Thirteen Ed Online
Lesson Plans

Exploring the Smithsonian
Overview Procedures for Teachers Organizers for Students

Procedures for Teachers is divided into three sections:
Prep -- Preparing for the Lesson.
Steps -- Conducting the Lesson.
Tips -- Managing Resources and Student Activities.


Student Prerequisites:
Students should be familiar with using the Internet, and have prior knowledge of basic computational skills.

Computer Resources:
You will need at least one computer with Internet access to complete this lesson. While many configurations will work, we recommend:

  • Modem: 28.8 Kbps or faster.
  • Browser: Netscape Navigator 3.0 or above or Internet Explorer 3.0 or above.
  • Macintosh computer: System 7.0 or above and at least 16 MB of RAM.
  • IBM-compatible computer: 386 or higher processor with at least 16 MB of RAM, running Windows 3.1. Or, a 486/66 or Pentium with at least 16 MB of RAM, running Windows 95.

    For more information, visit What You Need to Get Connected in wNetSchool's Internet Primer.

    The following site should be bookmarked:

  • Smithsonian Institution

    This is the homepage for the Smithsonian Institution. All answers to scavenger hunt questions can be found on this site. Students should use the "site index" as a guide to subject areas.


    Time Allotment:
    This lesson requires approximately 1-2 class periods.

  • Divide the students into teams. Distribute the Scavenger Hunt sheet to each team. Students compete to have the most complete and accurate results. You may want to use the first few questions as a demonstration for the class.


    1. What was the original size of the Hope Diamond?
    • 112 3/16 carats

    2. How many carats did the Hope Diamond weigh in 1812?
    • The diamond weighed 177 grains. 177/4 = 44.25 carats

    3. What percent of the aircrafts in the National Air and Space Museum collection are displayed at the Paul E. Garber facility?
    • 140 out of 356 = 39%

    4. If 57% of all the aircrafts currently in the collection of the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) are on display, how many aircrafts are on display?
    • 57% of 356 = 203

    5. What is the ratio of the amount of protein you get from a potato to the amount of protein you get from wheat?
    • 2:1

    6. How many seeds can be produced from one sunflower head?
    • up to 1,000

    7. How many years did the Fourth Dynasty of Egypt last?
    • 2680 - 2560 B.C.E. = 120 years

    8. The canopy of a tropical rain forest is so dense that it deflects a lot of sunlight. What percent of the sun's rays in tropical rain forests reach the ground?
    • 20%

    9. What is the percentage of each type of garbage in America's municipal waste areas?
    • paper and textiles -- 42%
    • metal, plastic, and glass -- 23%
    • yard waste -- 18%
    • food waste -- 7%
    • other -- 10%

    10. If Americans recycled only 5% of the municipal solid waste they create each year, how many tons of garbage generation would be prevented?
    • 10.5 million tons

    11. What is the area of the Star Spangled Banner flag that currently hangs in the museum?
    • 30 ft. x 34 ft. = 1020 square ft.

    12. The area of the current Star Spangled Banner flag is what percent of the area of the original flag?
    • original size: 30 ft. x 42 ft.= 1260 square ft. The current flag's area is 81% of that of the original flag.

    13. How much does a Kevlar vest weigh?
    • 2.5 pounds

    14. Why is the $20 gold coin called the "Double Eagle"?
    • the $10 coin was called the "Eagle"

    15. In "Stories for the Gold Rush," what percent of stampeders were women?
    • 10%

    16. If 4% of Dr. Fineger's patients who contracted typhoid fever died, how many of his Gold Rush patients died from typhoid fever?
    • 4% of 177 = 12

    17. How many pieces of mail does the United States Postal Service deliver each day? Write your answer in scientific notation.
    • 6.0 x 10^8

    18. What percentage of the world's animal species are classified as invertebrates?
    • 99%

    19. How fast can a giraffe sprint?
    • 35 mph

    20. How many named volcanoes exist in the Aleutian Islands?
    • 40


    One Computer in the Classroom
    If you have access to one computer in your classroom, you can organize your class in several ways. Divide your class into two groups. Instruct one of the groups to do paper research while the second group is working on the computer. Bring in books, encyclopedias, etc., from the library for the group doing paper research. Assign each group a time limit for completion of the scavenger hunt. When the groups have finished working, have them switch places.

    If you have a big monitor or projection facilities, you can do Internet research together as a class. Make sure that every student in your class can see the screen, go to the relevant Web site(s), and review the information presented there. For the scavenger hunt, information can be gathered as a class, but the computations should be done individually. You can also select a search engine page and allow your students to suggest the search criteria. Again, bookmark and/or print the pages that you think are helpful for reference later.

    Several Computers in the Classroom
    Divide your class into small groups. Groups can do Internet research using pages you have bookmarked. Group members should take turns navigating the bookmarked site.

    You can also set the class up so that each computer is dedicated to certain sites. Students will then move around the classroom, getting different information from each station.

    Using a Computer Lab
    A computer center or lab space, with a computer-to-student ratio of one to three, is ideal for doing Web-based projects. Generally, when doing Web-based research, it is helpful to put students in groups of three. This way, students can help each other if problems or questions arise. It is often beneficial to bookmark sites for students ahead of time.

    Submit a Comment: We invite your comments and suggestions based on how you used the lesson in your classroom.

    Overview | Procedures for Teachers | Organizers for Students