Board games that promote STEM skills

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

280: Board games that promote STEM skills

Board Games That Promote STEM Skills

Guest Haley Story shares board games that promote STEM skills – and she has many ideas for all ages.

Why board games?

  • A fun family time
  • Great for summer
  • Also some solo games for screen-free time

The kinds of board games she discusses 

  • All of these games involve meaningful decisions—no Candy Land!
  • No party games or word games
  • Not only teaches children about cause and effect of their decisions—makes the games tolerable (and usually fun) for adults
  • STEM focus.  All of these games involve making decisions based on:
    • Math to optimize score
    • Probability
    • Logical reasoning
    • Computational skills and reasoning
    • Spatial reasoning

How to learn rules (parents learn first!)

  • If you (or your spouse) don’t love reading rules… Try Youtube!
  • Also, many of the more complicated games have online versions and some people prefer learning that way

Games that reinforce math facts for young kids

  • Uno
  • Connect 4
  • Darts (there are  great kid-friendly magnetic versions)
  • Rummy Cube –slightly older kids (Caleb started around 5…kids have to learn to rearrange numbers/sets in their head to make the best moves…logic and some pattern recognition (mathematical sets) and some probability )
  • Five Crowns Junior
  • Blokus
  • Katamino 
  • Wedgits building tower with cards
  • Pyramid stacking toy

Games for slightly older kids that teach mathematical logic and computational skill

These are all solo challenges, but kids tend to enjoy them, and the games come with a deck of challenge cards that begin easy and increase in difficulty

  • Laser Maze
  • Gravity Maze
  • Rush Hour
  • And others by ThinkFun–REALLY good for computational skills and logic

Similar reasoning, but multi-player

For middle school/older:

Fast games:

  • Point Salad
  • Century, Golem edition: longer game.  But to calculate your optimal deals and trades, need to scale the math of the point values for each gemstone–some are better deals than others!  Lots of optimization
  • For Sale and Incan Gold
  • Silver and Gold

Longer Games:

  • Settlers of Cata
  • Splendor
  • Space Cowboy
  • Azule
  • Gizmos: A super-fun game, though longer and more involved.  Computational thinking skills: stacking your cards to trigger multiple events and optimizing each turn
  • Potion Explosion: another longer, involved game that teaches some computational thinking and optimization skills.  A bit of spatial logic as well picking marbles from the track.  A super fun game to play with your kids: recommend for upper elementary and older.
  • Cribbage (lots of adding to 15/31, and counting/probability in odds of getting cards that will add to 15).
  • Acquire–great for introducing stock market and risks and rewards of investing, aslo with a small spatial component as companies have to be formed on a Cartesian grid.
  • Modern Art–a favorite!  You are the owner of a modern art gallery and must make money selling paintings.  But modern art’s worth is solely based on its current popularity and past performance.  Besides the super fun theme, to do well at this game players need to calculate their expected return for each card they sell, but based on the probability of what other players will do.  A brilliant game that combines bidding and math.  Downside: it’s a bit long to play, and probably will not appeal to kids who can’t sit still and strategize for at least an hour New edition.  Old edition on Ebay
  • Lost Cities and Battle Line: 2-player. Both are great for similar reasons: The scores are directly based on addition and multiplication of the cards you are able to PLAY, but players need to understand the probability of their gaining advantageous cards in time to play them.  Also need to be able to do enough mental math to decide which moves will turn out to be the largest net benefit for you in the end

Hopefully you have discovered some board games that teach STEM skills to introduce in your homeschool!


Take a look at show sponsor, FundaFunda Academy to see what they offer for online classes and web-based unit studies.

Join our Facebook Group, especially for the listeners of this podcast! You can ask questions and get advice as you try integrating technology into your homeschool.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review! Subscribing will help you make sure you never miss an episode

Finding and Using Online Classes for Homeschooling Effectively

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

277: Finding and Using Online Classes for Homeschooling Effectively

Finding and Using Online Classes for Homeschooling Effectively

In this episode we look at  the importance of finding and using online classes as part of homeschooling effectively.

