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The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden
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This site examines the job of a president, the balance of power with the Supreme Court and Congress, and ways presidents have communicated with the public. Features include the battle sword of George Washington, the lap desk on which Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, and the top hat worn by Abraham Lincoln the night he was assassinated.

Subject:
Arts and Humanities
U.S. History
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
Smithsonian Institution
Provider Set:
National Museum of American History
Be a Movie Director -- Game
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Find the right vehicles for a new movie from the America on the Move collection, then watch the movie that you’ve created on the big screen. See how much you know about the history of transportation with the interactive games in this online collection. You can find information, artifacts and photographs in the collection as well.

Subject:
Arts and Humanities
U.S. History
Material Type:
Game
Lesson Plan
Reading
Provider:
Smithsonian Institution
Provider Set:
National Museum of American History
Author:
Project Director
Steven Lubar
Botany & Art and Their Roles in Conservation
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The lessons in this issue of Smithsonian in Your Classroom introduce the work of botanists and botanical illustrators, specifically their race to make records of endangered plant species around the world. “Very little of the world’s flora has been fully studied,” says one Smithsonian botanist, “and time is running out.” In the first lesson, students gets to know six endangered plants. They examine illustrations, photographs, and dried specimens of the plants as they consider this question: If a scientist can take a picture of a plant, are there advantages in having an illustration? They go on to consider some of the big questions that botanists themselves must ask: Which of these species are most in need of conservation efforts? Are any of these plants more worth saving than others?In the second lesson, the students try their own hands at botanical illustration, following the methods of a Smithsonian staff illustrator. All that is required for the lesson are pencils, markers, tracing paper, and access to a photocopier.

Subject:
Arts and Humanities
Life Science
Botany
Ecology
Forestry and Agriculture
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Diagram/Illustration
Lecture
Lesson Plan
Reading
Unit of Study
Provider:
Smithsonian Institution
Provider Set:
Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund
Author:
Smithsonian Institute
Botany and Art: Their Roles in Conservation
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Students are introduced to the work of botanists and botanical illustrators, and specifically to their race to make records of endangered plant species around the world. Students examine illustrations, photographs, and dried specimens of endangered plants and consider the conservation value of an illustration over a photographic image. In a second session, students try their own hands at botanical illustration and follow the methods of a Smithsonian staff illustrator. Pencils, markers, tracing paper, and access to a photocopier are required.

Subject:
Arts and Humanities
Botany
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lecture
Lesson Plan
Provider:
Smithsonian Institution
Provider Set:
Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies
Author:
Smithsonian Institutions
CivilWar@ Smithsonian
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This site examines the Civil War through collections of artifacts. Topics include slavery and abolition, Abraham Lincoln, the first Union officer killed, soldiering, weapons, leaders, cavalries, navies, life and culture, Appomattox, Winslow Homer, and Mathematics and Statistics. A Civil War time-line is included.

Subject:
Arts and Humanities
U.S. History
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
Smithsonian Institution
Provider Set:
National Portrait Gallery
Cloud Dreamer
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In pretending, we learn to navigate with ease between real and imaginary worlds while learning the differences between them. Using our imaginations encourages original thinking, flexibility, adaptability, empathy, and the ability to generate multiple solutions to a problem. Pretend play helps us learn to think visually and spatially and to both capture and express ideas.

Subject:
Arts and Humanities
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Smithsonian Institution
Provider Set:
Lemelson Center
National Museum of American History
Decoding the Past: The Work of Archaeologists
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This site introduces students to archeology -- the study of material remains to learn about past human experiences. This lesson (Grades 3-8) discusses various challenges of an archaeologist: locating a site that will yield clues about the people who once lived there, conducting excavations, and more. Students identify artifacts from a contemporary setting, describe the function of each artifact, identify methods for dating soil layers, and interpret soil profiles.

Subject:
Arts and Humanities
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Provider:
Smithsonian Institution
Provider Set:
Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies
Establishing Borders: The Expansion of the United States, 1846-48
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This site offers geography and history activities showing how two years in history had an indelible impact on American politics and culture. Students interpret historical maps, identify territories acquired by the U.S., identify states later formed from these territories, examine the territorial status of Texas, and identify political, social, and economic issues related to the expansion of the U.S. in the 1840s.

Subject:
Arts and Humanities
U.S. History
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Diagram/Illustration
Lesson Plan
Reading
Unit of Study
Provider:
Smithsonian Institution
Provider Set:
Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies
Introduction to the Nature Journal
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The purpose of this lesson is to show learners how to keep a nature journal. How to reflect, respond, and question the observations they see in the world.

