100 Suggested Learning Ideas, Events & Resources for July 4-10, 2020

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Bulletin Board


New England “OPEN” Air Museum reopens indoor & outdoor exhibit spaces! The New England Air Museum is the largest aviation museum in New England with 3 large hangars, outdoor exhibits, and 100+ aircraft ranging from early airships & flying machines to supersonic jets & helicopters. Open every day from 10am-3pm with public programs and activities ongoing in socially distanced style. With 90,000 square feet of aircraft hangars and wide-open hangar doors, there is no better place to go for safe, socially distanced fun. The outdoor space will remain open with 10 aircraft, and visitors can see another 50 aircraft indoors, plus dozens of engines and exhibits on various aspects of aviation history. The entire museum has been cleaned and sanitized with daily cleaning protocols to ensure the health & safety of all. Admission: $16/adults; $10/children 4-14yo; Free for ages 3 & under and Veteran. Located at 36 Perimeter Road in Windsor Locks, CT.

Jul 6 – Aug 21

Online Courses

Summit View Learning Summer Math Courses. Online. Summit View Learning can help individuals or small groups of students learn math well in an online setting. They offer personalized instruction with a focus on conceptual understanding and deep long term learning. Whether helping to prepare for school in the fall or accelerating math learning generally, SVL’s 4-week summer courses are customized to meet the needs of all students. Their summer courses include 8 one-hour virtual (real-time) lessons with their highly qualified and experienced instructors and optional hands-on activities that students can work on independently. Pricing: $350 for 1 student, $300/student for 2, $250/student for 3, $200/student for 4, contact them for groups over 4. Rolling admission accepted through July. Dates: Jul 6-Aug 21; Age Range of Campers: 9-18yo. Contact: 339-927-6191. jagron.svl@gmail.com. www.summitviewlearning.com/summer-math.

Online Program Now – Aug 14

Montessori School of Northampton Summer 2020 Virtual Programs. Online/Northampton, MA. Group classes w/individual lessons/instruction included. Half & full-day options offered. All virtual programs designed to balance engaging instructional content w/mindfulness for appropriate screen time intervals. For elementary & middle school students they offer online modules like Film & Videography, LEGO Engineering w/Play-Well TEKnologies, Social Justice Workshop, How to Make a Radio Play, Make Your Own Podcast, STEM Engineering, Ukulele instruction, Instrument Building, Dance, Visual Arts, Dungeons & Dragons, Graphic Novel/Comic Book Art, and Digital Animation & Coding workshops with Holyoke Codes. For 40+ years, MSN has offered engaging summer programs for children 18mo-8th grade in the tradition of Italian educator Maria Montessori. Dates: Jun 22-Aug 14; Age Range of Participants: 5-14yo. Contact: 413-563-4645. summer@northamptonmontessori.org. msn.coursestorm.com

Online Camp Now – Aug 28

Virtual Camp

GCC Summer Virtual STEAM Camps. Online. GCC has paired up with Black Rocket, a national leader in tech-education, to bring Virtual Summer STEAM Camps to kids ages 8-14. Taught live by teachers with expertise in STEAM, the online camps will run for 12 weeks. Offering courses on topics such as coding, game design, eSports, virtual reality, and more, Black Rocket’s camps invite students to engage in cutting-edge curriculum designed to encourage their imaginations & bring their ideas to life. Each week-long session is divided into 2 sections: 3-hour session in the morning for 8-11yo & 3-hours in the afternoon for 11-14yo. Virtual Campers will benefit from smaller break-out sessions with Black Rocket coaches and ongoing access to Black Rocket’s Creator Corps. Tuition starts at $149. Dates: Jun 8-Aug 28; Age Range of Campers: 8-14yo. Contact: 413-775-1661. colek@gcc.mass.edu. noncredit.gcc.mass.edu

Now Virtual!

Online Programs Jul 6 – 31

The Bement School Online Summer Programs. The Bement School is excited to offer remote summer enrichment opportunities for middle school-age students in the summer of 2020! Beginning in July, students will engage in academically-focused classes taught by Bement’s renowned faculty. Students will be challenged in small, specialized remote instruction with a focus on individual attention and skill-building that will allow participants to explore their passions or prepare for their upcoming school year. Each class will occur between July 6 and July 31 under a Monday-Friday model with instructor office hours available. Visit online to learn more! Dates: Jul 6-31; Age Range of Campers: 10-15yo. Contact: 413-774-7061 ♦ summer@bement.orgwww.bement.org/summer

Three virtual music programs this summer!

