Smithsonian Education Students
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Smithsonian Education Students is filled with resources for kids who are interested in all sorts of topics like history, science, and cultures, or for kids who are looking for information on a specific subject for a school report. There are games, articles, experiments, a searchable resource library, and more to explore here. For kids who live close to Washington, D.C., or are soon to visit, there's also a ton of information on this site about the current exhibits and events of special interest to kids at the Smithsonian museums.
What kids can learn
- cultural understanding
Thinking & Reasoning
- analyzing evidence
- applying information
- developing novel solutions
Engagement, Approach, Support
Neat images accompany a broad range of stimulating topics. But slow loading animations and small text make it less exciting for kids.
Activities use images of actual material from the Smithsonian's own collections. Some tasks do not require a lot of deep thinking.
There are a ton of extension activities for parents and teachers, and videos have closed caption capabilities in many languages.
What's it about?
SMITHSONIAN EDUCATION STUDENTS poses important art, science, and history questions and then gives kids the tools to explore them. If the solar system is the size of a fried egg, how big is our galaxy? Activities like Sizing up the Universe help kids make predictions about scale and checking them using math. How has the role of government during a national crisis changed since World War II? The Rationing During WWII activity lets kids use primary source materials to examine this and other big questions.
Is it any good?
In addition to information about an incredibly diverse base of topics -- from African-American pioneering aviators to botany, Viking culture to mystery inventions -- this site also has sections for teachers and families. The images are bright, and activities can be engaging. Some of the vocabulary and ideas may be too advanced for younger school-age kids without the help of a parent or teacher, but older kids can definitely navigate this site on their own.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how to appropriately use the research you read online in school reports. Does your child understand the difference between using information from someone else without citation (plagiarizing) and appropriately citing a reliable online source like the Smithsonian?
Ask your kids which subjects they find most interesting on this site and try a related activity suggested here with them.