Keep learning with Smithsonian Museum of Natural History webcasts

Smithsonian Science How

Bring a Smithsonian Scientist into your classroom with Smithsonian Science How! Check out the Science How schedule below to get started, or preview our formats by watching a program from our video webcast archives.

Video Webcasts

These free, interactive, live video webcasts take questions from your students while introducing them to science concepts and practices through the lens of Smithsonian research and experts. The shows provide opportunities for your students to interact via live polls and Q&A with the scientist.

  • Grades 3-8; optimized for students in grades 3-5
  • Developed in collaboration with the Smithsonian’s children’s theater, Discovery Theater
  • Scientists take your questions
  • Complementary teaching resources
  • 30 minutes long
  • Aligned with national science standards


Here is the webcast schedule for the 2019-2020 school year. Want to suggest a topic for a future show? E-mail us at

Upcoming Shows

We’re moving our popular webcast series to video webinars to connect your learners to natural history science and careers more often. Webinars will be presented on Zoom video. All times are Eastern Time.

Completed Shows

Video Archives

We’ve produced 52 Smithsonian Science How webcasts over the last six years. They feature Smithsonian experts and cover specific topics in the disciplines of Earth Science, Life Science, Paleontology, and Social Studies.

Browse the video archives.

Ask Science How

Teachers and students: Do you have a question for our science experts? Send us your questions, either before or after a webcast. We’ll send you the answer. Ask Science How

Citizen Science: Leaf Survey

Participate in this component of the Fossil Atmospheres project with the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

In order to understand how well the features of ginkgo leaves reflect the climate they grow in, scientists need to study leaves from trees growing in many different climates.

Ginkgos are the perfect plant for this. While their natural range is restricted to China, ginkgo trees can now be found all over the world, transported to new places by humans. Ginkgos also have a rich fossil record dating back to the Jurassic Period, meaning scientists can apply what they learn about reconstructing climates from today’s ginkgos to the past hundred million years through beautifully preserved fossil leaves.

How can you help?

The Smithsonian is looking for citizen scientists to send them leaves from their communities!

What you will need


A Ginkgo tree that is at least 10 feet tall


A smartphone or computer + camera


A free account on iNaturalist


Materials to mail in your leaves: a large envelope, cardboard, newspaper and tape

Watch the video or follow the instructions below to join in with the research. A PDF of the complete instructions is also available for download here and a one page version is available here.

If you are sending a sample from outside of the United States please follow this additional protocol to ensure the sample reaches us.

Questions? Email

Read more from the Smithsonian Magazine