Showing posts with label Summer learning. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Summer learning. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Four Summer Science Lessons

Summer is here in the northern hemisphere. It's a great time to go outside and soak up some sunshine. A little vitamin D is good for everybody. This is also a time when many schools run summer enrichment programs that provide kids with some learning activities that might not otherwise happen during the school year. For example, taking kids outside for science lessons. To that end, SciShow Kids has four suggestions for outdoor science lessons. In Fun Summer Science adults and children can learn about the science of bubbles, kites, ice cream, and solar energy. Each segment includes an explanation of the science and brief suggestions and directions for a hands-on activity.


Earlier this year SciShow Kids released a video about building a solar oven. As you might expect, the video explains the science of using solar energy and explains the basics of how to build a solar oven. However, the video isn't quite detailed enough to be the only source that you or your students consult when building a solar oven. Fortunately, NASA, the US Department of Energy, and the Lawrence Hall of Science all offer detailed directions. 

NASA provides two sets of detailed, written directions for building solar ovens. This set of directions (link opens a PDF) was created for students in 7th through 9th grade. This set of directions (link opens a PDF) for building a solar oven was written for 6th through 8th grade students and culminates with students attempting to make s'mores with their ovens. 

Cooking With 'Sol (link opens a PDF) was published by the US Department of Energy. It was written for students in 5th through 8th grade to follow directions to create a solar oven. 

DIY Sun Science is a free iPad app from The Lawrence Hall of Science. The app features directions for hands-on lessons about the sun. The lessons are a mix of activities that students can do on their own and activities that they should do with adult supervision. All of the activities use common household goods. Some of the activities that you will find in DIY Sun Science are measuring the sun, making UV detectors, detecting solar storms, and cooking with a solar oven.

This post originally appeared on If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Feature image captured by Richard Byrne. 

Friday, June 15, 2018

Camp GoNoodle - Four Weeks of Fun and Educational Summer Activities

Camp GoNoodle is a summer program offered by the folks at GoNoodle. The program is designed for elementary school age students to complete over the course of four weeks. It can be used in a summer camp setting, summer school setting, or at home setting. There is a different theme for each week. Within each week there are five thematically connected activities. The themes of Camp GoNoodle are friendship, superheroes, world, and space.

The activities in Camp GoNoodle include learning camp songs, learning about and trying healthy foods, a fun exercise activity, and some art or craft activities. Students can receive a printable, digital badge for successfully completing all of the activities in a week's program.

Applications for Education
If you're looking for activities to suggest to parents to keep their kids active and learning throughout the summer, take a look at what Camp GoNoodle offers each week. I don't love all of the activities, but I do like the spirit of Camp GoNoodle.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

CK-12 BrainFlex Can Help Kids Keep Their Math & Science Skills Sharp This Summer

For the third summer in a row the CK-12 Foundation is hosting the CK-12 Brainflex Summer Challenge. The challenge is a free program that students can use to keep their math and science skills sharp through the summer while also learning some new knowledge and gaining new skills. Students register for the program and then track their skills review through the CK-12 Brainflex website. The CK-12 Summer Challenge is self-paced and students choose the subjects that they want to review. Teachers and parents can sign into CK-12 to track their students' progress through the eight modules of the Brainflex program.

Applications for Education
Teachers can send invitations to students to participate in the CK-12 Summer Challenge. With those invitations teachers can include suggestions for subjects to review. CK-12 also provides a template for a letter to send home to parents with suggestions on subjects for their children to review over the summer. That letter could be sent to the parents of the students moving on from your classroom this summer or to the parents of the students you're expecting to see in the fall.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Camp Google - Learn About Oceans, Animals, Space, and Music

Once again this summer Google is offering an online educational camp for kids. Camp Google is a four week program designed for seven to ten year old children. Each week has its own theme. This week is Ocean Week.

Camp Google features videos, live and recorded, with experts in each week's thematic topic. The videos are designed to inform as well as prompt further inquiry by students. Students can conduct virtual investigations through Camp Google. Students, with the help of an adult, can also participate in hands-on learning activities related to the theme of each week of Camp Google. Materials lists for the hands-on activities are available to download on the Camp Google website.

Applications for Education
Camp Google is designed to be used as a summer learning experience for children to participate in with the help of a parent or other adult. The online activities and the hands-on activities could be used by teachers when students return in the fall. Elementary school teachers should take a look at the hands-on activities materials lists to get ideas for hands-on activities to do in their classrooms.

Monday, June 11, 2012

500 Free Online Courses To Take This Summer

If you're looking to learn something new or brush-up on your content area knowledge, Open Culture probably has a course listing for you.  The latest update to their list of free and open online courses brought the total offerings up to 500. The course content is hosted on a variety of platforms including iTunes, YouTube, and Vimeo. The courses come from notable universities including Stanford, Harvard, and Yale. And thankfully, the list is organized by subject area.

