Skip to Content
Share your personal collection

Share

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
 

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

Freer|Sackler Education
10
 

Angles in Motion

Students will first observe the portrait of Martha Graham, and figure out who she is based on what it communicates about her. Then the observation of the angles in her pose will help students create a scale drawing of this piece. This activity combines thinking routines about looking at a portrait with the mathematical concepts of angles and scale.

Created for the National Portrait Gallery Learning to Look Summer Institute, 2016 #NPGteach
Rachel Slezak
7
 

3D-Printing and Scanning

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

Key Moments in WWII: What makes you say that?

Using the Project Zero Visible Thinking routine "What makes you say that?," students will investigate two photographs, taken from different angles, of Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu and General Yoshijiro Umezu aboard the USS Missouri as they signed the surrender that would officially end WWII.

Tags: world war 2; world war ii; general macarthur; carl mydans; primary source; ww2; japanese instrument of surrender; potsdam declaration; inquiry strategy

Tess Porter
4
 

The Fantastic World of Nineteenth-Century Women’s Emotions: Two Literary Portrayals

Inspired by the December 2nd, 2015 Dibner Lecture by Laura Otis
Describing complex human emotions in words has challenged writers of every time in place. The feelings of rejected lovers are especially keen and make for engrossing stories. Two Victorian novelists, Charles Dickens and Rudyard Kipling, combined popular knowledge of science, literature, and religion to create powerful portraits of abandoned women. Although based more on cultural myths than human physiology, their depictions of Miss Havisham and the lady in the phantom rickshaw have had a powerful influence on representations of women’s emotions.
Smithsonian Libraries
23
 

Mummy Science - Natural and Cultural Preserved Remains

This Smithsonian Science How learning module, from Q?rius at the National Museum of Natural History, is part of a broader program at http://qrius.si.edu/explore-science/webcast This module focuses on the science of mummies. Targeted at middle schoolers, the module 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 module 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.
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