There are some students who are able to travel the United States extensively, yet there are others who may even travel globally. However, there are others who may never leave their hometown. So how do we expose those who don’t travel as much to the fascinating artifacts and exhibits located around the word? How do we help create background knowledge? I find information available at the Smithsonian’s website (http://www.smithsonian.com/) useful in building background knowledge. How you may ask? Consider eight grade students studying about the continent of Africa, the website http://africa.si.edu/exhibits/discovery.html links to the African Museum. Here students and teachers will find resources that include lesson plans, music, coloring books and games that are associated with the continent of Africa. Other examples include studying the history of America and thus creating for students the opportunity to see pictures and artifacts from a time in history. You may visit the link http://americanhistory.si.edu/ to see the various timelines, exhibits and collections that may help to create a visual.
Visiting http://www.smithsonian.com/ links to various museums that are sure to engage students and allow them to view the information located on this website with purpose and adventure. They are sure to find this site fascinating, extensive and mesmerizing as they visit online presentations. Let us hope that this will generate an appreciation for exhibits that range in topics from American Art to Triceratops. To aid in this experience the website includes a section with specific information for the educator, the family and the student.