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
That's the Way the Ball Bounces: Level 1
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In this activity, learners prepare four polymer elastomers and then compare their ...

In this activity, learners prepare four polymer elastomers and then compare their physical properties, such as texture, color, size, and bounce height. This activity is a fun way for learners to become more familiar with polymers and their uses. Safety note: The "Teacher Notes for Level 1" link contains a number of safety guidelines that should be read before doing this activity.

Subject:
Engineering
Technology
Education
Life Science
Mathematics
Chemistry
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:
Ann Sullivan
Lauri McDonald
National Science Foundation RET Grant
University of Southern Mississippi
Moving On Up: Capillary Action 1
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Over the course of several days, learners explore the property of water ...

Over the course of several days, learners explore the property of water that helps plants move water from roots to leaves or gives paper towels the capacity to soak up water. Learners will observe water's ability to move through narrow tube-like spaces known as capillaries, in an investigation called Colorizing Carnations. Learners then modify the variables in their activity to test how capillary action is affected by soapy water, salty water, different liquids and/or different plants.

Subject:
Engineering
Technology
Education
Life Science
Mathematics
Chemistry
Physics
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:
Liberty Science Center
New Jersey
New Jersey Department of Education
New Jersey School Age Care Coalition
No Child Left Behind Act of 2001
Ramps 1: Let it Roll!
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In this activity about ramps, learners explore and measure the rate at ...

In this activity about ramps, learners explore and measure the rate at which spherical objects roll down a ramp. Learners discuss why different ramps work better than others and practice procedures for testing designs and recording results. Learners can design, build, and test their own ramps in "Ramps 2: Ramp Builder," a follow-up activity (see related resource).

Subject:
Engineering
Technology
Education
Mathematics
Chemistry
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
ComPADRE Digital Library
Science and Math Informal Learning Educators (SMILE)
Provider Set:
ComPADRE: Resources for Physics and Astronomy Education
SMILE Pathway: Science and Math Activities in One Search
Author:
AAAS
American Association for the Advancement of Science
Verizon Foundation Thinkfinity Program
The Carbon Cycle and its Role in Climate Change: Activity 1
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In this activity (on page 1), learners role play as atoms to ...

In this activity (on page 1), learners role play as atoms to explore how atoms can be rearranged to make different materials. Learners group together and link arms or hold hands to form chemical bonds and act out the processes of photosynthesis and respiration. Use this activity to introduce the carbon cycle and follow this activity with two associated activities from the same resource.

Subject:
Engineering
Technology
Education
Life Science
Ecology
Forestry and Agriculture
Mathematics
Chemistry
Physics
Geoscience
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:
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration
NOAA
US Bureau of Land Management
US Environmental Protection Agency
US Fish and Wildlife Service
US Forest Service
US National Park Service
Geometry and Spatial Relations: It's a Perfect Fit (Part 1)
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In this three-part math activity, learners explore shapes. In part one, learners ...

In this three-part math activity, learners explore shapes. In part one, learners identify, describe, and classify two-dimensional shapes. Learners use square tiles to duplicate shapes on a card, identify 2D shapes in the room, sort shapes according to their attributes, and use shapes to creature pictures and stories. In part two, learners experiment with pattern blocks and decorate paper bag vests with shapes and patterns. In part three, learners are introduced to three-dimensional shapes as they use Geoblocks to explore geometric concepts.

Subject:
Mathematics
Geometry
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:
PBS
US Department of Education
Perspectives: Powers of 10
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In this activity, learners complete a series of drawing activities to explore ...

In this activity, learners complete a series of drawing activities to explore scale and powers of 10. Learners first trace each other on 1-meter-square pieces of paper. Next, they trace a found object like a leaf next to the body outline. They divide the paper into 100 squares and redraw what they see in one square in their notebook. Eventually, learners will end up with a miniaturized version of their original drawing. Use this activity to introduce learners to how scientists use specialized tools to study small things.

Subject:
Engineering
Technology
Education
Mathematics
Physics
Space 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:
Optical Society of America
100 or Bust
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In this Cyberchase activity, learners play a game where zero can help ...

In this Cyberchase activity, learners play a game where zero can help them win--or make them lose! Learners roll the die and place a zero in the tens or ones place. The winner is the first player to reach 100 without going over.

Subject:
Education
Mathematics
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:
Corporation for Public Broadcasting
Ernst & Young LLP
National Science Foundation
Northrop Grumman Corporation
PBS
The Volckhausen Family
WNET
Chances Are: Parts 1, 2, and 3
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In this series of three lesson plans from PBS Mathline the instruction ...