Choosing the Right Online Class:

  1. Determine your goals and what’s best for your children.
  2. Consider your children’s learning styles and your budget.
  3. Decide on the level of flexibility needed (live classes vs. asynchronous classes).
  4. Accommodate any learning disabilities your children may have.
  5. Decide whether the class will be the sole learning source or a supplement.
  6. Ask for recommendations from friends, homeschool groups, and online forums.
  7. Read reviews and watch class demos to narrow down your choices.
  8. Get input from your high school-aged children.

Using Online Classes Effectively:

  1. Remember that you are the homeschool parent in charge of your children’s education.
  2. Monitor your children’s progress and ensure they complete assignments on time.
  3. Provide technical assistance and help with scheduling, especially for younger children.
  4. Communicate with teachers about any learning disabilities or family issues.
  5. Teach high schoolers how to communicate with teachers directly.
  6. Monitor grades and address any issues promptly.
  7. Discuss the appropriate use of AI in classes with your children.

Previous episodes mentioned

Episode 220 – How to use the internet to find the right curriculum for your child 

Episode 194 – The role of parents in online classes


Take a look at show sponsor, FundaFunda Academy to see what they offer for online classes and web-based unit studies.

Join our Facebook Group, especially for the listeners of this podcast! You can ask questions and get advice as you try integrating technology into your homeschool.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review! Subscribing will help you make sure you never miss an episode

 

 

Making Math Fun: Building a Thriving Homeschool Math Club

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

276:  Making Math Fun: Building a Thriving Homeschool Math Club

Making Math Fun: Building a Thriving Homeschool Math Club

 

My guest, Haley Story, has built a thriving homeschool math club  and taught children that math can be fun. Haley was on episode 243 where she talked to us about Math Contests

These are the questions Haley answers in this episode:

1. Why did you start a math club
2. How did you get the word out
3. What do you do during math club? What resources do you use?
4 How many attend and how do you cope with the different ability levels.
5. How do you make it fun

Resources used in the Math Club

Board games that are NOT “math games” but that do a great job of teaching math 

Be sure to listen to the episode to hear exactly how Haley started the math club and runs it!

 

Take a look at show sponsor, FundaFunda Academy to see what they offer for online classes and web-based unit studies.

Join our Facebook Group, especially for the listeners of this podcast! You can ask questions and get advice as you try integrating technology into your homeschool.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review! Subscribing will help you make sure you never miss an episode

Engaging Online Art History Resources

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Engaging Online Art History Resources273: Engaging online art history resources

In today’s episode, guest Holly Egan who teaches the Art History class for teens at show sponsor FundaFunda Academy, shares her favorite online art history resources.

Main supplemental websites for her art history class:

Smart History -Has over 800 contributors from all over the world

https://smarthistory.org/

National Geographic – great art history section with engaging articles

Art History School –  artist biographies explored by Paul Priestly

Artthropology.com– a collection of art history videos an art history teacher has put up on her site from various sources

Khan Academytheir art history videos

 

Art Museum Websites 

MoMA  

The Met 

The Whitney  

 

YouTube Channels for Videos:

National Galleries Scotland & Royal Academy of Arts – videos on movements, artists, exhibitions

The Magnificent Paintbrush – excellent, short artist bios from an elementary art teacher

Tate YouTube Channel

The National Gallery YouTube Channel 

Favorite art channel on this list is The Art Assignment. It’s a PBS Digital Studios channel uploads videos focus on contemporary art. Host Sarah Urist Green interviews the artists from around the world and the artists give an assignment to the audience.

Holly’s Art History Class

Art History 2024

Take a look at show sponsor, FundaFunda Academy to see what they offer for online classes and web-based unit studies.

Join our Facebook Group, especially for the listeners of this podcast! You can ask questions and get advice as you try integrating technology into your homeschool.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review! Subscribing will help you make sure you never miss an episode

Magic School AI

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

270: Magic School AI

In  this episode we explore a new resource called Magic School AI, which can be used by homeschoolers to help their children retain and understand concepts, and provide engaging ideas for lessons.

