VAI offers programs, resources for winter break

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Courtesy Van Andel Institute

After another year of navigating educational best practices during the pandemic, Van Andel Institute (VAI) for Education is offering teachers, students, parents and administrators free tools and resources to navigate the shifting education landscape.

VAI for Education provides classrooms for students and teachers with a focus on curiosity, creativity and critical thinking, offering a variety of programs and resources. This year, it offered a public guide of activities, resources and ideas for individuals ranging from students to administrators.

Programming includes:

For administrators and teachers:

Better together: A virtual event for K–12 administrators 

  • Admin networking events focusing on relevant topics like top K-12 administrator concerns and ways to combat learning loss

VAI’s admin guides 

  • Relevant and comprehensive guides designed to equip administrators with strategies for school development. 2021 topics include “Beyond Learning Loss: Six Ways Schools Can Thrive in the Aftermath of the Pandemic” and “7 Tips for a Successful School Improvement Planning.”

VAI education spotlights 

  • Offers articles created to assist teachers in lesson application. Publications include “The Science (and Art) of Equity,” and “Using Alternative Assessments in the Classroom.”

Blue apple timely topics 

  • Includes eight free lessons connecting to current events such as celebrating Black History Month, respectful debate and classroom community. These lessons have been downloaded more than 2,400 times and used throughout the U.S. and in over 25 other countries.

Coming soon: NexGen inquiry quests 

  • Low-prep, video-guided quests intended to save time and master science standards. Scenarios are designed to capture students’ interest while introducing them to a real-world problem they can solve with science.

Field trips 

  • Field trip ideas intended to immerse students — and their teachers — in learning science through inquiry. Students conduct grade-specific investigations and participate in hands-on discovery.

For parents and students:

Keep curiosity alive 

  • Includes a list of engaging activities and resources that kids can do during the summer, on weekends or after school

Afterschool cohorts 

  • VAI for Education’s flagship program for students in grades 4-7. The free program offers students the opportunity to investigate modern issues using scientific tools and resources. Applications are now open for the spring and fall of 2022.

Summer camps 

  • Weeklong camps filled with exploration for grades 2-12. Students will participate in activities such as examining fossils like a paleontologist and investigating a crime scene like a forensic scientist. The 2022 schedule will be available in January, and registration for the camps goes live on Jan. 1.

More resources, programming and information are available at vaei.org.

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