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Category: Geology

Strengthening Communication for a Supportive SMILE Community  February 4th, 2016

From our January Teachers’ Workshop:

We have compiled the activities that we facilitated during the workshop as well as a few others from the Teaching Tolerance resources ( We hope that you incorporate one or more of these activities into your club meetings as a way of preparing for the upcoming Challenge events!

Strengthening Communication Activities – This is an overview of the activities we did during the workshop and a few more you might be interested in.

Happening Handshake Activity Slips – These are the slips for the first activity.

Communication Activity Handout Slips – These are the slips for the nonverbal communication activity.

2015 August Teacher’s Workshop  August 25th, 2015

During the August SMILE teachers workshop we spent an entire day learning about Oregon’s geology, hazards, and preparedness. All of the lesson materials shared were connected to NGSS with a specific focus on Cross Cutting Concepts. Check out some of the fun activities:

We also had special guests who shared resources related to geologic topics.  Here are links to their websites:


During an elementary session, teachers learned about riparian systems and their importance to birds and other organisms and we built model ecosystems. Here are the lesson plans that support these concepts:

Rain, Rain Go Away  April 8th, 2015

April showers bring May flowers right? Well how exactly do we measure such a thing? This article describes this processes. But why do we care? Right now throughout Oregon many cities are experiencing a drought while others are not. For cities that are, how much rain do you normally get this time of year? How many inches of rain would you need to catch up? For those that are not experiencing a drought, how much rain are you experiencing? These are great questions to ask your students.


SMILE Alumni Proposes LEGO Set!  March 25th, 2015

A former SMILE student who now works at the DOE National Energy Technology Laboratory has proposed the creation of a new Lego set dedicated to female geological scientists! The set would include both male and female geologists, a scanning electron microscope, minerals, and an “obligatory geology dog”. Though women are represented in geoscience departments, a recent study done by the American Geological Institute stated that women’s representation in geoscience and environmental occupations has not exceeded 30% since 2003.

In order to get the proposed set into production she needs to get 10,000 votes!  If you are interested in supporting this project go to Lego’s website here!

You can also view the article published in the Oregonian here!


TED-Ed: Geological Time  March 9th, 2015

The Earth is estimated to be 4.6 billion years old, but what does that mean? To students this can be difficult to put in perspective. How does this compare to their own lifetime? TED-Ed puts it all in perspective in the following video:

Earth Science  February 21st, 2014

As an addition to the schoolyard geology activities that were shared in Matt Nyman’s session during the Winter 2014 SMILE Teacher’s Workshop, here is a 4-lesson unit on Earth Science that can be done in the classroom.

Lesson 1 – Earth Layers

This lesson explores Earth, and it’s layers.  Students will be able to construct their own mini Earths according to different layers.


Lesson 2 – Plate Tectonics

Students will be able to explore the plates and their boundaries of the Earth. This lesson serves to explain how earthquakes and volcanoes come to be.



Lesson 3 – Earthquakes

This lesson explores earthquakes, how they happen, and how to stay safe.



Lesson 4 – Volcanoes

Students will explore the different Pacific Northwest volcanoes and get the opportunity to construct their own volcanoes.


Schoolyard Geology  January 27th, 2014

During our 2014 Winter SMILE Teacher’s Workshop, Matt Nyman, a Professor in the College of Education at Oregon State University, shared his expertise during a session on Schoolyard Geology.  Take a look at the great resources that were shared!

Professor Nyman also recommends the website “Exploring the World of Science”:

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Tsunami in a Box  January 27th, 2014

Alicia Lyman-Holt, a staff member at the Hinsdale Wave Research Lab, led a session at the 2014 “Step up your STEM” Teacher’s Workshop and shared her expertise on Tsunamis, Civil Engineering, and the Engineering Design Cycle. Take a look at the materials that Alicia shared!