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SMILE Pathway: Science and Math Activities in One Search

The SMILE (Science and Math Informal Learning Educators) Pathway is for informal educators looking for high-quality STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) activities across multiple disciplines and contributing institutions. All materials are designed and chosen especially for those who teach school-aged kids in non-classroom settings. SMILE is also a meeting place for educators excited about what they do and ready to talk about how they do it. Additionally, SMILE creates a national partnership among science and technology centers, museums, community-based organizations, and out-of-school educators.

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  • SMILE Pathway: Science and Math Activities in One Search
A-Mazing Robot
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This activity lets you program your 'robot' (a willing friend) to pick up and dispose of some 'toxic waste' using as few commands as possible. Learners create command cards (Turn Left, Right, Forward 1, etc.), mark out a simulation area on the floor, and try to get the "robot" to dispose of something that serves as "toxic waste" into something that serves as a "containment vessel" - in as few steps as possible. Strategy, predication and cooperation are all part of this activity.

Subject:
Computing and Information
Engineering
Technology
Education
History, Law, Politics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Game
Provider:
Science and Math Informal Learning Educators (SMILE)
Provider Set:
SMILE Pathway: Science and Math Activities in One Search
Author:
Dakota Science Center
New York Hall of Science
Date Added:
11/09/1999
Absorb & Repel
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Rating
3.0 stars

In this activity, learners investigate how different materials repel or absorb water. Learners use spray bottles to explore how everyday items like sponges, cardboard, feathers, etc. respond to water differently. This activity also introduces learners to the scientific method as learners make predictions about which materials will absorb or repel water.

Subject:
Engineering
Technology
Education
Life Science
Chemistry
Geoscience
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
Science and Math Informal Learning Educators (SMILE)
Provider Set:
SMILE Pathway: Science and Math Activities in One Search
Author:
Kohl Children's Museum
Date Added:
11/09/2012
Acorns
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In this outdoor game, learners play the roles of gray or red squirrels gathering and storing a supply of food in "fall" and recovering enough of them to survive the "winter." Learners carry bags representing their cheek pouches for carrying food. Learners investigate the advantages and disadvantages of how these two kinds of squirrels store food differently.

Subject:
Education
Life Science
Ecology
Forestry and Agriculture
Geoscience
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Game
Simulation
Provider:
Science and Math Informal Learning Educators (SMILE)
Provider Set:
SMILE Pathway: Science and Math Activities in One Search
Author:
Lawrence Hall of Science
Date Added:
11/09/2014
Acting Out
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This activity (on pages 21-32 of PDF) has learners act out several classic brain teasers. Instead of moving checkers or pennies around on a table, learners play the role of the different pieces of the puzzle, and have to move themselves around. The lesson plan includes printable pictures of different characters than can be worn by the learners. Answers to the puzzles are provided so the facilitator can guide learners towards the solution.

Subject:
Education
Mathematics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Game
Lesson Plan
Provider:
Science and Math Informal Learning Educators (SMILE)
Provider Set:
SMILE Pathway: Science and Math Activities in One Search
Author:
OMSI
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
Date Added:
11/09/2008
Adherence to HIV Treatment
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In this activity, learners simulate taking HIV antiretroviral drugs by using Tic Tac mints and Kool-Aid packets. Learners will experience firsthand how easy or difficult it is to fully adhere to a treatment program. Participation in this activity does not require eating or drinking anything and can accommodate learners with allergies.

Subject:
Education
Life Science
Mathematics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Simulation
Provider:
Science and Math Informal Learning Educators (SMILE)
Provider Set:
SMILE Pathway: Science and Math Activities in One Search
Author:
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Date Added:
11/09/2007
African Arts
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In this two-day activity (on pages 16-22), learners use a process like that of the Yoruba people of Nigeria to create an African symbol on cloth. Learners first make cassava gel, then paint decorative symbols on cloth, and finally dye it. Learners examine the significance of symbols in African culture and communication, and the use of natural plant products for human projects.

Subject:
Computing and Information
Engineering
Technology
Education
Life Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Science and Math Informal Learning Educators (SMILE)
Provider Set:
SMILE Pathway: Science and Math Activities in One Search
Author:
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
National Science Foundation Informal Science Education Program
Nebraska Cooperative Extension 4-H Youth Development
University of Nebraska State Museum
Date Added:
11/09/2001
Air Pressure and Dent Pullers
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In this activity, learners simulate Otto von Guericke's famous Magdeburg Hemispheres experiment. In this modern, low cost version, a pair of learners try to pull apart two suction cups (dent pullers). Learners then calculate the amount of force holding the dent pullers together.

