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Learn about Activities

Our new [activities system]( is an easy way to find step-by-step activities built on Public Lab tools and techniques. Activity grids, [like the one listed here](/wiki/spectrometry#Activities), collect these activities, and look like this: [![Screenshot_2016-09-07_at_3.53.55_PM.png](//](// It's also a great place to contribute your own how-to guides, so that others can try them out -- and even attempt to replicate your steps to get the same end result. You can find many activities [on the various Methods pages](/methods), as well as all mixed together at [*](*) --------- ## Post an activity There are hundreds of activities on the site, but there are even more posts that don't quite walk through each step of how to do something. Activities are perfect for this, whether you are showing how you did something yourself, or helping reformat others' work to make it easier for people to do themselves. Good activities ([read more about this here](/n/13458)) include: - a purpose! Why are you doing this? - a list of materials needed - a detailed sequence of steps to follow - how to confirm you've followed the steps correctly - a hypothesis or expected outcome Really good ones also have: - a clear description of your conditions (e.g. lighting, temperature, or other relevant factors) - a list of questions to explore next (unknowns, or followup activities) - a request for input (there's always room for improvement -- invite people to offer feedback!) Start drafting an activity You can start working on an activity from any activity grid (see below) but the above button will start one off as a "draft" and we'll help you get it ready to go! **** ## Help improve others' activities Collaboration is a core value at Public Lab. Follow these suggestions to offer support to activity authors across the site: Help improve activities others have posted --------- ## Questions Have questions about posting an activity? Ask away! We're here to help. [questions:activities] **** ## Make your own Activities grid But how can you organize a collection of activities on a **new topic or project**? Liz recently jotted down a few steps for adding an Activity Grid for the [Coqui](/tag/coqui) family of research: 1. Choose a wiki page to be the "home" of Coqui family of research -- something short and memorable, like (obviously) -- "Coqui" -- resulting in URL [/wiki/coqui](/wiki/coqui) 2. Edit the page and add `[activities:coqui]` in the body text. This will cause an activity grid to appear. 3. Save it. 4. Navigate to an existing research note that explains a Coqui activity -- for starters, look for them under the `coqui` tag: 5. In the tag area of that note, add the [powertag](/wiki/power-tags) `activity:coqui`. (PS, a tag is called a powertag when there's a `:` in the middle of two terms that triggers something extra cool). 6. Return to [Coqui's home wiki](, and refresh to see the note listed in the activity grid! 7. To fill in the other fields in the activity grid, go back to the note. Since your note is already tagged activity:foo, a tagging interface will show up to help you add other powertags (see below screenshot). For even more information, review the suggested Activity Categories, and read to the end of the "Check out these Activity Grids" post. 8. Repeat for other notes with Coqui activities. [![Screenshot_2016-09-07_at_3.59.21_PM.png](//](// **** ## Questions grids The steps to add a questions grid are almost identical to the above for Activities: 1. Go to a note, activity or wiki page where you'd like to embed your Questions grid. 2. Edit the page and add `[questions:TAGNAME]` in the body text -- but replace `TAGNAME` with the topic of choice -- same as the Activities grid. 3. Save the page. You can see [an example of a questions grid](#Questions) above....

Author Comment Last activity Moderation
zengirl2 " Looks good. I'm loving these topic pages because it just makes everything a one-stop shop. " | Read more » over 3 years ago
warren " Hi @zengirl2 - i made a topic page for #CAFO -- take a look! -- not complete but a good start. " | Read more » over 3 years ago
zengirl2 "For those people using Public Lab software, it would be helpful to include set-up info for the activity or for posting questions: Computer/Model ..." | Read more » over 5 years ago
zengirl2 "For those kits or projects using software/computers, it would be handy for people to write down basics of their setup for the activity, as well as ..." | Read more » over 5 years ago
liz "As a next step, i'd like to think about how to improve/update an activity that someone figures out while replicating the original activity. CC @mat..." | Read more » over 5 years ago
liz "Now that we're writing up activities for community organizing and holding events, can we add another standard tag or two? " | Read more » over 5 years ago
mathew "I'm working on some activities for calibrating and deploying the MiniVol. I posted my activities as a works-in-progress, because I had a two-step ..." | Read more » over 5 years ago
warren "Ok - less in your brain maybe needs more elaboration: how about "remembering to leave contextual notes to your future self so you can pick your wor..." | Read more » over 5 years ago
warren "or is it oriented towards the ongoing development of a "beginner's mind"? Love this! That even if nobody is reading (learning) from your shared wo..." | Read more » over 5 years ago
hagitkeysar "Thanks for copying me in this discussion! I especially like the direction you are taking here - you not only talk about how to create literacy, whe..." | Read more » over 5 years ago
kanarinka "@warren - I love this - "I'm thinking that if we design as if all technology is for newcomers, it's not just the newcomers who gain" and how you ar..." | Read more » over 5 years ago
kanarinka "Thanks @Cindy_Excites - these are super resources and I have not seen them previously. I wonder how the emerging field of data literacy could borro..." | Read more » over 5 years ago
cindy_excites "Hello @kanarinka I couldn't access the paper to read it (their sever seems to be having issues right now) so this is just a quick note to say that ..." | Read more » over 5 years ago
warren "I've been thinking more about this and recalled Sara Hendren's great piece All Technology is Assistive, which I love. I started thinking that ther..." | Read more » over 5 years ago
kanarinka "Yes - I think to some extent all tools should probably be designed for learners. But certain very large and very flexible tools are bad/intimidatin..." | Read more » over 5 years ago
warren "Also, v important question: what color would your next tool in this suite be? Purple? :-) " | Read more » over 5 years ago
warren "I love this framework, thank you!! I guess though that I wonder what prevents a learner's tool from being a user's tool -- thinking of Scratch her..." | Read more » over 5 years ago
sarasage "Great idea, Jeff. This is an especially helpful field for PL activities like balloon mapping and kite mapping - which require multiple people and h..." | Read more » over 5 years ago
cindy_excites "Great questions indeed. I think it is quite relevant especially if you think about the different parts of Public Lab practice, i.e. the distributed..." | Read more » over 5 years ago
warren "Replication is a pretty big topic -- i put down some notes from a discussion we had among staff yesterday in this GitHub issue, looking forward to ..." | Read more » almost 6 years ago
gretchengehrke "@wmacfarl, I completely agree with you there. Thanks for highlighting that. I also think that we need to provide more feedback options than "succe..." | Read more » almost 6 years ago
liz "@wmacfarl this is really, really helpful. 1) we're working on how to document fails this week! We'll keep you posted. 2) Is there a good example ..." | Read more » almost 6 years ago
wmacfarl "@warren, @liz -- I mentioned this at #leaffest-2016 but wanted to put it here as well. I think that "common pitfalls" or "troubleshooting" or some..." | Read more » almost 6 years ago
warren "@liz -- are you really against our making an activity guide for how to write a good activity? " | Read more » almost 6 years ago