Scientists Go Public

Public science meets professional meetings

Not only huge science festivals, but professional scientific conferences are giving the public a chance to do more hands-on science and meet scientists face to face. On Sunday December 2, the American Geophysical Union (AGU) conference in San Francisco will hold its free, public Exploration Station. Visitors of all ages can play with “radar,” discover the ocean and the Earth’s polar regions, stargaze in an inflatable planetarium, race against climate change, and pose questions directly to real scientists. Mars scientists will also give a free public lecture about the red planet mission. 


Sweet Science

Candy chemosynthesis and more

Turn leftover Halloween treats (or any holiday treats like Valentine's Day candy) into sweet STEM explorations, by using candy to illustrate scientific and mathematical concepts and processes. 


"Spooky" bone Halloween science

Halloween science fun

SkeletonMake no bones about it—Halloween is a great time for spooky science, especially the science of bones! Scary skeletons turn into not so scary science of human bones in SMILE activities like Bone BingoSketch a SkeletonBony "Win, Lose, or Draw," Body PartsMacarena Bones and The Bone Zone. Try these at home, using simple materials like play dough, paper, markers, brads, straws, toothpicks, and cardboard tubes from toilet paper and paper towels.


Working the Earth

Earth Science Week Careers

Earth Science WeekThis year, Earth Science Week (October 14-20) celebrates "Discovering Careers in the Earth Sciences." Paul Renne, Director of the Berkeley Geochronology Center, has carved out his career analyzing the age of rocks all over the world.

Why does he encourage students to pursue careers in science?

"One of the great things about science is that almost anyone can do it at some level. You don't have to be all-star athletic or movie-star glamorous. All you need is a love of learning how the world works," emphasizes Renne, who is also Professor in Residence of Earth and Planetary Sciences at UC Berkeley

"You can discover all kinds of cool things about how the world works, and many of the important things waiting to be discovered will benefit society in direct ways. For example, if we can figure out why certain organisms have gone extinct in the past, it will help us try to avoid creating those conditions in the future."


National Chemistry Week Nano

Nanotechnology Activities

National Chemistry Week

"Nanotechnology: The Smallest BIG Idea in Science" is this year’s National Chemistry Week theme. It's not too early to start planning local events for the week of October 21-27. You can find planning resources, or search events happening near you, on the American Chemical Society's National Chemistry Week webpages.

Start exploring all kinds of nanotechnology today with nano activities. One of the most popular activity themes is nanotech in nature. In SMILE activities like Morphing Butterfly and Exploring Structures: Butterfly, learners will be surprised to discover that the coloration on a Blue Morpho butterfly's wing is not pigment, but the refracted rays of light broken up by the wing's nanoscale structures.


National Fossil Day Contest

Enter Your Artistic Creation

National Fossil Day 2012Do you like art and photography and...dinosaurs? Individuals and groups age 8 and up can submit artistic entries to the National Fossil Day Art and Photography Contest. The theme is "Careers in Paleontology." 

Paleontology isn't limited to dusty deserts—many paleontologists work in forests or caves, even underwater! Some paleontologists work with computers, using 3D modeling or CT scans to learn how ancient animals moved or hunted. How would you depict the work of paleontologists through painting, photos, sculpture or other media?


Crash Course on Creativity

Creativity and STEM

BrainstormCreativity is not just a trait we’re born with, but a skill that can be taught and learned, says neuroscientist Tina Seelig. Seelig teaches young scientists and engineers to develop and heighten their creativity at the Stanford Technology Ventures Program, the entrepreneurship center of Stanford University’s School of Engineering. In her new book, inGenius: A Crash Course on Creativity, she is out to inspire all her readers, including new and experienced STEM educators, to infuse their learners’ experiences with much more creativity.

“Creativity fuels great scientific discoveries,” and can engage learners of all ages, backgrounds and skill levels, says Seelig. She encourages brainstorming as one of the most valuable creativity techniques that can be used in both professional and academic settings. “Brainstorming is the exploration phase of a project, a key to enhancing and expressing your imagination,” she explains.


Ancient Egypt

King Tut and more

Ancient_EgyptAre your learners fascinated by mummies and pyramids? Are ancient civilizations part of your 2012-2013 curriculum? Explore ancient Egypt at with activities like Mummy MagicThe Trial: Grand Vizier Ay Stands Accused of Murder! and Modern Detectives: Think Like an Archaeologist. You can also travel to ancient Egypt this summer at three major science center exhibits across the country. 

Boston Museum of Science’s Lost Egypt: Ancient Secrets, Modern Science focuses on archaeologists' work to acquire knowledge, not just treasures. If you can't get to the museum itself, visit the virtual exhibit to play an ancient Egyptian game of Senet, send a buried message, and even plan your afterlife.


Science in the Stacks

Children's Library Discovery Center

Science_stacksBookworms aren’t the only bugs in the library anymore. At the new, 14,000-square-foot Children's Library Discovery Center in Queens, New York, visitors are streaming in to find a cockroach, a spider, a cricket, a shiny beetle and more. They're all part of the "Discover Bugs" hands-on science station set up in the heart of the children’s book collection. 

Discover Bugs is one of 36 touch-friendly exhibits developed by the San Francisco Exploratorium (a founding partner) in collaboration with Queens Library staff. Ten years in the planning, and funded by the National Science Foundation and private donations, the Children's Library Discovery Center is the only public library in the United States that incorporates an interactive museum.


Summer STEM Olympics

Let the games begin!

STEM OlympicsPlanning summer activities or camps with an Olympic theme? has lots of free and low-cost activities about and including sports and exercise, which can easily be adapted for different ages and abilities. Hold your own summer STEM Olympics with activities like Olympic Track MeetBalance ChallengeJump StartSoccer Kicks, and Exercise and Memory

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