howtosmile blog


Spread Your Wings

wing span image

How do you connect learners of all ages with birds that they only see high up in trees, or flying far overhead? One way is letting learners measure their own armspread against a migratory bird's wingspan. To do this, you can download a free pattern for a 14-foot wide wingspan banner, created by Georgia's Department of Natural Resources. 

Engineering Everywhere

No day goes by without engineering touching our lives. How does engineering help when we play sports or music, ride in an elevator, check the weather forecast, drive over a bridge, vote in an election, and go through a typical day? Find out with engineering activities from Howtosmile.org during Engineers Week, February 22-28. 

Working in Space

astronaut in space
The advent of 3-D printing is transforming how astronauts work in space. Recently, astronauts on the International Space Station created a tool known as a ratchet wrench, by printing it on the space station's own 3-D printer. A design file sent electronically from NASA on Earth to the ISS instructed the printer to create the wrench from 104 successive layers of plastic. 

Howtosmile.org app for the Holidays

iPhone with app
This holiday season, you can take Howtosmile.org with you wherever you are—on a trip to see family and friends, at winter break camp, on the museum or science center floor, even on "stay-cation." The Howtosmile.org mobile app gives you immediate access to Howtosmile.org activities any time or anywhere.

Want to try some SMILE math fun with a holiday flair?

Light Year

international year of light
Turn on your cell phone and the screen lights up for you to see. Flip a switch and a room turns from dark to bright. Decorate your home with winter holiday candles and lights, or watch fireworks light up the sky on July 4th...Light and light-based technologies affect every day and nearly every part of our lives. Often we take light for granted, but in 2015 the world will be paying a lot more attention during the International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies.

Engineering Video Contest

Rainbow FallsHow can engineering meet the future’s toughest challenges? Create a 1-2 minute video to answer this question, and enter the Engineering For You 2 Video Contest. Grand prize for the most inspiring video is $25,000. Entry deadline is March 2, 2015.

Sports and Engineering Essay Contest

hockey stick in action
What's your favorite sport? Tennis? Running? Ice hockey? Whatever it is, engineering probably has a lot to do with playing, scoring or training for that sport. Whether it's tennis nanotech, high-speed cameras for photo-finish races, or the best-flex hockey stick materials, show what you know about the sports/engineering connection by entering the 2015 EngineerGirl Essay Contest.

Interstellar STEM

astronaut in space
Blockbuster sci-fi movies like Interstellar and Gravity and bestselling novels like The Martian raise many questions about space travel and human survival on other worlds. What happens to time during long space voyages? How will astronauts handle emergencies with limited supplies and equipment? Where might humans find another Earthlike planet to colonize? How would they survive there? At Howtosmile.org, learners think like scientists and engineers to explore such challenges through both hands-on and online activities.

SMILE turns 4!

sherry and darrell
Howtosmile.org celebrates its 4th anniversary this month! Launched in 2010 at the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) annual conference in Honolulu, Hawaii, SMILE has grown to nearly 4,000 STEM activities from more than 150 source institutions, in 28 languages. The free Howtosmile.org iPhone app gives users immediate access to SMILE activities any time, anywhere.