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Carson City School District partners with Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History

Teri Vance
tvance@nevadaappeal.com

After a three-hour presentation from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, Douglas High School world and U.S. history teacher Adam Lazear had a renewed energy for his subject matter.

“I’m going to start using more artifacts to use and teach history through,” he said. “I have done it before, but this was a good reminder. It’s a doable goal.”

The Carson City School District joined with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in the “Let’s Do History Tour,” a project seeks to support social studies teachers by introducing them to museum objects, effective teaching techniques, online tools and standards-based content that can be used in classrooms.

Presenters from the Smithsonian gave demonstrations Monday in using objects or artifacts to get students’ attention, using online lessons provided by the museum and other techniques such as games and historical theater.

“It’s a good way to have discussions about challenging topics in history,” said Matt Hoffman, an education specialist with the Smithsonian Institution.

The presentation continues today at the Nevada Legislature.

“The program combines the best of what the museum has to offer with best practices in 21st century education and will reach thousands of K-12 teachers nationwide,” said John Gray, Elizabeth MacMillan Director of the National Museum of American History. “While we can’t change the amount of time teachers have to teach American history, we can help them make every minute count.”

“By working alongside the museum, teachers have the opportunity to further increase student engagement and critical thinking through analysis of museum resources,” said Mena Dedmon, Social Studies Implementation Specialist. “The program helps us see how Nevada connects to the story of America.”

Mena Dedmon, an implementation specialist through the Race to the Top grant at Carson High School, coordinated the tour’s visit to Carson City, which was also open to Douglas, Lyon and Washoe counties.

“Most of us became history teachers because we love the content,” she said. “To get tapped into that passion and be reminded about why we got into this, we get energized. It’s what we love. It gets us excited again.”

For more information, visit the museum’s website at americanhistory.si.edu.