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Monday Morning Ready07.26.2018
Jumpstart Your Week!

To generate a portal to another “world,” users of a new augmented reality app must first scan the floor with their device. After positioning the portal in an area free of any mess, they can then walk directly into an immersive 360-degree experience.... < read more >
Grade 3-4

If you could "travel" anywhere in the world with an augmented reality app, where would you want to go? What would you want to see?

Grade 5-6

Do you think Portal AR will encourage more people to travel to Scotland? Or do you think people will be satisfied "seeing" the country's highlights via augmented reality? Why?

Grade 7-8

Portal AR is a travel tool. In what other areas do you think augmented reality apps could be useful?

Grade 9-10

If you could create an augmented reality app featuring the area where you live, what landmarks would you include? How would you teach users about the area's past? What message would you like them to understand about its future?

Create an Augmented Reality Summer Experience


  1. As a class, discuss what augmented reality is and how it is different from virtual reality. (Virtual reality places users in computer-generated environments. Augmented reality enhances what users see, hear, feel and smell. This creates a more real-world experience.) Encourage students to describe any virtual reality or augmented reality experiences they've had.
  2. Invite students to think about everything they did during summer break. Encourage them to select one or more of those experiences as the basis for an augmented reality app.
  3. Have students brainstorm ideas for their app. Challenge them to select appropriate photos that will bring users right into their summer experience.
  4. Give students time to write a brief script for their app. Remind them to include detailed descriptions of everything they saw, heard, felt and smelled at the time.


Invite students to share their app ideas with the class. Challenge them to explain how their images and words will enhance the experience so users feel like they were there for the real thing.


Grades 3-4:
Divide the class into small groups. Have group members share their favorite experiences from the summer. Then have each group select one experience and work together to create a script for an augmented reality app. Challenge them to include details that relate to each of the senses.
Grades 5-6:
Instruct each student to select his or her favorite summer adventure. Have students share their experiences in small groups. Have students offer suggestions about how fellow group members could incorporate sensory details into their scripts.
Grades 7-8:
Instruct each student to select his or her favorite summer adventure. Have students share their experiences with a partner. Then have partners brainstorm ideas about about how they could each incorporate sensory details into their scripts. Challenge students to select photos that clearly illustrate how they felt during their adventure.
Grades 9-10:
Instruct students to select three of their favorite adventures from the summer break. Instruct them to write a script for an augmented app that allows users to join them on each experience. Challenge students to include sensory details in their writing and photographs that clearly illustrate each point.
A Family Visit to the Smithsonian
This interactive site from the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access features one family’s weeklong experience visiting museums and exhibits. Features include the family’s journal entries and activities they created to help make the most of a visit to Washington, D.C.

National Museum of Natural History Virtual Tour
Invite students to explore the exhibits currently available at the National Museum of Natural History. The site includes a layout for each floor, description of each exhibit and selection of objects for each topic. Students can also explore several past exhibits.

Meet Me at Midnight: An Art Game for Kids
Invite students to play this interactive online children’s adventure that takes place in an animated Smithsonian American Art Museum. The site includes a parent and educators guide and a lesson plan based on the activity.

Be a Movie Director
In this interactive game from the National Museum of American History, high school students can develop research skills and explore the museum’s collections by creating a movie using images from an online image database.

Smithsonian Folklife Festival
Since 1967, the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage has spent part of its summer celebrating world cultures on the National Mall. During this two-week event, visitors can sing, dance, try crafts, play games, learn traditional recipes and ask questions as they take part in this unique cultural exchange. Invite students to explore this site to learn all about the 2018 Festival.

Your Summer Vacation is a Carbon Emissions Nightmare
Vacation is the highlight of many people’s summers. But a new study of tourism supply chains shows that all those flights, zip-line tours and foie gras produce 8 percent of global carbon emissions. Read this Smithsonian article to learn more.