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Quiz your students on the U.S. presidents; awe your friends with handpicked photographic art. In the Learning Lab, you can share your personalized collections of Smithsonian resources with the world. Become part of a collaborative, global community of learners who are passionate about adding to and bringing to light new knowledge, ideas, and insight.

Suggested Resources

 

Writing Inspiration: Using Art to Spark Narrative Story Elements

The Smithsonian museum collection inspires many to research the history behind artifacts, but this collection explores the use of art and artifacts to spark creative story writing. Students will choose artifacts to craft characters, a setting, and a plot conflict to create and write a narrative story.

Targeted Vocabulary: Narrative, protagonist , antagonist, character, character traits, setting, plot, climax, and conflict.

After reading and analyzing several narrative stories for story elements such as character, setting, plot, climax, and conflict, students will use this collection to begin planning their own narrative stories.
Individuals or partners will first view the portraits and discuss possible stories behind each face before choosing a protagonist, antagonist, and supporting characters. They may begin to discuss and imagine character traits for each subject.
Next, the student will select a landscape setting in which the story may take place. The writer will describe the landscape, imagine a time period, and name the location.
Finally, the student will either choose an action artifact around which to build a major plot event, or have that slide as a minor scene in their story.
Students may use the Question Formulation Technique to garner ideas for background stories behind the faces. http://rightquestion.org/
Once the story elements are in place, the students may begin to draft narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.

With the artifacts selected as the major story elements, the students may begin crafting their narrative story. The artifacts can then be displayed as illustrations in the published narratives.
Kathy Powers
66
 

Mummy Science - Natural and Cultural Preserved Remains

This Smithsonian Science How learning collection, from Q?rius at the National Museum of Natural History, is part of a distance learning program at http://qrius.si.edu/explore-science/webcast This collection focuses on the science of mummies. Targeted at middle schoolers, the collection invites students into an authentic understanding of how mummies form, both naturally and culturally. Physical and forensic anthropologist Dr. David Hunt is featured as an expert explainer. The collection includes an interactive webcast video with discussion questions, cross-cutting activities, an independent project, and other resources for teachers and students.

This collection was created to support the 2016 CCSSO Teachers of the Year Day at the Smithsonian.

Key Terms: physical anthropology, archaeology, skeletal remains, mummification, burial practices, decomposition, culture

Key Concepts:

Skeletal analysis for age, sex, ancestry, and health

Cultural burial practices over time

Chemical process of mummification

Scientific benefits of studying mummies

Technology used by physical anthropologists

Smithsonian Science How
13
 

Hamilton!

Have your students (or you) caught the Hamilton bug inspired by Lin-Manuel Miranda's musical? This collection is filled with resources and teaching ideas about the founding father. With his musical, Miranda has transformed teaching the Founding Fathers from distant and un-relatable to a relevant story of a hustling immigrant whose rise helps progress the American Revolution and set the new nation on track to become the economic powerhouse that it remains today.

Tags: Alexander Hamilton, ten dollar bill, Aaron Burr, duel, treasurer, financial plan, Federalist

Kate Harris
14
 

Which decade is it?

Lisa Major
35
 

3D-Printing and Scanning

A collection of 3D printing and scanning applications from the Smithsonian.
Brian Ausland
6
 

Civil War Diary: Homefront Perspectives

Diary entries from Mary Henry and Ella Gertrude Clanton Thomas during the Civil War.
Nicole Gilbertson
8
 

Emergence of Civilization in China: Oracle Bones

In this student activity, students learn about life in early Chinese urban society by analyzing oracle bone divinations. These divinations, consisting of characters inscribed on turtle shells and animal bones over 3,000 years ago, are among the earliest systematic Chinese written language extant today. Students will answer object analysis questions, complete an activity using translations of divinations, and compare early Chinese urban society to Bronze Age societies in other parts of the world. This set includes multiple objects from the Smithsonian's Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery.

Created by Elizabeth Eder and Keith Wilson at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in collaboration with Tess Porter, Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access.

Tags: archaeology; ancestor worship; shang dynasty; diviner; early writing; early civilization; ritual; artifact; archaeological remains; artifact analysis

#historicalthinking


Freer|Sackler Education
10
 

Visions of the Future

This student activity includes a range of visions of the future, to serve as inspiration and present a challenge for students: what do you want your city to be like in the future?

Students will watch a video where students complete a similar project, and then view a variety of artifacts presenting different views of the future, with questions for analysis. Finally, students will be tasked with developing their own vision for their city or town in the future.
Kate Harris
15