My STEM Units

Sunday, May 11, 2014

STEAMing Ahead to Stop the Summer Slide: Science

Summer slide is the phenomenon where students lose concepts learned the prior year.  Experts have estimated that teachers spend over one month reteaching those concepts when school does resume.  Summer slide has also been targeted as a major cause of achievement gap in students. (click on the infographic to the right)

Believe it or not, school will be out in a few short weeks.  Parents and teachers need to have a plan to help prevent summer slide.  Join me in the month of May as I share ideas for parents and teachers to minimize loss and maybe even promote growth! 

An article from RIFAccording to the authors of a report from the National Summer Learning Association: "A conservative estimate of lost instructional time is approximately two months or roughly 22 percent of the school year.... It's common for teachers to spend at least a month re-teaching material that students have forgotten over the summer. That month of re-teaching eliminates a month that could have been spent on teaching new information and skills."


1.  Junior Rangers: Many families take trips during the summer; some of them to national parks.  Most national parks and monuments offer a free Junior Ranger program.  The Junior Ranger program is a fun way for children to learn about the science of the national park.  Simply go to the ranger station or museum when you enter the park.  Notify a ranger that your child would like to be a junior ranger.  They will give you a booklet and a pencil.  Some activities require the child to sit still and observe nature; making drawings of the plants and animals they can see.  Some activities are like treasure hunts.  As you explore the park as a family, be looking for clues to the questions in the booklet.  When your child has completed the book, return it to the ranger station.  Some parks have a big pomp and circumstance and officially swear-in your child as Junior Ranger.  Some simply give your child a plastic ranger badge.  Either way, it's highly motivating to children. 

2.  Read about Science:  No, I'm not talking about reading a science textbook.  I'm talking about taking children's literature and turning them into science experiments!  RIF (Reading Is Fundamental) has a wonderful website with resources for teachers and parents.  "Reading Is Fundamental’s  Multicultural Book Collection is comprised of 40 children’s books for grades K-5.  Each book will also have an accompanying set of activities developed in accordance with the new Common Core standards. Educators, parents and community volunteers alike are sure to enjoy sharing this collection and activities with children." To the right is an example activity page to accompany Boy + Bot

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