Jul 6 – Aug 16

Virtually Rock the Summer! Institute for the Musical Arts Rock the Summer 2020 to be held on-line. IMA’s on-line music programs offer girls & young women tools to confidently use computers to generate & share music that they create individually & together. Programs will utilize digital tools to enable students to work collaboratively on the development, home recording & virtual presentation of their music. IMA’s faculty is composed of seasoned musicians, producers & engineers, many of whom have been ground-breakers for women in the field of music. July 6-12 Explore Rock ‘n Roll, performance-based program for preteen girls 9–12yo; July 15-26 Rock ’n Roll Performance, designed for teen-aged girls 13-19yo; Aug 6-16 Recording, Engineering & Producing, designed for girls & young women 16-24yo. Programs culminate in virtual concerts/listening party. Dates: Jul 6-Aug 16; Age Range of Participants: Girls/Young Women 9-24yo. Contact: 413-268-3074. info@ima.org. www.ima.org

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July 4-10, 2020

Saturday, July 4Sunday, July 5
Monday, July 6Tuesday, July 7Wednesday, July 8
Thursday, July 9Friday, July 10

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Resources and opportunities below are shared as a courtesy. While we do our best to share accurate and up-to-date information, please take the time to confirm age appropriateness, registration requirements, and associated costs.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Suggested Events: Click here to suggest distant learning and in person events!

Want to have your online or in person event, class, or workshop featured with Hilltown Families? Inquire at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

Independence Day

HUMANITIES/U.S. HISTORY: The call for revolution in the late 18th-century echoed throughout Massachusetts as the early American colonists sought independence from the British. Massachusetts history is deeply rooted in the history of the American Revolutionary War, from acts of rebellion to the many battles fought on this soil. Every 4th of July, communities commemorate the North American colonies’ patriots that spoke out against a government that they felt did not truly represent them and their interests. Lasting close to a decade (1775-1783), the American Revolution shaped our country’s early identity as a nation. The places, spaces, and communities that made up the Massachusetts colony played a major role in the early American cause for Independence. In this Khan Academy video, learn more about the origins of the Declaration of Independence, the ideas of Enlightenment philosopher John Locke, and its resounding message in history.

HUMANITIES/U.S. HISTORY: In this episode of TED-Ed, “What you might not know about the Declaration of Independence,” Kenneth C. Davis covers lesser-known facts behind what transpired in the crafting of the Declaration of Independence and questions one very controversial omission.

VIRTUAL EVENT/FREDERICK DOUGLASS: In 1852, Frederick Douglass told his audience in his Fourth of July address that, given the ideals embodied in the Declaration of Independence, Black lives should matter and that Americans should live up to their ideals. Every year, communities gather on the 4th of July to read and discuss the Declaration of Independence and Frederick Douglass’ Fourth of July address in 1852. This year, the challenges of gathering while living under COVID-19 will keep folks from gathering together. Still, there is an online opportunity hosted by the Shaw Memorial Library out of Plainfield, MA, which will be streamed live via Facebook. They will read the Declaration and the Address together, paragraph by paragraph. Then they will discuss among a small group of moderators and honored guests. Facebook viewers are invited to ask questions and make comments to be transmitted to those to the group. This event is funded in part by Mass Humanities and by the Plainfield Cultural Council.

HISTORY/FIREWORKS: “Fireworks are synonymous with Independence Day in the United States, but how did they go from gunpowder to today’s 4th of July firecrackers? While explosives date back thousands of years to ancient China, most people don’t realize that modern fireworks came out of folklore.” Learn more in this episode of Great Big Story, “Bigfoot and Bamboo: The Unlikely History of Fireworks.

CHEMISTRY/FIREWORKS: The cultural celebration of the 4th of July includes fireworks, as decreed by John Adams. In this video, “The Science Of Firework Color,” NPR’s Skunk Bear takes a look at what gives fireworks their brilliant colors. Spoiler: It has something to do with table salt.

MANUFACTURING/MATCHES: While it’s amazing that chemical reactions have been orchestrated in the design of fireworks for a dazzling night show, it’s equally amazing to think that humans have harnessed one of nature’s most powerful elements in a tiny box, of matches! Without fire, there would be no fireworks. Let this relationship lead your learning about technology and manufacturing with this video, “Wooden Matches: How It’s Made.”


Sunday, July 5, 2020

Suggested Events: Click here to suggest distant learning and in person events!

Want to have your online or in person event, class, or workshop featured with Hilltown Families? Inquire at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

Picnic Season

CULTURAL STUDIES/PICNICS: Al fresco dining during the summer months unites our sense of taste and smell with the sights and sounds of nature under the warmth of the sun. Picnics are a traditional way for families to enjoy a meal together outdoors while allowing children to “get up from the table” and play. While kids run around chasing butterflies and skipping stones, adults can relax on picnic blankets with wicker baskets filled with sandwiches, chips, salads, and lemonade. But these aren’t the only ingredients you might find in a picnic basket. In this video, “Picnics Around the World,” get inspired by picnic foods from the Middle East, France, Japan, and England for your next family picnic.