In this series of three lesson plans from PBS Mathline the instruction is focused on utilizing probability terms in everyday and mathematic situations. Each lesson plan is accompanied by an activity sheet, extension suggestions, and questions for professional development discourse. The video for Part 1 is cataloged separately and is listed as a related resource.

Subject:
Technology
Education
Mathematics
Physics
Geoscience
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Unit of Study
Provider:
Maryland Public Television
Science and Math Informal Learning Educators (SMILE)
Provider Set:
Mathlanding: Elementary Mathematics Pathway
SMILE Pathway: Science and Math Activities in One Search
Author:
PBS
US Department of Education
APSnet-K-12 Teacher's Guide to Lessons and Laboratories: Water Molds
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This website presents a great Water Molds activity-based lesson plan which is ...

This website presents a great Water Molds activity-based lesson plan which is part of the American Phytopathological Society's K-12 Plant Path-Ways to Science website previously reported on in the September 6, 2002 issue of the NSDL Scout Report for the Life Sciences. This Water Molds lesson was developed by educators Gail L. Schumann and Claudia A. Jasalavich as "an introduction to an important group of soil and water organisms (the Oomycetes) and an opportunity to conduct some simple biodiversity exercises. This exercise can be used for all K-12 age groups and learning levels, but may be most useful for grades 7-12 in classrooms where dissecting and compound microscopes are available." The site is well laid-out with clear instructions, great photos, and sections on Purpose and Background Information, Materials and Methods, Diagrams For Class Use, and more.

Subject:
Education
Life Science
Ecology
Forestry and Agriculture
Geoscience
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Diagram/Illustration
Lesson Plan
Simulation
Provider:
AMSER: Applied Math and Science Education Repository
Science and Math Informal Learning Educators (SMILE)
Provider Set:
AMSER: Applied Math and Science Education Repository
SMILE Pathway: Science and Math Activities in One Search
Author:
APSnet
Claudia A. Jasalavich
Gail L. Schumann
Jasalavich, Claudia A.
Schumann, Gail L.
Newton's 2nd Law: Inquiry Approach
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In this lab activity, learners act as fellow scientists and colleagues of ...

In this lab activity, learners act as fellow scientists and colleagues of Isaac Newton. He has asked them to independently test his ideas on the nature of motion, in particular his 2nd Law. The emphasis here is on the process of science rather than the actual results. Learners can use the Science Flowchart to trace and discuss their process. Time estimate and materials are given for learners to run their designed experiments.

Subject:
Education
Mathematics
History, Law, Politics
Chemistry
Physics
Space 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:
Cecilia Tung
National Science Foundation
University of California Museum of Paleontology
The Carbon Cycle and its Role in Climate Change: Activity 2
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In this activity (on page 7), learners explore the meaning of a ...

In this activity (on page 7), learners explore the meaning of a "carbon sink." Using simple props, learners and/or an educator demonstrate how plants act as carbon sinks and how greenhouse gases cause global warming. This activity is the second in a series of three activities that introduce learners to the carbon cycle (see related sources), although it is not mandatory that all three activities are completed as a set.

Subject:
Technology
Education
Life Science
Ecology
Forestry and Agriculture
Chemistry
Physics
Geoscience
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:
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration
NOAA
US Bureau of Land Management
US Environmental Protection Agency
US Fish and Wildlife Service
US Forest Service
US National Park Service
2-Liter Landfill
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In this activity, learners gain a better understanding of how household/school waste ...

In this activity, learners gain a better understanding of how household/school waste breaks down in a landfill. Learners collect trash and then create miniature landfills in 2-liter bottles. Learners record observations about their landfills at least once a week for a month. This activity is part of a larger curriculum related to amphibians and conservation.

Subject:
Education
Life 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:
Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo
Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium
Plugged in to CO2
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In this classroom activity, students measure the energy use of various appliances ...

In this classroom activity, students measure the energy use of various appliances and electronics and calculate how much carbon dioxide (CO2) is released to produce that energy.

Subject:
Engineering
Technology
Education
Life Science
Ecology
Forestry and Agriculture
Mathematics
Algebra
Chemistry
Physics
Geoscience
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network
Science and Math Informal Learning Educators (SMILE)
Provider Set:
CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network
SMILE Pathway: Science and Math Activities in One Search
Author:
American Geological Institute
American Geophysical Union
CISM and CMMAP projects
Hewlett Foundation
Jonathan Hoffman
Lisa Gardiner
Marie Johnson
NASA
National Science Foundation
NCAR
Windows to the Universe
Ramps 2: Ramp Builder
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In this inquiry-based learning activity, learners design, build, and test their own ...

