The Smithsonian Museum is vast and cannot be taken in just one day. Student travel tour organizers need to think carefully when planning a trip to the Smithsonian Museum. There are so many options to choose from and educators may benefit from tying the trips to the Museum in with curricular goals.
Nevertheless, there are some Smithsonian Museums that seem to be requested more by educational travel groups. I have highlighted them in a recent article, outlining the educational benefits of different museums. educationaltravelconsultants.com/blog/?p=20.
This article gives a basic overview of selected Smithsonian Museums and also offers suggestions on academic fields of interest, which may tie into visits to specific museums.
To help educators plan their student travel tour of Washington D.C. better, I will point you in the right direction on the World Wide Web, to find great educational resources for the trip.
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
Visit http://www.nasm.si.edu/education/classroom.cfm for online educational activities that tie in nicely with a visit to the National Air and Space Museum. Classes that are equipped with computers can take educational field trips before they make their visit to Washington D.C. A review of online activities could prove useful in the classroom, and teaching resources will integrate the visit to Washington D.C. into classroom activities.
The National Museum of the American Indian
Native American Code talkers were critical in the U.S. Armed forces during World War I and World War II, because native languages were used as code, and formed a basis for communication. Have students visit the website http://americanindian.si.edu/education/codetalkers/ that makes the history of Native American code talkers come alive.
The National Museum of Natural History
The National Museum of Natural History has excellent educational resources to help plan student travel tours more effectively. Visit http://www.mnh.si.edu/education/. Students can learn about the Future Female Scientists Program and some of the hands on educational programs at the museum, such as the Discovery Room and the Insect Zoo.
The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery has a wide range of programs for student groups of various age levels. Some of these educational programs are geared towards special age groups (such as 4th-12th Grade) or are organized thematically, such as American Writers, Great American Women, and Portrait Stories. Visit http://www.npg.si.edu/educate2/educate20.htm
For complete information about all of the educational programs available at the National Portrait Gallery.