Found 4,779 Learning Lab Collections
This collection was created as part of the edx.org course Teaching Historical Inquiry Using Objects. It looks at the Japanese American experience of internment, and begins to answer the compelling question: what was life like for Japanese Americans in internment camps?
Objects are time capsules; they embody values, aspirations, or problems of a particular time and place and mark a stage of technological evolution. This student activity examines voting machines used in U.S. elections over more than a century. Looking closely and understanding the historical objects’ design evolution will inform students’ design of new machine intended to overcome barriers to voting in today's elections.
The first five images are voting machines from the late 1800s to the early 2000s. Students will explore their parts, purposes, and complexities, then read the Washington Post article "Broken machines, rejected ballots and long lines: voting problems emerge as Americans go to the polls." Finally, students will design (and may prototype) a voting machine.
This collection incorporates two Project Zero Agency by Design routines: Parts, Purposes, Complexities, a routine for looking closely; and Imagine If..., a routine for finding opportunity. Questions in each routine are open-ended and should be used to spark peer discussion in small groups or as a class. For more information on how to use and facilitate each routine, see their resource tiles at the end of the collection, as well as the Agency by Design website.
Keywords: vote, voter, maker, making
This is a picture of ouroboros, the snake eating it's own tail. I chose this picture because it is similar to the midgard serpent of Norse Mythology, a serpent so large that it is able to encircle all of midgard and bite its own tail. In Norse Mythology, the serpent is the son of Loki and a female jotun, and Thor will fight this monster during ragnorok, where Thor will kill him, but also be bitten and poisoned by the snake, and he also will die.
I am using these photos/paintings paired with the "Claim, Support, Question" thinking routine as a springboard to have deeper class and group discussions about difficult math problems.
This collection provides students the opportunity to dress artist Frida Kahlo in traditional Mexican garb that she favored, the huipil and the quechquemitl.
Frida Kahlo was born in Coyoacan on July 6, 1907. Thoughout her life Frida was a fierce nationalist and a vocal socialist. As a reflection of her beliefs, Frida often wore the indigenous clothing of Mexico. This can be seen both in photographs of her and in her paintings. Frida completed 143 paintings during her lifetime, 55 of which are self-portraits. Many of these self-portaits are among her most famous works.
Most of the costumes Frida wears were hand-woven, as well as hand embroidered and stitched. The colors and many of the symbols used in her work are clearly influenced by Mexican tradition.
She died in 1954.
- Generative Topic: Technology
- Essential Questions: How do we define technology?
- Understanding moves: Make Connections
- Thinking routines: Chalk Talk, Parts, Purposes Complexity, I Used Think...Now I Think
A common misconception among elementary age students is that technology only refers to things powered by electricity. This experience will guide them to better understanding of technology and that engineers create technology. During a Chalk Talk, students explore the question "What is Technology? Students then use the Parts Purposes Complexity routine to look closely at everyday objects such as a glue stick, scissors, and a stapler. Teachers can provide the objects for students to observe in the classroom or use the images in this collection. Students discuss the parts, the materials the object is made of, and the problem it solves as they discover that technology is everywhere around us and engineers are people who create technologies. Students complete a sort as they decide whether the things in this collection are examples of technology. After, completing the sort, guide students to define technology as the human use of scientific knowledge to solve problems and that it includes systems and processes. To assess understanding, students will use "I used to think, now I think " thinking routine . A Circle of Viewpoints routine could also be used to have students think about the Cotton Gin from the viewpoint of a slave.
What would cause a people to revolt against their government?
Why does a society need a system of government?
Why is it important for Americans to understand their system of government?
Why is it important for Americans to understand the history of their country?
Understanding Moves: Making Connections, Describe What's There, Uncovering Complexity, Reason with Evidence, Build Explanations
Thinking Moves: See Think Wonder, Parts Purposes Complexities
Generative Topic: Animal Adaptations
How do organisms live, grow, respond to their environment and reproduce?
How and why do organisms interact with their environment and what are the effects of these interactions?
How can there be so many similarities among organisms yet so many different kinds of plants, animals, and microorganisms?
What are the roles of organisms in a food chain?
How do the structures and functions of living things allow them to meet their needs?
What are characteristics that allow populations of animals to survive in an environment?
How does the variation among individuals affect their survival?
Understanding Moves: Describe What's There, Uncovering Complexity, Reason with Evidence
Thinking Moves: See Think Wonder, Parts Purposes Complexities
Students will investigate that animals have both internal and external structures that serve various functions in growth, survival, behavior, and reproduction and will engage in engineering and design. Students build a model and use their understanding of how animals are adapted to survive in a particular environment.
