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howtosmile blog

Activity Extensions for the Moon Adventure Game from the NISE Network

Have you ever wondered what challenges astronauts of the future will encounter when they live and work on the Moon? Thanks to NISE Network’s Moon Adventure Game, you can! The collaborative escape room-like adventure game is a fun and immersive way to learn first hand the dangers of long-term habitation on the Moon. This blog post is our way of helping educators currently using the game—or those planning to add the game to their museum programming—to extend the out-of-world experiences of learners.

Nature Journaling- The Ultimate Outdoor STEAM Activity

Whether you live in the heart of a big city, the rural countryside, or any place in between, our backyards and neighborhoods are full of incredible nature for us to explore. Nature journaling is a STEAM activity that allows us to mindfully appreciate all of the diverse life around us. Not only is nature journaling a great way to get outside and have fun, it also can teach us and our learners important science process and creativity skills. And the best part? All you need is a notebook, something to write with, and a bit of curiosity!

At-Home Activities Team Stipends

With support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Children’s Creativity Museum and UC Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science are updating to meet the growing needs of informal educators offering at-home STEM educational programming during the COVID-19 pandemic. The project will establish a network of 10 new partner museums to expand the howtosmile digital library, which provides high-quality STEM activities to an active community of informal educators through best practices in digital resource management-with almost 3,500 cataloged resources. The project is also updating the digital library's legacy cataloging system to reduce complexity and increase security.

An updated list of museums offering at-home activities

As part of our continued efforts to support educators, families, and learners during the current public health crisis, the howtosmile team is maintaining a list of science center, planetarium, aquarium, and children's museum websites offering at-home activities and related learning resources.

howtosmile and Earth Day, April 22nd

This is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day—one of the biggest science events of the year. 2020 brings new challenges for Earth Day as schools and museums remain closed and many learners and their families are sheltering-in-place. We have put together two new activity lists for learners—divided by the age—to celebrate safety at-home or outdoors with good social distancing practices. Activities use print-outs and simple materials that can be found at home.

2020: 10 years of howtosmile

Launched in 2010, howtosmile was started by a group of science museums dedicated to sharing great science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) activities with the educators and learners of the world. Given the challenging times we face in 2020, this mission is now more important than ever.

What’s in the Explore Science: Earth & Space 2018 digital toolkit?

In collaboration with NASA, the National Informal STEM Education Network (NISE Net) has released a NEW set of engaging, hands-on Earth and space science activities with connections to science, technology, and society.

Homeschool Base names as one the best educational websites in 2018.

The new year brings another award for howtosmile. Homeschool Base, the internet's largest volunteer driven homeschooling website, has named as one of the top 10 educational websites for math, and included the website in their best 100 educational websites for 2018.

Explore Science: Earth & Space 2017 digital toolkit now available!

The National Informal STEM Education Network (NISE Net), in collaboration with NASA, has just released a new Earth and space science digital toolkit for educators. NISE Net developers have prepared nine up-to-date, comprehensive hands-on STEM activities to showcase the exciting science topics, missions, and research of the NASA Science Mission Directorate. Every digital activity guide comes bundled with facilitator tips, planning and promotional materials, training and content videos, and info-sheets with beautiful NASA images...newly developed and fully customized for this toolkit. The digital download is completely free, and a great resource for any educator hoping to reach their audience with engaging Earth and space science content.

Doing Hands-on Science Activities in a Children’s Hospital #3: Doing Science at the Bedside (Part 1)

Not all kids can come to the hospital’s classroom and that means going to the child’s room to do hands-on science. A child’s situation can be such that interacting with other patients isn’t tenable for a variety of reasons. The child could be susceptible to infections or be infectious. Many times, the kid can’t physically leave the bed or room due to the realities of recovery or a result of receiving treatment. Bringing science to the kid is colloquially known as a “bedside,” because the child is in their bed and you’re using their hospital overbed table (the one they eat lunch on) to do science. But a lot of kids, who are mobile, can move about the room. At the Oakland Children’s Hospital, they have windowsill couches that are perfect for doing science. You’ll need to get the classroom staff’s impression on how mobile the kid is, and when you arrive, talk with the kid and/or parent before setting up to see what they prefer. The classroom staff has a “census” and throughout the morning, they’ll go around and talk to kids and gauge their interest in doing science. They’ll give you a list of rooms to visit and tell you what restrictions the kid may have.