FOOD HISTORY/SANDWICH: In your picnic basket, the chances are pretty high that sandwiches have been packed. “Today, it is estimated that 50% of Americans eat at least one sandwich every day. And while it’s all but impossible to imagine a world without them, sandwiches have only been around since 1762.” Learn more about “How the sandwich was invented,” in this TED-Ed video with Jessica Oreck

CULTURAL STUDIES/SANDWICH: Different sandwiches have been popular during different eras of time. In this video, “Kids Try 100 Years of Sandwiches from 1900 to 2000,” discover a few different types and see what kids had to say. This video is a fun way to learn about culinary arts, history, and cultural heritage via food!

FOOD HISTORY/POTATO CHIPS: What better to pair your picnic sandwiches with than potato chips! An American classic snack food, they are even delicious tucked inside of some sandwiches. But where did they come from? Saratoga Springs, NY, to be exact. Great Big Story features the history in this video, “The Accidental Invention of the Best Snack Food Ever.

ENTOMOLOGY/ANTS: It just wouldn’t be a picnic without the ants! Before heading out for your family picnic, learn “What’s Inside An Anthill?” and get curious with your kids!


Start planning now!

Monday, July 6, 2020

Suggested Events: Click here to suggest distant learning and in person events!

Want to have your online or in person event, class, or workshop featured with Hilltown Families? Inquire at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

Summer Foods

Depending on the time of year, we often find ourselves eating specific foods related to the seasons and our cultural heritage. Holidays, agriculture, and the cycles of nature all impact the foods we slice and serve. In the hotter months, fresh fruits, frozen treats, and outdoor BBQ’s are summer staples! Let these yummy treats and meal time highlights be a catalyst for learning about history, culinary arts, and even chemistry. From popsicles, fresh fruit, and BBQ, there’s a lot to learn through the lens of summer foods!

FOOD HISTORY/POPSICLE: Guess how many popsicles are sold worldwide every year! You’re going to have to watch this TED-Ed video, “How the popsicle was invented,” to find out, but what we can tell you, it’s A LOT! In this video, not only will you learn how many popsicles are sold, but also how they were “discovered.” In this episode of TED-Ed, Jessica Oreck shares the “distracted origins of the popsicle.”

CULINARY ARTS/FRESH FRUITS: In this Epicurious video, “How To Slice Every Fruit,” take a comprehensive look at slicing fruits. From apples to watermelon, prickly pear to dragonfruit, mango to gooseberry, featured here is nearly 40 different fruits and techniques for cutting. A fun way to get kids interested in “new-to-them” foods and improved cutting techniques for the budding chefs in the house, young or old!

CHEMISTRY/CULINARY ARTS: There is much to learn about chemistry and food science at the grill. It’s Okay to be Smart has a great video, “The Science of BBQ,” which goes deep on the chemistry behind barbecuing meat and the art of cook with wood fire. But meat isn’t the only thing you can cook on the grill; fresh veggies are another summertime favorite for barbecuing and an excellent way to get your kids interested in tasting and devouring vegetables. The secret, like with fruits featured above, is in the knowing of how to slice and prep your veggies. In this Everyday Food video, “The Best Technique for Grilling Vegetables,” learn some culinary tips, prep veggies from your home garden, co-op, or farmers’ marketing, and fire up that grill for a delicious vegetarian summer meal!


Schools are accepting applications for 2020/2021 school year!

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Suggested Events: Click here to suggest distant learning and in person events!

Want to have your online or in person event, class, or workshop featured with Hilltown Families? Inquire at info@hilltownfamilies.org.


ART STUDIES/SOCIAL ISSUES: Have you heard of the campaign, #5WomenArtists? “At the start of the decade—and now in its fifth year—#5WomenArtists recognizes how women are using art to make social change and drive awareness about globally relevant issues and topics.” Learn about this campaign from the National Museum of Women in the Arts who is asking museums, galleries, and other cultural institutions to “share art and information about artists who explore key social issues, including gender equity, immigration, LGBTQ rights, racial justice, climate change, and more.”

ART STUDIES/WOMEN’S STUDIES: Tate Kids produced this video, “5 Women Artists’ Stories,” to help children discover five amazing women artists that changed the art world, including Yayoi Kusama, Barbara Hepworth, Sonia Boyce, and Dayanita Singh.

