister of the Black Power Movement,' the Black Arts Movement stands as the single most controversial moment in the history of African-American literature—possibly in American literature as a whole. Although it fundamentally changed American attitudes both toward the function and meaning of literature as well as the place of ethnic literature in English departments, African-American scholars as prominent as Henry Louis Gates, Jr., have deemed it the 'shortest and least successful' movement in African American cultural history."--"Black Creativity: On the Cutting Edge," Time (Oct. 10, 1994)

This topical collection includes background information as well as examples of poetry and art from the Black Arts Movement. Two excerpts from essays are also included. There are also some examples of works from artists who rejected the premise of the Black Arts Movement.

Students could use this collection as a starting point for further research or to create an illustrated timeline of the movement. Works could be analyzed for their reflection or rejection of themes like: black nationalism, self-determination, "the black is beautiful" movement, and liberation. Students could also evaluate the merits of the arguments for and against a "black arts movement" as articulated by Karenga and Saunders in the text excerpts.

This is a work-in-progress based on the digitized materials within the Smithsonian Learning Lab's collection--it is not meant to be wholly definitive or authoritative.

Kate Harris
41
 

The Black Power Movement

Teaching about the Black Power Movement can be challenging, but has rich rewards. Misconceptions about the Black Power Movement abound, but the ability to contrast their strategies and aims with the earlier Civil Rights Movement allows Social Studies teachers to discuss the complex ways that social movements evolve, change, and respond to the times. In addition, a study of the Black Power Movement helps give context for a broader study of the economic and political shifts in the 1970s and 1980s and the rise of identity politics. This teaching collection includes a variety of resources that could be used to teach about the Black Power Movement, organized into sections for:

-People in the Movement

-Goals and Strategies of the Movement

-Teaching Activities

General guiding questions for this collection include:

-What were the distinct problems that the Black Power Movement tried to address? Do they remain today?

-What were the strategies of the Black Power Movement? Do you agree or disagree with these?

-Why and how do social movements develop and evolve?

-What defines a successful social movement? Was the Black Power Movement successful?

- Can a social movement survive beyond the demise of its leadership?

-What is the role of the arts in promoting the ideals of social movements?

This is a work-in-progress based on the digitized materials within the Smithsonian Learning Lab's collection--it is not meant to be wholly definitive or authoritative.

Susan Ogilvie
31
 

The Black Power Movement

Teaching about the Black Power Movement can be challenging, but has rich rewards. Misconceptions about the Black Power Movement abound, but the ability to contrast their strategies and aims with the earlier Civil Rights Movement allows Social Studies teachers to discuss the complex ways that social movements evolve, change, and respond to the times. In addition, a study of the Black Power Movement helps give context for a broader study of the economic and political shifts in the 1970s and 1980s and the rise of identity politics. This teaching collection includes a variety of resources that could be used to teach about the Black Power Movement, organized into sections for:

-People in the Movement

-Goals and Strategies of the Movement

-Teaching Activities

General guiding questions for this collection include:

-What were the distinct problems that the Black Power Movement tried to address? Do they remain today?

-What were the strategies of the Black Power Movement? Do you agree or disagree with these?

-Why and how do social movements develop and evolve?

-What defines a successful social movement? Was the Black Power Movement successful?

- Can a social movement survive beyond the demise of its leadership?

-What is the role of the arts in promoting the ideals of social movements?

This is a work-in-progress based on the digitized materials within the Smithsonian Learning Lab's collection--it is not meant to be wholly definitive or authoritative.

Kate Harris
31
 

The California Gold Rush: A Journey to the Goldfields

James Marshall's famous discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill in Colma forever changed the landscape, economy and culture of California due to the mass migrations of 300,000 people. Rumors of gold's discovery spread quickly, and was confirmed by President Polk in an address to Congress. The news spread to countries around the world.

The journey to California was long and dangerous. The three major routes were: around Cape Horn by ship (six to eight months), the Isthmus of Panama (two to three months), and the Overland trail (three to five months). By ship, dangers included: ship wrecks, lack of food and water, seasickness and disease. Ships that survived the long journeys arrived to the ports of San Francisco, where migrants had to continue their journey to the Sierra Nevada foothills.  

Traveling 2,000 miles on the Overland Trail by foot and wagon exposed travelers to other dangers such as misinformed trails, and a lack of food and water. Travelers were exposed to inclimate weather while crossing deadly rivers, deserts, and high mountain passes. Only the very basic necessities including food, water, wagons, stock, hunting tools, blacksmithing tools, clothing, blankets, sewing kits, medical supplies would be taken for the journey.   

