Summer exploration begins here.

Summer exploration begins here.

“Summertime is always the best of what might be.”

– Charles Bowden

What do Marco Polo, Sacagawea, and Neil Armstrong have in common? They’re all famous explorers! Although students won’t be traveling to the moon this summer (or will they?), summer gives them a chance to explore and learn about the world.

Whether it’s exploring a local library or exploring the vast distances between planets in the solar system, it’s crucial that students remained engaged throughout summer. Each week through the end of August, we’re highlighting different math and reading activities for students. These activities combine warm-weather topics and fun activities to motivate students and celebrate the joy of learning over the summer months, leading to success in the fall. Want to make sure your students have access to these activities? Simply share this page with your students’ parents before the end of the school year.

Go ahead, explore a few of the activities below!

P.S. Want to further your own learning this summer? Our educator resources highlight a handful of our most popular resources—and they're all free and handpicked just for you.

Did you know June is National Zoo and Aquarium Month? Zoos and aquariums play an important role in animal conservation, education, and research. Encourage students to design their own zoos and visit their local zoos and aquariums this month for some inspiration!

Congratulations! You’ve been selected to design a zoo!
Ask students to design their own unique zoos on grid paper using the following guidelines:

  • Select six different animals for the zoo. Which ones did students choose? Why?
  • Each animal enclosure will need to be a different size or shape. (e.g. rectangles, squares, circles, triangles).
    • Which animals will need a larger enclosure?
    • What kind of habitat will each animal live in?
    • Label each enclosure and include dimensions for each figure.
    • Calculate the area and perimeter of each enclosure.
  • Students will need to include a cafe, restrooms, and gift shop in their zoos as well. Make sure they label the buildings and include dimensions for each one.



This week is the 2017 Electronic Entertainment Expo, commonly known as E3. Each year, a multitude of companies come together in Los Angeles, California to unveil new technology. One of the main technologies that has emerged in recent years is virtual reality. Virtual reality allows us to explore different worlds and interact within those worlds. Generally, it shows us an image, often using 3D technology, and makes it seem as if we’re really there. (Imagine the possibilities in education!) Take a moment to explore virtual reality and the places it may take us in the years to come.

Where will we end up?

Here’s a fun writing prompt. Ask students to write about a real or imaginary world they would like to visit using virtual reality. It could be courtside at a basketball game or a trip to upside-down land, the possibilities are endless. What did they write about? Did they write about a real place or an imaginary one? Take the activity to the next level and encourage them to think critically. How will virtual reality affect our lives in the future? How will we use it?


"That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." – Neil Armstrong

Nearly 50 years ago, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon and were the first people to step onto the lunar surface. Fast forward to today, astronauts are exploring Mars and the rest of the galaxy! This week, encourage students to explore space and help them prepare for a trip to Mars!

Congratulations! You’ve won a trip to Mars!
Ask students to choose five items that they would take with them to Mars and explain why, assuming that food and basic items for survival are already packed. Encourage them to write about each item and draw pictures. (Remember, there is no cell service up in space!) If students are unsure where to start, ask them a few questions to kickstart their imaginations.

Want to shake it up a bit?
Assign students dimensions for their boxes. Are they still able to bring the five items that they originally chose? How much space do they have in their boxes? Encourage students to use as much of the space in their boxes as possible. What if the dimensions are changed again?


Summer is a great time to encourage students to go outside and explore. From National Parks to the local park down the road, there is somewhere worth exploring. This week, help students create nature notebooks and encourage them to look for symmetry in nature!

Create a nature notebook!
Students can create their very own nature notebook in just a few minutes. Here’s what they’ll need:

  • Cardboard
  • Hole Punch
  • String
  • Paper
  • Pencil/Pen


  1. Place a few sheets of paper on top of the cardboard. Use the hole punch to punch three holes along one side of the cardboard and paper.
  2. Line up the holes in the cardboard and paper. Thread a single piece of string through each hole to hold the cardboard and paper in place. Tie the ends and ta-da! You now have your very own nature notebook.
  3. Find a nice spot to observe nature! (Bonus points if you can spot ten things in nature that have symmetry, such as butterflies and flowers!)

Did you know that the World Ocean covers 71 percent of the Earth's surface? It’s true! In fact, 97 percent of all the water on the Earth is ocean water. Join us this week as we explore our oceans and learn about their importance in our initial summer exploration topic. We'll highlight a few books and do a little math!

The Rainbow Fish
By Marcus Pfister
A modern classic, The Rainbow Fish is a favorite among those young and old. It tells the story of a fish who learns to make friends by sharing his most prized possessions—his shimmering scales.

Life of Pi
By Yann Martel
Life of Pi is a fantasy adventure novel by Yann Martel. Pi, the main character, survives a shipwreck with several animals and with intelligence, daring and inexpressible fear, manages to keep his wits about him as the animals begin to assert their places in the food chain.

The Magic School Bus on the Ocean Floor
By Joanna Cole
Mrs. Frizzle and her class are off on another adventure! This time, they learn about the ocean and all the different types of creatures that inhabit it. Get ready to dive in!


Bring math into the discussion! Did you know the top three biggest oceans are the Pacific Ocean (30 percent), the Atlantic Ocean (21 percent), and the Indian Ocean (14 percent)?

Can you figure out what percentage of the total World Ocean that these three oceans make up? What about the percent of the World Ocean that is made up by other oceans? Besides the vast difference in size, how else are our oceans different? Ask students to create a pie chart displaying the different percentages.


Do you know someone who would love to discover these activities?


Share this page with them!


Looking for more inspiration?

Explore our reading and math resources.

Reading resources Math resources