Subject:
Arts and Humanities
Ecology
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Diagram/Illustration
Lesson Plan
Provider:
Smithsonian Institution
Provider Set:
Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies
The Invention of the Electric Guitar
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This online exhibit explores the history and development of the electric guitar. It includes information about the instrument designers and the musicians who influenced the creation of new guitars and innovations in their sound. Examples of about 40 different guitars are included with descriptions of each. There is also information on how different types of acoustic and electric guitars operate with the sounds of each available for listening. Finally, addition information, references, and links are included.

Subject:
Film and Music Production
U.S. History
Material Type:
Lecture
Provider:
Smithsonian Institution
Author:
Monica Smith
Making Friends with Franklin
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This site introduces students to the world of Ben Franklin and other natural philosophers at a time when the word science had not yet entered our language. Portraits of Franklin's colleagues, an overview of his life, and experiments showing how electrical charges attract and repel are part of this lesson (for Grades 3-8).

Subject:
U.S. History
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Provider:
Smithsonian Institution
Provider Set:
Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies
Mali Empire and Djenne Figures
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Archeology offers the most tangible evidence of earlier civilizations. Although archeology has already provided invaluable information pertaining to the life styles and skills of the peoples from this region of West Africa, the archaeological record is still incomplete. The figurative sculptures featured in this resource furnish one part of the historical puzzle of this region. These handsome terracotta sculptures are from the Inland Niger Delta region near Djenne (pronounced JEH-nay; also spelled Jenne), one of several important trading cities that grew and developed during the Mali Empire.

Subject:
Architecture and Design
Arts and Humanities
World History
Archaeology
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Smithsonian Institution
Provider Set:
National Museum of African Art
Minerals, Crystals, and Gems: Stepping Stones to Inquiry
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This site introduces students to mineral science and the scientific process -- observing things, forming hypotheses, and drawing conclusions. Students watch crystals grow, go on a scavenger hunt for minerals, and create a classroom exhibit of rocks and minerals (for Grades 3-8).

Subject:
Geology
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Provider:
Smithsonian Institution
Provider Set:
Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies
A More Perfect Union: Japanese Americans and the U.S. Constitution
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This activity “Becoming aware of the Japanese American Internment Camp Experience” is intended to help students become aware of, and sensitive to, the Japanese American interment camp experience. They will develop a sense of empathy by simulating the situations which Japanese American children faced.

Subject:
Arts and Humanities
U.S. History
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
Smithsonian Institution
Provider Set:
National Museum of American History
Mystery Skull Interactive | The Smithsonian Institution's Human Origins Program
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When scientists discover a new fossil skull, they compare it to skulls that have already been identified as particular early human species. In this activity, you get the chance to be the scientist!

Subject:
Arts and Humanities
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Diagram/Illustration
Interactive
Simulation
Provider:
Smithsonian Institution
Provider Set:
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
The Online Academy
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The Online Academy highlights artifacts, scholars, collectors, and preservers of African American history. Features include the inventor of the multiple effect vacuum process for producing sugar, the first identified African American toolmaker, the autobiography of an African American cowboy, and Zora Neale Hurston's first novel.

Subject:
U.S. History
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
Smithsonian Institution
Provider Set:
Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum
Plants and Animals, Partners in Pollination
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This site helps students see how plants and animals interact to accomplish pollination. Students (Grades 3-8) identify plant and animal parts involved in pollination, connections between pollination and food production, relationships between pollinators and the plants they pollinate, and ways flowers have adapted to encourage pollination.

Subject:
Education
Biology
Botany
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Provider:
Smithsonian Institution
Provider Set:
Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies
Portraits, Visual and Written
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This site features Louisa May Alcott and Samuel Clemens. See excerpts from Alcott's girlhood journal and Little Women. Read Clemens' explanation of his white suit in Mark Twain's Autobiography and the last chapter of Tom Sawyer, where Huck Finn has fled the Widow Douglas's civilizing influence. Help students see that their own lives and views can be a basis for creative writing.

Subject:
Arts and Humanities
Literature
Visual Arts
Women's Studies
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Provider:
Smithsonian Institution
Provider Set:
Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies
The Price of Freedom: Americans at War
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This manual provides you with a variety of creative and engaging strategies to help students think about how wars have been defining moments in both the history of the nation and the lives of individual Americans.

