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There are many opportunities to continue learning at home and in your community. Try some of these activities with your children.

English/Language Arts: Author a Book

Create a book by folding pieces of 8 1/2 x 11-in. paper in half and fastening them together. Work with your child to plan out a fiction story with a clear beginning, middle, and end. Consider topics that are familiar to your child like family, school, or places you visit regularly like the park or public library. Making non-fiction books can help your child to relay information about subjects he or she is studying in school, recall important health and safety tips, or review vocabulary and spelling words. Have your child add hand-drawn pictures or clip art to illustrate his or her story and remember to give the book an interesting title. Finally, have your child read the book to you or another family member.

Having trouble coming up with an idea for your book? Try creating a parody of or sequel to one of your child's favorites. If your child does not have a favorite book, consider having him or her read a new book and creating a parody or sequel right after finishing it. Check out these reading lists for grade-appropriate reading suggestions:

Reading Suggestions for Grades K-2 (PDF)

Reading Suggestions for Grades 3-5 (PDF)

Reading Suggestions for Grades 6-8 (PDF)

Reading Suggestions for Grades 9-12 (PDF)

Mathematics: The Cost of Electricity

From the microwave to the television, electricity powers many of the items we use daily in our homes. Using a lot of energy has damaging effects on our planet. Measure your home's impact on the environment and your family budget by calculating how much electricity you use per day and how much it costs.

Begin by surveying your home and record each device that is turned on, how many Watts it uses, and how long it has been on. Use the WebMath calculator to figure out how much you are spending on electricity per day or complete the problem by hand. First, add up the number of Watts used and convert it to kilowatts by dividing by 1000. Next, multiply the number of kilowatts by the number of hours the devices have been consuming electricity to determine the number of kilowatt-hours of energy. Then, multiply the number of kilowatt-hours by how much your energy company charges you per kilowatt-hour. If you don't know the exact amount you're charged for electricity, you can use $0.05/kiloWatt-hour, which is a ball park figure for homes in the United States. Finally, multiply your daily total by 365 to find out how much you spend on electricity a year.

Looking at your list of appliances and electricity usage, would you say this is a good representation of the amount of electricity you use per day? Would you say that you usually have more or less devices turned on? What activities may change your electricity usage? How does your electricity usage change with the seasons?

Along with your family, make a plan to cut down on wasteful use of electricity and make your home or community more environmentally friendly and save money.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Turn off the lights, television, and music devices when you leave the room.
  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs. These bulbs use less energy, last longer, and provide the same amount of light.
  • Unplug televisions, stereos, and computers when they are not in use. Even when on ‘stand by' these appliances still consume electricity.
  • Don't leave chargers for mobile phones or other devices plugged in when you're not using them.
  • Don't leave refrigerator and freezer doors open for longer than necessary. Check your refrigerator's seals to make sure they are airtight.

Science: Inherited Traits

Human characteristics are inherited in a random manner. Perform this experiment with your child to understand how chance plays a role in the traits that parents pass on to offspring.

Gather two jars, fifteen red beans, five white beans, and a piece of paper and pencil. Put ten red beans in Jar One. These beans represent X chromosomes. Put five red beans and five white beans in Jar Two. The white beans represent Y chromosomes. Close your eyes and choose one bean from each jar. Drawing two red beans, or X chromosomes, produces a female. Drawing a red bean and a white bean, or an X and a Y chromosome, produces a male. Record your results on your paper. Replace the beans and repeat. After several trials, compare notes with your child to see how many female combinations were created and how many males were created. Discuss the role chance played in determining whether the result would be male or female. Besides gender, talk about other traits children can inherit from their parents.

To extend the activity, have older children write a family gene journal. Decide if you want to study your own family (if family photos passed on for generations are available) or a celebrity family (autobiographies or biographies are often loaded with pictures of the famous person's grandparents, parents, children, etc.). After locating at least three generations of a family, write a family gene journal, noting where each descendant probably got each trait. Besides obvious traits, such as eye or hair color, try to note tiny details, such as the way their ears and eyebrows are shaped or even the places wrinkles formed on their faces.

Social Studies: Letter to the Editor

Choose a few newspaper or magazine articles focusing on current events to read and discuss with your child. Explain the opinion and editorial section of the paper and help your child compose a letter to the editor. Make sure to include facts from the story to help explain and bolster your opinion. Submit the letter to the newspaper agency online or through the postal service.

Further Resources

Use easy-to-color images to create a new project or finish off an old one.

Clip Art Gallery

Extend your child's learning to the kitchen with these yummy recipes for making your own ice cream, popsicles, fruit preserves, and pickles.

Cool Cooking Projects (PDF)

Find videos and Web resources for all kinds of homework problems.

Homework Help

Encourage creativity and artistic expression by using the materials you have around the house to create fun craft projects.

Pet Rock and Other Craft Projects (PDF)

Create a puzzle of your own or fill-in an existing puzzle at puzzlemaker.


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Four Rules to Fight H1N1 Swine Flu

Swine Flu wash your hands picture Wash your hands often and thoroughly using soap and warm water. Always wash your hands after you sneeze or cough into them, use the bathroom, before you eat, or anytime before your hands come into contact with your eyes, nose, or mouth.

Free H1N1 Preparedness Webcast

With speakers from:
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • U.S. Department of Education
Watch a Free H1N1 Preparedness Webcast with Department of Homeland Security, CDC, U.S. Department of Education