In this episode we look at the tools for teachers (ie would be used by the homeschool parent). Next week we will look at the tools for students

Here are the Magic School AI tools mentioned

    • Text Rewriter: Rewrites text in different styles (humorous, matter-of-fact, ironic, etc.)
    • Question Generators: Creates questions based on YouTube videos or text input
    • Rubric Generator: Generates rubrics for writing assessments
    • Student Work Feedback: Provides feedback on student work based on grade level
    • Text Summarizer and Text Leveler: Summarizes and adapts text to different grade levels
    • Song Generator: Creates songs on any topic and tune
    • Text Proofreader: Checks grammar, spelling, punctuation, and clarity
    • Unit Plan Generator: Generates unit plans
    • Math Story Word Problems: Creates word problems on specific topics
    • Jeopardy Review Game: Generates Jeopardy-style review games with answer keys
    • Vocabulary List Generator: Generates vocabulary lists for specific topics
    • YouTube Video Summarizer: Summarizes YouTube videos
    • Real-World Connections: Suggests project ideas for real-world applications
    • Science Lab: Provides experiments and instructions using readily available materials
    • Data Table Analysis: Generates data tables and analysis questions
    • SAT Reading Questions and Practice Tests
    • AI-resistant Assignments: Creates assignments that are more resistant to AI-assisted cheating
    • Choice Boards: Generates lists of project ideas for students to choose fro

Here is the song about Simple Machines that Magic School AI generated

Simple Machines Wonderland

(Sung to the tune of “My Favorite Things” by Julie Andrews)

Pulleys and levers and inclined planes too,
Wedges and screws and wheels turning through,
Gears that are meshing and helping things lift,
These are the simple machines – what a gift!

Like a seesaw that goes up and down,
Or a wheelbarrow moving dirt through the town,
A flag pole so tall with a pulley on top,
Simple machines make our work never stop.

From a doorknob turning, to a key in a lock,
All these examples are part of our stock,
Ramps for the wheelchair or for loading a truck,
Simple machines are amazing, oh what luck!

So remember these tools that make work a breeze,
In our simple machines wonderland, if you please,
They help us each day to make tasks less tough,
Simple machines – we can’t thank them enough!

Sign up for the FundaFunda Academy newsletter to access free unit studies

 

Take a look at show sponsor, FundaFunda Academy to see what they offer for online classes and web-based unit studies.

Join our Facebook Group, especially for the listeners of this podcast! You can ask questions and get advice as you try integrating technology into your homeschool.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review! Subscribing will help you make sure you never miss an episode

Teen Podcasters Share Their Journey

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

269: Teen Podcasters Share Their Journey

Teen Podcasters Share Their Journey

 

In this episode, host Meryl van der Merwe interviews Laila Alvarez and Damien Segovia, two homeschooled teen podcasters, who share their experience starting and running their own podcast called “IKR?!”.

Topics Covered:

  • What inspired Laila and Damien to start a podcast
  • The name and focus of their podcast “IKR?!”
  • Number of episodes recorded so far and topics covered
  • Technical aspects – equipment used, editing software, posting to platforms
  • Skills they’ve learned from podcasting
  • Advice for parents/teens interested in starting a podcast
  • How they are marketing their podcast

Key Points:

  • Leila and Damien use clip-on mics and just record on a phone, showing podcasting can be done inexpensively
  • They edit using Spotify’s podcasting platform and are looking to expand to Apple Podcasts
  • Podcasting has improved their conversation skills and discipline
  • Having a podcast can be a valuable experience for college application

Where to find Laila and Damien

  • Check out Leila and Damien’s podcast “IKR?!” currently on Spotify, give it a rating/review
  • You can follow them on Instagram @ikrpod

———————————————————————————————-
Take a look at show sponsor, FundaFunda Academy to see what they offer for online classes and web-based unit studies.

Join our Facebook Group, especially for the listeners of this podcast! You can ask questions and get advice as you try integrating technology into your homeschool.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review! Subscribing will help you make sure you never miss an episode

Importance of critical thinking skills in navigating social media

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

268 : Importance of critical thinking skills in navigating social media

Importance of Critical Thinking Skills in Navigating Social Media

Guest Stephanie Simoes  from Critikid.com talks about the Importance of Critical Thinking Skills in Navigating Social Media and how to teach our children these skills.