Students have prior knowledge about ecosystems, animal classifications, basic adaptations such as means of obtaining diet, protection, and movement.
Organisms interact in feeding relationships in ecosystems.
Organisms may compete for resources in an ecosystem.
For any particular environment, some kinds of organisms survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all.
Populations live in a variety of habitats, and change in those habitats affects the organisms living there.
Other characteristics result from individuals’ interactions with the environment. Many characteristics involve both inheritance and environment.
Many characteristics of organisms are inherited from their parents.
When the environment changes in ways that affect a place’s physical characteristics, temperature, or availability of resources, some organisms survive and reproduce, others move to new locations, yet others move into the transformed environment, and some die.
Populations live in a variety of habitats, and change in those habitats affects the organisms living there.
Aquisition of Knowledge and Skill
Producers (plants, algae, phytoplankton) make their own food, which is also used by animals (consumers).
Decomposers eat dead plant and animal materials and recycle the nutrients in the system.
Adaptations are structures and behaviors of an organism that help it survive and reproduce.
Organisms are related in feeding relationships called food chains. Animals eat plants, and other animals eat those animals.
Make observations to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence for an explanation of a phenomenon or test a design solution.
Use evidence (e.g. measurements, observations, patterns) to construct an explanation.
Identify the cause and effect relationships that are routinely identified and used to explain change.
Observe and identify structures and behaviors that help an animal survive in its environment.
Present results of their investigations in an organized manner.
Make a claim and supporting it with evidence.
Synthesize information from more than one source.
This collaborative project gives students the opportunity to take part in the systematic practice of engineering and design to achieve solutions to problems. During a life science unit, fourth grade students learn that for any particular environment, some kinds of organisms survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all. Students then apply these core scientific ideas to demonstrate understanding as they design, test, and refine an animal that is well suited to survive in its environment. By integrating content with practice, students are better able to make sense of science.
Students will create a presentation in which they showcase their Animal design and explain how it is well adapted to survive in its environment.
During See Think Wonder students engage in observation of animals as the foundation for greater insight into structure and function. Students first look closely at an animal to fully observe and notice before interpreting. Then students can begin to make interpretations based on their observations. Students use Smithsonian Collection resources, such as videos, 3D models with pins/annotations, articles to further explore blue crab structures and behaviors and how they help the animal survive in its environment. Students then use Parts Purposes Complexities routine to develop understanding of the concept of adaptation - a structure or behavior that improves an organism's chance of survival. Students study the blue crab environment and as they consider how people changing the crabs' environment have affected the blue crab population. To assess understanding, students complete the Animal Adaptations design challenge.
This collection has images of the Vietnam War to background the novel The Things They Carried. This collection should help to answer the compelling question; was the Vietnam War justified?
This collection will examine examples of art as a form of communication between the human and spiritual worlds. These forms of communication may include examples of direct communication — in which an individual or group uses art to speak to and influence the spiritual world — as well as examples that serve to document practices, beliefs, and the place of spiritual practices in society at large.
The form and focus of these communications expressed through art can help to explain the values of particular cultures or individuals, or may serve to question or enforce certain cultural beliefs. This type of art may be the expression of the needs of a social group or culture, such as prehistoric cave paintings that might have functioned in rituals to ensure successful hunts or plentiful game. It may serve to enforce a political agenda such as the Law Code of Hammurabi. Or it may express an individual's personal interpretation and experience of spirituality such as the illustrated poetry of William Blake. However, form does not always imply the expected function: the 19th century English painter and poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti sometimes drew on religious subjects or themes and much of his work has a mysterious and mystical atmosphere. Yet Rossetti, describing his spiritual beliefs, called himself an “art Catholic,” implying that if he engaged in a spiritual dialog through his art, it was with art itself (Faxon, 1989).
This collection will look at examples
from the prehistoric era through the early 20th century. These
examples help to contextualize the inner lives of individuals, and
the collective inner life of the cultures, their environments, wants,
needs, and values, to foster a greater appreciation of and respect
for these peoples and cultures.
Although there is only limited firm evidence of the purpose of cave art found at sites such as Lascaux, Chauvet, and Les Trois-Frères, scholars generally agree that it served some religious purpose. Various theories have been proposed to provide more specific explanations. Cave art, particularly Paleolithic cave art, depicts almost exclusively animals. Hunting was crucial to the survival of early humans, and it is possible that the images were created as part of hunting rituals. Images of animals superimposed over each other many have represented fertility rituals aimed at increasing the amount of game animals. Some images appear to have been deliberately scratched or gouged with spearheads — in some cases blood was painted flowing from these wounds — suggesting that the images may have been intended as a type of sympathetic magic giving hunters power over and protection from large and dangerous animals (Benton & DiYanni, 2012).
