What can you suggest to your students and their families for summer science explorations? Indoor museum and library visits, and outdoor trips to the local park and to a novel environment—prairie, riverside, city parking lot, mountain, desert or beach—may entice you and your students to seek new experiences and knowledge that can be built on when you return to school.
For a list of fiction and non-fiction books, look at the Science NetLinks list for summer reading, just one part of the Summer Science Fun. The list of resources includes books, online games, and hands-on activities for children. Check out the lists and make one to send home with your students.
Expand the list with activities from commercial websites. Send home information about one of the activities on the Home Science Tools Summer Science Projects page. Include prompts for families, such as, “Ask your children what they wonder about and talk with them about the questions the activity might answer before doing the activity”. Some activities on the Steve Spangler “Science Experiments” page are as simple as discovering what you can do with a drinking straw to explore how sound can be changed.
As a fundraiser for the National Wildlife Federation, and an awareness-raiser about nature, go camping in your backyard on June 26th as part of the National Wildlife Federation’s Great American Backyard Campout®. Funds raised will be used to establish and maintain programs to make outdoor time a priority to protect children’s health and ensure their readiness to learn. Memories made will be used to build understanding about nature.
Children and their families can do a science exploration right outside their door by following the model suggested by Donald Silver and Patricia Wynne’s book, One Small Square: Backyard. Their book series includes Pond, Woods, Seashore, Tundra, Swamp, and Desert, with illustrations to guide the suggested explorations.