A picture's worth a billion pixels

Mars mosaic

Humans have yet to stand on the surface of Mars, but zooming in on the red planet with NASA's billion-pixel interactive image is almost like being there. The new online interactive lets Earth-bound explorers zoom ultra close-in to the Martian surface, from more than 228 million miles away.

Clocking in at 1.3 billion pixels, the image's high resolution version combines nearly 900 photos—taken by NASA's Curiosity rover—in a mosaic of the planet's rocky, dusty details. (The photo shown here is one of Curiosity's lower resolution "self portraits.")


Classroom in the Kelp—Teaching Under Water

Teaching While Diving

Anne Scanlon’s classroom is cold, wet and smells like fish and seaweed. She wouldn't have it any other way. That’s because Scanlon is not only an informal educator, but one of 100 specially trained volunteer scuba divers at Monterey Bay Aquarium in California.

14JUN Named to ALA Great Websites for Kids

American Library Association honor for SMILE website


The American Library Association has named to its Great Websites for Kids, among the recommended Sites for Parents, Caregivers, Teachers and Others. ALA's Association for Library Service to Children recognized as an exemplary website.

Criteria for selection include:

Being excellent and appropriate for young people up to and including age fourteen.

Letting users make comments or ask questions. 

Enriching the user’s experience and expanding the imagination.


Sound "Sandwiches" on White House Menu

More STEM at White House Easter Egg Roll

Sound "sandwiches" were the newest item on the science menu at the 2013 White House Easter Egg Roll. The Association of Science-Technology Centers served up 2,500 Exploratorium Sound Sandwich activities as part of the annual event's expanded science exploration area. 


Engineer Role Models—real and toy

Alice Agogino and Engineer Barbie

Mechanical engineer Alice Agogino is not anti-Barbie, by any means. Growing up she liked Barbie dolls, and they inspired her to design and sew her own clothes as a teenager. That hobby gave her tools she would later put to good use as an engineer. So it’s not surprising that when the National Academy of Engineering asked for input to help Mattel designers equip a new Computer Engineer Barbie®, Agogino rose to the challenge. 


NanoDays—Think Small, Very Small

Go Nano!

Homeschool.comThink big by thinking small, very small, during NanoDays. NanoDays is a growing, coast to coast festival of educational programs about nanoscale science and engineering, and the potential impact of nano research and products on the future. has lots of nano-themed activities to help you expand or launch your own NanoDays explorations. 

12FEB a Top Educational Website

SMILE voted in top 100 sites has been voted one of this year's Top 100 Educational Websites by, which has more than a million members. 

The homeschooling site recognized in the multiple subjects category, noting SMILE’s topic sections on MathematicsOcean Literacy, Chemistry. The Mathematics section links SMILE activities to the new Common Core State Standards. The Ocean Literacy section links SMILE activities to the Ocean Literacy Principles. The Chemistry section lets users search SMILE activities by chemical and find safety information for purchasing, using, storing and disposing of chemicals. SMILE will soon be expanding its topic sections to include climate literacy, energy literacy, life sciences, cooking, astronomy, neuroscience and materials science. 


The More the Merrier

SMILE users group

Starr Jordan, of the College of Charleston, is part of a new and growing regional SMILE users group in Charleston, South Carolina. She shares her insights about building a SMILE users group and her favorite SMILE activities.

How did you get involved in the Charleston SMILE users group?

I was already using SMILE activities—for outreach to schools, afterschool programs, homeschool groups, and teacher training workshops. Fred Phillips connected with me through, via the user search function.


Scientists Go Public

Public science meets professional meetings

Not only huge science festivals, but professional scientific conferences are giving the public a chance to do more hands-on science and meet scientists face to face. On Sunday December 2, the American Geophysical Union (AGU) conference in San Francisco will hold its free, public Exploration Station. Visitors of all ages can play with “radar,” discover the ocean and the Earth’s polar regions, stargaze in an inflatable planetarium, race against climate change, and pose questions directly to real scientists. Mars scientists will also give a free public lecture about the red planet mission. 

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