how to smile

Take a look inside

Bottom Line

Despite a few broken links, the site's easy and well-organized access to thousands of quality science activities is a valuable teacher resource.

How Can I Teach with This Tool?

Before planning your STEM-based lessons, search the free resources on howtosmile. Try a few different keywords based on what you need to cover with your students, and narrow the results down by grade level and class time. When the resources include information about standards alignment, those standards are included. If you’ve registered on the site, organize your findings into thematic lists, integrating outside links as well. Read other users’ comments, and join the community of educators by contributing your own feedback

What Is It?

Originally founded by a group of science museums, howtosmile is now run by the Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California, Berkeley. On the site, teachers, parents, and informal educators can search a database of over 3,500 science and math activities created by science museums, public television, universities, and other educational organizations. All activities are free, and educators can filter search results by age/grade, material costs, learning time, and more. Resource types include both hands-on and interactive types, physical and virtual. There are downloadable lesson plans, how-to videos, online interactive games, and class projects. All of the resources are reviewed and vetted before being added to the system.

Is It Good for Learning?

howtosmile is basically a repository for useful and quality science and math resources, giving information about each resource’s intended audience and value. The educational value of this site depends on the value of the other sites, and how well the links are curated and kept up to date. That being said, the site links to thousands of quality, free educational activities for informal learning, or for integration into more formal lessons. Many branches of science are represented, and all age groups, from pre-K to 12th grade. Keep in mind, though, that the site isn’t kept up to date in a timely manner; some activity links may lead to a 404 or “page not found” error. However, its focus on open education, quality content, and a variety of teaching approaches makes this resource valuable to all students, with something to offer everyone.
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