2020 Invent It Challenge

Credit: Cricket Media, Inc.

The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation and Cricket Media have partnered for the past nine years to bring the Spark!Lab Invent It Challenge to students across the globe. The challenge is a free, STEM-focused contest open to students ages 5-18 that inspires them to solve real-world global issues through creativity and exploration. Smithsonian Affiliates are invited to share this opportunity with their visitors and incorporate it into Affiliate programming!

Here are some easy ways to promote the Challenge to your visitors or use in your own programming:
  • Use this flyer to spread the word about the 2020 Invent It Challenge to your visitors, school groups, and teachers.
  • Post this image across your social media outlets to inform your audience of the wonderful opportunity the Challenge presents for students to use their creativity and knowledge of science to make a positive impact on the world around them.
  • Introduce students to the 7-Step Invention Process using this introduction video and challenge them to think of how it can be applied to help create a solution to a wide variety of local, regional, or global issues.
  • Set up a whiteboard and have students play this interactive game from Smithsonian called “Pick Your Plate” to stimulate conversation around healthy food and how people across the globe might access it.
  • Show this inspirational video for possible ways to help solve the global issue of accessing healthy food and hold a question and answer session with students to get them thinking about what they could invent to address this issue.
Want to learn more about how the 2020 Invent It Challenge aligns with your programming, and what resources are available to you to promote it? Join our webinar on January 22nd, 2020, from 2-3 pm (EST)! Featured presenters include:
  • Sharon Klotz, Head of Invention Education at the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation
  • Laura Woodside, Senior Vice President of Education Products at Cricket Media, Inc.
  • Patricia Genovese, Teacher of Past Winners from California

RSVP for the webinar!

About the Invent It Challenge
Each year, the Lemelson Center and Cricket Media develop a theme related to an important global issue. By choosing themes that address significant global issues, the Invent It Challenge allows students to realize they can make an important difference in their world by applying their skills, knowledge, and creativity to come up with solutions to the challenges people around the world face daily. The 2020 theme focuses on what students can invent to help improve people’s access to healthy food. The fact that approximately 25% of the world’s 7.8 billion people struggle to access safe, nutritious food illustrates the importance and global nature of this issue.

Credit: Cricket Media, Inc.

To submit an entry, students have to follow the Lemelson Center’s 7-Step Invention Process and document their progress through each step in a PowerPoint or video. To help them get started, students should review the Entry Guide, which includes everything they’ll need:

  • A list of Topics and Resources to help them generate ideas,
  • an Inventor’s Notebook to help them keep track of their progress through the seven steps,
  • and a Rubric to help them self-assess.
When students are ready, they can use this PowerPoint template to document their journey, or they can create their own presentations or videos. Judges at the Lemelson Center and Cricket Media evaluate each entry according to how deeply students engage with each step and how well they document their journey. In addition to great prizes from Faber Castell, Cricket Media, and others, students can win a multi-day trip to Washington, D.C. where their inventions get permanently displayed at the Spark!Lab! Entries are due by 11:59 pm (EST) on April 10, 2020.

Questions before the webinar? Email affiliates@si.edu.

Credit: Cricket Media, Inc.

Wiki + Affiliates Part II: Wikimedia Commons and Image Releases

Following up on our successful call in October, we’re hosting a second webinar on Monday, December 16 at 3 pm Eastern focusing on another aspect of Wikipedia. After this webinar, we’ll announce dates for our next session covering the nuts and bolts of hosting your own edit-a-thon! Need a refresher on what we discussed in Part I? Read the Wiki+Affiliates: Help Represent the Under-Represented blog post.

Wikimedia Commons is an online repository of free-use images, sounds, and other media. Files from Wikimedia Commons can be used across all Wikimedia projects in all languages, including its most popular platform, Wikipedia. Wikimedia Commons contains over 55 million free media files, managed and editable by global volunteers. The Smithsonian has been contributing images to Wikimedia Commons for almost a decade. You can view some of the images and media files on the Smithsonian Commons page.

During this presentation we will build on the initial Wikimedia conversation from October with the Smithsonian’s Open Knowledge Coordinator, Kelly Doyle. She will highlight the ways in which Wikimedia Commons functions in the information landscape and how GLAM organizations (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums) use and interact with this platform. We will discuss the nuances of image copyright, releasing, and practical implementation guidance. A walk-through of image tagging, search functions, and tracking image metrics over time will be presented.