Other images are less easy to explain and have given rise to controversial theories such as the bird-faced human figure in the Lascaux Shaft Scene, that combine elements of humans with other animals in a single figure. The Shaft Scene appears to describe a narrative although the exact meaning is not completely clear. A wounded bison stands ready to charge; the animals intestines appear to be pouring out of its abdomen and a spear is shown near its hindquarters. In front of the bison is a stick figure human with a bird's face. The human figure appears to have fallen or been knocked over. Just below this odd figure is a line topped by a bird, perhaps an object belonging to the bird-faced man. This figure and others that combine humans and other animals into one figure such as The Sorcerer in Les Trois-Freres may document early humans' mythology, and could suggest the origins of certain beliefs and practices (Curtis, 2006).
The meaning of the Law Code of Hammurabi is less ambiguous — the spiritual and the legal/political aspects of the culture are united. The stele dates to approximately 1760 BCE and is divided into two sections. The lower section, which takes up the majority of the stele, consists of the code of laws in effect at the time. The relief at the top depicts the Babylonian king Hammurabi receiving the laws from the god Shamash. The implication is clear: the law itself is a religious document and the social rules it describes are the will of the gods — and Hammurabi whose authority is bolstered by the approval of the gods (Benton & DiYanni, 2012).
The spiritual is not always a numinous experience in a cave. Some early laws and social codes were framed as divine communications that enforce social norms and rules — even now, witnesses in courts are generally sworn in by placing their hand on a Bible. Communication with the spiritual in examples such as the Law Code of Hammurabi is aimed at establishing and enforcing order and lending it a weight of legitimacy. It is as critical for the members of an urban culture, such as Babylon, to abide by rules to maintain peace with their neighbors as it was for the Paleolithic peoples to ensure successful hunts. And, kings such as Hammurabi believed it was critical to protect their power. By aligning themselves with gods, they could borrow some of the gods' power in the minds of the people and make rebellion or betrayal a kind of sacrilege. Hammurabi, in fact, was declared a god in his own lifetime (Van De Mieroop, 2005).
Music may also function as a form of communication between gods and humans. In pharaonic Egypt, religious festivals appear to have prominently involved music and dance. Music may have been used in religious rituals to communicate with the gods, invoke deities, or as a medium to transmit offerings. Some instruments were associated with specific deities: the sistrum with Hathor and Isis and the tambourine with Bes. Sistrums may have been played during rituals associated with Hathor to invoke her — and to placate her. Although images of deities playing musical instruments are relatively rare in Egyptian art, Bes is frequently depicted dancing and playing a tambourine. Unlike the other gods, Bes used music to communicate with humans. Bes was associated with the home and family — the front rooms of Egyptian homes appear to have contained shrines to Bes — and he remained a popular deity among the people throughout Egypt's history. Bes was believed to protect people, particularly women in childbirth, by playing music to frighten away evil spirits. Amulets of Bes dancing and playing a tambourine appear to have been a common type of protective amulet worn around the neck. It is worth noting that depictions of Bes differ markedly from depictions of most other Egyptian deities: he is represented in lively motion. In contrast to the image of Egyptian religion based primarily on royal tombs and, therefore, focused on death and the elite members of society, Bes was closely tied to life and the lives of common people (Simmance, n.d.).
Composed by the poet Valmiki in India the fifth century BCE, the Rāmāyana relates the deeds and adventures of Rama, an avatar of Vishnu. According to J. L. Brockington, in Indian tradition the Rāmāyana is designated the ādikāvya, which may be translated as “the first poetic work,” and is regularly referred to as being sung as opposed to spoken in contrast to the Mahābhārata. In one version of the framework story introducing the Rāmāyana, Rama is described as the perfect human being. His behavior is therefore worth emulating, and it is likely that as early as the first millennium BCE that was in a sense being done literally through plays and dances reenacting the story (Brockington, 1998). In that sense, the Rāmāyana represents a complex, evolving dialog, a lived experience of both artistic and spiritual expression.
