Teachers’ Professional Development

Professional development workshops are the foundation of the program structure.  SMILE provides continuous support to the club teachers through professional development workshops, networking, curriculum materials, and equipment. Workshops are conducted three times a year, are led by URI resource faculty and SMILE professional staff.  The workshops provide: hands-on science and math activities, scientific knowledge and curriculum, techniques for integrating math and science, culturally appropriate techniques, computers and technology training.

Weekly Club Meetings

All activities and events revolve around the weekly after school club meetings that take place in each school. Club meetings last 1.5-2 hours and provide fun, STEM activities in a relaxed atmosphere. In each school, the SMILE club has a year round schedule of activities that focus on:

  • Hands-on and engaging STEM-based projects
  • Scientific and career exploration field trips
  • College awareness

District-Wide Family Science Nights

Family Science Nights bring together SMILE students, their families, and community members. Students demonstrate interactive science activities. The Family Science Night is a wonderful expression of interest and support by parents and community members. Parents have the opportunity to get more involved in their children’s education, and see them as competent learners. The children’s self esteem soars!


4th & 5th Grade Ecology Field Day

Fourth and fifth grade SMILE students arrive at the University of Rhode Island as tiny fish in a big sea of buildings and college students one day each spring.  They come to campus to learn about ecology concepts and ecology-based careers, tour the campus, eat in the dining hall, learn about what it takes to go to college, and participate in hands-on outdoor activities.

Undergraduate and graduate students teach students about horticulture, marine science, herpetology, and wetland science to give them a taste of what it is like to be an ecologist for the day!

Middle School Engineering Challenge

The Engineering Challenge Weekend brings together middle school students and teachers from all the participating school districts at the University of Rhode Island. The students work in teams with URI student and faculty mentors as well as volunteers from local corporations to design, build and test an engineering project.   Students also tour the campus, visit labs, and learn about college admission procedures and financial aid availability.

2009 Middle School Challenge on YouTube

High School Engineering Challenge

Each Spring high school SMILE students travel to URI’s Kingston Campus for an engineering challenge. During this challenge the students are divided into teams. The club members are mixed up across the teams so new connections and friends from around the state are made. The students spend Friday working in their teams to design, build, and test their solutions to the challenge problem given. Students eat in the dining halls and also go on a campus tour. Around 8pm winners of the challenge are announced and students head home to enjoy the weekend.

Engineering Challenge Mentors

If you would like to be a mentor for either engineering challenge the form to sign up can be found in the link below. Mentors are responsible for acting as a sounding board for students to help them think through their methods.

Sign-Up Form