Questions come alive with the Smithsonian EdLab

The Smithsonian EdLab is partnering with the Capitol Hill Cluster Schools to train Washington, D.C., public school teachers in mission-based learning, which brings classroom content to life. Students are challenged to use real objects in our museums, along with digital tools, to investigate and solve problems that exist in the real world. The EdLab arranges mission-based field trips to various Smithsonian museums and asks students to use museum objects as a launching point for further investigation into broader challenges.

Check out some of the highlights from field trips to Smithsonian museums over the past few months.

Watkins Elementary School fifth graders visited the National Postal Museum to investigate what it would have been like to travel West into the American frontier in the 1800s, and to think about how travel has changed today. Inspired by objects at the museum, students recorded audio journals written from the perspective of a traveller to the West.

Peabody Early Education preschoolers visited the Smithsonian Gardens to learn what it means to be someone who works for the good of the environment. The preschoolers recorded video interviews of visitors to the Enid Haupt Garden about their thoughts.

Stuart Hobson Middle School seventh graders visited the National Museum of American History to investigate the history of disease control and public health communications. The students will be creating campaigns to educate the public about specific diseases.

Watkins Elementary School fifth graders have a mission to investigate the intersection of food and  cultural diversity in the Capitol Hill neighborhood where their school is located. Students visited the National Museum of American Indian and recorded video interviews with visitors dining in the Mitsitam Cafe about their own food culture and traditions.

Peabody Early Education kindergartners have made it their mission to learn and educate the community about the history of the school’s namesake, philanthropist George Peabody. Kindergartners visited the National Portrait Gallery to view an archived photograph of Peabody, and then created digital portraits of their own heroes.

Posted: 12 February 2013
About the Author:

Reema Ghazi is the Youth Experience Coordinator at the Smithsonian EdLab, where she works with teachers and students to develop museum experiences that connect the community and the classroom. Her past work as an educator includes working with youth at the National Museum of African Art and the National Building Museum.