All posts by Katie Sindt

Social Studies Enrichment #34: The San Diego Zoo

Do you know where San Diego, California is? It’s waaaaaaay at the bottom of California – check it out on the map below:

San Diego has an incredible zoo, and they have a website full of animals and activities to check out! You can meet and learn about just about any animal!

Visit the San Diego Zoo!

There are cool videos and even live cams of the animals!

This website can even help you earn an EY digital badge!

Check out Save the Animals or Roaring Keynote!

Reading Enrichment #45: Khan Academy Reading Comprehension Practice!

Did you know that Khan Academy just released the first version of reading comprehension practice on Khan Academy? And, it is grouped by grade level:

Khan Academy recommends starting at your grade level and doing 1-2 practice sets per day (or 10 practice sets per week). This should take about 10-20 minutes per day.  If you find it difficult, completely okay to start at an earlier grade level. Likewise, if you find the passages and questions to be easy, feel free to move to higher grade levels. 

Khan Academy also has a grammar section:

Khan recommends starting by taking the course challenge a few times to figure out what you know and don’t know.

This is a great way to practice reading comprehension & grammar while you’re learning at home!  Challenge yourselves! Enjoy!

Imagineering In A Box!


Walt Disney Imagineering Partners With Khan Academy To Bring You ‘Imagineering in a Box’

Imagineering fans, get ready! If you’ve ever been one of many guests who’s visited a Disney theme park and found yourself inspired to dream, build and create, there’s a new online program you just can’t miss!

Imagineering in a Box’ is a free online program that brings together the diverse talents of Disney Imagineers around the world for a one-of-a-kind learning experience and is part of Disney’s commitment to helping today’s youth create the future they imagine.

The series offers 32 videos in which Imagineers share how they use a wide range of skills – from story development and conceptual design, to math, physics and engineering – to create immersive experiences. The online curriculum aims to ignite curiosity, inspire creativity, and encourage innovation in the minds of students and teachers alike, while creating fun and engaging opportunities to explore new concepts.

Modules range from a tutorial on engineering software, to an interactive exercise where learners are encouraged to gather items around them and create something new. The program’s hands-on components will allow students to relate new concepts to real-world examples to bring treasured Disney stories to life. Each activity is designed to be scalable, allowing individuals to learn on their own or in a classroom setting.

Click here to get started!

Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by creating an “I Have A Dream” mobile

“I Have a Dream” is a public speech that was delivered by American civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963, in which he called for civil and economic rights and an end to racism in the United States.

To celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. , this post is challenging you to dream as well.

Materials you’ll need:

  • Scissors
  • drawing paper
  • hole punch
  • string
  • hanger
  • tape
  • You will need 5 clouds, either drawn by you or you can print one from this link.


  • On each cloud, draw a dream you have for your family, school, community, country, or world.
  • Write a caption under each drawing.
  • On the back of each cloud, write one thing you can do to make your dream a reality.
  • Hole punch the top of your cloud.
  • Tie a string to each cloud.
  • Hang each cloud from your hanger.
  • Cut out and attach with tape two larger clouds to cover each side of the hanger and write I Have A Dream on the front.

Challenge: Figure out a way to make your mobile move!

Either bring your creation to school to show your EY Coordinator, or take a picture of your creation and email to your EY Coordinator.


Social Studies Enrichment #33: MLK, Jr. and the passage of the Civil Rights Act


Many of you know that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a crusader for Civil Rights. He had a dream. In some ways, that dream became a reality through the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.


The Declaration of Independence declared that “All men are created equal.” However, when the country was first formed this quote didn’t apply to everyone, only to wealthy white landowners. Over time, things did improve. The slaves were set free after the Civil War and both women and non-white people were given the right to vote with the 15th and the 19th amendments.

Despite these changes, however, there were still people who were being denied their basic civil rights. Jim Crow laws in the south allowed for racial segregation, and discrimination based on gender, race, and religion was legal. Throughout the 1950s and early 1960s leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for the civil rights of all people. Events such as the March on Washington, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and the Birmingham Campaign brought these issues to the forefront of American politics. A new law was needed to protect the civil rights of all people.

President John F. Kennedy

On June 11, 1963 President John F. Kennedy gave a speech calling for a civil rights law that would give “all Americans the right to be served in facilities that are open to the public” and would offer “greater protection for the right to vote.” President Kennedy began to work with Congress to create a new civil rights bill. However, Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963 and President Lyndon Johnson took over.

Signed into Law

President Johnson also wanted a new civil rights bill to be passed. He made the bill one of his top priorities. After working the bill through the House and the Senate, President Johnson signed the bill into law on July 2, 1964. Martin Luther King, Jr. attended the official signing-in of the law by President Johnson.

Main Points of the Law

The law was divided up into 11 sections called titles.

