Private i History Detectives, from the folks at iCivics (founded by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor), encourages elementary school students to develop critical thinking skills while solving history "mysteries": www.icivics.org/products/privatei
Try this devilishly difficult U.S. geography quiz! On a blank U.S. map, click on where you think the state named is. If you're right, the game continues. If you're wrong, the game ends and you need to start over. (Hint: if you're able to get past about 35%, the going gets easier.) www.sporcle.com/games/mhershfield/us-states-no-outlines-minefield
Explorer Classroom offers free webinars for K-8 students with National Geographic Explorers. Upcoming sessions focus on plants, on sustainability, and on ancient Egypt, including a live talk with an archaeologist based in Alexandria, Egypt. For more information or to register, see https://www.nationalgeographic.org/tickets/explorer-classroom/.
PhET is a cool site that offers dozens of free online simulations to help students better visualize STEM concepts, courtesy of the University of Colorado Boulder: phet.colorado.edu/
Interested in introducing your kids to live classical music for free? The Washington Bach Consort is continuing to perform J.S. Bach's cantatas, for free, on the first Tuesday of every month, at noon, at the Church of the Epiphany near Metro Center in downtown DC (as well as on Capital Hill, at St. Mark's, the prior day). For more information, see bachconsort.org/noontime-cantatas/.
You can help scientists track butterfly and moth populations worldwide by participating in the Global Butterflies Census. All you need is a camera and WhatsApp. Take a picture of a butterfly and WhatsApp it to Friend of the Earth along with your coordinates. It's an easy bit of citizen science for all ages and all locations. For more information, see friendoftheearth.org/friend-of-the-earth-launches-first-global-census/
For those with 4th graders this year, this is a reminder about the National Park Service's Every Kid Outdoors program that gives 4th graders and their immediate family free entrance throughout the national park system this year. For details, see www.everykidoutdoors.gov/index.htm.
Applications are now open for high school students interested in Stanford's high-octane study programs on Japan, Korea, and China. You can learn more at spice.fsi.stanford.edu/fellowship/reischauer-scholars-program (Japan), spice.fsi.stanford.edu/fellowship/sejong-korea-scholars-program (Korea), and spice.fsi.stanford.edu/fellowship/china-scholars-program (China). Applications close Oct. 31.
An MIT student group is launching this year's Galactic Puzzle Hunt today. Sort of like an escape room, the hunt is a series of puzzles designed to do in teams but can be done individually. The FAQ at the site has a link to examples of previous years' puzzles that might be worth checking out before diving in. The game ends at 6:02 AM ET on Sept. 6. 2022.galacticpuzzlehunt.com/
Test your geography: how many countries can you name in 15 minutes? [Note: you don't have to label them, just name them (spelling counts).] This Sporcle quiz courtesy of my older son (yes, we are that nerdy!): www.sporcle.com/games/g/world
This website assembled by a young programmer offers a curated list of resources (many free) to help young would-be programmers learn about computer languages, coding, and computer science: lihackhers.com/programing-resources/
For those interested in learning about what's going on in Ukraine that might not make the news in the U.S. or for those interested in supporting a free press in Ukraine, the English-language Kyiv Independent operates a website and a free daily e-newsletter: kyivindependent.com/ At the top of the website are GoFundMe options to allow visitors to support the Independent or a broader group of Ukrainian media organizations.
If you're looking for a bit of summer learning fun, Google Earth's Carmen Sandiego game takes students around the world, using clues to solve a crime while seeing some of the world's most iconic landforms and structures in 3D:
For those of you in the Washington, DC, area, the National Air and Space Museum (which is currently closed for renovations) is sponsoring a Tour of the Universe at various sites around the National Mall on Wednesday, July 20 (11am-3pm). Visitors can look at the sun through filtered telescopes, learn about exoplanets, take a selfie with an astronaut, and more. airandspace.si.edu/events/tour-universe
How good is your vocabulary (or your child's)? This quick two-part checklist helps you assess your vocabulary and perhaps learn a few new words in the process: preply.com/en/learn/english/test-your-vocab
Here's an incentive for you or your kids to get outdoors and to develop those digital photography skills: the Maryland Department of Natural Resources is sponsoring a photography contest for photographs taken in Maryland, with a preference given to photos highlighting native species. Submissions are due by Aug. 1 dnr.maryland.gov/Pages/photocontest.aspx (Scroll to the bottom of the website to see last year's winning images.)
Use your knowledge of geography to rearrange these 12 words into the names of countries:
Things are blooming, buzzing, leafing out, and crawling by. But is that a bluebell or a balloon flower? A black swallowtail or a red-spotted purple? The free Seek app from iNaturalist helps users identify the plants, animals, and fungus they're seeing simply by scanning them with the camera on a smartphone. There's more information about Seek and links to download the app (from Google Play or the App Store) at www.inaturalist.org/pages/seek_app.
Thinking ahead to your summer reading list? You can test your knowledge of classic literature by matching characters to novels with this 35-question quiz: play.howstuffworks.com/quiz/can-you-name-which-literary-classic-these-characters-are-from
Have a student interested in discussing current events? The University of Virginia's Youth Leadership Initiative offers the First Freedom Wall, a free platform for teaching and practicing the skills of online discourse and debate. The First Freedom Wall allows students to exchange comments with other students across the country on current issues in American politics. yli236.youthleadership.net/learning-programs/firstfreedom-wall
You can design your own opera using "Hansel and Gretel" as the template to learn about what goes into staging an opera with this interactive module from Go Classical: goclassical.org/kids/opera/opera-game
The Penn Museum's free, online At-Home Anthro series is designed to introduce K-8 students to topics and hands-on projects in archaeology, anthropology, and world cultures. Upcoming events feature Pomo basketry, Middle Eastern incantation bowls, and weaving with recycled materials. Classes are live on Tuesdays 1:00-1:45 ET: www.penn.museum/events/kids-family/at-home-anthropology-live
ST Math has made its visual puzzle-based math program free to home schoolers and other independent learners through June 30, 2023: www.stmath.com/homeschool-math
HHMI Biointeractive has hundreds of free online activities to enrich life science learning, including this new one for high school students that uses data science to understand island biogeography: www.biointeractive.org/classroom-resources/exploring-island-biogeography-through-data
You can find hands-on projects to learn about the vernal equinox, spring migrations, plant seasonality, frog song, and more at Journey North: journeynorth.org/
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