Key Points:

  • Critical thinking involves the ability to distinguish between logical and flawed reasoning, understanding logical fallacies, cognitive biases, symbolic logic, science literacy, and the limits of intuition.
  • Kids need these skills to have productive conversations on social media, identify pseudoscience and misinformation, and interpret the overwhelming amount of information online.
  • Stephanie offers courses like “Fallacy Detectors” for ages 8-12 and “Symbolic Logic for Teens” on her website critickid.com. She plans to release courses for younger kids (2-3 years) and up to 18 years old.
  • Parents can learn alongside their kids by following CriticKid’s resources or using websites like “Thinking is Power” and Julie Bogart’s Raising Critical Thinkers books. (Julie was the guest  on episode 155 of this podcast)
  • Practical tips include: saving real-life examples from social media to discuss with kids, scrolling through social media together and identifying fallacies, and thinking out loud about verifying information before sharing.

Resources Mentioned:

Where to find Stephanie  (@critikid)

Instagram

Facebook

Youtube

TikTok

 

———————————————————————————————-
Take a look at show sponsor, FundaFunda Academy to see what they offer for online classes and web-based unit studies.

Join our Facebook Group, especially for the listeners of this podcast! You can ask questions and get advice as you try integrating technology into your homeschool.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review! Subscribing will help you make sure you never miss an episode

Comparing AI Assistants

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Comparing AI Assistants

267:  Comparing AI Assistants

In this episode you will find me comparing AI Assistants – depending on your needs your favorites may be different to mine, so I suggest you try them all out too!. Just as you probably have a favorite supermarket, you will likely have a favorite AI assistant after you try some of the popular ones out.

I am using the free version of the 5 I compare

ChatGPT

This is the “original” one that introduced the world to AI Assistants. It is still my go-to but does not have access  to current data and nor does it have the capabilities of some of the others. It is from Open AI

Claude

I like  the way Claude “writes” and use it when I want to use what it has written for show notes etc. It will allow you to upload images and it can “read” them

Perplexity

Perplexity is the one  most people feel is really good at summaries – especially of long papers. It also is sometimes used as an alternative to Google search. My favorite feature is the follow-up prompts it provides – gives you ideas on what else you might want to know. It does not require a log in – but obviously won’t be able to access any past queries if you choose not to log in

CoPilot

This is Microsoft’s AI assistant. I have been using it without logging in. It allows voice to text prompts and  you can upload  both files and images. Sources for the information it provides are at the bottom of each response. You can export the answer to Word, pdf or text. It provides clickable links and has access to current data and information.

Gemini

Gemini was called Bard and is Google’s AI assistant. It also allows voice to text, the upload of images and will provide clickable links if you ask. It  can create tables, graphs and even images (though not images with people in them)

Wrapping up

I asked each of these AI assistants to compare all 5 and many favored themselves – revealing their own bias. Also – thinks are changing so rapidly in the AI landscape  that if you are listening a few weeks after this airs, this may all be inaccurate! I hope you will try them out for yourself and see which you enjoy

FundaFunda Academy class mentioned in this episode 

—————————————————————————————————————-
Take a look at show sponsor, FundaFunda Academy to see what they offer for online classes and web-based unit studies.

Join our Facebook Group especially for the listeners of this podcast! You can ask questions and get advice as you try integrating technology in your homeschool.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review! Subscribing will help you make sure you never miss an episode

Teaching students to use Tinkercad

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

266:Teaching students to use Tinkercad

 

Teaching students to use tinkercad

 

Robert Walsh from Excalibur Solutions Stem Academy explains the why and the how behind teaching students to use Tinkercad.

What is STEM?

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

Why does my child need STEM education even if they aren’t interested in a STEM career?

  1. Children do not know what they will want to do after high school, so prepare them in case they do want to pursue a STEM career
  2. There are so many benefits of learning STEM subjects that spill over into all areas of life. See
    Episode 144– Non-Tech Skills Students Learn From Coding

What is Tinkercad?

