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Staff Picks

 

Contemporary & Historic Architecture

How does the past influence the present and future? Compare forms in contemporary architecture with those of buildings from ancient and Renaissance times. What similarities can you find?

Jean-Marie Galing
34
 

Mary & Katy: See, Think, Wonder & Compare

Artful thinking routines to explore, critique, compare and contrast portraits of Mary Cassatt and Katy Perry from the National Portrait Gallery. #npgteach
Micah Haddock
6
 

Unpacking Sol LeWitt’s Open Cubes

Students will analyze Sol LeWitt's variations of the open cube to apply their knowledge of drawing cubes using isometric paper and nets of cubes. Students will extend their knowledge of surface area while observing LeWitt's Cube without a cube and make a generalization for two formulas.

This is an activity for a grade 6 or 7 geometry class. Prerequisite knowledge: volume, surface area and nets of cubes.

Students can do the work in groups of 2-3 there are sections for thinking routines and prompts for students to upload photos of their work.

Amanda Riske
8
 

Gender Inequality and Identity: Childe Hassam's Tanagra (The Builders, New York) 1918

This collection includes a multi-day lesson plan built around Childe Hassam's Tanagra (The Builders, New York), 1918, and is designed to explore the effect that gender inequality can have on identity. Lessons are designed for an eleventh-grade, American Studies, Humanities-style course, and the historical context is the Gilded Age and the Women's Suffrage Movement. The plan for this mini-unit includes the analysis of visual, literary, and historical texts, and while it has a historical context, the goal is also to make connections to American life today. The essential question for this mini-unit is this: How can unfair gender norms affect what it feels like to be a human being? Included, you will find a lesson plan as well as digital versions of the artistic, literary, and historical texts needed to execute that plan. #SAAMteach

William Connell
21
 

3D-Printing and Scanning

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

Egyptian Hieroglyphs

What are hieroglyphs? What was the purpose? Who could write them? How did we discover how to read them?
Aubrey Gennari
11
 

A Morning in Damascus

This collection features a series of three independent activities around one singular portrait of Bayard Taylor (formally titled A Morning in Damascus) painted by Thomas Hicks, 1855.  Taylor was one of America's foremost and most popular travel writers of the mid to late 19th century.  

These activities were created for my Advanced Placement World History course to practice close reading skills as well as historical thinking skills.  The notations provided here are for teacher reference and would not be given to students. 

This collection was created in conjunction with the National Portrait Gallery's 2017 Learning to Look Summer Teacher Institute.

#NPGTeach 

#historicalthinking

Lauren Hetrick
12
 

Stamp Stories: The Revolutionary War

A resource demonstrating a fun and engaging teaching strategy, Stamp Stories.
Postage stamps are not simply a means to send a letter but can serve as windows into the history and cultures of the world. Every stamp tells a story. Simultaneously a primary and secondary source; the subject depicted on a stamp presents opportunities for innovative teaching strategies that appeal specifically to visual learners.

In this lesson, students build their own stamp collections to show what they’ve learned and debate why the stamps they've chosen reflect the given theme.

This specific collection features the Revolutionary War but the technique may be applied to any subject or theme as an assessment, review tool, or ice breaker.
Emily Murgia
14
 

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
 

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
 

Mars

A current elementary or middle school student will most likely be the first human to step foot on Mars. In this episode of STEM in 30, we will investigate the plans to send humans to Mars and the ongoing research into water and the possibility of life on the Red Planet.

October 21, 2015


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

STEM in 30 at National Air and Space Museum
28
 

Horn Players

This is introductory information for Jean-Michel Basquiat's "Horn Players" from 1983.

This collection was created in conjunction with the National Portrait Gallery's 2017 Learning to Look Summer Teacher Institute.

TAGS: #NPGteach, portrait, learning to look, National Portrait Gallery, jazz, Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Basquiat, AP Art History

Stacey Horman
12
 

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
 

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
 

Which decade is it?

Lisa Major
35
 

My Smithsonian Closet

You could be exceptionally well-dressed if the Smithsonian were your closet.
Kate Harris
29