Few crowds match the frenetic excitement of thousands of teachers looking for free classroom resources, and once a year, the Smithsonian embraces our local educators. Once a year, the Smithsonian invites Washington area teachers to explore classroom offerings from different Smithsonian units and encourage the local teaching community to use their Smithsonian as a classroom partner. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History hosted this year’s Teachers’ Night on Friday, October 23rd. The Postal Museum joined dozens of other Smithsonian units to promote our teacher resources, but you can see from the pictures, we might have had the most popular table there!
One of the lesson plans we offered turned out to be a surprise hit in a totally unexpected way. This year’s event attracted quite a few high school science teachers, many of which don’t regularly bring students to museums. With a little tweaking, the museum’s Stamp Stories program turned out to meet these teachers’ needs. Traditionally successful in history classrooms, this activity emphasizes topical stamp collecting as the basis for debate and essay writing. Friday night’s science teachers challenged us to re-envision the Stamp Stories program to fit the science curriculum, perhaps focusing on stamps that feature cumulus clouds or kelp forests! Now we’re eyeing the Design It! curriculum for opportunities to make connections to subjects such as science. Ida Marie, a docent helping with the event, commented that “…whether they are science teachers, resource librarians or special ed teachers—stamps are cool!” We want to hear how teachers might use science stamps in the classroom. We’re open to creative suggestions from classrooms around the country!