Subject:
Arts and Humanities
U.S. History
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Provider:
Smithsonian Institution
Provider Set:
National Museum of American History
Reviled and Revered: Toads, Turtles, Snakes, Salamanders, and Other Creepers and Crawlers
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This site examines misconceptions about herps (the collective name given to reptiles and amphibians), how herps have been viewed throughout history, and how reptiles and amphibians are similar to and different from one another.

Subject:
Education
Biology
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Provider:
Smithsonian Institution
Provider Set:
Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies
Scientists @ the Smithsonian
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Video interviews with twenty Smithsonian scientists introduce students to the wide variety of work in the sciences. Students will learn the diverse pathways that these scientists took to enter their fields and they will see that many kinds of people become scientists.

Subject:
Women's Studies
Material Type:
Lecture
Provider:
Smithsonian Institution
Provider Set:
Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies
Author:
Individual Authors
Smithsonian Kids: Collecting
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This site invites kids to start a collection of rocks, shells, postcards, posters, or something else that interests them. Three Smithsonian collections are sampled. Rocks and Minerals includes the Hope Diamond; Stamps includes Western Cattle in Storm (1898); Historic Coins includes the Jefferson Indian Peace Medal.

Subject:
Arts and Humanities
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Smithsonian Institution
Provider Set:
Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies
Smithsonian Source: Civil Rights
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This section is intended to supplement the curricula, textbooks, and materials you currently use for lessons on the civil rights struggle. The teacher-developed resources in the section will enhance the classroom experience for both you and your students.
Explore the variety of teaching strategies and guidelines, lesson plans and document-based questions (DBQs), and information about museum objects and other primary sources. You might get started by showing the video, in which Smithsonian curators examine a photograph of civil rights leader Medgar Evers. You can then help the students examine other historic photographs.

Subject:
Arts and Humanities
U.S. History
Material Type:
Assessment
Lecture
Lesson Plan
Reading
Provider:
Smithsonian Institution
Provider Set:
Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies
Smithsonian Source: Colonial America
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This section is intended to supplement the curricula, textbooks, and materials you currently use for lessons on the colonial period. The teacher-developed resources in the section will enhance the classroom experience for both you and your students. The lesson plans and DBQs are organized by grade level. The DBQ primary sources can stand alone in DBQ exercises. Images of the primary sources are independent of any extensive explanatory information, so that the images can be used as handouts.

Subject:
Arts and Humanities
U.S. History
Material Type:
Assessment
Lecture
Lesson Plan
Reading
Provider:
Smithsonian Institution
Provider Set:
Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies
Smithsonian Source: Invention
Conditions of Use:
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Rating

This section is intended to supplement the curricula, textbooks, and materials you currently use for lessons on American inventions and innovations. The teacher-developed resources in the section will enhance the classroom experience for both you and your students. You might get started by showing the video, which traces the development of the electric guitar.
The lesson plans and DBQs are organized by grade level. The DBQ primary sources can stand alone in DBQ exercises. Images of the primary sources are independent of any extensive explanatory information, so that the images can be used as handouts.

Subject:
Arts and Humanities
U.S. History
Material Type:
Assessment
Lecture
Lesson Plan
Reading
Provider:
Smithsonian Institution
Provider Set:
Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies
Smithsonian Source: Native American History
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This section is intended to supplement the curricula, textbooks, and materials you currently use for lessons on Native history. The teacher-developed resources in the section will enhance the classroom experience for both you and your students. You might get started by reviewing the video on Lakota winter counts.

Subject:
Arts and Humanities
U.S. History
Material Type:
Assessment
Lecture
Lesson Plan
Reading
Provider:
Smithsonian Institution
Provider Set:
Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies
Smithsonian Source: Transportation
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This section is intended to supplement the curricula, textbooks, and materials you currently use for lessons that demonstrate the importance of travel and transportation in American life. The teacher-developed resources will enhance the classroom experience for both you and your students. You might start by viewing the short video, in which curators at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum discuss the achievements and legacy of Amelia Earhart.

Subject:
Arts and Humanities
U.S. History
Material Type:
Assessment
Lecture
Lesson Plan
Reading
Provider:
Smithsonian Institution
Provider Set:
Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies
Smithsonian Source: Westward Expansion
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This section is intended to supplement the curricula, textbooks, and materials you currently use for lessons on the expansion of the United States. The teacher-developed resources will enhance the classroom experience for both you and your students. You might get started by showing the video, in which Smithsonian art curator Richard Murray examines Emanuel Leutze's epic painting Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way.