On the Overland Trail, many miners joined companies. These companies were made up of people with various skills; such as, carpentry, medicine, navigation, hunting, blacksmithing and wheelwrights. The likelihood of surviving these long and dangerous journeys increased significantly for those individuals who joined companies. If a company survived the journey to California on the Overland Trail, the company also had a higher likelihood of success in gold mining. Individuals within the company could stake multiple gold mining claims and the gold would then be divided among the people of the company. During the gold rush, individuals were only allowed to own one claim.  


columbiastatehistoricpark
16
 

The CCC in Idaho

Explore the role of the Civilian Conservation Corps in Idaho

Idaho State Museum
35
 

The Changing Image of American Classrooms

The artworks in this collection exemplify just how rapidly classrooms and their students have changed over the past century. What can we learn about the Civil Rights Movement and America's historical challenge of diversity? How might these works allow us to better understand ongoing societal issues in addition to the valuable roles teachers play? 

This Learning Lab collection is intended for a multi-day lesson plan for middle school students. A lesson based off of this collection could be begin with a discussion of the similarities and differences between schooling a century ago and classrooms today. Using a number of individual and group thinking routines, students could then begin to identify historical precedents of discrimination which have existed and/or continue to exist in the American educational system. A close reading of attached articles incorporated with additional thinking strategies would allow students to consider ongoing efforts of activism related to the classroom. 

#SAAMteach


Evan Binkley
36
 

The Civil Rights Movement and Persuasive Messages

In this learning resource collection, take a look at six persuasive messages that addressed civil rights issues in very different forms: a speech, a song, a button, a protest sign, a poster, and an artwork.
Ashley Naranjo
9
 

The Civil Rights Movement and Persuasive Messages

In this learning resource collection, take a look at six persuasive messages that addressed civil rights issues in very different forms: a speech, a song, a button, a protest sign, a poster, and an artwork.
Kim Palermo
10
 

The Classical Origin of Iconic American Symbols

In this student activity, analyze how and why iconic symbols of America, such as the Capitol Building and the United States Seal, were inspired by Greek and Roman art and architecture.  

Explores the big ideas:

  • How were symbols of America influenced by those of Ancient Greece and Rome? 
  • What might this desire to associate America with historic, successful democracies say about early American hopes for their new nation?

Includes: architecture, a seal, portraiture, a video, a primary source letter, discussion questions, and an opportunity to learn more through the full digitized text of "The Ruins of Palmyra," a publication that heavily inspired early American neoclassical architecture.

Keywords: greece, symbolism, classic, classical

Tess Porter
12
 

The Classical Origin of Iconic American Symbols

In this student activity, analyze how and why iconic symbols of America, such as the Capitol Building and the United States Seal, were inspired by Greek and Roman art and architecture.  

Explores the big ideas:

  • How were symbols of America influenced by those of Ancient Greece and Rome? 
  • What might this desire to associate America with historic, successful democracies say about early American hopes for their new nation?

Includes: architecture, a seal, portraiture, a video, a primary source letter, discussion questions, and an opportunity to learn more through the full digitized text of "The Ruins of Palmyra," a publication that heavily inspired early American neoclassical architecture.

Keywords: greece, symbolism, classic, classical

Renee Voce
12
 

The Clothing and Fashion of Elite Women

A quick and easy way to decipher a man or women's social status is through the miscellaneous items they buy and the price they pay for them. As one becomes wealthier through means of career, exploitation, or inheritance, people are able to afford things that were once out of their reach. In turn, they also wish to outwardly show this wealth and make a show of themselves as above or simply superior to others. This can include furnishings, property, and expensive foods - but those things can rarely be paraded to the public, unless they are invited into one's home. Clothing, on the other hand, is a sure fire way to show off one's wealth on a day-to-day basis. 

Women in the 1800s are a prime example of this trend, especially in the clothes they wear. When it came to women's fashion, if one was to wear expensive fabrics (such as Chinese silks or furs from the northern trading routes) a woman could easily be identified as someone of upperclass status. In sharp contrast, cheaper textiles (such as cotton) made in the United States and worn by a United States citizen rather than donning an exported fabric could be identified as middle to lower class. A woman's ability to wear such fine dresses were a reflection of her husband's (or father's) wealth. In addition to these dresses, corsets and hoop skirts (also known as a 'farthingale') were intricately created and worn by these upper class women, where as lower class women would wear simpler sorts or none at all. Necklaces, shoes, and earrings also give us as viewers as well as those of days past a window into the life of the elites, because for many, a glance at fine clothing was all they would ever achieve.

This trend is no different than that of the modern era. These expensive and elitist clothing of the seventeen and eighteen hundreds are merely an older version of what we see today. Just like in this time during and before the Revolutionary War, a women wearing a Vera Wang dress can instantly be recognized as a woman who has money or her own, or money from a rich husband or family. Without this human need to show off one's wealth through personal belongings such as clothing, the eliteist clothing in women would be practically none existent. 


Madison Johnson
10
1393-1416 of 1,743 Collections