Applications for Education
The Open Culture course listings could be good not only for teachers but also for students who want to get a jump on AP courses that they may be taking in the fall.

50+ Summer Learning Activities for Kids

Thanks to a blog post by Kevin Hodgson over the weekend I learned that Common Sense Media has produced a 16 page guide to summer learning activities. The  guide is a review of apps and games. The reviews are organized into three categories for young kids, older kids, and teenagers. Each app and game is rated according to the level of learning potential that it offers. You can download the guide here.

Applications for Education
If you're looking for some summer learning activities to recommend to parents, take a look at Camp Virtual from Common Sense Media. You could link to it on your classroom blog or print out a section to send home with students. And if you're working at a summer camp this summer, Camp Virtual offers some good rainy day activities.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

We're Half-way Through the Summer, Have You Tried Anything New?

I was doing some shopping yesterday in Freeport, Maine and saw my first "back to school" display of the summer. After my initial groan at the reminder that the summer is almost half-way over, I started to think about the things that I wanted to do this summer when school let out. I have finished one of the books on my reading list and am well along my way to finishing another. I haven't quite mastered Android app development yet, but I'm working on it. How are you doing with the new things you wanted to try this summer?

If you're looking for some new ed tech resources to explore before the new school year starts, I have 77 suggestions for you here and in the ebook embedded below. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Ten Marks Summer Mathematics Learning

Last fall I wrote about Ten Marks' launch of a free program for teachers called Ten Marks for Educators. Ten Marks for Educators provides educators with an online forum in which they can assign mathematics practice problems to students and track their students' progress. If a student gets stuck on a problem he or she can open a tutorial to help him or her through the problem. Ten Marks provides teachers with the option to CC parents on the assignments sent to students. The online curriculum provided by Ten Marks can be aligned to the state standards a teacher chooses.

As a follow-up to the free service that Ten Marks offered teachers this year, they are now offering a summer program for students and their parents. The summer program is designed for students in grades three through twelve. The program provides three assignments a week with video lessons to help students work through the mathematics problems.

The summer program is not free ($39 for three months per student) but the president of Ten Marks, Andrew Joseph, will give away two subscriptions to readers of Free Technology for Teachers who write comments on this post about how they have used Ten Marks in the past or plan to use Ten Marks in the future. On Thursday of this week I'll use a random selector to choose winners. If you win you can give the subscription to a deserving student.

Education Week recently published an article that included a mention of students in Indiana schools and Chicago schools using Ten Marks. In the video below there is a short testimony of 5th grade teacher's experience with Ten Marks.

Just to reiterate, the Ten Marks for Educators program remains free. The summer individual program is a fee-based service but you can win a subscription by commenting on this post.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Register Your Class for Scholastic's Summer Reading Challenge

For the fifth year in a row Scholastic is holding a summer reading challenge for students. By joining the summer reading challenge students are entered into sweepstakes for book prizes. Students can also participate in weekly reading challenges.

To encourage participation in the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge teachers can register their students in bulk. Scholastic provides teachers with tools to track students' progress over the summer and communicate the goals of the summer reading challenge to parents. Scholastic also provides teachers with summer reading lists to send out to parents. Teachers registering their classes will be entered into a drawing for a classroom library and a $250 gift certificate to the Scholastic Teacher Store.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Come Work With Me This Summer

This summer on the campus of Harvard University on July 25 and 26 I will be co-teaching with Tom Daccord Best Web 2.0 Tools & Apps for Teachers. This will be two days of hands-on learning about Web 2.0 tools that you can leverage to transform learning. We will also be exploring mobile apps that you can leverage for learning. So bring your laptop and your favorite iOS or Android device and join us for hands-on learning. Graduate credit is available. Click here to read the full workshop description, schedule details, and to register.

Please note, while it is held on the Harvard campus, this is not a Harvard course.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Free Summer Rejuvenation Guide

If you're looking to do something this summer (other than read this blog) to make yourself a better teacher in the fall, Edutopia has a free guide that you should check out. Edutopia's 2010 Summer Rejuvenation Guide offers ten things you can do this summer to relax while also getting yourself ready for the fall. The suggestions are not limited to computer-based activities. You can download the free guide here.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Guess the Wordle and Summer Vacation Wordles

Wordle is a good tool for creating visual representations of the most commonly used words in a document or on a website. I've featured Wordle on this blog twice in the past. You can read those previous posts about Wordle here and here.

This morning I came across a new wiki called Guess the Wordle. Three times a week Guess the Wordle will post a new Wordle. Then based on the Wordle students can guess what the topic of the Wordle is. Guess the Wordle could be a fun warm-up activity to use with students.

