Lesson Plans

12 Result(s)
Grade Range
6-12
Afro Atlantic: Exploring Emancipation

This lesson plan uses A. A. Lamb's painting Emancipation Proclamation and resources from BlackPast to explore the successes and shortcomings of the Emancipation Proclamation and the Reconstruction amendments, as well as the roles played by Black people in securing their own freedom.

Grade Range
6-12
Afro Atlantic: Paths from Enslavement

Use Aaron Douglas’s mural Into Bondage to introduce the stories of famous Harlem Renaissance figures, including Langston Hughes, and to explore the history and importance of Juneteenth, a holiday celebrating the end of Black enslavement in the United States.  

Grade Range
6-12
Afro Atlantic: Mapping Journeys

Kerry James Marshall's painting Voyager, depicting two partially obscured Black figures standing aboard a ship, refers to an actual ship, Wanderer, which was among the last slave ships in the United States, illegally transporting more than 400 individuals from West Africa to Georgia in 1858—even though the importation of enslaved people had been banned in 1808. Use the painting as an entry point to discuss the Transatlantic slave trade and introduce students to the NEH-funded database Slave Voyages project. 

Grade Range
6-12
Visual Records of a Changing Nation

Students have multiple opportunities to analyze photographs captured during a national photography project about local history and changing places to create their own interpretations and exhibits. These materials were developed as part of a partnership between the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Grade Range
6-8
What Masks Reveal

Explore the cultural significance of masks by investigating the role they play in ceremonies and on special occasions in societies from widely separated regions of the world.

Grade Range
K-5
The Meaning Behind the Mask

Students explore the cultural significance of masks, discuss the use of masks in stories, and then investigate the role masks play in ceremonies and on special occasions in various African cultures.

Grade Range
K-5
Cave Art: Discovering Prehistoric Humans through Pictures

By studying paintings from the Cave of Lascaux (France) and the Blombos Cave (South Africa), students will discover that pictures can be a way of communicating beliefs and ideas and can give us clues today about what life was like long ago.

Grade Range
6-8
Jacob Lawrence's Migration Series: Removing the Mask

In this lesson, students analyze Jacob Lawrence’s The Migration of the Negro Panel no. 57 (1940-41), Helene Johnson’s Harlem Renaissance poem “Sonnet to a Negro in Harlem” (1927), and Paul Laurence Dunbar’s late-nineteenth-century poem “We Wear the Mask” (1896), considering how each work represents the life and changing roles of African Americans from the late nineteenth century to the Harlem Renaissance and The Great Migration.

Grade Range
6-12
Romare Bearden's The Dove: A Meeting of Vision and Sound

By examining The Dove by artist Romare Bearden, students will learn to appreciate the artistic and intellectual achievement of Black artists in America in the first half of the 20th century. By listening to music, students will see how art and music intersect to tell us a story. They will relate that story to their own lives.

Grade Range
6-8
Leonardo da Vinci: Creative Genius

Students discover why Leonardo is considered the ultimate Renaissance man. They will learn about his famous notebooks, focusing upon his machines of motion, then zooming in on the flying machines.