Graphical timeline from Smithson to Smithsonian
From Smithson to Smithsonian

Lesson Plans

For secondary school teachers, the Smithsonian Office of Education has prepared three integrated classroom activities for grades 9 through 12 based on this exhibition.

The curriculum materials offered here are based on selected themes of the exhibition From Smithson to Smithsonian. Lessons are designed for upper division students in grades 9 through 12 and emphasize linking the past to the present through a series of object–based activities.

These lesson plans require the use of the Adobe Acrobat Reader 3.0 (or higher). See below for information on how to obtain this free software.

LESSON PLAN 1 Evaluating Historical Sources

In Lesson Plan One (size=142K), students will identify methods historians use to study the past and will learn the relative strengths of a variety of primary source materials.

LESSON PLAN 2 Who Was James Smithson?

In Lesson Plan Two (size=521K), students will learn of the circumstances surrounding James Smithson's generous gift to the United States and examine primary source materials from Smithson's life.

LESSON PLAN 3 Making the Connection--From Smithson to Smithsonian

In Lesson Plan Three (size=311K), students will explore the national debate surrounding the acceptance of Smithson's gift, identify the divergent views of members of Congress, and examine the role of compromise in the American legislative process.


All three lesson plans are also available as a single file (Size=811K).


How to use Adobe Acrobat Reader

Complete lesson plans and student activity pages can be delivered directly into your classroom through the Adobe Acrobat Reader. This application allows you to view publications on screen exactly as they appear in printed versions, including authentic fonts and graphics, no matter what type of computer platform you have. You can even print entire publications or individual student activity pages to any printer for use in your classroom! (Note: To view and print colors, you must have a color monitor and printer, respectively.) All you need to make use of this innovative technology is the free Acrobat Reader 3.0.

You can obtain this software in two main ways: on CD-ROM or by downloading from the Internet. The disks on which many operating systems and software applications come often include other related software such as the Acrobat Reader. If none of your CD-ROMs contain this software or if you do not have a CD-ROM drive, you can get the Reader by downloading it from Adobe Systems Incorporated. These sites and the CD-ROMs include important instructions on how to install the software. (Make sure that obtain version 3.0 of the Acrobat Reader--some Smithsonian Education files have been optimized for this format's smaller file sizes and cannot be read by earlier versions of the software.)

Once you have installed the Acrobat Reader, you may find it helpful to configure your Web browser to launch the Reader whenever you download a file in Acrobat format. Check your browser's documentation for specific configuration instructions.

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