While looking over Guess the Wordle I had a new (to me) thought about using Wordle in the classroom. Writing stories about summer vacation is an assignment that teachers commonly give at the beginning of the school year. This year, when you give that assignment have students create a Wordle when they are done writing their stories. The Wordles created from the stories could be used as a reflection tool by students and yourself to see what things from the summer vacation really stand out in a student's mind.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

SOS Classroom - A Collection of K-8 Resources

SOS Classroom is a project started and directed by the Writing Program at the University of Southern California. The project was started in response to the shut-down of summer school programs in Southern California and around the United States.

SOS Classroom is a compilation of K-8 resources that can be used in the classroom and or be used by students independently. The resources on SOS Classroom have been listed at the suggestion of teachers and parents. All resources are tagged and placed into one of seven categories sorted by subject and grade level. The categories are mathematics (K-2, 3-5, 6-8), language arts (K-2, 3-5, 6-8), and ESL.

Applications for Education
SOS Classroom could be a good place to start your search for elementary and middle school resources.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Learning Beyond the Classroom
Picturing the Century - Lesson Plans and Worksheets
A Great Collection of K-8 Math Resources

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Learning Beyond the Classroom

Learning Beyond the Classroom, produced by Read Write Think, is a collection of learning activities that students can do on their own or with the help of a parent. The activities are categorized into four age groups from ages four through eighteen. In addition to the learning activities, Learning Beyond the Classroom offers educational podcasts and videos.

The type of activity that you'll find on Learning Beyond the Classroom for students ages four through eight is a "Shape Hunt" in which children look for and identify shapes around the house. For the same age group there is a mathematics lesson based on a grocery shopping list. For students in the fourteen to eighteen age group there are activities involving blogging, story telling, and letter writing. Take a look at Learning Beyond the Classroom to find something that meets your students' needs.

Applications for Education
Learning Beyond the Classroom is a great resource for teachers and parents that are looking for ways to keep their students engaged in learning during vacations. Many of the activities on Learning Beyond the Classroom could be adapted for classroom use.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge
Fun Summer Learning Activities

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge

Teachers and parents looking for a way to motivate students to read this summer should take a look at Scholastic's Summer Reading Challenges. The central idea of the challenge is for students to read at least four books over the summer. To motivate students to reach this goal, Scholastic has developed various incentives like joining in a team competition and contributing to a reading world record.

When students register for Scholastic's Summer Reading Challenge they take a short quiz and are assigned to a "reading team." Each day students login to their account and record how much they've read. Points are awarded for reading. At the end of the summer the winning team will choose a cause to which Scholastic will make donation. There are also individual prizes that students can earn through their reading and through games and quizzes on the Summer Reading Challenge site.

Applications for Education
Teachers and librarians who want to encourage students to participate in the Summer Reading Challenge should visit the teacher/ librarian page. On the teacher/ librarian page you will find PDFs of the summer reading list, form letters to send to parents, and book review templates. The summer reading list is organized by age groups.

Friday, June 5, 2009

A Fun Summer Science Project - Firefly Watch

As the weather continues to warm (in the Northern Hemisphere) and students go on summer vacation, it's time to think about learning experiences that they can have at home. The Boston Museum of Science's Firefly Watch could be a fun learning experience for science students. The Firefly Watch is a collaborative project of volunteers who are willing to go out in their backyards and record their observations of fireflies. Firefly Watch provides participants with a form for recording observations. Throughout the summer the Firefly Watch will display updated observation records on a Google map.

Before students and parents go out to make observations they should take a look at the Firefly Watch's virtual habitat. On the virtual habitat page students can learn about the various colors, patterns, and habit locations of fireflies.

Applications for Education
Before school gets out for the summer you may want to compile a list of activities that parents and students can do together to stay engaged in learning over the summer.
Firefly Watch is one such activity that presents a good opportunity for parents and students to work together on a fun learning activity.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Google Summer of Code - Apply Now

Google Summer of Code looks like an awesome summer learning experience for college students. The program brings students together with mentors to develop open source code for a variety of projects. The Summer of Code is open to any current student over the age of 18. You can read the full details of program here. Applications are due by April 3.

The video below provides an overview of the program.

Save 20% on all books & DVDs from National Geographic!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Free Math Videos is an education blog that I started following recently. Currently, KVTeacher is posting a series of five minute math videos designed to help students become more proficient at making calculations without a calculator. The videos are available on, YouTube, and

Here is one of the free math videos has posted right now.

Applications for Education
While some of the strategies presented in the videos on KVTeacher don't present anything new, they do present the strategies in ways that might appeal to students. As summer approaches and your students and students' parents look for educational materials for summer learning, the math strategy videos on KVTeacher might be a good place for them to start.