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Classroom Teaching


Grade 6, IB Art

Artists use the structure and format of books, as three-dimensional art objects, to tell a story in an unconventional way and invite specific audience interaction. Artists' book play with the traditional trajectory through a book. In this unit, students study the development of artist books as art objects and explore the many structures artist books can take. Students analyze how audiences interact with books as objects and complete sketchbook pages visualizing their thinking. Students create black-out poetry from science texts, which then inspires their own artist books.

Student Work Metamorphosis Artist Books

Posters of Place

7th Grade, IB Art

Artists utilize design techniques to broadly communicate messages with their audiences. Artists working for the Federal Arts Project during the New Deal found ways to revolutionize design and the use of the widespread image. In this unit, students examine the history and artistic nature of poster and advertisement design as well as the role those designs play in our lives. Students select a location of personal value and create cut-paper posters that highlight those places.

Student Work Posters of Place
Posters of Place


Grade K

Artists play many roles in society - among them collecting, documenting, experimenting, and creating. In this unit, students act as artist-scientists. They engage their curiosities, experiment with materials, 'discover' new plant species, connect prior scientific knowledge to current making, and explore the history and purpose of museum collections.

Student Work Wunderkammer Plant Prints
Smithsonian Teaching

"Gross Me Out"

Grades 2-3

"Are you intrigued by the nasty, icky, and disgusting parts of nature? Spend the week uncovering the science behind snot, the bacteria that live in our belly buttons, and gross creatures inside and outside our bodies. Campers conduct experiments to grow their own fungi, use Jell-O to model how flies vomit to eat food, concoct slimy “gack,” and explore the human digestive process. Bones and bodies at the Natural History Museum, insect-eating and poisonous plants at the U.S. Botanic Garden, and artworks made of some very unusual materials spark campers’ curiosity and inspire their experiments and creations. Campers share their own “Grossology” exhibit at the end of the week." - Smithsonian Associates

Campers at National Museum of Health and Medicine

"Our Amazing Brain"

Grades 4-6

"Explore the wonders of that marvelous engine of imagination that drives us, from the spark behind its tiny neurons to how it lets us ponder big questions of the universe. Through experiments, group projects, games, and models, campers get familiar with the history of neuroscience and gain insights into the nature of the brain. Campers visit the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Silver Spring, Maryland, to view specimens. To inspire their own scientific and artistic projects, they create optical illusions, compare human brains to those of animals at the Natural History Museum, consider artificial intelligence at the Air and Space Museum, and examine artistic representations of minds and memories." - Smithsonian Associates

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