Totally Cool Toys
Today, there are so many types of careers for people to choose from, including those where people design or create something that is functional or decorative in nature. In this project from the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, students will imagine that they have just been hired as a designer at the Totally Cool Toy Company to design a very cool toy using a variety of materials in whatever way they think will create the most interesting toy.
Mosque Lamps: The Beauty of Light
Help students discover how works of art reflect and support religious beliefs with this lesson plan from the National Museum of Asian Art. Students in incorporate patterns, letterforms and calligraphy to create structures resembling Islamic mosque lamps.
National Quilt Collection
The National Quilt Collection incorporates quilts from various ethnic groups and social classes, for quilts are not the domain of a specific race or class, but can be part of anyone’s heritage and treasured as such. Explore this National Museum of American History site to learn more about quilts and the crafters who create them.
The Science of Leap Year
Almost everyone is familiar with the concept of leap year, but the reasoning behind it is a little complicated. Discover the science behind this extra day on the calendar with this article from the National Air & Space Museum.
Time for a Change
Read this Smithsonian magazine article to find out why one Johns Hopkins University professor of physics and astronomy insists that the most widely used calendar in the world—instituted by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582—needs to go.
Excelsior! Super Superheroes
Like mythological Greek gods of old, superheroes captivate the imaginations of people of all ages. And it all started with Superman, whose fictional birthday—according to some accounts—happens to be February 29, 1938. Explore this site to see items in the Smithsonian’s collections related to superheroes, including comic books, original comic art, movie and television costumes and props and memorabilia.
Magic in Your Mailbox: Learning from Letters and Other Mail
Today, most people communicate with each other through email or online apps. But that wasn’t always the case. Not so long ago, letters ruled the day. Use these lesson plans, presented by the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access, to teach students how to evaluate and analyze letters, as well as write their own.
What Makes a Letter? Not Necessarily Paper
When most people think of a letter, they picture handwriting on a piece of paper. But according to experts, a “letter” can take many forms: voicemails, emails, audio recordings and even a carved coconut. Read this Smithsonian Insider article to learn more.