With the month of June complete, students are deep into the heart of summer. Research shows students have an academic regression over the summer months when not in school. This summer we know it will be even larger after having eleven weeks of school-at-home due to COVID-19. Parents often wonder what to do to help prevent the summer slide while letting kids be kids and enjoy their vacation from school. The key is to make learning fun and hands-on.
Projects are great for students as projects engage students in critical thinking. One idea is to plan a dream vacation. First, students will research the location to visit and create a chart of the benefits and drawbacks of going to the destination. Next, students will locate the desired vacation spot on the map and measure how many miles it will take to get there. Using the distance, students will determine the best mode of transportation for the vacation. Now the amount of days the vacation can be planned, along with an itinerary for each day. Then, students will research the climate of the location to decide which is the best month to visit and what clothing will need to be packed. With all that information, students will have to create a budget for the vacation being sure to include food and souvenir costs. Since traveling has become a little tricky as a result of the pandemic, students can create pictures and artifacts of the vacation spot to have an at-home vacation. In this project, students employed the subjects of reading, writing, social studies, math, science, and art while having fun (and probably not knowing they were learning).
Other ideas for research projects are a new pet, playing an instrument, playing a sport, deciding a new hobby, a future career, schooling beyond high school, as well as social issues facing society. The fundamental aspect is to NOT have students completing worksheets all summer. Projects apply real-world applications as well as critical thinking and decision-making skills which students will encounter in life beyond schooling.
Of course, students reading for an hour each day from text they choose does wonders for preventing the summer slide too.