Category Archives: Learning Opportunities

Social Studies Mini Spark #57-Could baby dinosaurs live in the Artic?

Scientists never thought that dinosaurs lived in the Arctic and Antarctic. But they were wrong! In the 1960s we started discovering dinosaur remains in these harsh environments. Read this article about dinosaurs to find out what scientist have discovered.
To earn this mini spark, answer each of these questions from the point of view of a baby dinosaur.

How did we find evidence of dinosaur reproduction in the Arctic?

Locate Prince Creek Formation on a map. How would you describe the winters here?

Why do we now think that both large and small dinosaur species lived in the Arctic year round?

We think that dinosaurs must have been well-adapted to survive the Arctic winter. What adaptations do we think they may have had?






2024 Junior Library Guild Bookmark Contest: Due May 13

2024 JLG Bookmark Contest

The National Library Week theme for 2024 is “Ready, Set, Library!” and from now until May 13, readers are encouraged to submit their very own JLG bookmark design!  Click here to learn more about the contest.


  1.  All designs must be submitted by an adult (librarian, media specialist, teacher, etc.) to be considered
  2. Each bookmark must depict a JLG Selection (past, present, or upcoming titles)
  3. Only one entry per reader
  4. ANY reader can submit an entry, even if their library is not subscribed to JLG 

Contest Winners

One winner will be chosen from each age group: elementary, middle, and high school.  The winning libraries will receive a $250 JLG backlist credit and have their winning design professionally printed on bookmarks for their entire school! Winning libraries will be contacted via email in May.

Language Arts Mini Spark #75-The Fijian myth of Dakuwaqa

Across the Pacific, myths and legends are passed down through oral tradition. The myth of Dakuwaqa is deeply rooted in Fijian culture and serves as a reminder of the interconnectedness between humans and the natural world, as well as the consequences of greed and disrespect for the environment.

Mini spark project choices

Write a simplified version of this myth for a younger audience.

Read about kids helping sharks.  Write about several of the projects and the kids behind the project.

Research sharks and create an information page about them.

Learn about other myth stories that involve sharks.  Take notes on the information from this article.



What do you know about earthquakes?  Let’s find out!

1. Earthquakes usually happen at the edge of tectonic plates.
  • Tectonic plates are the outer layer of the Earth.
  • They are made of rock and are constantly moving.
2. Earthquakes occur when the plates get stuck, but keep trying to move!
  • The tectonic plates are constantly moving but sometimes they get stuck.
  • When they get stuck, pressure builds up and the plates will suddenly move.
3. Before an earthquake, foreshocks might occur!
  • Foreshocks can be one or more small earthquakes which happen in the lead up to a bigger one, which is known as the main shock.
  • Scientists can often use these to predict big earthquakes.
4. After an earthquake, aftershocks are likely to happen.
  • An aftershock is one or more small earthquakes after the main one has occurred.
  • This is because of the Earth’s crust adjusting to the effect of the main earthquake.
  • They can be very dangerous as buildings might already have damage to them from the large earthquake and so it can often cause them to fall.
5. The shock waves that travel through the ground are called seismic waves.
  • They are very strong at the centre of the earthquake.
  • The waves travel to the surface and this is when the ground shakes and destruction happens.
6. Scientists use the Moment Magnitude scale to measure how strong an earthquake is.
  • This scale measures the energy that is released by the earthquake which makes it very accurate.
  • In the past, scientists used something called the Richter scale which measured the size of the seismic waves, however, this wasn’t as accurate as it could have been.
7. The place where an earthquake starts is called the hypocenter.
  • An earthquake has to start somewhere!
  • It is always under ground, below the Earth’s surface.
8. The ground above where an earthquake starts is called the epicenter.
  • The epicenter of an earthquake is on the ground directly above the hypocenter.
  • The difference between them is the hypocenter is under the ground and the epicenter is above the ground.
9. The strongest ever earthquake was in Chile, in the year 1960.
  • It was a 9.5 on the Moment magnitude scale which is very, very high.
  • The earthquake lasted for 10 whole minutes.
10. Japan is the country where most earthquakes occur.
  • This is because Japan is within something known as ‘The Pacific Ring of Fire’.
  • This is on the edge of the Pacific Ocean and is where there is a tectonic plate edge.
  • Other countries that are affected are Philippines, United States, Chile and more.
Which of these 10 facts surprised you the most?




