Found 562 Learning Lab Collections
In this collection, beautiful celadon ceramic pieces are used to help students explore the art of Celadon. While learning more about the ceramics students will also
explore the following things: kingdoms, personal objects of value, burial practices, cultural similarities and differences, religious and ceremonial pieces, political influence, kings and noble men, dynasties, artistry, skilled craftsmanship, treasures, geography and the continent of Asia.
This collection is not comprehensive but hopefully will serve as a starting point to encourage students to research and study more about some aspect of Asian-related ceramics, arts, geography, history, cultures, customs or trade . Hopefully it will encourage interest and value in field trips to Museums such as the Smithsonian Freer Gallery, as well as short-term /long-term study abroad trips to Asian countries.
This collection includes a variety of resources on the theme, "We the People," a template document for teachers to create their own flashcard activity with Learning Lab images, and strategies to use them.
This collection was created for the 2018 cohort of the Smithsonian-Montgomery College Faculty Fellowship Program on the theme, "We the People: America's Grand and Radical Experiment with Democracy." But anyone can use it.
Strategies: Begin by selecting your own set of images. (Feel free to copy this collection and then adapt as you like.) When creating your flashcards, use the template from the last learning tile, and add relevant text diagonally below the object. Print double-sided flipping on the SHORT side.
After distributing the cards, have students select one or two that speak to them. Then have them discuss the following questions in groups and share out.
What themes do you see?
Do you see these themes across the objects and over time?
Using these images, define American Democracy.
What other resources might you use to tell a fuller story?
This collection supports the free Smithsonian Science How webcast, Exploring the Amazing World of Lichens featuring Dr. Manuela Dal Forno, scheduled for March 28, 2019. Manu is a scientist at the Smithsonian who studies lichens, a lichenologist. She collects lichens from all over the world, depositing them into the U.S. National Herbarium, which is located at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Manu identifies the lichens she collects with observations of how the lichen looks, their DNA data and where they were found.
Lichens are a symbiotic relationship between algae and fungus. They have been on earth for millions of years, living on rocks, trees, and soil in all different habitats on all seven continents. Even though lichens are all around us, scientists are still learning about what they are, where they live, and how many different species of lichens there are.
Fungus is any group of spore-producing organisms feeding on organic matter, and include molds, yeast, mushrooms, and toadstools. Algae is a simple, non-flowering plant. Algae contain chlorophyll and produce sugar through photosynthesis, like other plants, but do not have true stems, roots, leaves, or vascular tissue like most other plants. Lichenization is a fungal lifestyle, and therefore the name of lichen is the name of the fungus component.
When you look at a lichen, what you’re looking at is the “house” that the fungus and algae grow together. Scientists call this house a “thallus.” When algae and fungus come together to form this house, we see a lichen. This partnership is called a symbiotic relationship, because it helps both the fungus and algae survive. Research has shown that lichens are not a natural biological group, meaning they do not all come from a single common ancestor, in other words, lichens have many origins. Currently there are almost 20,000 species of lichenized fungi known.
In this symbiotic relationship, the fungus and algae benefit from being associated with each other. The fungus provides the house, its shelter (the thallus). This shelter helps the algae survive in habitats where it would otherwise be exposed to the elements and possibly could not survive. The algae provide food for the fungus, in the form of sugar. The sugar is a byproduct of photosynthesis that occurs within the algae.
Lichens are very important for the environment. They are an important food source for many animals, provide nest materials for birds, and provide habitat and material for biomimicry for insects and other organisms.
Lichens are also important for humans by providing natural dyes, perfumes, litmus paper, and even food. Humans even use lichens as bio-indicators, organisms that help humans monitor the health of the environment. Some species of lichens are sensitive to environmental pollution, so their presence or absence can help us understand more about the health of the environment, like air quality.
Lichens produce over one thousand different chemical compounds, most of them unique to lichens. These compounds include acids and pigments. Some chemicals may even fluoresce under UV light, making them important components for lichen identification.
