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Challenge Accepted!

Throughout history, we’ve been motivated by the desire to achieve what hasn’t been done, to face our challenges head-on. This week, are you up to the challenge to learn from the past to face the future? How have national and global leaders motivated the citizenry during times of challenge? What do we learn about our abilities when faced with a challenge? How can recreating monuments, memorials, and architectural wonders give us a greater understanding of the design choices and symbolism within these structures?

International Travel

Traveling often challenges us to immerse ourselves in a new environment, speak another language, and experience the world in a new way.  We all have destinations that are at the top of our lists to visit, but what about visiting a country that isn’t in your top five? What about a destination that pushes us outside our comfort zone? Challenge yourself during this time when you can’t travel to learn about the places outside of your comfort zone.
  • How can you prepare to experience a new country?
  • How does geography help you understand history?

Prehistoric Cave Painting

One of the unique traits that make us human is our need to express ourselves. Some forms of expression, like dance require little in the way of tools or equipment. Visual art, however, was a much bigger challenge for our early ancestors. Some of the earliest examples of human art are found in dark, remote (and scary!) caves. They were clearly very determined to make art in a place they deemed to be meaningful and special! Today, we can simply go to the store to buy art supplies or order them online. For a more prehistoric experience, challenge yourself to create works of art like our earliest ancestors did.

How does your community recognize the legacy of veterans and other leaders?

Learn about numerous memorials around Washington D.C, and then create a memorial for an event or figure in your local community.

How Deep Do Your Roots Go?

What are the lasting traditions of your family’s cultural history? It’s time to explore your family’s roots, where you’ve come from, and where you’re going! How much do you know about your family’s background? Do some family research that incorporates biological, cultural, and ethnic characteristics. Interview family members to discover your roots. You never know what may surprise you!

What Does Your Legacy Look Like?

Scientists are constantly asking questions, collecting evidence, and refining their knowledge. Thanks to their efforts, each generation can come to understand the world a little more fully than those who came before. In these activities, students will revisit the legacy of a famous scientist, and consider how their own legacy could be recorded.

Grow West, Young Man

Westward expansion saw the United States grow into a nation that stretched from coast to coast. Looking back, it may seem that the growth of our country was ‘destined’ to occur – but is that really the case? In these activities, students will examine the myth of the western frontier, and use their creativity to imagine an alternate history of the United States.

Growth Happens

Learn how to start Kitchen Scrap Gardening and examine natural growth in unusual places! These activities are designed so that you can examine the growth that continues to occur, even in the most improbable spaces.

Dance Moves Culture

Around the globe and throughout generations, dance has always played a fundamental part of what we call “culture”. Like spoken and written language, dance is one of the most basic ways that we communicate and pass down our heritage, values, and history.

International Connections and Community Spirit

The International Center of Photography is inviting people from around the world to share their stories through photography. Pen pals are a classic way to “meet” new people around the world Why did English become the International Language?

People Are a History of Connection

Now more than ever we need to stay connected as we are unable to be together in person. Consider the ways we connect with people and the dramatic changes in communication since the invention of electricity. Explore the evolution of sharing information from the days of mailing letters back and forth to the world we live in now of constant contact.

Become a Citizen Scientist

Amateur observers have always played an important role in helping scientists collect observations and data. Today, with the help of your smartphone – or simply using your own five senses – you too can record your observations and become a citizen scientist.

What Does Science Tell Us About Time?

Consider the existence of time, through a telescope and microscope. Whether we can see it or not, everything has a date stamp. Or does it? Bring your sense of exploration along for a look at time’s own existence, including a sundial activity that shows you how it moves and grooves.

Time savers

Across the world, maintaining cultural sites for future generations is an exercise in a special form of time management – preservation. Using UNESCO World Heritage Sites as your guide, learn more about what it takes to address the passage of time and think about where you would like to visit most.

Where Does Time Come From and How Do I See It?

How you might experience time compared to, say, anyone else on the planet, could be pretty similar or totally different? Ideal for social studies and history students, explore how time shapes us, how we shape time and the ways we bring our own perspective to the concept of time.