Social Studies Spark #56 What Is the Pineapple Express?

This mini spark will introduce your to a current events resource, the World from A-Z, that promotes critical thinking, civil discourse, and compassion in your classroom.

Watch this current events video that will help you understand the Pineapple Express along with many other topics.

Choose several of the prompts below to answer to show what you learn from the A-Z video.

  1. What is the purpose of the light festival in Copenhagen mentioned in the video?
  2. Explain what an atmospheric river is and its impact on California.
  3. How do atmospheric rivers play a role in providing rainfall on the West Coast according to scientists?
  4. Describe the concept of neuralgia discussed in the video.
  5. What potential benefits and concerns are associated with brain computer interfaces like Neuralink?
  6. Share the historical significance of February 6th as mentioned in the video.
  7. How is scorpion venom used in various fields, as explained in the video?
  8. Describe the process of extracting scorpion venom as outlined in the video

Check out more episodes at The World A-Z Video choices 

Link to EY badge-The World from A-Z

Calling All Doodlers! Contest Closes March 14th, 2024

It’s time to start sketching, because this year’s Doodle 4 Google contest is open!

Doodles are the fun, surprising, and sometimes spontaneous changes that are made to the Google logo to celebrate holidays, anniversaries, and the lives of famous artists, pioneers, and scientists.

K-12 students are invited to bring their imagination to life in a doodle of the Google logo, using any medium they choose.

Check out the contest page to see past winners and to get some ideas! Start working on some sketches.

All information can be found  @

EY Badge link 


Social Studies Spark #55 The Largest River in Our World is in the Sky!

Learn about the Amazon Rainforest and how the Wampís Nation has been protecting the forest and the largest river in the world. Watch the video and keep track of all of the positive ways the Wampís people are helping our world.

To earn the mini spark, imagine you are a scientist studying the Amazon rainforest. Write a  journal entry describing the incredible biodiversity you have observed and explain why it is important to protect this unique ecosystem. Please use include these words in your journal entry.

  • Ecosystem: A community of living organisms, along with their non-living environment, interacting as a system.
  • Biodiversity: The variety of living organisms in a particular habitat or ecosystem.
  • Indigenous: Originating or occurring naturally in a particular place.

Social Studies Spark #54 Planting Trees

Can it be bad to plant a tree? Before watching the video spend a few minutes thinking about possible times/situations when you would not want to plant a tree.

Watch this TED EDU video about helping our environment by planting trees. This same video is also about how our environment can be hurt by planting trees. While you watch take notes tracking new, interesting, and important information.

After you are done write an interview between a reported and a tree. Choose at least 3 of the questions below to ask the tree.

Sample script

Reporter– Hello, Aspen. Thank you for agreeing to meet with me. Will you please tell me the difference between afforestation and reforestation?

Aspen-Of course, I am glad to be here. The words sound similar, and they are but there is a difference between them. Afforestation is the planting of trees in places devoid of any forest, while reforestation is the practice of restoring recently degraded forests.

Question Choices

  1. Why are trees considered a solution to curb climate change?
  2. What is the Bonn Challenge and what is its goal?
  3. Why do companies plant trees?
  4. Why are natural forests better at carbon storage compared to plantations?
  5. Why is it important to consider the species of trees and the lands when planting trees?
  6. What are the unintended consequences of planting trees in regions that naturally reflect sunlight?
  7. What is the current approach of Chile in tree planting efforts?
  8. What are some methods mentioned in the video to re-green the planet?
  9. When is it bad to plant trees?