Euripides' tragic drama The Bacchae is another example of theater acting as a complex dialog between the human and the spiritual worlds. The plot of The Bacchae revolves around the arrival of the god Dionysos in the city of Thebes where his ecstatic worship is opposed by Pentheus, the king of Thebes. As Segal writes, the play is morally ambiguous and may have been designed to implicate the audience in the action. Although Dionysos is a disturbance to Thebes, Pentheus' response is heavy-handed and unsympathetic. However, as the drama unfolds, the audience that may have been rooting for Dionysos is confronted with a climax that sees the god orchestra Pentheus' gruesome death. It is important to note that Dionysos was a well-established and liked god in Athens and that Classical Greek drama was written to be performed during annual festivals in Dionysos' honor. As Vellacott writes, during the festival a statue of Dionysos was brought from a shrine to the amphitheater to watch the plays. As Segal notes, it is unlikely that the play is meant to be critical of Dionysos (his actual worship was much more restrained than depicted in the play or the myths it was based on) but its presentation, at a fundamentally religious festival with the god literally in the audience, could not but have sparked another dialog within the audience, a reflection on their relationship to the god and the sometimes overwhelming forces he represents.
The Temple of Isis at Pompeii declares both the strength of her worshipers' belief and the endurance of her cult in the face of repeated official sanctions. The temple was damaged in an earthquake in 62 AD but was rebuilt by the time of the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD; in fact, it was the only civic building in that area of Pompeii that had been completely rebuilt (Hackworth, 2006). The apparent preference for a foreign goddess in a Roman city is all the more significant in light of imperial persecutions and prohibitions against her worship dating back to Augustus and coming to a head in 19 CE when Emperor Tiberius exiled thousands of freedmen who were adherents of the religion (Heyob, 1975). However, the cult of Isis continued to flourish. By the time of Pompeii's destruction, her worship appears to have included individuals from all classes of society, from members of the imperial family and municipal officials to freedmen and slaves (Takacs, 1995). The remains of the temple can still be seen on the original site and at the nearby Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli. Although Egyptian decoration was incorporated in the design of the temple and cult objects, the plan of the building and the style of the frescoes was Roman (Moorman, 2011). The navigium Isidis fresco appears to show a distinctly Egyptian scene, Isis resurrecting her husband-brother Osiris, but in a purely Roman style. The Pompeiian worshipers of Isis were part of Roman culture but may have been seeking an opportunity to engage in personally meaningful spiritual communication outside of the state-sectioned venues and deified emperors (Hackworth, 2006).
Benton, J. R. & DiYanni, R. (2012). Arts and culture: An introduction to the humanities. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Brockington, J. (1998). The Sanskrit epics. Boston: Brill.
Curtis, G. B. (2006). The cave painters: Probing the mysteries of the world's first artists. (2006). New York: Knopf.
Faxon, A. C. (1989). Dante Gabriel Rossetti. New York: Abbeville Press.
Hackworth, P., L. (2006). The freedman in Roman art and art history. Oxford: Cambridge University Press.
Heyob, S. K. (1975). The cult of Isis among women in the Graeco-Roman world. Leiden: E. J. Brill.
Moorman, E., M. (2011). Divine interiors: Mural paintings in Greek and Roman sanctuaries. Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam Press.
Segal, C. (2001). Introduction. In Euripides, Bakkai (3-32). New York: Oxford University Press.
Simmance, E. (n.d.) Communication through music in ancient Egyptian religion. University of Birmingham. Retrieved 2/4/2019 from https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/activity/connections/Essays/ESimmance.aspx.
Takacs, S., A. (1995). Isis and Sarapis in the Roman world. Leiden: E. J. Brill.
Van De Mieroop, M. (2005). King Hammurabi of babylon: A biography. Hoboken: Blackwell Publishing.
Vellacott, P. (1959). Introduction. In Aeschylus, The Orestian trilogy (9-40). New York: Penguin.
This collection compares and contrasts the portraits of Eleanor Roosevelt and Marian Anderson, and explores the struggles Anderson experienced as a person of color in America and the dynamics of white privilege and race relations.
This collection was created in conjunction with the National Portrait Gallery's 2018 Learning to Look Summer Teacher Institute.
The works in this collection are under consideration for the SAAM/NPG posters promoting the Smithsonian's American Women's History Initiative.
This collection is intended to be used in a Mythology class. Designed for a 100 level mythology course. The assignments here are classroom specific. They are modifiable to fit any style of classroom, and address a diverse group of learners.
This collection will focus on Prehistoric Art and take you through some of the most magnificent and interesting art from the era. My first resource is based upon Hittite Art. The hittites were a civilization in north-central Anatolia around 1600 BC. Many of the art pieces revolve around Hittite ritual practices. While this civilization left no written pieces, pictures are worth a thousand words and the art they left behind gives you a glimpse of what life was like in 1600 BC.