Subject:
Education
Mathematics
Algebra
Chemistry
Geoscience
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Simulation
Provider:
Science and Math Informal Learning Educators (SMILE)
Provider Set:
SMILE Pathway: Science and Math Activities in One Search
Author:
Don Rathjen
The Exploratorium
Date Added:
11/09/2010
Alien Encounter
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In this activity, learners use multiplication skills to get groups of aliens safely back to their planet.

Subject:
Education
Mathematics
Algebra
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
Science and Math Informal Learning Educators (SMILE)
Provider Set:
SMILE Pathway: Science and Math Activities in One Search
Author:
Children's Museum Of Houston
ExxonMobil
The Children's Museum of Houston
Date Added:
11/09/2012
Alike and Different
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This activity (on pages 7-13) has pairs of learners survey an array of similarities and differences between them. The differences survey worksheet focuses on genetically inherited physical features, such as hair color, eye color, ear shape, and tongue folding and rolling. By tallying the whole group's features, they will consider which features are "dominant" (occurring more often). The activity includes reflection questions to encourage writing.

Subject:
Education
Life Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Science and Math Informal Learning Educators (SMILE)
Provider Set:
SMILE Pathway: Science and Math Activities in One Search
Author:
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
National Science Foundation Informal Science Education Program
Nebraska Cooperative Extension 4-H Youth Development
University of Nebraska State Museum
Date Added:
11/09/2002
All Mixed Up!
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In this activity, learners separate a mixture of pebbles, salt crystals, and wood pieces. They add water and pour the mixture through a strainer. The pebbles are left in the beaker, the wood is caught by the strainer, and the salt stays dissolved in the water. The main idea is that different physical properties of the components can be used for separating them, and that evaporation can be used to isolate a solute from a solution. This activity is currently used in the Nature of Matter Unit in OMSI's Chemistry Lab. Cost estimates are per 100 learners.

Subject:
Technology
Education
Mathematics
Chemistry
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Science and Math Informal Learning Educators (SMILE)
Provider Set:
SMILE Pathway: Science and Math Activities in One Search
Author:
National Science Foundation
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
Date Added:
11/09/1997
The Amazing Water Trick
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Educational Use
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Using two baby food jars, food coloring, and an index card, you'll 'marry' the jars to see how hot water and cold water mix. Besides illuminating the cool fact that an index card can act as a lid (with no water gushing out), this activity also teaches about the differing densities of hot and cold water.

Subject:
Engineering
Technology
Education
Mathematics
Chemistry
Geoscience
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Science and Math Informal Learning Educators (SMILE)
Provider Set:
SMILE Pathway: Science and Math Activities in One Search
Author:
Ellen Klages
Linda Shore
Pat Murphy
The Exploratorium
Date Added:
11/09/1998
Ambiguous Cube
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In this activity, learners construct a three-dimensional ambiguous cube to explore visual illusions and how our brains interpret or misinterpret information. Learners will be surprised to see what the cube looks like when they hinder their depth perception by viewing it with only one eye.

Subject:
Engineering
Education
Life Science
Mathematics
Geometry
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Science and Math Informal Learning Educators (SMILE)
Provider Set:
SMILE Pathway: Science and Math Activities in One Search
Author:
Don Rathjen
The Exploratorium
Date Added:
11/09/2009
Ancient Observatories: Timeless Knowledge Activities
Unrestricted Use
Public Domain
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This lesson plan provides learners with two activities to explore the connections between events in their lives and the seasons of the year. Learners follow lists of instructions and create diagrams to visualize these connections. This lesson plan includes activity instructions and answer keys.

Subject:
Education
Mathematics
Geometry
Geoscience
Space Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
Science and Math Informal Learning Educators (SMILE)
Provider Set:
SMILE Pathway: Science and Math Activities in One Search
Author:
NASA
Date Added:
06/26/2012
Animal Anti-Freeze
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In this outdoor winter activity, learners search for and create hibernation sites that will protect gelatin "animals" from freezing. Learners come to understand that hibernating animals need to take care in selecting a sleeping spot that will provide protection from the winter cold.