Lichens have DNA, which is used to identify lichen and compare relationships amongst and within species. DNA analysis has been an important tool for lichenologists in identifying and understanding the biodiversity of lichens.
Sign up for the Smithsonian Science How webcast to introduce your students to Lichenologist Manuela Dal Forno! The program airs at 11am and 2pm on March 28, 2019. Sign up and view the program here: https://naturalhistory.si.edu/...
This collection explores the different textiles, along with their chemical compositions, used in the construction of Apollo-era spacesuits.
This collection explores the rockets NASA used during the Apollo and Space Shuttle programs, as well as some novel designs and propellants for use in future rocket systems.
This collection explores the function and chemistry of heat shields on spacecraft and their evolution over the years.
A collection of videos, articles and artifacts related to the chemistry of the Red Planet.
This student activity explores Luis Cruz Azaceta's "Shifting States: Iraq" using two Project Zero Thinking Routines to help students think critically and globally. The work is a metaphorical representation of the unrest taking place in Iraq, and more broadly, an exploration of the human condition during times of crisis.
Included here are an image of the work from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, an explanatory video with curator E. Carmen Ramos, two Thinking Routines - "See, Think, Wonder" and "The 3 Y's" - from Harvard's Project Zero Visible Thinking and Global Thinking materials, an array of prompts and Learning Lab tools, and an assignment. This collection is adapted from a larger teaching collection on the same theme (Luis Cruz Azaceta's "Shifting States: Iraq" ( http://learninglab.si.edu/q/ll...), that includes extension activities.
This collection was originally designed for a workshop for pre-service teachers at Trinity Washington University. It is intended to demonstrate, and asks workshop participants to consider, various ways to use the Learning Lab and its tools. #TWUtech
Keywords: #LatinoHAC, Latinx, Latino, global competency, competencies
This collection focuses on exploring characters and settings, as well as how the two can be used together for a specific purpose. I used this collection to demonstrate to students how characters and settings impact one another.
National Parks are for us to explore. The goal is to learn about the National Parks of your choice and find out as much information as possible. As we explore the national parks remember to preserve the ecosystems and wildlife along the way.
This collection provides opportunities for students to uncover the complexity behind symbols found in art and artifacts. Curiosity and wonderment are sparked as students use close looking strategies to precisely describe what they see. Students can then apply these findings to reveal a deeper meaning behind the symbols and the identities of the designer and users. Students will be inspired to create their own stamps as they explore how symbols share messages and bridge connections to people and diverse cultures.
Students will explore these sources to spark inquiry and investigation about how the Civil War impacted American society.
- Students can complete the sorting activity to categorize the images.
- Students should select one source they find most intriguing and generate questions about the source and its related topic by completing the quiz question.
Answer the questions based on the documents. Remember to observe the picture/writing first and then move toward analysis.
Keywords: poverty, rural, urban, new deal, inquiry strategy, global context, 1930s, 30s, dust bowl,
What does the weather do to the ocean currents?
Ocean water and currents affect the climate. It takes a greater amount of energy to change the temperature of water than land or air; water warms up and cools off much slower than land or air does. As a result, inland climates are subject to more extreme temperature ranges than coastal climates, which are insulated by nearby water. Over half the heat that reaches the earth from the sun is absorbed by the ocean's surface layer, so surface currents move a lot of heat. Currents that originate near the equator are warm; currents that flow from the poles are cold.
The Great Ocean Conveyor Belt
The great ocean conveyor belt is an example of a density-driven current. These are also called thermohaline currents, because they are forced by differences in temperature or salinity, which affect the density of the water.