  • Title I – The voting requirements must be the same for all people.
  • Title II – Outlawed discrimination in all public places such as hotels, restaurants, and theatres.
  • Title III – Access to public facilities could not be denied based on race, religion, or national origin.
  • Title IV – Required that public schools no longer be segregated.
  • Title V – Gave more powers to the Civil Rights Commission.
  • Title VI – Outlawed discrimination by government agencies.
  • Title VII – Outlawed discrimination by employers based on race, gender, religion, or national origin.
  • Title VIII – Required that voter data and registration information be provided to the government.
  • Title IX – Allowed civil rights lawsuits to be moved from local courts to federal courts.
  • Title X – Established the Community Relations Service.
  • Title XI – Miscellaneous.

Voting Rights Act

A year after the Civil Rights Act was signed into law, another law called the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed. This law was meant to insure that the right to vote was not denied any person “on account of race or color.”

Take a quiz to test what you learned about the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Reading Enrichment #44: Learn about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • Occupation: Civil Rights Leader
  • Born: January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, GA
  • Died: April 4, 1968 in Memphis, TN
  • Best known for: Advancing the Civil Rights Movement and his “I Have a Dream” speech


Martin Luther King, Jr. was a civil rights activist in the 1950s and 1960s. He led non-violent protests to fight for the rights of all people including African Americans. He hoped that America and the world could become a colorblind society where race would not impact a person’s civil rights. He is considered one of the great orators of modern times, and his speeches still inspire many to this day.

Where did Dr. King grow up?

Martin Luther King, Jr. was born in Atlanta, GA on January 15, 1929. He went to Booker T. Washington High School. He was so smart that he skipped two grades in high school. He started his college education at Morehouse College at the young age of fifteen. After getting his degree in sociology from Morehouse, Martin got a divinity degree from Crozer Seminary and then got his doctor’s degree in theology from Boston University.

Martin’s dad was a preacher which inspired Martin to pursue the ministry. He had a younger brother and an older sister. In 1953 he married Coretta Scott. Later, they would have four children including Yolanda, Martin, Dexter, and Bernice.

How did he get involved in civil rights?

In his first major civil rights action, Martin Luther King, Jr. led the Montgomery Bus Boycott. This started when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white man. She was arrested and spent the night in jail. As a result, Martin helped to organize a boycott of the public transportation system in Montgomery. The boycott lasted for over a year. It was very tense at times. Martin was arrested and his house was bombed. In the end, however, Martin prevailed and segregation on the Montgomery buses came to an end.

When did Dr. King give his famous “I Have a Dream” speech?

In 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. helped to organize the famous “March on Washington”. Over 250,000 people attended this march in an effort to show the importance of civil rights legislation. Some of the issues the march hoped to accomplish included an end to segregation in public schools, protection from police abuse, and to get laws passed that would prevent discrimination in employment.

It was at this march where Martin gave his “I Have a Dream” speech. This speech has become one of the most famous speeches in history. The March on Washington was a great success. The Civil Rights Act was passed a year later in 1964.

How did he die?

Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, TN. While standing on the balcony of his hotel, he was shot by James Earl Ray.

Interesting Facts about Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • Dr. King was the youngest person to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a national holiday.
  • At the Atlanta premier of the movie Gone with the Wind, Martin sang with his church choir.
  • There are over 730 streets in the United States named after Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • One of his main influences was Mohandas Gandhi, who taught people to protest in a non-violent manner.
  • He was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
  • The name on his original birth certificate is Michael King. This was a mistake, however. He was supposed to be named after his father who was named for Martin Luther, the leader of the Christian reformation movement.
  • He is often referred to by his initials MLK.

Think you’ve got it? Take a quiz to see how much you learned about this great man!


Social Studies Enrichment #32: People vs. Snow: A Love-Hate History

The Beginning:  Paleolithic Era – Skiing for Survival

Today, skiing is a fun activity winter-lovers can’t wait to take advantage of at the first sight of freshly fallen snow, but it was originally invented thousands of years ago as a means of survival. The first use of skis can be found in a cave painting dating back to the Paleolithic Era’s final Ice Age. The sticks that were used as the first prototype were not only helpful for traveling over frozen terrain, but also for hunting prey.

1565: Snowscapes in Paintings

Commonly seen as the first winter landscape painting, Pieter Bruegel the Elder painted “Hunters in the Snow” during the brutal winter of 1564-65. It was the longest and most severe winter Europe had seen in more than a century, kicking off what some called the “Little Ice Age.” If you can’t beat them, join them, right? After his first snow-scape Bruegel couldn’t stop painting ice and snow—he also painted the first scene with falling snow, as well as the first nativity scene with snow—and his work started a winter-themed trend among Dutch painters that lasted for some 150 years.

