Knowing the process by which your child is growing gives you many options to help support and advance development. Middle schoolers are able (and eager) to think more abstractly, which is a tremendous boon in taking advantage of the amazing resources on the web. No longer locked to literal hands on experiences, they can utilize virtual experiments and interactives, making it that much easier for you to support them around topics that may be less within your own area of expertise. This is also the time to make learning meaningful and to entice them to explore new areas. Use the below activities to ignite your child’s passion, nurture a weak area, or foster the advancement of a strength.* Don’t forget to look at the resources and activities for the younger ages, as there are many activities your child can now do independently that will extend learning as well!
Space/Astronomy activities**: STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) learning across our nation is weak. Often, children are intimidated to dive into science, math, or engineering experiences. With the wealth of online resources that can take your child as far as he might want to go, there are no worries about your own limitations when it comes to resources about galaxies and space! Virtually everyone is intrigued by the cosmos, so use the below activities and explorations to engage your child in this multifaceted and fascinating topic!
Interactives of every kind:
- From research sites to video snippets to the many missions your child can take, don’t miss this wonderful portal full of adventures.
- Build up his knowledge base and schema with these fun Study Jams. Experience these incredible series of multimedia presentations. What a fantastic way to learn more about astronomy! Start with the universe and going from there.
- Take a look at these many interactives for your child.
- Space Games, Quizzes, and Puzzles: Check out these great interactives for your child.
- Planet Quest: Your child can check out this amazing site for more!
Math: Science and Math go hand-in-hand throughout this topic. However, for some specific math pullouts:
- Calculate Age: Can your child determine his age on other planets?
- Alien Battleship: Using graph paper, your child can set up a game of battleship with aliens and use coordinates to try and strike his opponent’s aliens. Try an online version.
- Vector driving: Can your child make it in time to see the launch? She will learn to add and subtract vectors without even knowing it.
- Plane Math: In conjunction with NASA these innovative math activities integrate math with aeronautics.
All About You: Children this age have great difficulty seeing beyond the four corners of their own social world. Working from where they are coming from, allow them to explore (and contribute!) to these world-expanding activities:
- Discover the ways space technology improves health.
- Follow NASA: Get up-to-the-minute updates on NASA happenings.
- Space Balloon: Think your child can’t be a space explorer right now? Think again! With a weather balloon, some sticky tape and some clever thinking, this father and son team launched a camera into space. It burst into flames about 19 miles above the Earth’s surface, but you can see it’s rise to glory.
- I Was Wondering is a curious look at women’s adventures in science. The National Academy of Sciences site geared towards girls, but there are activities that will interest boys as well. The site seeks to get and keep girls interested in science. Kids can ask questions (to be answered!), learn about 10 cool women scientists, travel the time line and play science games. Ask your child to check out the Astroscope game and go on a scavenger hunt through the universe!