  1. Tinkercad is a free web-based application that is best known as a 3d modeling tool. You can take your models and then print them out on a 3d printer
  2. The second mode in Tinkercad is called virtual circuits mode. In this mode, you can simulate physical electronic circuits using a breadboard, which is a way to connect components together. You can create circuits, power them with simulated batteries or microcontrollers like Arduino or micro:bit. These microcontrollers are small computers available in the real world, but they are simulated almost perfectly inside Tinkercad’s virtual environment. This mode allows you to learn how to build electrical circuits, use microcontrollers, without worrying about losing or breaking components, not having the right parts, or struggling with the physical dexterity required for working with actual circuits.
  3. There’s a third mode called Code Blocks, similar to the 3D design tools, but instead of dragging and dropping components, you write programs in a block-based, drag-and-drop language similar to Scratch. However, you’re manipulating 3D objects when writing these programs. Once familiar with 3D design, you can inject programming to create models instead of manipulating them freehand.
  4. Finally, there’s a fourth tool called Physics Lab, which allows you to experiment with things like springs, motion, and other physics concepts, all simulated within the Tinkercad environment.

How can students learn Tinkercad?

  1. Many free online resources eg Youtube videos and Tinkercad provides basic training too
  2. Excalibur Solutions Stem Academy has a subscription-based program for many STEM topics and Tinkercad is included in that.

Are there other programs like Tinkercad that people might not know about?

  1. Makecode: https://microsoft.com/makecode
  2. Wokwi: https://wokwi.com

Where to find Robert online:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/excaliburstem

Twitter: https://twitter.com/excaliburstem

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/excaliburstem/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@excaliburstem

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/excalibur-solutions-stem-academy

LinkedIn (personal): https://www.linkedin.com/in/robert-t-walsh/

—————————————————————————————————————-
Take a look at show sponsor, FundaFunda Academy to see what they offer for online classes and web-based unit studies.

Join our Facebook Group especially for the listeners of this podcast! You can ask questions and get advice as you try integrating technology in your homeschool.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review! Subscribing will help you make sure you never miss an episode

What Happened To The Dinosaurs

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

What Happened To The Dinosaurs? | This podcast is for kids to learn about the dinosaurs. #podcast #creationscience #dinosaurs #homeschoolFor Kids! What Happened To The Dinosaurs? Episode 7

To understand a bit about what happened to the Dinosaurs, it is best to begin in Genesis. Understanding how man sinned shows us that the Garden of Eden a haven for Adam and Eve and all the animals became a world far from perfection.

Then along came Noah! He was a righteous man and he saved the animals at the time of The Flood. While some think the flood was only in specific areas of the world, this is not true! You can find more information about Flood Geology in the book Creation Geology a Study Guide to Fossils, Formations & The Flood. The Flood was worldwide, the podcast contains information about some of the ways we know this.

The Ark design was unique (Genesis 6:14-16) There was room for 2 of each animal, food and storage, Noah and his family. The ark design is one of the most stable of any boat. When God said He wanted Noah to take two of each kind, what does it mean? A “kind” is not a “species.” For example, a “dog kind,” includes dogs, wolves, coyotes, etc.

What Happened To The Dinosaurs?

Where are the dinosaurs? Dinosaurs were believed to be on the ark. Juvenile dinosaurs were onboard and the average size of the dinosaur was the size of a small chicken. So, for all those skeptics, yes – dinosaurs were on the ark!

When the rains stopped and the flood waters receded, 150 days later the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. The mountains became visible in the tenth month.

Before the Flood, the earth was warmer. It is believed there was more carbon dioxide in the air that made the plants and animals grow bigger (and people lived longer). There are many plants and animals found in the fossil record that did not survive the flood.

What Happened to the Dinosaurs? 

After the flood, many plants and animals died and the dinosaurs and other large creatures could not live in the reduced atmosphere or without some of the plants that did not survive, so they became extinct. Many plants and animals were buried rapidly which caused fossils. Fossils are often found in groups. The rocks showed the catastrophic deposits with large scale erosion into the newly deepened oceans. There was also a post-flood Ice Age.

Geologic formations formed and the rapid burial showed that many fossils found were not commonly found together in nature. The Fossils were only preserved when they are rapidly buried.


Thanks to our sponsor, Harper Collins Christian, and the Kingdom Girl’s Bible

Girls will discover the power of faith in this beautiful Bible that features women of the Bible. This is the ideal Bible for girls on their journey of faith! This special Bible is specifically crafted to highlight the stories and lessons of the inspiring, famous, and sometimes infamous women of the Bible. With over 400 engaging features, colorful illustrations, and helpful notes, this Bible is perfect for girls ages 8 to 12 as they learn about the strong and faithful women who came before them. Visit the website for more information.