Informal science education supports people of all ages and walks of life in exploring science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Hosted by the University of California, Berkeley Lawrence Hall of Science in partnership with science museums and the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC), the howtosmile.org website is an online collection of thousands of hands-on interactive science and math activities designed especially for those who teach school-aged children in non-classroom settings.
All activities at howtosmile.org are freely accessible and do not require a registration or subscription. The major innovation of howtosmile.org is the variety of ways users can search and discover STEM activities across the web and share their ideas and expertise. Howtosmile.org users can search the 2,000-activity collection by age or grade, materials cost, preparation time, source institution, language, and by a broad array of STEM topics. The howtosmile.org metadata schema is open and can be a model for future cyber infrastructure projects that serve STEM educators. Howtosmile.org users can share and comment on activities, upload videos, and create and save activity lists.
Howtosmile.org staff members have facilitated workshops and online professional development courses at national and state conferences for organizations including ASTC, the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), and the Informal Science Education Association of Texas (ISEA Texas). At the Spring 2011 White House Easter Egg Roll, howtosmile.org provided thousands of children and their parents two popular activities found on the website: Helicopter Twirl and PaperBag Kite.