 

No cost poster exhibitions featuring “Righting a Wrong: Japanese Americans And World War II” and more!

The Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) consistently offers traveling exhibitions to organizations across the U.S. and around the globe. But did you know SITES also develops and offers FREE poster exhibitions on a variety of subjects? Below we’ve compiled a list of poster exhibitions you can bring to your community free of charge:

Mochida Family, Courtesy of National Archives

Featured Poster Exhibition
Righting a Wrong: Japanese Americans and World War II
This exhibition traces the story of Japanese national and Japanese American incarceration during World War II and the people who survived it. Young and old lived crowded together in hastily built camps, endured poor living conditions, and were under the constant watch of military guards for two and a half years. Meanwhile, brave Japanese American men risked their lives fighting for the United States. Some 40 years later, members of the Japanese American community led the nation to confront the wrong it had done—and urged Congress to make it right. Based on an original exhibition at the National Museum of American History, the Righting a Wrong poster exhibition centers around eight core questions that encourage viewers to engage in a dialogue about how this happened and if it could happen again. Embracing themes that are as relevant today as they were 75 years ago, the poster exhibition brings forth themes of identity, immigration, prejudice, civil rights, courage, and what it means to be an American. A limited quantity of printed posters are available on request at no cost. These posters are expected to be ready for shipping by Fall 2019. Request a copy here.

Additional available poster exhibitions:

  • A Place for All People
  • Bittersweet Harvest: The Bracero Program, 1942-1964
  • Choosing to Participate
  • City of Hope: Resurrection City and the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign
  • Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission
  • Earth from Space
  • From Sea to Shining Sea: 200 Years of Charting America’s Coasts
  • I Want the Wide American Earth: An Asian Pacific American Story
  • Journey Stories
  • World War I: Lessons and Legacies

Click here to see more information about each poster exhibition.

Poster exhibitions are available for download at sites.si.edu. Each poster exhibition includes design files to print posters, as well as programming resources. Recipients are required to complete a short survey about how the poster exhibition was used. Some poster exhibitions are also available as free printed copies. For more information, visit the website or contact SITES’ Poster Coordinator Stephanie McCoy-Johnson at (202) 633-3105 or mccoys@si.edu.

75th Anniversary of D-Day Smithsonian Material Culture Forum Webcast

Watch the live webcast of the Smithsonian Material Culture Forum on Monday, May 13, 4-6 pm! See below for the event schedule.

From its grand strategy to the personal stories of individual soldiers, the history of D-Day remains a captivating and rich story. To usher in the 75th anniversary of the battle, the Smithsonian presents, “Forgotten Voices, Forgotten Objects,” a forum exploring avenues of historical inquiry, highlights of Smithsonian and non-Smithsonian collections, and expert research on the topic. RSVP for the webcast here.

112th Meeting of the Smithsonian Material Culture Forum

75th Anniversary of D-Day: Forgotten Voices, Forgotten Objects

Monday, May 13, 2019, 4–6 p.m. EDT

INTRODUCTION
Michelle Delaney, Senior Program Officer for History and Culture, Smithsonian Office of the Provost and Under Secretary for Museums, Education, and Research and Todd Kinser, Chief of Exhibit Planning, Smithsonian Exhibits

WELCOME
Susan Ades, Director, Smithsonian Exhibits

MODERATOR
Richard B. Frank, a lawyer and military historian, has written several books and articles on the Pacific Campaign of World War II, including Guadalcanal: The Definitive Account of the Landmark Battle (1990), Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japan Empire (1999), and MacArthur (2007).

SPEAKERS (View the program booklet here)
Kate Clarke Lemay, Ph.D, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Gratitude, Trauma and Repression: D-Day in French and American Collective Memory

Frank A. Blazich, Jr., Ph.D, Curator, Modern Military History, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
The Magic Boxes of D-Day: How One Humble Invention Helped Make Operation Neptune Possible

Laura Oviedo, Ph.D, ABD, Smithsonian Fellow, Division of Armed Forces, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
Belonging in War and Nation: Latina/os & World War II

Krewasky A. Salter, Ph.D, (Guest) Associate Curator, National Museum of African American History & Culture, Smithsonian Institution
African Americans, D-Day and World War II

Rebecca Head Trautmann, Project Curator, National Native American Veterans Memorial, National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution; Herman J. Viola, PhD., Senior Advisor, National Native American Veterans Memorial, and Curator Emeritus, National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution
National Native American Veterans Memorial

