What do you think this new museum could teach you about African-American history?
According to the article, the new museum relays history through many different points of view. Why do you think museum organizers did this? Do you agree with President Barack Obama that this will help people better understand themselves and each other? Why or why not?
In the article, former President George W. Bush states, "A great nation does not hide its history. It faces its flaws and corrects them." How do you think this museum will help accomplish that?
According to the article, one artifact in the museum is a stone marker from a slave block. If you saw that marker in its original location, you might not even notice it. But in a museum, surrounded by thousands of other artifacts, it conveys a powerful message. How do you think a museum full of objects like this will help the nation understand, reconcile and celebrate African-American's often-ignored contributions toward making this country what it is today?
- Display the website for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. As a class, scroll down and review two or three of the museum's "Collection Stories." Discuss how adding context to an ordinary object can turn it into an artifact that relays a powerful message.
- Remind students that this museum was built to tell the American story through the lens of African-American history and culture. Brainstorm ideas about how the museum could promote respect and acceptance throughout the country. Discuss why this is particularly important in today's world.
- Divide the class into pairs or small groups. Challenge students to come up with a positive message about race, respect and acceptance. Instruct students to create a poster, write a poem, write a song or select some other format that will help them convey their message to others.
Invite students to share their work with others. As a class, brainstorm ideas about how the class could share its ideas with a broader audience.
CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:
Divide the class into small groups. Give groups time to brainstorm ideas. Then provide poster board and art supplies so each group can create a poster that conveys a positive message about race, respect and acceptance. Have groups present their posters to the class. Encourage classmates to identify the positive message in each poster.
Assign each student a partner. Instruct pairs to write a poem that conveys a positive message about race, respect and acceptance. Allow partners to select the type of poem they think will best suit their needs. Have students recite their poems for the class. Encourage classmates to identify the positive message in each poem.
Assign each student a partner. Instruct pairs to identify a target age group and write a song that conveys a positive message about race, respect and acceptance for those listeners. Inform students that they can choose any type of music, but their lyrics must be suitable for the school environment. Have students perform their songs for the class. Encourage classmates to identify the positive message in each song. Challenge students to identify the intended listeners for each song.
Assign each student a partner. Instruct pairs to brainstorm ideas for a positive message about race, respect and acceptance. Encourage students to select the format they think will best convey their message. This may be a poster, poem, song or any other type of medium they choose. The only requirements are that the message must be positive, on topic and suitable for the school environment. Give pairs time to complete their projects. Have them present their work to the class. Encourage classmates to identify the positive message in each project.
This exhibition from the National Museum of American History tells the story of how dedicated lawyers, parents, students and community activists fought to overcome legal racial segregation in America. Resources include a bibliography, teacher’s guide and two electronic field trips.
Teen programmer Trisha Prabhu created a program called ReThink to make cyberbullies reconsider before posting cruel messages. Read this Smithsonian article to learn more about it.
This online exhibit, presented by the National Museum of American History, focuses on the experiences of Japanese Americans who were placed in internment camps during World War II. This story is told through interactive galleries that combine photographs, objects, oral histories and first-person accounts of events.
Read this Smithsonian article to learn about the life and death of Officer William McDuff, and why it took Dallas 50 years to replace him after he was killed.
Read this Smithsonian article to learn about a study that says bullying may be nature, not nurture.