STEAM and Portraiture--FREE Program

by  Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery

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Spark your students’ curiosity, powers of observation, and inquiry skills in a program that uses portraiture as a springboard to discuss STEAM concepts. As they analyze portraits, students will discover the sitters’ stories and recognize their contributions to the various STEAM fields. There will be opportunities to examine a broad range of STEAM topics in order to forge connections with classroom learning.

Neil deGrasse Tyson (2010 (printed 2015))

by David Gamble

Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery

©2010 David Gamble

Program Rating

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About This Program


Multipoint: $0.00
Multipoint Premium: $0.00



30-60 minutes based on your needs

Target Audience

Education: Grade(s) 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 Homeschool students

Minimum participants:


Maximum participants:


Primary Disciplines

Fine Arts, Industrial Technology, Mathematics, Sciences, Social Studies/History

Program Delivery Mode

Videoconference – Webcam/desktop (Zoom, Google Meet, Cisco WebEx, GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams, etc...)

Booking Information

Program will be offered Monday through Friday, from October 3, 2022, through May 26, 2023. The program can be thirty, forty-five, or sixty minutes in length and are offered between 9:30am (EST) and 4:00pm (EST).

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Receive this program and 9 more for one low price when you purchase the CILC Virtual Expeditions package. Learn more

For more information contact CILC at (507) 388-3672

Provider's Cancellation Policy

Cancellations must be submitted at least one week prior to the scheduled videoconference.
On the day of program, The Portrait Gallery has the right to cancel or alter the scheduled program if your group is more than 10 minutes late.

About This Provider

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Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery

Washington, DC
United States

            The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery tells the multifaceted story of the United States through the individuals who have shaped American culture. Spanning the visual arts, performing arts and new media, the Portrait Gallery portrays poets and presidents, visionaries and villains, actors and activists whose lives tell the American story. 

Jocelyn Kho
(202) 633-8514

Program Details


Videoconference presenters show portraits from the museum’s collection using the Smithsonian Learning Lab platform (https://learninglab.si.edu/org/NPG). Through inquiry-based questions and discussion, presenters engage with participants as they explore the portraits together.


After completing the program, students will be better able to:
• Identify key components of a portrait and discuss what one can learn about the sitter through these components.
• Identify and analyze the contributions that sitters made in their STEAM fields of expertise.
• Use the museum’s collection and portraiture as a springboard to exploring a variety of STEAM concepts.

Standards Alignment

National Standards

Science & Technical Subjects » Grade 6-8

Standards in this strand:
Key Ideas and Details:
Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts.
Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; provide an accurate summary of the text distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.
Craft and Structure:
Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 6-8 texts and topics.
Analyze the structure an author uses to organize a text, including how the major sections contribute to the whole and to an understanding of the topic.
Analyze the author’s purpose in providing an explanation, describing a procedure, or discussing an experiment in a text.
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas:
Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table).
Distinguish among facts, reasoned judgment based on research findings, and speculation in a text.
Compare and contrast the information gained from experiments, simulations, video, or multimedia sources with that gained from reading a text on the same topic.
Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity:
By the end of grade 8, read and comprehend science/technical texts in the grades 6-8 text complexity band independently and proficiently.

State Standards

Mathematics Grade 6
Ratios and Proportional Relationships
• Understand ratio concepts and use ratio reasoning to solve problems.
The Number System
• Apply and extend previous understandings of multiplication and division to divide fractions by fractions.
• Multiply and divide multi-digit numbers and find common factors and multiples.
• Apply and extend previous understandings of numbers to the system of rational numbers.
Expressions and Equations
• Apply and extend previous understandings of arithmetic to algebraic expressions.
• Reason about and solve one-variable equations and inequalities.
• Represent and analyze quantitative relationships between dependent and independent variables.
• Solve real-world and mathematical problems involving area, surface area, and volume.
Statistics and Probability
• Develop understanding of statistical variability.
• Summarize and describe distributions.
Mathematical Practices
11. Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
12. Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
13. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
14. Model with mathematics.
15. Use appropriate tools strategically.
16. Attend to precision.
17. Look for and make use of structure.
18. Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.