These activities help young learners build skills in literacy, creativity, and communication while using everyday materials and exploring interesting topics. A series of five, each activity uses objects from across the Smithsonian as a jumping-off point for learning through play as well as tips for
Field trips to memorials are great ways to learn about how communities remember important events. In this activity, students will do a digital field trip to learn more about the Pentagon’s memorial for September 11,2001, and then visit a local memorial. Part of an OurStory module en
This kit of guided listening activities and streaming music offers an engaging way of introducing students to jazz. It traces Louis Armstrong's career as a musician, from influences in African rhythms and New Orleans marches through performances in the 1960's and 70's. It could also be used as an
Thomas Edison changed our world with electric lights and an entire system that produced and delivered electrical power. Try your hand at making your own light bulb. This activity from Spark!Lab includes step-by-step directions, a printable chart to record the experiment, and discussion questions.
Get creative and make a dance that spells out a special word or message! Part of an OurStory module entitled An American Story in Dance and Music, this activity includes step-by-step directions, discussion prompts, and background information. OurStory is designed to help children and adu
A polymer is made up of tiny molecules in long, repeating chains, like paper clips hooked together. Polymers are all around us—even in our own bodies! Here's how you can make your own. This activity from Spark!Lab includes step-by-step directions, discussion questions, and ideas for extending y
Quilts do more than just keep us warm; they preserve history by telling us stories about the people who made them. In this hands-on activity, students will learn about women's history by studying quilts. They will then make a quilt square in honor of a person who is important to them. It is inclu
Thomas Edison said, "To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk." With these words of wisdom in mind, we challenge you to create your own yo-yo using items found in your recycling bin.This activity from Spark!Lab includes suggested procedures and ideas for extending your learning.
In this activity, students will create their own paper mache Carnival masks as a way to learn about Puerto Rico and Puerto Rican culture. This resource is part of an OurStory module entitled A Puerto Rican Carnival. OurStory is a series of modules designed to help children and adults enjoy explor
In this activity, students will learn how to make their own fish kites, called koinobori. Koinobori are an important expression of Japanese culture that became an important part of life for children in Japanese American internment camps during World War II. This resource is included in an OurStor
Drawing on Takaki's vast array of primary sources, and staying true to his own words whenever possible, A Different Mirror for Young People brings ethnic history alive through the words of people, including teenagers, who recorded their experiences in letters, diaries, and poems. Like Zinn's A Peopl
Japanese Americans reflect on their years spent in internment camps as children or young adults. They discuss the process of being forced from their homes, and their ability to make the prisons more livable despite oppressive conditions.