Make Time for Movement

In a period of isolation and social distancing, staying physically active has never been more important or impactful on your entire being. Using Tabata, build an exercise curriculum at home to keep you and your quaranteam fit.  

Better Late Than Never?

Not usually. Learn how to shake the “I’ll do it laters” with this Ted Talk on Procrastination and these time management tips and strategies. Once you’ve done that, brainstorm some ways you can get back on track if you start procrastinating, and think of deadlines you can set to add some structure to your days!

World War II Memorial

World War II was the biggest and deadliest war in history, and more than 30 countries were involved in the massive conflict. What do you know about the history, significance, and symbolism of the World War II Memorial?

White House

At the turn of the nineteenth century, democracy was still a novel form of government and it was uncommon for leaders in other countries to voluntarily leave and relinquish control of power. Elections for heads of state were rare, after all. While not as grand as some European palaces, the White House elegantly serves as a home and working office for our nation’s temporary executive. In both name and image, it is an iconic representation of American democracy and is one of the most recognizable buildings in the world.

Washington Monument

Despite its construction being halted due to war and its structure damaged by natural forces, the Washington Monument has stood the test of time as a testament to our nation’s first commander in chief and president. Did you know that it was the tallest structure in the world when it was completed in 1884?

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial was designed by Maya Lin, a 21-year old student from Yale University, whose entry beat out more than 1,400 other submissions in a design competition for the new memorial. At the time of its unveiling in 1982, the minimalist design generated a fierce backlash and negative reaction. Today, however, Lin’s design is highly regarded and considered one of the finest examples of memorial architecture

US Capitol Activity

At one point, the Capitol Building was the geographic center of Washington, D.C. Today, it remains as one of the most pristine examples of American neoclassical architecture, also called “Federal architecture.” In fact, the name “Capitol” (with an O) was first proposed by Thomas Jefferson, as a reference to Capitoline Hill in Rome.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

The factors that led to the rise of the Nazi Party and eventual appointment of its leader, Adolf Hitler, as Chancellor of Germany, are long and complex. The period in Germany between the two World Wars, known as the Weimar Republic, was tumultuous and marked by crossparty conflict that pitted various factions against each other. Out of this chaos, the Nazis and the far-right seized power and plunged the world into another war. In the end, millions of Jews and others who resisted fascism were murdered in concentration camps and brutal warfare.

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Early efforts at establishing a museum dedicated to the accomplishments and history of African Americans date back all the way to 1915. African American veterans of the Union Army were dissatisfied by the racial discrimination they still faced and lobbied for the creation of a national memorial or museum. Opened in 2016, the Smithsonian’s NMAAHC is the result of decades of organizing to tell the stories of those who suffered under slavery and fought for civil rights and desegregation.

National Portrait Gallery

While the Smithsonian Institution is commonly associated with its more famous history and natural science museums, they also administer the National Portrait Gallery. It is the only museum in the United States dedicated entirely to portraiture and contains portraits of many famous and notable figures from American history, including official portraits of U.S. presidents.

National Archives

Did you know that the National Archives consist of dozens of facilities spread across the country? But the headquarters, housed in the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C., contains some of the country’s most precious documents, including the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Emancipation Proclamation.

Mount Vernon

The land that Mount Vernon occupies was first owned by the Washington family as early as the 1670s. Expanded upon and passed down through generations of the family, it is most famous as the house and plantation of George Washington. Today, you can see it restored in all its glory on the banks of the Potomac River, across from Washington, D.C.

Lincoln Memorial

Honest Abe hardly needs an introduction. The president who held the union together and brought slavery to an end is revered and honored by all. But what do you know about his grand memorial in our nation’s capital? And what do you think Lincoln could have accomplished had he not been assassinated?

Library of Congress

Did you know that the Library of Congress is the largest library in the world and the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States? What other fascinating facts can you uncover about our national library?

L’Enfant and Urban Design

How did a French painter come to be the designer of Washington, D.C.? Discover the life and story of Pierre Charles L’Enfant and his lasting influence on our nation’s capital.

