Category Archives: Learning Opportunities

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?

Language Arts Mini Spark #74-Adages and Proverbs

It is helpful to be able to recognize and understand adages and proverbs in the stories you are reading.

Like idioms, proverbs and adages can be used in conversation or in writing. They are also unique to a particular language. Unlike idioms, however, proverbs and adages generally have more literal meanings. Their meanings match more closely to the meaning of the individual words that make up the expression.

It is helpful to review some of the more common adages to help you better understand the meaning of the text. Look over this information


  • Proverb is a short, well-known saying stating a piece of advice or the general truth.
  • It can be described as a statement of practical wisdom expressed in a simple way.
  • It is based on common sense or a person’s practical experience. Proverbs are typically metaphorical or alliterative in form.


  • Slow and steady wins the race. 
  • Birds of a feather flock together. 
  • Rolling stones gather no moss. 
  • It is better to be smarter than you appear than to appear smarter than you are. 
  • Don’t count your chickens before they hatch. 
  • Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. 


  • It is a short, common saying or phrase that tends to be old, known for decades or centuries.
  • It refers to popular sayings that give advice.
  • It expresses a general truth about people or the world.
  • It could be based on facts. It can also come from a specific situation or job.
  • It is similar to a proverb and proverbs could be adages.


  • A penny saved is a penny earned .
  • Slow and steady wins the race. 
  • Better safe than sorry.
  • Nothing ventured; nothing gained.
  • You live, you learn.
  • Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

Keep in mind

  • An adage is sometimes called proverb.
  • They are usually smaller than proverbs.
  • So don’t worry about mixing both up, as they have mostly similar qualities.

Create a colorful note taking page to show what you have learned.

Early Enrichment #63 What to do with a box

Listen to this book written by Jane Yolen and Chris Sheban

Your challenge

What can you create with a box?

You can print off a challenge sheet to use or for a bigger challenge take the ABC challenge and use your imagination to turn a box, big or small, into anything at all. If you want to just do this on paper  instead of printing out the recording sheet these are what the two sheets look like.





Language Arts Mini Spark #73- Greek and Latin Roots

Improve your spelling and understanding of  words while doing this Language Arts Mini Spark.

Watch this video. As you are watching pause the video as needed to write down at least 10 root words and at least 5 affixes and their meanings.


Study this image 

Use these activities to learn these words.
Make flash cards for each of the pink and blue buttons. On one side put the root and the other side put the meaning. Study the cards.
Then look at the word list and find the matching set of cards for each.
Learn how to pronounce the 12 words.  You can do this by typing in the word into your search bar and then typing “pronounce”.  Practice each word several times.
Memorize the spellings of these 12 words. When you are ready, have a friend quiz you on the spellings. You can write them on paper or say the letters aloud.

Lesson idea adapted from Khan and SpellPundit

Social Studies Spark #53: The Constitution!

Sunday, September 17th of 2023 was Constitution Day!

Constitution Day commemorates the formation and signing of the U.S. Constitution by thirty-nine brave men on September 17, 1787, recognizing all who are born in the U.S.
or by naturalization, have become citizens.
On September 17, 1787, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention met for the last time to sign the document they had created.

The Constitution is the framework for the federal government of the United States. It is the highest form of law in the country. The Constitution creates the branches of government and gives them the power to govern. However, it also protects the citizens of the United States and guarantees their basic rights.

A primary aim of the Constitution was to create a government that would be powerful enough to run the country, but would not impose on people’s or state’s rights. To avoid too much power being held by one person or group, they created the Balance of Power between the three branches of government: Executive, Legislative, and Judicial.

Articles of the Constitution

The Constitution is organized into seven articles:

  • Legislative Power
  • Executive Power
  • Judicial Power
  • States’ Powers and Limits
  • Amendments
  • Federal Power
  • Ratification


In order for the Constitution to go into effect, 9 of the 13 states needed to ratify it. The first state to ratify the Constitution was Delaware on December 7, 1787. The last state was Rhode Island in May of 1790.

Interesting Facts about the Constitution

  • James Madison is often called the father of the Constitution since so much of his work and ideas were incorporated into the final document.
  • Governor Morris wrote the Constitution and is widely credited with authoring the famous preamble.
  • 39 of the 55 delegates at the convention signed the document. Many who refused did so because of the lack of a Bill of Rights.
  • The US Constitution is the oldest written constitution still used in the world today.
  • The Constitution that is on display at the National Archives was penned by Jacob Shallus.
  • There are currently 27 amendments to the Constitution.

Watch the Schoolhouse Rock video below to learn more about the Constitution:

Finally, go to this link to try a quiz!

How did you do? Answer in the comment section below.