The great ocean conveyor belt begins as the coolest of all currents - literally. At the beginning of the conveyor belt:
The Gulf Stream delivers warm, and relatively salty, surface waters north to the Norwegian Sea. There the water gives up its heat to the atmosphere, especially during the frigidly cold winters. The surface waters cool to near freezing temperatures, at which time they become denser than the waters below them and sink. This process continues making cold water so dense that it sinks all the way to the bottom of the ocean.
During this time, the Gulf Stream continues to deliver warm water to the Norwegian Sea on the surface. The water can't very well pile up in the Norwegian Sea, so the deep cold water flows southward. It continues to flow southward, passing the Equator, until it enters the bottom of the Antarctic Circumpolar current. It then drifts around Africa and Australia, until it seeps northward into the bottom of the Pacific.
Images support second grade paper sculpture lesson. View a few images and lead a discussion with questioning:
- What do you notice about this picture?
- Where do you think this is located?
- If you were here and saw this animal, what would you be thinking?
- Why do you think the artist chose to put this animal in this spot?
- How do you think the animal affects people who use this space?
- Can you think of a space in your community where an artist might place an animal sculpture?
This collection examines the poetry and art of two brothers, William Butler Yeats and Jack B. Yeats.
As a group use the visual thinking strategy Beauty and Truth to analyze the artwork Irish Cottage. Discuss common perceptions or misperceptions that students may have of Ireland.
Students should read and discuss "The Isle of Innisfree" by W.B. Yeats. Use the visual thinking strategy See / Think / Wonder with either The Singing Horseman or The Liffey Swim by Jack B. Yeats. Concepts of personal/local/national pride or freedoms may be discussed.
Afterwards, read and discuss the poem "An Irish Airman Foresees his Death" followed by a See / Think /Wonder of the painting Men of Destiny. Student may continue to discuss the meaning of freedom and destiny. What has changed since the previous two discussions?
Student may research different aspects of Irish history by reading stories on the EPIC Irish Emigration Museum website. This interactive museum recently opened to explain the reasons why 10 million people left Ireland. Students should select a story to read from the link provided and make connections to the artwork and poetry discussed.
Afterwards, ask students if their perceptions of Ireland from the initial discussion of Irish Cottage have changed? Why? How do the Yeats brothers change our thinking about people and history?
Sustainability is about using techniques that allow for continual reuse of resources. Why might textile designers want to reuse scraps or reclaim waste fibers? What other things that get thrown away could be reused as part of a woven textile?
ART MAKING CHALLENGE: Incorporate something recyclable in a hand-woven textile. Consider color, texture, and how well it will perform for a particular purpose. Would you combine the recycled items with traditional yarns or just use re recycled items? Which method is likely to get the results you want?
The Donald B. Cordry collection contains photographs of Mexican mask-makers and textile weavers. Many of these photographs appear in his two books Mexican Masks and Mexican Indian Costumes.
Developing an inquiry-based strategy to support students can allow them to investigate objects and images as historians do. In this example, students try to reveal the story behind the image. They raise questions for their own further research. Because the image has only a title, the photographer's name, the "sitter"'s name, the place and the date, students have to rely on their own analysis of evidence in the image, rather than someone else's interpretation. When they read the expert's analysis, they will have already considered many of the elements that the expert highlights and can compare their interpretations.
"Girl at Gee's Bend, Alabama" is a provocative photograph that can be used in discussions ranging from history of the South during the Great Depression, to social justice.
In this activity, students will explore Mickalene Thomas's process, artistic influences, and art historical context. Students will examine Thomas's Portrait of Mnonja (2010, Smithsonian American Art Museum) in depth, and use three supporting resources to build context.
1. Have students look at Mickalene Thomas's Portrait of Mnonja. Give them 2-3 minutes to do a quick sketch of the painting.
2. Next, ask them to note the part of the painting their eye went to first on their sketch with a star.
3. Next, ask students to draw a line through their sketch to show the path their eye used to travel through the painting. Use arrows to indicate direction.
4. In pairs or as a class, ask students to share where their eye went first, and why they think it went there. Was it the color? Light? Lines? The placement in the composition?