Megan Harris, Reference Specialist, Veterans History Project, Library of Congress
“I Hardly Know Where to Start”: Personal Narratives of D-Day within Veterans History Project Collections

Greg Elder, Chief Historian, Office of Corporate Communications, Defense Intelligence Agency
Intelligence Support to Operation OVERLORD

Jeremy R. Kinney, Ph.D, Curator, Aeronautics Department, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution
Flak-Bait: A Story of Survival from World War II

Shannon Perich, Curator, Photographic History Collection, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
Exploring Robert Capa’s Iconic D-Day Photographs

Q&A—Moderator: Richard Frank, Historian

The Material Culture Forum was organized in 1988 with a mission of maintaining the sense of a scholarly community throughout the Smithsonian museums, libraries, and research and cultural centers.  The Forum considers topics from the vast world of objects that the Smithsonian collects, preserves, studies, and presents.

Part 3: Using Collections to Think About Immigration with the Smithsonian Learning Lab

After visiting three Affiliate communities in 2018, the staff at the Smithsonian Learning Lab wrapped-up their Teacher Creativity Studios at the City of Austin Asian American Resource Center (AARC), a Smithsonian Affiliate in Austin, Texas. As mentioned in Part 1, the goal was to increase digital access to museum collections and inspire students to investigate the world around them using objects, documents, videos and more, all available for free online. In this final installment, Hanna Huang, culture and arts education coordinator and acting supervisor at the Asian American Resource Center, shares her project, Austin’s Asian American Pacific Islander Roots.

Smithsonian Learning Lab in AustinThe AARC partnered with the Austin History Center to define Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) programming. Huang sees each AAPI community as special and unique in its makeup, much like the many cultures, ethnicities, and languages that comprise what we know as AAPI. To share this with a wider audience, the partners worked with the Learning Lab to create a collection for teachers based on a revived exhibition that covers Asian Pacific American history in Austin from the late 1800s past the 1980s.

As you work your way through, you can not only see all the images and texts from our exhibit but also find learning tools to help you with teaching topics such as Asian Pacific American history, immigration, Texas history, primary/secondary sources, and more!

Read Huang’s full blog– Austin’s Asian American Pacific Islander Rootshere.

And don’t forget about Part 1 and Part 2 in our Learning Lab Series!

Want to see more Learning Lab in Affiliate neighborhoods? Check out these blogs from past workshops at the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Pittsburgh: Supporting Digital Innovation in Education with the Learning Lab
Every Collection Tells a Story
Creative Introduction to Geography
Smithsonian’s Home in Pittsburgh
Creating with the Learning Lab
Teach Digital Curation with Depth

The Teacher Creativity Studio program received Federal support from the Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool administered by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.

f you are interested in learning more about the Smithsonian Learning Lab and how it could help your museum support teachers and students in your community, contact your National Outreach Manager.

Part 2: Using Collections to Think About Immigration with the Smithsonian Learning Lab

In Part 1 of our Smithsonian Learning Lab series we took you to the Tsongas Industrial History Center at the Lowell National Historical Park, a Smithsonian Affiliate in Lowell, Massachusetts, where teachers were exploring the question “Who belongs?” (You can read the full blog here.) This time we’re headed to the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience, another Smithsonian Affiliate in Seattle, Washington, to explore immigration through the lens of Chinese immigrants.

Wing Luke Learning Lab title pageIn his blog Beneath the Text: Analyzing Letters from Seattle’s Chinatown-International District, Rahul Gupta, education and tours director at The Wing, developed his first Learning Lab gallery using the museum’s collection of letters to to discuss three areas of immigration– “push” and “pull” factors that bring immigrants to the country or that reject their presence, and the letters’ style, writing and format.

I am often amazed at what I learn at this job every single day—and this project opened my understanding of the personal impact of colonialism, Chinese nationalism, gender relationships, and changing gender roles—and more and more. There are brilliant gems within our museum collection, and I am restlessly waiting to place more of these archives and artifacts into the hands of teachers and students around the country.

Read his blog and view his Learning Lab collection here.

The Teacher Creativity Studio program received Federal support from the Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool administered by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.

If you are interested in learning more about the Smithsonian Learning Lab and how it could help your museum support teachers and students in your community, contact your National Outreach Manager.