Suddenly, you’re a homeschool teacher! Or maybe you’ve been doing that for years. Either way, as time goes on, you’ll be looking for some engaging, new educational activities to do with your kids at home. At Summer Solutions, we specialize in keeping students academically engaged outside of school. Here are two lesson ideas with free downloads you can use right away: Observe some fascinating animal behaviors and write a fictional narrative. Conduct an experiment and record results on a lab sheet.
A Peek into the Animal World
It’s been said that a child’s first teacher is a parent, but most of us have never been in the position we are in today. One way to make good use of the time we’re spending with family is to look in on the animal kingdom and observe how others spend their family time. This site from explore.org shows a short video of some favorite family moments captured by live video cams. (My personal favorite is the hippos!)
This family-friendly site also offers the world’s largest network of live nature cams—I mean, everything from gorillas to kittens! By registering, you have access to a camera that allows you, or your student, to take and save snapshots from the live video. The text under the camera feed offers loads of information about the animals, a map showing where the camera is located, and even weather and sunrise/sunset data. Use the camera feature to snap a picture of the subject. Then, email the picture to yourself or your child. Students can write a clever or informative caption. (Or, they can draw a picture and include a caption.) Download this writing activity for students to use with their pictures. After they complete the writing graphic organizer, they’ll be all set to write a fictional narrative.
Looking to get away from the screen? Download this free reading lesson about Tanzania from the New Edition of Summer Solutions Grade 4 Reading Comprehension. And, in the words of explore.org, “Never stop learning!”
“Weathering” Your Role as a Teacher
Weathering is the breakdown of rocks, soil, and minerals at Earth’s surface. Kids can learn about weathering by conducting this simple (no mess!) experiment. The best part is that it can be done right in your freezer! Before children begin this experiment at home, download this sneak peek of a lesson passage from our brand-new NextGen* science workbook. In this lesson, children learn about weathering and how it changes rocks and Earth’s surface. Use the activity below to let them see for themselves the process of physical weathering in action.
Have your child follow these step-by-step directions. In this frozen-rock activity, kids find a few different kinds of rocks, put them in a freezer-safe container, cover with water, and place in the freezer. Later, they’ll take the container out of the freezer, let it thaw, and then, examine the rocks for changes. They’ll repeat that process over 4-6 days. In no time, your young scientist will be observing and collecting data while watching the freeze-thaw process at work. Here’s an observation sheet and Rock Identification Guide to help your child document the experiment.
*To see samples of Grade 4 Simple Solutions NextGen Science, click on “samples,” then choose level 4.
It may be springtime, but you can begin Summer Solutions now!
I know that true summer vacation is still a few months away, but Summer Solutions offers kids the ability to review the skills that they were taught during this school year. That way when they return to school in a few weeks or even next fall, they will be ready to continue right where they left off.