5. Next, students should write a list of 8-10 words and phrases describing the painting. Ask for volunteers to share out.
6. As a group, discuss students' impressions of the painting. Ask for visual evidence to back up claims. (e.g. A student says, "she looks powerful." You ask, "what do you see that makes you say she's powerful?")
7. To further the conversation, share some background information about the painting: the title, the date, and the artist. Explain a little about Mickalene Thomas's process: posing live models in sets with props and furniture, taking photographs, then painting from the photographs.
8. Next, break students into small groups. Each group should receive a printout of ONE of the three supporting resources in this collection. Ask them to compare and contrast their image with Portrait of Mnonja.
9. After 4-5 minutes, ask each group to share out the main idea from what they discussed. The teacher should add additional information as it is useful.
a. Mickalene Thomas set photograph: Shows the artist's process, how she uses real models and sets. Note patterns and 1970s motifs.
b. Romare Bearden collage: Thomas has cited Bearden as one of her artistic influences. Students should note similarities in color, pattern, and flatness.
c. John Collier painting: An example from the early 1900s of the "reclining woman" in art history. Students should discuss the passiveness/agency of each of these women, and how a male artist's depiction of a woman differs from a female artist's in this case. Thomas was well versed in art history and was consciously making reference to precedents like this.
10. Writing Activity: In small groups, have students write a dialogue between Mnonja and someone else. It could be the artist, the viewer, or someone from one of the supporting resources.
Optional: Have students view one or both of the short videos of Mickalene Thomas discussing Portrait of Mnonja.
Issues of gender inequality have had profound effects on all aspects of American society and its many institutions. In conjunction with the National Postal Museum’s upcoming exhibition Baseball: America’s Home Run, this collection will assist teachers in examining this issue with their students through two important institutions of the 20th Century: Major League Baseball and the United States Postal Service. The collection explores this essential question: How was the changing status of women in American society during the late 19th and early 20th centuries represented in professional baseball and the United States Postal Service? In small groups, students will discuss this underlying question through the variety of resources in this collection, examining the historical access women have had to these institutions, their divergent experiences compared to their male counterparts, and how women have historically been depicted on USPS stamps. Some supporting questions to scaffold inquiry can be found in the “Notes to Other Users” section.
Using the Project Zero Visible Thinking routine "Claim Support Question," a routine for clarifying truth claims, students will examine a portrait of Rosa Parks, a prominent civil rights activist whose refusal to give up her bus seat to a white passenger prompted the 1955-56 Montgomery bus boycott. After discussing the portrait with their peers, students will learn more about the arrest this sculpture depicts by reading the original police report, with notes by a Smithsonian curator.
Created for the 2016 National Portrait Gallery Summer Teacher Institute.
Keywords: african-american, black, civil rights movement, female, woman, women, segregation, NAACP, justice, arrest, #BecauseOfHerStory
This is a collection of items belonging to, or about, Frances M. Albrier. Although an important female leader and activist during the mid-20th century, many students may not have heard of Ms. Albrier. Encourage students to act as history detectives, exploring the collection to determine why this woman's belongings are in the collections of the Smithsonian.
Some questions to consider:
- What are Albrier's main accomplishments? What types of occupations did she have?
- Based on these, what values do you think were important to her?
- How does Albrier's life reflect major changes for women during the 20th century? Changes for African-Americans?
- What do these items tell us about challenges facing African-American women in the mid-century?
- What remains unknown about Albrier based on this collection? Where else could you go to look for more information?
- Look at an encyclopedia entry for Ms. Albrier. Are there any events mentioned not covered in this collection? What might be a good item to add in order to better show her life?
tags: activism, civil rights, union, labor, voter registration, 60s, world war II, shipyards, WW2, nursing, Red Cross, National Council of Negro Women, Nigeria, independence, peace, moral rearmament, #BecauseOfHerStory