Brain Games from National Geographic Kids

Messages from your brain travel along your nerves at up to 200 miles an hour! Play along with these clips from Brain Games, the National Geographic Channel show that messes with your mind and reveals the inner-workings of your brain.

Photography Lessons from Hilary at National Geographic Kids

I can’t think of a more fun assignment than a photography class to get kids creative! Now, they would need access to a camera, but you could create a picture book using photos you took, a photo essay, or do a Harris Burdick of their own: A photo and a title of a story (but not actual story).

IDEA: have kids take photos of garbage in their neighborhoods and create photo essay on littering and pollution. Which essay was the most powerful and why? Which photo techniques make the images more powerful and why?

Photo Tips with Hilary
We love photography—and so do you! With these tips from National Geographic photo editor Hilary, you’ll be on your way to becoming a great photographer. Challenge yourself and wow your friends with these tricks from a pro!

Philosophy Intro for young kids

Philosophy for Kids

Philosophy for kids? Yes! Children are natural philosophers and ask these types of big questions all the time.  “Why…?!” We’re often quick to dismiss  Thinking about the nature of things will help them to become critical thinkers.  First, watch this video called “Intro to Philosophy for Kids”.


Philosophy means “love of wisdom. ”  When we know the truth, we are wise…But how to know the truth? Therefore if we want to know the truth, we need to figure things out.  If you love to figure out things, then welcome, you are a philosopher! And it does not matter how old you are.

Questions for kids

  • The Ring of Gyges: If you had a magic ring that made you invisible, would you use it? What would you do when you were invisible? Why wouldn’t you do it if you were visible?  What makes those kinds of thing wrong? 
  • Is it ever okay to lie? When?
  • Why do we have rules? Are there good rules and bad rules? What if there were no rules? 
  • What does it mean to be GOOD? Is it the same in every culture? Is the definition different for your parents or teacher? Was it the same in history? 
  • Why do people hate each other? 
  • What is happiness? How can you become happy? 
  • See what your class comes up with! 

P/J Think like an Engineer: Are you a problem solver?

Do you like using your imagination to build things that solve problems? If you do, you’re thinking like an engineer! Learn how engineers identify and solve problems, then help Jessi with a big problem of her own!

Ask. Imagine. Create. Improve

Watch the video. Find problems in the school/classroom and brainstorm a way to solve it.  Use this as a catch phrase all year to get students to become problem solvers in their classrooms and communities.

Character Education: Empathy

Showing empathy is an important part of being a friend and getting along with people. It means you can think about and understand how other people are feeling. Children are less likely to hurt and more likely to help someone if they can imagine themselves in that person’s place and can share that person’s thoughts and feelings.

These activities will help your students understand how to describe their own feelings and how to be supportive of each other. 

Empathy Activities

Financial Literacy: Income vs Property Tax

Stephen Punwasi is my favourite person on Twitter. And whenever he does a thread, I think, gosh, I wish I could teach this to my students. So here is one of his threads on Income Tax vs. Property Tax.

I have turned it into a slide show here. (If the images don’t match, that’s a misinterpretation on my part.)

And here is a worksheet on Income Tax.
Government of Ontario website on Property tax;
Government of Canada website on Income Tax:
Government of Canada website on Tax FAQs and 101s, and student worksheets

Other Financial Literacy Resources

Amanda Gorman: Inauguration poem & questions

Check out this link to Amanda Gorman’s inauguration poem.

Here is a great interview with her. How do you think her upbringing influenced her poetry?

Check out this awesome image created by @Virtual Giff
  1. Who is the speaker in this poem? What kind of person is he or she? What does she represent?
  2. To whom is the speaker speaking, or in other words, who is the audience?
  3. What are the situation and setting in time (era) and place?
  4. What is the purpose of the poem?
  5. State the poem’s central idea or theme in a singular sentence.
  6. Describe the structure of the poem. How does this relate to content?
  7. What is the tone of the poem? How is it achieved?
  8. Notice the poem’s diction. Discuss any words which seem especially well-chosen.
  9. Are there predominant usages of figurative language? What is the effect?
    1. Metaphors
    2. Similes
    3. Imagery
    4. Allusions
    5. Personification
    6. Symbols
  10. Explain the use of any sound devices and whether or not they aid in conveying tone or theme.
  11. What light do you want to bring in the world with your gifts?

When day comes, we ask ourselves where can we find light in this never-ending shade?

The loss we carry, a sea we must wade.

We’ve braved the belly of the beast.

We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace,

and the norms and notions of what “just” is isn’t always justice.

And yet, the dawn is ours before we knew it.

Somehow we do it.

Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken,

but simply unfinished.

We, the successors of a country and a time where a skinny Black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president, only to find herself reciting for one.

And yes, we are far from polished, far from pristine,

but that doesn’t mean we are striving to form a union that is perfect.

We are striving to forge our union with purpose.

To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters, and conditions of man.

And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us, but what stands before us.

We close the divide because we know, to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside.

We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another.

We seek harm to none and harmony for all.

Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true:

That even as we grieved, we grew.

That even as we hurt, we hoped.

That even as we tired, we tried.

That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious.

Not because we will never again know defeat, but because we will never again sow division.

Scripture tells us to envision that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree and no one shall make them afraid.

If we’re to live up to our own time, then victory won’t lie in the blade, but in all the bridges we’ve made.

That is the promise to glade, the hill we climb, if only we dare.

It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit.

It’s the past we step into and how we repair it.

We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it.

Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.

This effort very nearly succeeded.

But while democracy can be periodically delayed,

it can never be permanently defeated.

In this truth, in this faith, we trust,

for while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us.

This is the era of just redemption.

We feared it at its inception.

We did not feel prepared to be the heirs of such a terrifying hour,

but within it, we found the power to author a new chapter, to offer hope and laughter to ourselves.

So while once we asked, ‘How could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?’ now we assert, ‘How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?’

We will not march back to what was, but move to what shall be:

A country that is bruised but whole, benevolent but bold, fierce and free.

We will not be turned around or interrupted by intimidation because we know our inaction and inertia will be the inheritance of the next generation.

Our blunders become their burdens.

But one thing is certain:

If we merge mercy with might, and might with right, then love becomes our legacy and change, our children’s birthright.

So let us leave behind a country better than the one we were left.

With every breath from my bronze-pounded chest, we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one.

We will rise from the golden hills of the west.

We will rise from the wind-swept north-east where our forefathers first realized revolution.

We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the midwestern states.

We will rise from the sun-baked south.

We will rebuild, reconcile, and recover.

In every known nook of our nation, in every corner called our country,

our people, diverse and beautiful, will emerge, battered and beautiful.

When day comes, we step out of the shade, aflame and unafraid.

The new dawn blooms as we free it.

For there is always light,

if only we’re brave enough to see it.

If only we’re brave enough to be it.