The Smithonian Institute

Sometimes I wish I lived in Washington DC.  I love the Metro, I love walking around the city and, I love, love, love the Smithsonian.  A series of museums covering everything from pianos to American history to a zoo the Smithsonian Institute has the potential and the ability to help students find out information about almost any topic they are interested in. I also love field trips.  They allow students to explore new topics, to be exposed to "real world" learning experiences and are a great way to introduce problem based and project based projects into your classroom.

When I was teaching I was the lead teacher for all the 9th grade teachers in the high school.  One of the biggest issues with field trips was connecting them to what was going on in the classroom. The  students see field trips as a vacation from school and teachers didn't know how to get resources from museums for pre- and post-museum visits.  The Smithsonian Institute is not the only museum that is trying to fill this gap but, it is one of my favorites.  Below are a few links holding a wealth of information.

Smithsonian Education: The main search page for educators.  Notice you can search by keyword, subject or, state standard.

Smithsonian Collections: Are you looking for primary resources? This is a great place to start.  It takes some time and practice to become effecient at searching but using primary sources in your classroom allows you to bring museums into the classroom.

Museums and Zoo: Links to each of the museums, and the National Zoo. All part of the Smithsonian Institute.