Korean War Veterans Memorial

What do you know about the history, significance, and symbolism of the Korean War Memorial?

FDR Memorial

The longest-serving president, FDR (as he was commonly known) served a record four consecutive terms and led the United States through most of the Great Depression and World War II. What else do you know about the thirty-second president?

Jefferson Memorial

Thomas Jefferson may be best known as our third president, but he also accomplished many other feats. What do you know about Jefferson’s life and accomplishments, as well as his other memorial in our nation’s capital?

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

MLK is the first African-American and one of the few non-presidents to be memorialized on the National Mall. In addition to any prior knowledge you may have, use your research skills and the resources provided within to answer the questions in this worksheet.

Arlington National Cemetery

Located in Virginia, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., the national cemetery of the United States is the hallowed resting place of more than 400,000 American citizens and foreign nationals who have given their lives to defending this country. Among these are notable figures, including President John F. Kennedy and civil rights activist and WWII veteran Medgar Evers. What else do you know about the history and significance of Arlington National Cemetery?

National Museum of American History

The Smithsonian Institution is often referred to as “the nation’s attic,” due to its diverse collection of important historical artifacts. One of the core pieces of this is dedicated entirely to the cultural heritage and achievements of the United States.

National Air and Space Museum

This is the most popular museum in Washington, D.C. In fact, it’s the second most popular museum in the country (behind New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art) and fifth most popular in the world! Inside, the museum houses an eclectic collection of aircraft, including the plane flown by the Wright brothers, the command capsule from Apollo 11, and the Bell X-1 – the first plane to break the sound barrier.

National Museum of Natural History

Opened in 1910, this museum traces its origins back even further, to the founding of the Smithsonian Institution itself. Originally housed in the Smithsonian Castle – which is located directly across the Mall – it was once known simply as the National Museum. Today, the museum is the most visited natural history museum in the world.

How Can Music Evoke Emotion

Often, music is both written and listened to because it has meaning. Pieces/lyrics are written to express emotions or tell a story.

Censorship Activity

Censorship is more than strict rules against nudity or the bleeps heard when someone curses on radio or television. Censorship may include different rules, ideas, or concepts depending on where you are in the world. Whenever you travel, you should always be mindful of the fact that your destination country’s outlook on censorship might starkly contrast with what you have been taught is acceptable or unacceptable in your home country. What is permissible in one country may lead to being arrested in another. It is a good idea to stay abreast of the history and laws for your destination country when traveling.

Endangered Species Social Media Activity

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) provides a program for the conservation of threatened and endangered plants and animals and the habitats in which they are found. The law also prohibits any action that causes a "taking" of any listed species of endangered fish or wildlife.

When the Going Gets Tough

What challenge might you take on if time, money, and the required preparations were not obstacles? If you were to endeavor to take on something risky and outside your comfort zone, what would it be?

Good Vibrations

Learning about new, interesting global music can make you a better musician by introducing new styles, forms, and instruments. Take some time to listen to some new music. Ask your parents and neighbors about the music they grew up with. Change your streaming station. Do some outside research.

Powerful Portraits

It's been said that a picture is worth a thousand words...but what are portraits trying to tell us? Portraits and photographs (yes, even selfies) can be used to send messages, convey feelings, share experiences, or gain power. Expressions can show everything from privilege to poverty, despair to joy. Official portraits and photographs are an excellent way to preserve these messages, feelings, or experiences.

Renewable Energy

In the United States, just over 11 percent of energy consumed is produced by renewable sources. The overwhelming majority of our energy still comes from fossil fuels.

Weather, Climate, and Energy Worksheet

This mini-lesson worksheet is optimized for teaching students about global change as it relates to Weather, Climate, and Energy relating to renewable and nonrenewable resources.

7 Interesting Facts Videos

We’ve pulled together some interesting facts about some of the many places that you can travel to on a WorldStrides travel program. These videos can be used as a short distraction during the day to have your students learn some fascinating fun facts about some of the most iconic cities and locations in the world.

