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Public Lab Wiki documentation

Learn about Activities

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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, collect these activities, and look like this:


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, as well as all mixed together at http://publiclab.org/tag/activity:*

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) 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


Have questions about posting an activity? Ask away! We're here to help.

Ask a question  or help answer future questions on this topic

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 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

  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: https://publiclab.org/tag/coqui

  5. In the tag area of that note, add the powertag 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.


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 above.

This is marked as an activity for others to try.
Try it now  
Click here to add some more details.

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