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Recap: August Teacher’s Workshop  August 22nd, 2014

We had a great time hosting our teacher’s workshop where we got to showcase fun, new activities to use in the club or classroom setting. For the middle school and high school students we shifted our focus toward engineering by showing the teachers an algal lab where the students can design what they think is an optimal place for algae to grow.  For the elementary school students the focus was on ecology and geology, which lead to some awesome hands on activities. All of these activities and those showcased in the workshop can be found below.  Thanks again for joining us this year and please feel free to share your comments on the activities we provided.

Elementary School:

Middle School:

High School:

Riperian dan joseph shawnMS engineering jay

College Readiness Materials  August 21st, 2014

On The Road To College_OSUorangeOnBlack_noSMILE

At our recent Teacher’s Workshop, the high school teachers had a conversation about better preparing SMILE students to enter college.  The SMILE Program recognizes that the process of preparing to attend college to pursue a rewarding career can be very daunting, and there is no one perfect resource for each teacher, student, or family member to assist with the process. In order to address the many needs of teachers, students, and parents, we have compiled some information and resources on the SMILE website about the college preparation and application processes. We hope that you find these resources very helpful in talking and connecting with your students and their families. We not only want students to be academically qualified for college, but we want them to be financially, emotionally, and socially prepared. Follow this link to view our “On the Road to College” page:

Additionally, the Office of Federal Student Aid has released a comprehensive College Preparation Checklist to help students and families in the college preparation process. This checklist starts at ages as young as elementary school, and includes information for both parents and students about financial aid, admissions, and other important factors that contribute to the preparation process. Click here to access a PDF copy of the checklist.

Teacher’s Workshop: Engineering Curriculum Part II  August 15th, 2014

During this winter and summer teacher’s workshop, our industrial engineering team made several fun LEGO activities for your students. They have created even more activities that they  wanted to share.  All of the activities from the other team is posted below:

1. Just-in-Time Manufacturing

2. Facility Design Activity

3. Design for Manufacturability Lesson

4. Culminating Activity


Teacher’s Workshop: Engineering Curriculum  August 15th, 2014

During this winter and summer teacher’s workshop, our industrial engineering team made several fun LEGO activities for your students. They have created even more activities that they  wanted to share.  All of the activities from one of our teams is posted below:

1. Production Methods Lesson

2. Bottleneck Analysis Lesson

3. Standardized Work Lesson

4. Culminating Activity

StreamWebs Field Day and Educator Kits  August 14th, 2014

During our August Teacher’s Workshop, teachers spent an afternoon at Hesthavn Nature Center learning about watershed stewardship projects. They rotated through various stations in order to gain ideas for creating projects back in their schools. These stations included riparian, macroinvertebrates, water quality, photopoint monitoring, plant identification, and the StreamWebs database. You can find all of the resources that were shared on the StreamWebs resources web page:

Curriculum for the plant identification portion of the StreamWebs activities is also available. Click here to access the curriculum.

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In addition to the resources that you can find on the StreamWebs site, SMILE has created a limited number of StreamWebs educator kits for SMILE’s teachers to borrow for use in their communities. There are three different kits available: riparian, water quality, and macro invertebrates. See the pictures below for the contents of the kits. If you are interested in taking advantage of this opportunity, please contact Renee O’Neill at

lamotte_wq_small macroinvertebrates_small riparian_kit_small

Engineering for Students  August 11th, 2014

Scientists and teachers are trying to find ways to make engineering design easier for students to understand.  Some students have a difficult time understanding how engineering is different than science.  They also struggle making engineering design more than tinkering.  The Boston Museum of Science has developed a simple design process that makes engineering understandable to students.  It consists of five steps that help students know what to do at each stage of the cycle:  ask, imagine, plan, create, and improve.  We will discuss the design process at the teacher workshop and hope that it will engineering activities easier to manage and understand.

Saving White City’s Air  August 11th, 2014

Recently White City, Oregon has been experiencing a problem and we can help them.  They have a pile of wood chips that covers 6 acres to a height of 40 feet that has the tendency to spontaneously ignite during the hot summers – threatening nearby homes and blanketing the town in smoke for days.  This town is the environment in four additional activities for the teacher workshop.  The town creates a nice motivation for students to design bioenergy power plants.  If they can figure out a way to use the wood chips to generate power and use the energy stored in the wood chips everybody wins.

Saving White City I (Middle School)

Saving White City II (Middle School)

Saving White City III (High School)

Saving White City IV (High School)

white city

Algal Lab  August 8th, 2014

For all ages we created a lab activity to focus on a new type of biofuel grown from algae.  In this activity the class will make and grow their own algae as instructed in the video below.  This algae will then be extracted to show students how much oil can be produced from such a small sample. This will allow students to compare this biofuels to others they have seen in the past.