Your Carbon Footprint

Studies show that human activity is causing major changes to Earth’s climate. Leaders in environmentalism share a sense of responsibility towards preventing further global climate change and improving the overall state of the environment. These leaders are innovative thinkers who dedicate themselves to preserving the planet. The lessons and activities in this section are designed to encourage your development as an environmental leader.

Lesson Plan - Annotated Photo Journal

Students will understand that photographs with annotations can send specific messages.

Lesson Plan - Google Tour

For teachers who want to inspire wanderlust in their students! This lesson plan, adapted for virtual learning, utilizes technology to let students explore the world by generating student-led investigation, research, and planning.

We the People

Are government elections always fair? Should the Constitution be changed to place term limits on members of Congress?  Is holding elections for members of the House of Representatives every two years too frequent?  What influence, if any, does money have in elections? These are just some of the questions you'll tackle during this We the People exercise.

Resource Guide for Athletes

Designed specifically for the student athlete, this reference guide has some helpful links you can access - everything from cleaning your gear to pro tips by Red Bull athletes.

Marine Invertebrates

In this question and categorization exercise, you'll learn more about marine invertebrates and their role within the Kingdom Animalia.

Why are Animals Important

In this assignment, you'll answer the question "why are animals important." Your presentation will address questions around what would happen if certain animals become extinct or if humans need animals to survive. Have fun as you present on one of our favorite topics!

Nature Writing

Annie Dillard's essay on mangrove trees is your inspiration as you get a glimpse into the world of a nature writer. Learn how they take part in a different kind of observation as they study the natural world.

Virtual Tours and Cams

This handy reference guide provides a listing with links of some of our favorite virtual tours and web cams. It's a great way to see amazing destinations in the comfort and safety of your own home.

Box By Box

A Ted Talk by Hans Rosling serves as the inspiration for this exercise around global population growth.

Our Loss of Wisdom

Using a TED Talk by Barry Schwartz as inspiration, in this assignment you'll describe a situation in your life where you disagreed with, were unable to follow, or you chose not to follow a specific rule.

The Time 100

This activity challenges you to think about the 100 Most Influential People list published each year by Time Magazine. Your answers can be either written or recorded into a video.

In My Life

Are you listening to music or actually hearing it? In this exercise, you'll deepen your understanding of the difference between just hearing and actually listening to the music.

Time Capsule

In this activity, you'll write a letter to future students about the time capsule you created and why you believe it's important for these students to read your article.  

Melodies on My Mind

Music can play a big role in your life and your memories.  In this activity, you'll write how music has made a change in your life, and how it impacted you emotionally.

My Generation

Using Terry Kim's quote as your inspiration, you will discuss the impact that technology will have on musicians and the music industry as a whole.

Population Clock

Using the US Census website for your inspiration, in this activity, you'll think about the possible problems that may arise by having so many people in one location - or some of the benefits.

Fair Play

Watch former Wimbledon Doubles Champion talk about the concept of fair play before writing your own statement about what you feel are the most important aspect of fair play.

Your Code of Conduct

After reading Brandon Cullen's TED Talk "Life Lessons from the Minors,", this activity will challenge you to come up with a personal Code of Conduct.  This Code of Conduct should contain information on your most important values, ethics, honor codes, and how you will maintain accountability.

UN Millennium Development Goals

In this activity, you'll create your own social media campaign to address the issues highlighted in the UNDP Millennium Development Goals 2015 Report that still need addressed today.

Water Testing

This is an activity taken directly from our Habitat H2O Discovery Journal.  You'll learn about water testing, specifically ph levels, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, and salinity.

Ways to Honor those who Served

In what ways can we honor those who paid the ultimate price? In what ways can we honor all soldiers who serve our nation?  For this assignment, you will honor a friend, coach, teacher, family member, mentor, etc. You can create a sculpture, a statue, a fountain, or even an entire park to honor the person you have selected as worthy of honoring.

Civic Engagement

In this activity, think of and pray about an issue or policy in your school that you would like to change. Then, plan your course of action.  You'll write four paragraphs addressing four key questions in this exercise.

Compare Leaders

In this activity, you'll think through the different leaders that have influenced you.  Compare two leaders, then determine how leadership traits may vary between leaders, and explain if those traits relate to the needs of the time period.