Subject:
Arts and Humanities
U.S. History
Material Type:
Assessment
Lecture
Lesson Plan
Reading
Provider:
Smithsonian Institution
Provider Set:
Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies
Tale of a Whale
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In this issue’s lesson, students exercise their observation skills to do some of the actual work of marine biologists who study the endangered North Atlantic right whale. They identify an individual whale by examining photographs taken at sea. They then examine a record of sighting of the whale in order to track its movements.

Subject:
Environmental Science
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Provider:
Smithsonian Institution
Provider Set:
Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies
Tinker Ball
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Exploratory play is about asking questions: “What happens when I do this?” “What if I did it this way?” Experimenting with materials and pushing their limits encourages us to consider a wide range of possibilities when problem-solving. Playing around with objects and ideas helps us see that there may be more than one solution.

Subject:
Arts and Humanities
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Smithsonian Institution
Provider Set:
Lemelson Center
National Museum of American History
Under the Spell of ... Spiders!
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Spiders are endlessly fascinating and a great school subject because they offer plenty of teachable topics that span the curriculum. We've tried to provide some of those topics here in these lessons, as for all their amazing physical features and unusual habits, spiders, with just a few notable exceptions, pose little threat to humans and are creatures deserving of understanding and respect. It's our hope that, as you work through the activities, your students will gain a new appreciation for spiders.

Subject:
Education
Biology
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Provider:
Smithsonian Institution
Provider Set:
Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies
Vote: The Machinery of Democracy
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This site looks at the history and variety of voting methods in the U.S. -- the voice vote, party ticket (paper ballots listing candidates from just one party), Australian ballot, gear and lever machine, and others. Voting reforms of the early 1900s, when the U.S. electorate doubled, are described. Kinds of voting equipment used in counties across the U.S. are shown on a map. Innovative design improvements are discussed.

Subject:
Arts and Humanities
U.S. History
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
Smithsonian Institution
Provider Set:
National Museum of American History
West Point in the Making of America, 1802-1918
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These activities will have student look at the history of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, its contributions to American history, and accomplishments of selected West Point graduates. Proposed by George Washington in 1783 and created 20 years later, West Point became an important American institution before the Civil War.

Subject:
Arts and Humanities
U.S. History
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
Smithsonian Institution
Provider Set:
National Museum of American History
Where's Everyone Going -- Game
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Match a variety of vehicles with their destinations and time periods to learn how much transportation in America has changed over time. See how much you know about the history of transportation with the interactive games in this online collection. You can find information, artifacts and photographs in the collection as well.

Subject:
Arts and Humanities
U.S. History
Material Type:
Game
Lesson Plan
Reading
Provider:
Smithsonian Institution
Provider Set:
National Museum of American History
Author:
Project Director
Steven Lubar
Within These Walls
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Within These Walls...tells the stories of five families who lived in this house over 200 years and made history in their kitchens and parlors, through everyday choices and personal acts of courage and sacrifice. In this online exhibition from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, students will learn how the Smithsonian acquired the house at 16 Elm Street Ipswich, Massachusetts and saved more than a dozen family stories and 200 years of American social history. They will also learn some of the methods historians and curators used to learn about this house's past, the ways that it changed over time, and the people who lived in it.

Subject:
Arts and Humanities
U.S. History
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
Smithsonian Institution
Provider Set:
National Museum of American History
The Wright Brothers & The Invention of the Aerial Age
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This online exhibition celebrates the centennial of flight with a thorough presentation of Wilbur and Orville Wright's biography, their technical achievements and the cultural impact of their breakthrough in the decade after 1903.

Subject:
Engineering
U.S. History
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
Smithsonian Institution
Provider Set:
National Air and Space Museum
Written in Bone: The Secret in the Cellar
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Forensic scientists are recovering buried clues of the lives of early colonists and discovering the stories written in their bones. Using graphics, photos, and online activities, this Webcomic unravels a mystery of historical and scientific importance about the life of a recently discovered 17th century human body along the James River on the Chesapeake Bay. Students can analyze artifacts and examine the skeleton for the tell-tale forensic clues that bring the deceased to life and establish the cause of death. Teacher resources are included. Note: Turn off pop-up blocker to successfully experience all site features.

Subject:
Arts and Humanities
Anthropology
Archaeology
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Game
Interactive
Lecture
Lesson Plan
Provider:
NSDL Staff
Smithsonian Institution
Provider Set:
Social Sciences Gateways and Resources
Individual Authors
You Be the Historian
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Rating

This site invites students to examine clues and determine what life was like for a family that lived in New Castle, Delaware, during the 1700s. Students also discover what historians in the next century might learn about us if they found our homes the way they are today.

Subject:
U.S. History
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
Smithsonian Institution
Provider Set:
National Museum of American History