The second resource is focused on the Venus of Willendorf, which is an 11.1 centimetre tall venus figurine which was estimated to have been built around 30,000 BC. The sculpture is depicting a naked woman. The exaggerated sexual features can be interpreted as a possible fertility fetish.
The third resource revolves around ancient sculptures from Jordan. These sculptures are rather mysterious and lack an sort of gender as well as some human features. The uniqueness and mystery surrounding them brings much attention to them.
The fourth resource is about the Excavation of Persepolis. Archaeological evidence show that some of the earliest remains of Persepolis come from about 515 BC. It came from inscriptions on the wall of the palace that led archaeologists to believe that Darius 1 built the terrace and the palaces. Another great example of art leading to historical breakthroughs.
The fifth resource is about the Excavation of Samarra, which is just north of Baghdad. Plenty of Female statuette and pottery were discovered from this excavation.
The sixth and final resource is about the vicinity of nihavand. Attached are some art pieces from Nihavand.
Smithsonian Archives - History Div, Smithsonian Institution. “Smithsonian Learning Lab Resource: Ancient Sculptures from Jordan.” Smithsonian Learning Lab, Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access, 2 Nov. 2015. learninglab.si.edu/q/r/119934. Accessed 17 Feb. 2019.
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives, Smithsonian Institution. “Smithsonian Learning Lab Resource: Excavation of Persepolis (Iran): Prehistoric Flint Tools [Drawing].” Smithsonian Learning Lab, Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access, 27 Oct. 2015. learninglab.si.edu/q/r/9002. Accessed 17 Feb. 2019.
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives, Smithsonian Institution. “Smithsonian Learning Lab Resource: Vicinity of Nihavand (Iran): Two Daggers, from Prehistoric Mound of Tepe Giyan [Graphic].” Smithsonian Learning Lab, Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access, 3 Nov. 2015. learninglab.si.edu/q/r/224415. Accessed 17 Feb. 2019.
The focus of this collection is Roman architecture. My interest in architecture comes from the time I spent in Italy in 2016. I visited Rome, Florence, and all around Tuscany. As I saw during my stay there, and also what we have learned in class, is that the most important features in Roman architecture were arches and columns. Columns were erected to show victories in wars and arches were pivotal in Rome’s success. Without arches, they wouldn’t have been able to build expansive buildings or roadways from Britain to the Middle East. Aqueducts contain arches which serve as a nice physical feature, as well as hold a strong material in place for many many years. There is so much detail in every piece of architecture and every building tells an individual story. Much of the architecture standing where we are today, tells a story of what we know about Romans.
These three objects somewhat describe the memories and emotions I carry with me on an daily basis. Albeit personal, these items represent the things that tie me to my town. Enjoy.
The first meeting of the third cohort of the SSYAC (2018-2019) will be held at the National Air and Space Museum on October 24, 2018. The meeting will be out of this world. We'll begin by playing a "break-out box" game in the Moving Beyond Earth gallery. Can you help Dr. Skorton solve the space history clues to UNLOCK the mysteries of the universe? OR will we be lost in space? Next, we'll meet Dr. Ellen Stofan, Director (and Scientist), National Air and Space Museum (NASM). We'll hear about plans to renovate the museum--and what it takes to be the world's most visited museum. Next, since it's our very first meeting of the new SSYAC year, we'll take a moment to greet friends--both old and new. Secretary Skorton will discuss this year's SSYAC agenda, and answer some of the questions that you posed to him in your applications. Finally, we'll take a group photo. If you have any questions--do not hesitate to reach out to Tracie Spinale, tspinale(AT)si.edu or your Affiliate Coordinator.
The second meeting of the third cohort of the SSYAC (2018-2019) will be held at the Smithsonian American Art Museum on November 19, 2018.
We'll meet Stephanie Stebich, Director, SAAM and Renwick Gallery. We'll hear about the history and function of the museum, and think about the role of science in the preservation of art. We'll visit behind-the-scenes at the Lunder Center for Conservation, where Amber Kerr, Chief of Conservation, will share her innovative research using infrared reflectography and ultraviolet-induced luminescence on the paintings of DC-artist Alma Thomas. Ms. Kerr will also talk to the group about the conservation of plastics which make-up the Renwick's Game Fish sculpture.
Our dialogue with the Secretary will focus on:
In today’s world, what are your concerns—both national and at a local community level? How can a cultural institution like the Smithsonian help to address those issues?