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Every iSprowt experiment, activity, and challenge is inspired by the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The NGSS are science content standards that set the expectations for what K-12 students should know.

The NGSS were developed by a committee of 18 experts in science, engineering, cognitive science, teaching and learning, curriculum, assessment and education policy to identify core science themes and were inspired by “A Framework for K-12 Science Education”. The framework proposed developing science standards that integrated these three dimensions: (1) Scientific and Engineering Practices, (2) Crosscutting Concepts, and (3) Disciplinary Core Ideas (Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, Earth and Space Sciences, and Engineering, Technology, and Applications of Science).

One of the key elements of these core criteria is that the disciplinary core ideas be teachable and learnable over multiple grades.  The science concepts our students learn in kindergarten and the early grades will be repeated at increasing levels of depth and sophistication throughout elementary, middle, and high school. iSprowt loves this! The hands-on activities in iSprowt booklets bring to life what our students are learning in the classroom, strengthening our kindergarten through fifth grade students’ understanding of these core concepts and potentially helping them carry this knowledge through to middle school and high school.

At the date of this publication, 20 states and the District of Columbia have adopted the NGSS while and additional 24 states have developed their own standards based on the Framework for K-12 Science Education. With a monthly iSprowt membership, your student can put into practice the science concepts they are learning in school while building their science confidence. If you are ready to bring this educational gift into your home, please check out our membership page.

 

Every month, iSprowt members receive a wonderful educational gift. Each of these gifts, complete with a 40-page iSprowt booklet, are mailed directly to your child – in today’s online world, kids love getting mail addressed to them. It’s a very special surprise.

Each kit contains at least three science experiments, with materials, as well as an incredible instruction and activity booklet.

These beautiful booklets are what makes iSprowt kits special. Each booklet is 40-pages of information, instructions, and activities centered around a specific theme derived from the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The NGSS are science content standards that set the expectations for what K-12 students should know. These standards inspire the content for every booklet in every kit.

The hands-on activities in iSprowt booklets bring to life what our students are learning in the classroom and solidify the content that will carry forward to middle school and high school.

What can you expect to see in a typical iSprowt booklet?

  • Easy-to-follow experiment instructions
  • Level-up challenges that encourage kids to think beyond the experiments
  • Opportunities to get creative with writing and drawing
  • Fill-in the blank questions
  • Links to show what you know in our online community
  • Word scrambles, mazes, hidden pictures, tic-tac-toe, and other games
  • Opportunities to think strategically and make predictions
  • Fun and silly stories
  • Engineering challenges
  • QR code links to videos that help enhance learning
  • And, most importantly, easy-to-absorb science facts

iSprowt booklets are developed with the support of our board of experts which include elementary school teachers, middle school science teachers, a principal, engineers, scientists, researchers, our CEO, and our kids! The booklets and experiments are also reviewed by elementary school students.

We think iSprowt booklets are so special, we would like to give you a sneak peek. Stay tuned for a free download!

iSprowt booklet earth volcanoes iSprowt booklet herb garden

If you are interested in sharing hands-on science with the kids in your life, check out our membership page and start having these educational gifts for kids mailed home today.

In honor of Father’s Day, we interviewed a few dads whose adult children chose careers in STEM. We were curious whether they thought they might have had any influence on their children’s careers and were surprised to learn that each of the dads we spoke with also had careers in STEM! We spoke to a pharmacist, a computer scientist, an electrical engineer, and an aerospace engineer who works on rockets and satellites of all kinds. The electrical engineer we spoke with has a patent for a chip on the Hubble telescope! So cool!

As a child, how many times were you asked the question: “what do you want to be when you grow up?” As a young child, your response to that question would most likely be influenced by the people in your little world and the things you would do every day: a teacher, an artist, a dancer, a soccer player, a mommy. As you grow, your response would likely change as your sphere of influence grows and your attention to detail is enhanced: an author, a firefighter, a nurse, a doctor, an actor, a singer, a scientist, and astronaut.

But who, in a child’s world, is most likely to influence their career choice? Their parents! Data drawn from the General Social Survey from 1994 to 2016 and summarized in the New York Times, indicates that children are 1.7 times to 2.7 times as likely to follow in their parent’s career footsteps. This career alignment can be attributed to multiple factors including education, connections, what is discussed around the dinner table, parents’ social circles, what parents can buy, and inherited aptitudes.

For Father’s Day, the dads we interviewed had some great hobbies growing up. Our electrical engineer loved building train tracks and manipulating them to set off the signals – he was an electrical engineer at heart from a young age. Our aerospace engineer prefers being outdoors hiking, biking, rock climbing, and running. Our pharmacist also loves running in addition to gardening and identifying wildflowers. All of these amazing dads believe their career and hobbies influenced their children’s careers as well as their hobbies even though they encouraged them to make their own choices.

Our computer scientist had a strong love of science and appreciation for the earth’s beauty. He raised his family in Alaska and Hawaii, both places with very little light pollution. His son believes his ability to see the stars and dream beyond his reality was probably the greatest gift given to him by his dad. His son now has a career in computer science and is practically a walking/talking encyclopedia.

Our electrical engineer always had car parts all over the place. He always hoped to complete one car out of all those parts and encouraged his son and daughters to play with the parts and help him fix parts of engines and chassis. He could easily fix anything that needed to be repaired — TV’s, sprinklers, fences, wiring – and never needed to call a handyman or a professional. This was well before YouTube had an instructional video for everything! His son now has an incredibly cool job developing video games.

