How I Use It
The best part about this site is that once you sign your students up and guide them to the quest you want them to complete, your work is done. Each quest is carefully designed to pull in Smithsonian resources and web resources. For example, students might look at wordles of past inauguration speeches and talk about why certain word choices were used and what was going on in history at the time. In another quest, they may submit images of trees around their area to add descriptions and demonstrate learning. In still another, students might investigate presidential portraits to understand why symbols were used in them and what they mean. All content ties to standards. Next, real teachers from around the globe will assess student learning and provide feedback either approving your students' submissions or deferring approval and offering suggestions for a better submission. If you want a site that can help multiply your effectiveness, this is the one.
The Smithsonian Quest website is a high quality, engaging site where most everything is done for you! In 5 minutes you can sign up your class and then invite your students (with parent permission if under 13) to join. Smithsonian takes over from there. Students are able to complete quests and earn badges across content areas. The best description comes from the web site itself. It reads, "From the art world to the zoo, from underwater to outer space, from current problems to future solutions, your students will have the freedom to explore their interests and make connections across subjects. They’ll develop skills and enhance their learning through discovery, while earning digital badges as credentials along the way."