D.C. as a Classroom - at the National Museum of American History

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Every four years on January 20th, Washington, D.C. transforms to host the Inauguration of the President of the United States. This American tradition is celebrated by hundreds of thousands of people who come to Washington to witness history in the making. The history of the presidency and the storied past of how the United States came to be is encapsulated in the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History.

This popular museum offers unique insights not only into the political history and social evolution of our country, but of pop culture and business. The preservation of our history is important to many Americans, as evidenced by the overwhelming support for last year’s kickstarter campaign to save Dorothy’s ruby slippers from the Wizard of Oz. But how can we incorporate these exhibits into our classrooms? The Smithsonian offers an entire website with teaching resources for educators. The American History Museum also offers numerous online exhibits that provide teachers lesson plans for grades K-12 and allows students to view the artifacts from the convenience of their classroom.

The American History museum recognizes the trend toward blended learning and team teaching. Users have the option to select the “cross-curricular connection” area they would like to focus on—be it a STEM subject, visual and performing arts, or foreign language. Like the museums themselves, these resources are provided at no cost to those interested in using them.

We encourage you to schedule some time to visit this museum during your stay in Washington, D.C. for the 2017 National Charter Schools Conference. Incorporate some of these great resources into your lesson plans and bring a small piece of Washington back home.

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