Our pharmacist and his daughter loved going on hikes together, gardening, and raising rescue dogs. He loved teaching his daughter about plants. She is now an environmental policy analyst for the Environmental Protection Agency, she is raising two rescue dogs, and her desk always has the most plants in the office.

Our aerospace engineer’s children were always very aware of what was going on in the aerospace field. They lived near DC and would frequently ride bikes to the National Mall to spend hours exploring the museums. The toured laboratories, saw satellites, and viewed launches. The enjoyed setting up new technology around the home, taking things apart and putting them back together, building with Legos, and learning how STEM impacts every aspect of life. He always made sure to involve his children in projects around the home. His daughter learned she could merge her love of math and science to help protect the environment, driving her decision to become an environmental engineer. His son is pursuing a career in computer science.

Our aerospace engineer has shared some great advice regarding careers in computer science. He said his son “has no clue what he wants to be when he grows up,” which he says, “is good, because it is more important to focus on learning everything you can, especially learning how to learn, because you can bet whatever you study will be obsolete within 10 years. The nice thing about Computer Science (or most STEM backgrounds) is it impacts every aspect of life, you can work in any field you want – health, business, aerospace, entertainment, you name it, computers and software are in every field.”

Like these wonderful dads, one thing you can do now to possibly influence your child’s potential career in STEM is incorporating STEM activities into their everyday life with iSprowt, an educational gift for kids. The best thing about our projects is that you can work on them as a family. It’s Father’s Day and we want to thank the dads who take the time to work on fun projects with their kids – we appreciate you! We also want to say a very special thank you to the dads who shared their stories with us – thank you!

Happy Father’s Day from iSprowt!

 

How often do you come home from a day at the beach, a hike in a National Park, or a visit to an arboretum or botanical garden and think “well, that was just the worst day I have ever had!”? Probably never! Barring an unfortunate bee sting or a sprained ankle, a day in nature — or even just an hour — leaves us feeling refreshed. When we are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, adults crave the outdoors.

Our children need to be in nature just as much as we do, if not more. As our “Safer at Home” restrictions are loosening as parks and trails reopen, we find ourselves with the unique opportunity to witness our kids reemerging and letting loose for the first time in months. 

Without the constraints of four walls at home, children are free to imagine, create, build, and explore. While the American Academy of Pediatrics no longer restricts screen time to a limited number of hours, they do recommend that families set aside time without technology and engage in activities that do not require digital devices.

Now that most school is being held in homes across the country, using more technology has become nearly unavoidable even though many educators are making the effort to create assignments that incorporate time away from screens. Kids are also spending more time in screens to stay occupied while their parents attempt to work from home.

Studies have shown that excessive screen time can lead to sleep problems, social problems, and increased aggression, all of which can have a negative impact on success in school.  One way to address these problems is by going outside. According to one study, unstructured play enables children to develop “milestones ranging from movement development to language, conversation, and problem solving abilities.” Running around, climbing, and jumping also releases energy. When playing games outside, children get endorphins from something they have worked toward, not just provided for them effortlessly by a tech-based game.

With so much digital distraction available right at our fingertips, parents need to make a conscious effort to ensure their families unplug.

At iSprowt, we have committed to spending part of this Memorial Day weekend completely unplugged and we encourage you to do the same – adults, too! Join your kids in building a rock sculpture, assembling a boat from leaves and sticks, catching a fish, going on a hike, or climbing a tree – whatever brings them joy. You will not regret the endorphins you will feel, the joy you will hear in their excited voices, or the quality time you will spend together making memories.

If you are considering educational gifts for kids, iSprowt brings science, technology, engineering and math to life to create a love of lifelong learning.

3rd-century BC philosopher and teacher, Xun Kuang is known for the quote: “not hearing is not as good as hearing, hearing is not as good as seeing, seeing is not as good as knowing, knowing is not as good as acting; true learning continues until it is put into action,” which comes from Xunzi, an ancient Chinese collection of philosophical writings. Whittled down, this quote is often attributed to both Confucius and Benjamin Franklin, respectively, as “I see and I forget. I hear and I remember. I do and I understand” and “tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”

 

Regardless of the origin of the words, what the three quotes emphasize is, for centuries, and even for millennia, philosophers have observed the most effective form of learning is by doing.

 

A University of Chicago-led study found that “hands-on experiences may benefit students more than previously realized, particularly in the world of virtual laboratories and online learning. This may be especially true for the initial stages of learning and in areas of science education that lend themselves to physical experiences.” Professor Sian Beilock, co-author of the study, stated, “those students who physically experience difficult science concepts learn them better, perform better in class and on quizzes the next day, and the effect seems to play out weeks later, as well.”

 

During these challenging times, many students are away from their classrooms and parents are doing their best to work with teachers to continue to move forward with learning concepts through the end of the academic year. Thanks to a plethora of virtual learning programs available, our students are continuing to learn by hearing and seeing but are missing opportunities to learn by doing.

 

iSprowt puts learning by doing into practice. Students are led through hands-on experiments with easy-to-follow instructions and the materials for the experiments are either included in the iSprowt kit or can be found in most homes. Every month, students receive a new kit with new hands-on experiments and materials. A child who receives our awesome educational gifts for kids during their very first month of kindergarten will complete a minimum of 216 hands-on science experiments by the time they begin 6th grade! We specialize in bringing scientific concepts to life. What could be more hands-on than that?

 

Due to COVID-19 related school closures we now offer the option to give educational gifts for kids through our Donate the Gift of STEM program. If you’d like to donate, visit the page here.

 

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