Monday, October 25, 2010

Have you learned How to SMILE?

There's a great new way to find fun science and math activities--and to share your own! has just launched as a place where educators in non-school settings--like zoos, museums, and afterschool programs--can communicate and share their STEM activities. As of this writing, there's already over 1000 different science and math activities posted! 

Here's how it works. Once users create an account, they can post guides to their favorite projects. This includes a description, time, materials cost, and subjects addressed, among other things. Other users can post comments on their experience with the activity and even try to tweak it. Activities can be added to user-generated lists to create collections of similar activities, and users can earn badges and points based on their participation.

"SMILE" stands for Science and Math Informal Learning Educators, but can be used as a resource in lots of settings by non-educators too. Many of the activities are simple enough to be done by parents and kids at home, or by non-scientists in community groups, like Girl Scout troop leaders. The interface is simple enough to use that kids could search for interesting activities on their own. It's free to join, and if you get started soon, you'll have a chance to win an iPad!

Howtosmile is a joint project of science educators and researchers from across the country, including the Lawrence Hall of Science, The Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC), the Children's Museum of Houston, the Exploratorium, the New York Hall of Science, the Science Museum of Minnesota, and the National Science Digital Library (NSDL). 

The Coalition for Science After School is proud to be a national partner!

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