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A new app aims to counter the ‘summer learning loss’ by piquing student interest in science and math and helping inform parents about STEM education

STEM-app-summer-lossNext month, students across the United States will toss aside their books for relaxation and outdoor summer activities.

However, many parents and educators are concerned that summer vacation spent away from dedicated learning leads to learning loss known as the “summer slide.”

The Wheelock College Aspire Institute may have found a unique solution.

The STEM Activity App, a new free web app specifically designed to engage families with elementary-age students in STEM activities, provides engaging experiments for parents and children to learn more about science, tech, engineer and math.

Barbara Joseph, the innovator of the STEM Activity App, is a two-time recipient of the Silvia Earl Innovation award. Joseph created the app for 3rd-6th graders to make learning math and science fun and to boost interaction between parent and child.

So how does it work?

(Next page: Using the STEM Activity App)

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Aspire’s STEM Activity App, launched in the fall of 2013, runs 10 weeks with three activities delivered via email every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Parents or legal guardians can sign up for free for their children here.

This STEM app involves families and their students in fun, easy activities within STEM fields with the intention to strengthen interest in these subjects for the next generation.

App examples

1.    Design your own airplane

Start with a sheet of paper. Launch as-is and see what happens. Now fold the paper once and launch it again. Did it go further? Fold and trim the paper and see which designs glide the farthest. Why do you think some designs are better gliders than others? What’s the farthest you can make your airplane go?

2.    How long does it take your heart to beat 100 times?

Find your pulse and count out 100 heartbeats while timing yourself. Have a family member do the same. Does it take the same amount of time for both of you to reach 100 heartbeats? Why or why not? Knowing how long it takes your heart to beat 100 times, figure out how long it would take for it to beat 1,000 times.

3.    How long can you keep an ice cube from melting in your warm kitchen?

Use paper, plastic, or foam cups to hold the ice cube. You can also try wrapping the cups in foil, newspaper, or bubble wrap. Which material or combination of materials do you think will make the best insulators? That is, which material do you think will keep the ice from melting the longest? Make a prediction before you begin!

Summer activities will begin on June 23 and you can register for the STEM Activity app here.

Michael Sharnoff is Associate Online Editor for eSchool News. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_eSM.

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