In this inquiry-based learning activity, learners design, build, and test their own ramps. They are introduced to a variety of materials and explore putting them together. They also create plans for ramps by evaluating a variety of materials provided to them. This is the second activity in a two-part series on ramp building (see related resources for "Ramps 1: Let It Roll!").

Subject:
Engineering
Technology
Education
Mathematics
History, Law, Politics
Chemistry
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
ComPADRE Digital Library
Science and Math Informal Learning Educators (SMILE)
Provider Set:
ComPADRE: Resources for Physics and Astronomy Education
SMILE Pathway: Science and Math Activities in One Search
Author:
AAAS
American Association for the Advancement of Science
Verizon Foundation Thinkfinity Program
That's the Way the Ball Bounces: Level 3
Conditions of Use:
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Rating

In this activity, learners prepare four polymer elastomers and then compare their ...

In this activity, learners prepare four polymer elastomers and then compare their physical properties, such as texture, color, volume, density, and bounce height. This activity is a fun way for learners to become more familiar with polymers and their uses. Safety note: The "Teacher Notes for Level 3" link contains a number of safety guidelines that should be read before doing this activity.

Subject:
Engineering
Technology
Education
Life Science
Mathematics
Chemistry
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:
Ann Sullivan
Lauri McDonald
National Science Foundation RET Grant
University of Southern Mississippi
The Carbon Cycle and its Role in Climate Change: Activity 3
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In this activity, learners explore the human influences on the carbon cycle ...

In this activity, learners explore the human influences on the carbon cycle and examine how fossil fuels release carbon. Learners role play as miners, power plant operators, car drivers, and home owners in a city. Learners will act out how each member of society contributes to the carbon cycle and then create a classroom mural depicting the path of carbon. Learners can reflect on this process as well as brainstorm ways to lower their carbon footprints. This activity is the third in a series of three activities that introduce learners to the carbon cycle (see related sources), although it is not mandatory that all three activities are completed as a set.

Subject:
Engineering
Technology
Education
Life Science
Ecology
Forestry and Agriculture
Chemistry
Physics
Geoscience
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:
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration
NOAA
US Bureau of Land Management
US Environmental Protection Agency
US Fish and Wildlife Service
US Forest Service
US National Park Service
3D-tection: Trying to Fit In
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In this activity, learners explore how molecules must fit together, like a ...

In this activity, learners explore how molecules must fit together, like a lock and key, in order to identify each other and initiate a new function as a combined unit. By fitting their hands into uniquely-shaped Play-dough models, learners simulate how receptors recognize each other and stick together based on their distinctive three-dimensional forms. This activity includes an optional extension, in which learners match objects to impressions of the objects in play-dough. Use this activity to introduce concepts related to nanotechnology, self-assembly, antigens, and antibodies.

Subject:
Engineering
Technology
Life Science
Chemistry
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:
Arizona Science Center
Science Education Partnership Award, National Institutes of Health
3...2...1 Puff!
Conditions of Use:
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In this activity, learners build small indoor paper rockets, determine their flight ...

In this activity, learners build small indoor paper rockets, determine their flight stability, and launch them by blowing air through a drinking straw. This lesson plan includes procedures for the two part activity, background information, diagrams for making Ares 1 paper rockets, discussion questions, extensions, and black-line masters for learners.

Subject:
Engineering
Technology
Education
Mathematics
History, Law, Politics
Geometry
Chemistry
Physics
Geoscience
Space Science
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:
Deborah A. Shearer
Gregory L. Vogt, Ed.D.
NASA
3-2-1 POP!
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In this physics activity, learners build their own rockets out of film ...

In this physics activity, learners build their own rockets out of film canisters and construction paper. Learners discover how a chemical reaction (from a mix of water and Alka-Seltzer) creates gas pressure to propel the craft. The activity explores the three states of matter and Newtonäóťs Laws of Motion.

Subject:
Engineering
Technology
Education
History, Law, Politics
Chemistry
Physics
Geoscience
Space 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:
COSI
Great Openings: Slots, 35 Sense, and Hole In One
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These three short activities challenge groups to fit objects through paper and ...

These three short activities challenge groups to fit objects through paper and index cards: "Slots" presents the challenge for one learner to figure out which objects fit through a hole cut by another; "35 Sense" is a puzzle to fit a quarter through a hole the size of a dime; and "Hole In One" has learners cutting index cards to fit a person through.

Subject:
Mathematics
Geometry
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Science and Math Informal Learning Educators (SMILE)
Provider Set:
SMILE Pathway: Science and Math Activities in One Search
Author:
Amy Harrison
Anne Gurnee
David Heil
Gayle Amorose