Your Future Self

In this assignment, you'll make a collage that represents your future self.  In doing so, you'll reflect on the past to imagine where you'll be in 15 years.   In your answer, you'll include three images or words that discuss how faith motivated and influenced your future self.

Importance of National Documents

In this activity you'll answer 5 questions regarding the importance of our national documents like the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence.

Life of a Soldier

In this group activity, you'll find a military service member to interview then you'll compare your answers with the group.  Why did this service member join the military?  What did they learn from their experience?  What advice do they have for others?

Museum Renovation

Imagine it's the year 2030 and you have been given the job of renovating one of the museums in Washington D.C. and you've been asked to remake the museum from a Christian perspective.  In this activity, you'll tell us which museum you'd renovate, what's the main message you'd convey, what exhibits you'd add and more.

Foreign Films

Films can provide a unique insight into foreign cultures and places. In this course for international travelers, we ask students to watch a film from their destination country and compare their own experiences to the themes presented in the film. This document provides a list of foreign films, sorted by country.

Squid Dissection

In this activity taken from our Splash into Science Discovery Journal, you'll discuss dissections while learning more about squid and dolphin anatomy.

Smithsonian Science Resources

Here are some of our favorite science resources straight from the Smithsonian Learning Lab.  We hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

Uncovering America’s Indigenous History

Several of the Smithsonian Museums offer exhibits and displays that tell the stories of indigenous people.  Here are a few of the ones we found most helpful and interesting in telling the story of Native Americans and learning more about these indigenous leaders.

California State History - Fill in the Blank Activity

This fun fill in the blank activity will cover many of the more famous facts, figures, and locations of California's rich state history.

California State History - How Government Works

This activity sheet, taken from the California State History Discovery Journal, looks at the three branches of government and items such as how an idea becomes a law.

California State History - Sutter's Fort

This fun activity taken from our California State History Discovery Journal looks at Sutter's Fort and it's role in the famous Gold Rush.

California State History - Transcontinental Railroad

This exercise looks at the Transcontinental Railroad:  a timeline of it's history and it's impact on the west coast.

Climate Threats and Technology

In this activity, you'll look at the major threats to the sustainability of life on Earth and the same technologies that may have been the cause of some of our climate changes can also help shift our focus from consumption to preservation.

Implications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Throughout a series of questions, you'll ultimately answer the question of how emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and robotics impact economic inequality, business, government, and people.

Volcanic Myths and Legends

After you read an article by the BBC, in this activity, you'll consider the following questions:  How do you think myths and legends surrounding volcanoes help people cope with disaster? What role did these myths and legends play in pre-scientific societies? In your opinion, can myths and legends still have a useful role today? Why or why not?  

Scientific Management

In this week long activity, you will look at Taylorism - also known as scientific management.   Henry Ford used Taylorism to revolutionize the auto industry.  Now it's your turn to use it for your every day chores.

Should I Stay or Should I Go

After watching the video and two articles provided, consider the following questions as it relates to a person's decision to stay or not to stay during a natural disaster:  What reasons would lead a person to decide NOT to evacuate in the face of a major disaster, such as a volcanic eruption? What are some considerations that must be taken into consideration when deciding to order an evacuation? Was the response to Mount St. Helens adequate? What are some of the criticisms of the evacuation and do you agree or disagree? Based on what you’ve read and learned about the Mount St. Helens eruption, what most surprised you?

Living in an Intelligent World

Is artificial intelligence always a good thing?  In this exercise, you'll read this article regarding AI and cars and the consider the following questions:  What are some arguments in favor of increased regulation? What would be some reasons for opposing?  What’s your opinion? Should robotics and artificial intelligence be highly regulated and accountable to human control or simply left to evolve and develop on its own? What experiences have you had with artificial intelligence and automation?

UNESCO World Heritage Site

Spend some time exploring the UNESCO World Heritage website. Now, it’s your turn to propose the next UNESCO World Heritage site in your community, region, or state. In this activity, you'll make your case for the site you selected.