At some point in time, every motivated teacher or parent has observed the dreaded “summer slump”, the inexorable decay of skills as important concepts are forgotten and critical thinking shuts down. Fortunately, this seemingly inevitable decline can be headed off by adding some clever science activities to the summer plans. This will engage students, reinforcing lessons learned throughout the year and piquing interest in additional concepts.
Why not take advantage of the summer weather by exploring the local environment? An inexpensive microscope can reveal an entirely new world, exposing the organisms living in a local pond or stream. Students can also examine the water for contaminating E. coli bacteria using our Water Quality Testing kit. Similarly, students can be tasked with exploring the biological diversity of their neighborhood, collecting plant samples to save in a “biodiversity journal” or recording bird and animal sightings.
Fortunately, there are still a number of fun experiments that can be performed when the weather turns rough. Start by building a model of DNA, examining the bonds that comprise the building blocks of life. Next, using household isopropyl alcohol the kids can isolate their own DNA! Together, these kits can serve as an excellent introduction or refresher to DNA, engaging students and most likely spawning additional questions.
Hopefully these suggestions will give you some ideas for how to stimulate students as summer vacation flies by. There are many more ideas at Edvotek.com, or you can contact us at 1.800.EDVOTEK or firstname.lastname@example.org for additional suggestions. Have a great summer!