Crash Course on Creativity

Creativity and STEM

BrainstormCreativity is not just a trait we’re born with, but a skill that can be taught and learned, says neuroscientist Tina Seelig. Seelig teaches young scientists and engineers to develop and heighten their creativity at the Stanford Technology Ventures Program, the entrepreneurship center of Stanford University’s School of Engineering. In her new book, inGenius: A Crash Course on Creativity, she is out to inspire all her readers, including new and experienced STEM educators, to infuse their learners’ experiences with much more creativity.

“Creativity fuels great scientific discoveries,” and can engage learners of all ages, backgrounds and skill levels, says Seelig. She encourages brainstorming as one of the most valuable creativity techniques that can be used in both professional and academic settings. “Brainstorming is the exploration phase of a project, a key to enhancing and expressing your imagination,” she explains.


Ancient Egypt

King Tut and more

Ancient_EgyptAre your learners fascinated by mummies and pyramids? Are ancient civilizations part of your 2012-2013 curriculum? Explore ancient Egypt at with activities like Mummy MagicThe Trial: Grand Vizier Ay Stands Accused of Murder! and Modern Detectives: Think Like an Archaeologist. You can also travel to ancient Egypt this summer at three major science center exhibits across the country. 

Boston Museum of Science’s Lost Egypt: Ancient Secrets, Modern Science focuses on archaeologists' work to acquire knowledge, not just treasures. If you can't get to the museum itself, visit the virtual exhibit to play an ancient Egyptian game of Senet, send a buried message, and even plan your afterlife.


Science in the Stacks

Children's Library Discovery Center

Science_stacksBookworms aren’t the only bugs in the library anymore. At the new, 14,000-square-foot Children's Library Discovery Center in Queens, New York, visitors are streaming in to find a cockroach, a spider, a cricket, a shiny beetle and more. They're all part of the "Discover Bugs" hands-on science station set up in the heart of the children’s book collection. 

Discover Bugs is one of 36 touch-friendly exhibits developed by the San Francisco Exploratorium (a founding partner) in collaboration with Queens Library staff. Ten years in the planning, and funded by the National Science Foundation and private donations, the Children's Library Discovery Center is the only public library in the United States that incorporates an interactive museum.


Summer STEM Olympics

Let the games begin!

STEM OlympicsPlanning summer activities or camps with an Olympic theme? has lots of free and low-cost activities about and including sports and exercise, which can easily be adapted for different ages and abilities. Hold your own summer STEM Olympics with activities like Olympic Track MeetBalance ChallengeJump StartSoccer Kicks, and Exercise and Memory


Golden Gate Bridge turns 75

Engineering model bridges

Golden Gate Bridge2They said it couldn’t be built. Seventy-five years later, the Golden Gate Bridge has carried more than a billion cars across the San Francisco Bay. Among the 75 ideas for celebrating the GGB birthday (May 27) are “Inspire the next generation of ‘chief engineers’ by taking kids to a science museum” and “Help your kids build balsa wood bridges and hold a contest to see which bears the most weight.” 


Project Blue Planet Contest

Keeping the Earth Green and Blue

Project Blue PlanetYour school or community group could win $1500 for starting an eco-team or eco-themed project that educates kids and inspires them to take action about an environmental problem. Enter the Project Blue Planet contest, which challenges kids nationwide to involve their schools and communities in conservation.


Planet Earth—Astronaut's-Eye-View

Science on a Sphere for Earth Day

SOS_logoCaring for the Earth takes on a whole new dimension when you can see the entire planet the way astronauts do. Thanks to NOAA's Science on a Sphere (SOS), you don't have to travel into space, just to one of 80 public SOS exhibits across the United States and in Canada, Mexico, South Korea, Taiwan, Denmark, France, St. Lucia, China, Brazil, Finland, and Singapore.

Seeming to float in space like Earth itself, Science On a Sphere creates stunning visual images from real scientific data and displays them on a six-foot-diameter globe suspended from the ceiling.


Forest in the Clouds

From grad school to middle school

Middle schoolers may have their heads in the clouds, but that's OK—if the clouds are part of the Canopy in the Clouds/Dosel en Las Nubes web-based curriculum, created by UC Berkeley graduate student Greg Goldsmith. 

Greg GoldsmithThe website helps learners experience what it's like to move through Costa Rica’s Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, where Goldsmith does his doctoral research on plants. Gorgeously green, photographic panoramas can be explored in 360 degrees as well as up and down, and are sprinkled with clickable links that open videos or text about the plants and animals inhabiting this rare forest ecosystem from canopy to floor.


Planning Summer Camps

Master teacher Meredith Cochran learns from SMILE

NCMoLS3Master teacher Meredith Cochran is busy putting final touches on plans for this summer’s camps, for 1800 learners, at the North Carolina Museum of Life + Science. She took time to share SMILE's  impact on her work as an informal educator.

How does SMILE help your summer planning?

Our weeklong camps range over a dozen different topics across multiple age groups, and leave our team with over thirty camps to develop and implement. We end up sorting through A LOT of activities! The SMILE collection comes from such a wide variety of institutions, it helped me begin to see a bigger picture of the work we are a part of in our field. The work you are doing draws us all up into a greater standard of collaboration.


Get Up and Go—to a Garden!

Dig in at National Public Gardens Day

National Public GardensHundreds of public gardens will hold special events for National Public Gardens Day, Friday, May 11. Activities for school groups, families and visitors of all ages will encourage people to discover their local public garden, and learn about its commitment to education, research and the environment. The American Public Gardens Association is a partner in the Let’s Move! Museums & Gardens initiative, and gardens are a great place to get kids moving with STEM.

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