About Science Smiles

Science Smiles is a website dedicated to sharing resources for student-centered, hands-on science education at the middle school level. We strive to align with the Next Generation Science Standards, but focus on the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for middle school. WE take the view that students are people first, professionals second and pupils third.

Thumbs up student
A former student (and her stuffed pig friend)

(1) People – students are little humans. They have needs that need to be met, emotions to be soothed, and safety to ensure. Yes, we want them to learn science, but was also want them to grow, mature, and thrive as individuals in the world.

(2) Professionals – as a student, learning is your job. Just as you would treat a professional with respect and see their work as deserving of reward so, too, students should be treated with respect and care, not catered to or demeaned as “just kids.” Professionals are encouraged to maintain work-life balance, which is important for students as well. There is a time for focus and a time for fun, science class should allow for both.

(3) Pupils – we are all lifelong learners! We find that, often, students teach us as much as we try to teach them. Remember to let down your guard, say “let me find out more” and allow your students to explore and do the same.

About the Author

Ella Miesner, founder of Science Smiles, is an educator with over 10 years of classroom experience. She received undergraduate degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Liberal arts and then “accidentally” recruited herself to Teach For America where she discovered a love of teaching and never left the classroom. Ella is National Board Certified in Early Adolescent Science and holds a Master’s Degree in STEM Education. Ella is currently taking a year off from teaching middle school to pursue a PhD in Educational Psychology with a focus on Human Culture, Development, and Learning Science at the University of Texas at Austin. In her spare time, Ella enjoys being outdoors, reading, working part-time at a bookstore, playing with her cats, walking, playing the harp, doing yoga, sewing, crocheting, half-finishing home repair projects and making miniature Zen garden trees.