1717: “The Great Snow”

Events occurred either before or after “The Great Snow” of 1717 for generations of New Englanders. Starting in late February of that year, a series of storms dumped up to six feet throughout the region, with drifts as high as 25 feet! New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Connecticut got the worst of it: Entire houses were completely covered with snow, livestock perished and even Boston Puritans canceled church services for two weeks. But one intrepid postman refused to lose the battle, reportedly leaving his horse behind and donning a pair of snow shoes to make the arduous trip from Boston to New York.

Early 19th century: A New Word is Born—Blizzard

The exact origins of “blizzard” are unclear, but it appears to have emerged as a non-snow-related noun. An 1829 article in the Virginia Literary Museum, a weekly journal published at the University of Virginia, defined the word as “a violent blow, perhaps from blitz (German: lightning).” In his 1834 memoir, Davy Crockett himself used the term to mean a burst of speech: “A gentleman at dinner asked me for a toast; and supposing he meant to have some fun at my expense, I concluded to go ahead, and give him and his likes a blizzard.” The first use of the word in reference to a severe snowstorm apparently came later. Eytmologist and lexicographer Allen Walker Read believes the earliest such usage of “blizzard” was in an April 1870 issue of the Northern Vindicator, a newspaper in Estherville, Iowa.

1862: The Rise of the Snow Plow

Today snow can mean long delays and canceled flights, but it used to be a positive thing for travel. When the main mode of transportation was the horse-drawn carriage, having packed snow on the roads made things easier, switching out their carriage’s wheels for ski-like runners when the snow piled up. Foot traffic was a different story, however, and by the mid-1800s several different inventors had patented their version of a horse-drawn snow plow to clear the alleys and walkways of America’s cities. In 1862, Milwaukee became the first major city to use such a plow, and its popularity spread quickly throughout the Snow Belt (the area stretching across the Great Lakes from Minnesota to Maine).

1878: Shakin’ It Up—The Snow Globe

Indicative of the winter wonderland that fills the hearts of many each holiday season, the snow globe was first seen in France at the 1878 Paris Universal Exposition. The trinket gained little attention, however, and only found its way into the hearts and minds of holiday holiday-goers thanks to Edwin Perzy I. The mechanic accidentally created a snow globe in 1900, when he was asked to fix a dim light bulb. After noticing that water-filled glass globes would fill the entire room with light when placed in front of candle, he tried the same technique with a lightbulb but didn’t get the same results. Next he filled the globe with semolina flakes with the hope that they would help reflect the light, but instead it inspired him in a totally different way—the flakes reminded him of snow. Perzy patented the snow globe and the novelty caught on like wildfire.

1888: The Blizzard That Ate the Big Apple

Paralyzing the Northeast for over three days with snow, wind and freezing temperatures, horse-drawn plows stood no chance against the Blizzard of 1888. New York City was inundated with 50 inches of snow, along with high winds causing drifts of up to 40 feet—it was as snow-pocalypse. The city’s elevated railways—usually the only transport option during storms—were blocked leaving travelers stranded for days. The 1888 blizzard claimed 400 victims. It also did some good, however, by prompting cities to improve their snow removal procedures, including hiring more plows, assigning routes and starting the plowing process in the early phases of storms.

1920s: Snow Removal Goes Mobile

When automobiles replaced horse-drawn carriages on the roads, clearing the roads of snow became a big priority. Mechanized salt-spreaders helped, but weren’t sufficient. As early as 1913, some cities had started using motorized dump trucks and plows to remove snow. Chicago took it one step further in the 1920s, debuting a contraption called the “snowloader.” Equipped with a giant scoop and a conveyor belt, the device forced plowed snow up the scoop, onto the belt and into a chute that dropped it into a dump truck parked beneath. The snowloader revolutionized urban snow removal, making it a lot less labor-and time-intensive.

1952: Introducing Your Very Own Snow Blower

Snow blowing got personal in the early 1950s, when a Canadian company called Toro released the first human-powered snow blower. Other companies produced their own models during the 1960s, ushering in the age of modern snow removal. Around the same time, satellite weather technology was making it easier than ever to predict and prepare for storms, and widespread use of TV and radio helped keep the public aware of impending hazards caused by snow and wind.

Today: An Ode to the Humble Snow Shovel

Odds are the snow removal tool most people are familiar with is also the one that’s been around the longest—the shovel. Thought to date back some 6,000 years, the old-fashioned snow shovel remains one of the most effective tools for digging out of a blizzard, no matter where you live. Since the 1870s, more than 100 patents have been granted for snow shovel designs, as various people try their hand at improving on the time-honored classic.


Reading Enrichment #43: Snow Days!

With winter comes cold, snow, and ice! Sometimes, that cold, snow, and ice can lead to a snow day for students! What do you like to do on a snow day?
Go to Wonderopolis to read the article, “What’s the Best Thing to do on a Snow Day?”. Then, in the comments below, write what you like to do best on a snow day.

After you’re done with Wonderopolis, click on the video at the bottom to listen and read along with The Cat in the Hat to see what Sally and her brother do on a rainy day!