Earth Day

Examine collections of the Museum's key resources on major themes in American history and social studies teaching.  Additional resources can be found in the main search areas of the website.

Earth Day

Explore resources on the environment for Earth Day 2014!

An American Story in Dance and Music Homepage

Grade Range: K-4
Resource Type(s): Lessons & Activities, Reference Materials
Duration: 110 Minutes
Date Posted: 3/8/2012

In 1943, Martha Graham, Aaron Copland, and Isamu Noguchi created Appalachian Spring, a ballet that told the story of an American pioneer community. By using this OurStory module, children and adults can enjoy exploring this history through children's literature, museum objects, and hands-on activities. Focused around Ballet for Martha an award-winning work of children's literature about the collaboration of three artists to create an American masterpiece, the module includes links to hands-on activities and a list of recommended readings for further exploration.

Smithsonian Education Online Conference: Climate Change

Grade Range: K-12
Resource Type(s): Reference Materials
Date Posted: 9/22/2009

Students and teachers can deepen their understanding of the challenge of climate change through this archived online conference. An excellent professional development resource, the homepage for the online conference provides the conference schedule and speakers, as well as general information about virtual conferences. Also included are links to learning activities, the conference blog, and a brief essay entitled Why the Ginkgo? that explains the importance of the Ginkgo tree to science, art history and research at the Smithsonian.

First Lady for the Environment Homepage

Grade Range: K-4
Resource Type(s): Lessons & Activities, Worksheets, Interactives & Media, Reference Materials
Date Posted: 3/12/2010

Learn more about First Lady Claudia "Lady Bird" Johnson, wife of President Lyndon Baines Johnson and her work to protect the environment and bring beauty to every community. This module from the OurStory program includes active reading suggestions and discussion questions for the illustrated biography Miss Lady Bird's Wildflowers, by Kathi Appelt.

OurStory is a series of modules designed by the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History to help children and adults enjoy exploring history together through the use of objects from the Museum's vast collections, quality children's literature, and engaging hands-on activities. Ideal for afterschool use, OurStory resources allow students to think critically, to be creative, and to achieve academic standards both in and out of the classroom.

National Youth Summit: Dust Bowl

Grade Range: 9-12
Resource Type(s): Interactives & Media
Date Posted: 10/17/2012

In this archived webcast related to Ken Burns’s film The Dust Bowl, thousands of high school students joined in a national dialogue regarding the Dust Bowl’s legacy on both the environment and the culture of the United States. Students discussed the importance of environmental awareness and the effects humans have on the natural world. In recognizing the Dust Bowl as an ecological disaster of primarily human origin, young people worked together to imagine ways a similar catastrophe could be avoided. Together, students across the country generated ideas for how each of us could be a responsible steward of the delicate environment in which we live. The National Museum of American History (NMAH) partnered with the National Endowment for the Humanities, WETA television, and Smithsonian Affiliations to present the National Youth Summit on the Dust Bowl.

Dust Bowl Stories

Grade Range: 9-12
Resource Type(s): Lessons & Activities, Interactives & Media
Date Posted: 8/31/2012

Discuss the story of the Dust Bowl through images from photographer Arthur Rothstein, through song with Woody Guthrie's Dust Bowl ballads, and through text writings from President Roosevelt and farmer Caroline Henderson.  Then, challenge students to consider modern environmental issues with a discussion of the 2012 drought and research on contemporary environmental issues.  These lessons are designed to support viewing of the National Youth Summit on the Dust Bowl.  The archived webcast is available here: http://americanhistory.si.edu/nys/national-youth-summit-dust-bowl

"Woodsy Owl" Anti-Pollution Poster

Grade Range: K-0
Resource Type(s): Artifacts
Date Posted: 4/16/2013

The U.S.D.A. Forest Service introduced Woodsy Owl in 1971 as an anti-litter and anti-pollution symbol to promote wise use of the environment. The campaign, which continues today, is primarily aimed at school-age children and uses slogans such as “Give a Hoot! Don’t Pollute” and “Lend a Hand-Care for the Land.”

Discover and Protect Nature

Grade Range: K-4
Resource Type(s): Lessons & Activities
Duration: 120 Minutes
Date Posted: 9/24/2012

In 1962, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring changed the way people thought about their relationship to nature. Warning readers of the impact of man-made pesticides on birds, insects, and other wildlife, Carson’s book caused a firestorm of public responses and is considered by some experts to be a major moment in the modern environmental movement. By using this OurStory module, children and adults can enjoy exploring this history through children's literature, museum objects, and hands-on activities. Focused around Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World a picture-book biography, the module includes links to hands-on activities and a list of recommended readings for further exploration.

Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring

Author: Jan Greenberg & Sandra Jordan
Reading Level: Early Elementary School, Late Elementary School
Genre: Non Fiction

Take a peek behind the scenes of one of America's modern masterpieces: Appalachian Spring. This book tells the story of the three artists...

Miss Lady Bird's Wildflowers: How a First Lady Changed America

Author: Kathi Appelt
Reading Level: Late Elementary School, Early Elementary School
Genre: Non Fiction, Biography

A biography of Lady Bird Johnson, who, as the wife of President Lyndon Johnson, reminded citizens about the importance of conserving...

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