Subject:
Life Science
Geoscience
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Simulation
Provider:
Science and Math Informal Learning Educators (SMILE)
Provider Set:
SMILE Pathway: Science and Math Activities in One Search
Author:
Lawrence Hall of Science
Date Added:
11/09/2014
Animal Attraction
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Investigate a flower's power of marketing by making an imitation flower that successfully signals a bee (or other pollinator of your choice) to visit. Try to determine what characteristics will attract a pollinator to your flower. Also available as an online game.

Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Science and Math Informal Learning Educators (SMILE)
Provider Set:
SMILE Pathway: Science and Math Activities in One Search
Author:
Chicago Botanic Garden
New York Hall of Science
Date Added:
11/09/1999
Animal Diversity
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In this outdoor activity, learners find, count and compare as many different kinds of animals as they can find in two different areas: a managed lawn and a weedy area. Learners compare their animal finds, and also examine which plants in the different areas attracted the most animals. Learners consider how people have affected the diversity of animals in the lawn.

Subject:
Education
Life Science
Ecology
Forestry and Agriculture
Mathematics
Geoscience
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
Science and Math Informal Learning Educators (SMILE)
Provider Set:
SMILE Pathway: Science and Math Activities in One Search
Author:
Lawrence Hall of Science
Date Added:
11/09/2014
Animal Hats
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In this arts and crafts activity about animals and animal characteristics, learners will design animal hats and role-play as animals. Through this dramatic play, learners will practice and develop problem solving, cooperation, symbolic thinking, language and personal expression skills. Use the suggested open-ended questions to encourage learner reflection about their animal hat and animals in general.

Subject:
Engineering
Technology
Education
History, Law, Politics
Life Science
Ecology
Forestry and Agriculture
Geoscience
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
Science and Math Informal Learning Educators (SMILE)
Provider Set:
SMILE Pathway: Science and Math Activities in One Search
Author:
OMSI
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
Date Added:
11/09/2004
Animals in a Grassland
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In this outdoor, warm weather activity, learners use sweepnets to search a grassy area such as a large lawn or field, collecting small animals to find as many different kinds of animals as possible. Learners observe and try to identify the animals they catch and observe how different animals interact with each other. Because some animals can't be caught easily with sweepnets, the Branching Out part of the activity involves making very small "pitfall traps" in the ground. At the end of the activity, learners release all the animals back into the grassy area.

Subject:
Education
Life Science
Ecology
Forestry and Agriculture
Geoscience
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
Science and Math Informal Learning Educators (SMILE)
Provider Set:
SMILE Pathway: Science and Math Activities in One Search
Author:
Lawrence Hall of Science
Date Added:
11/09/2014
As the Rotor Turns: Wind Power and You
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In this engineering activity, learners will get acquainted with the basics of wind energy and power production by fabricating and testing various blade designs for table-top windmills constructed from one-inch PVC pipe and balsa wood (or recycled materials). This lesson plan is divided into three parts. In Part I, learners explore outdoors and examine where wind comes from. In Part II, learners review the power equation and wind as an energy resource. Finally, in Part III, learners work in groups to construct and test their wind turbines. During each section, learners can view video segments that are linked to this resource.

Subject:
Engineering
Technology
Education
History, Law, Politics
Ecology
Forestry and Agriculture
Mathematics
Chemistry
Geoscience
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Data Set
Lesson Plan
Provider:
Science and Math Informal Learning Educators (SMILE)
Provider Set:
SMILE Pathway: Science and Math Activities in One Search
Author:
CPB
National Science Foundation
West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund, Inc.
WGBH
WPSU
Date Added:
11/09/2011
Atmosphere Composition Model
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In this activity, learners create a model using metric measuring tapes and atmosphere composition data. Learners will investigate the major components of the atmosphere (nitrogen and oxygen) as well as the minor components which raise questions about global warming and greenhouse gases.

Subject:
Engineering
Technology
Education
Life Science
Ecology
Forestry and Agriculture
Mathematics
Chemistry
Geoscience
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Data Set
Provider:
Science and Math Informal Learning Educators (SMILE)
Provider Set:
SMILE Pathway: Science and Math Activities in One Search
Author:
Lori Lambertson
The Exploratorium
Date Added:
11/09/2007