ART HISTORY/WOMEN’S RIGHTS: Learn about the history of women in the arts by examining Emily Mary Osborn’s 1857 painting, ‘Nameless and Friendless.” In TateShots video, “How This Painting Campaigned for Women’s Rights,” They study this painting, discussing how “it captures a single woman trying, and failing, to earn a living as an artist in Victorian England. In a trade traditionally occupied by men, she becomes nameless and friendless. Osborn was actively involved in the campaign for women’s rights during the mid-19th century. Wealthy patrons, including Queen Victoria, supported her. But she used her position of power to help improve the lives of women like those depicted in her paintings.”

ART STUDIES/WOMEN’S STUDIES: “In honor of Women’s History Month 2019, Tate selected five women artists to feature in the #5WomenArtists campaign: Alexis Hunter, Louise Bourgeois, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, the Guerrilla Girls, and Lubaina Himid. They also assembled one giant playlist of all the women artists featured in the TateShots video series.” Check it out here to support learning in art and women’s studies.


Plan ahead for Fall 2020!

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Suggested Events: Click here to suggest distant learning and in person events!

Want to have your online or in person event, class, or workshop featured with Hilltown Families? Inquire at info@hilltownfamilies.org.


ENTOMOLOGY/DRAGONFLY: The Secrets of Nature has a 50min film on the dragonfly. In “Sky Hunters, The World of the Dragonfly,” get an overview of this amazing flying insect, which begins it’s life underwater and is one of the most skilled predators on earth. “This film presents dragonflies as they have never been seen before. Fascinating close up shots take us into the world of these insects, which have lived on earth since the age of the dinosaurs’. Spectacular super slow motion shots and elaborate computer animation uncover, for the first time, how dragonflies capture their prey at lightning speed while flying and how they mate in the air. Underwater photography reveals the development of the predatory dragonfly larvae, while time-lapse sequences show the emergence of the fully grown insect.”

ENTOMOLOGY/BENTHIC MACROINVERTEBRATES: Benthic freshwater macroinvertebrates are animals without backbones visible with the naked eye, which living on the bottoms of waterways. These animals include beetles, crayfish, snails, and dragonflies! In this Deep Look video, “A Baby Dragonfly’s Mouth Will Give You Nightmares,” discover dragonflies in the aquatic states and learn about their adaptations in their underwater form.

NEUROSCIENCE/DRAGONFLY: “Dragonflies can catch prey with near-perfect accuracy, the best among all predators. But how does something with so few neurons achieve such prowess?” In this episode of TED, “How a dragonfly’s brain is designed to kill,” neuroscientist Greg Gage and his colleagues conduct neuroscience experiments on a “shoestring budget” to “explore how a dragonfly unerringly locks onto its prey and captures it within milliseconds.”

METAMORPHOSIS/DRAGONFLIES: “The colorful, acrobatic dragonfly may seem familiar, but this stunning macro film reveals the mysteries behind its metamorphic life cycle—and some surprising adaptations.” Check it out in this National Geographic video, “The Secret World of Dragonflies.

ART STUDIES/DRAGONFLIES: Dragonflies can inspire learning about natural history, ecology, entomology, mythology, and art! Here are a few tutorial videos to learn about origami, watercolor painting, and sketching through the lens of the dragonfly! Take these new skills, learn about dragonflies at home, and then step outside this summer to study them in their natural habitat.


Start planning now!

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Suggested Events: Click here to suggest distant learning and in person events!

Want to have your online or in person event, class, or workshop featured with Hilltown Families? Inquire at info@hilltownfamilies.org.


METEOROLOGY/THUNDER & LIGHTENING: The feeling of a summer thunderstorm is familiar to us all – the temperature drops, the breeze cools, bright leaves rustle endlessly louder, and a distant echo of thunder rolls across the darkening sky. Though they can be scary for youngsters (and anxious pets), thunderstorms are an important part of summer weather, bringing much-needed rain to the landscape and cooling the oppressive heat that hangs in July’s muggy air. But how are thunder and lightning formed? How do flashes of light appear, and where does the sound come from? Learn more about meteorology and the science behind thunderstorms in this video, “How Lightening Works.

FOLKLORE/THUNDER & LIGHTENING: Thunderstorms remained quite mysterious for centuries, and cultures worldwide have developed a variety of folktales to explain their occurrence. In Nigeria, a tale of a sheep and its ram son says that thunder and lightning come from the creatures, whose bad behavior resulted in them being banished to the skies. Inuit mythology shares a cautionary tale wherein children too noisy to play at home turn into thunder-causing ghosts. There’s even a tall tale about Henry Hudson that explains thunder as the sound of gnomes bowling in the Catskills. Here’s another story, “The Cambodian myth of lightning, thunder, and rain.

METEOROLOGY/CLOUDS: An exciting natural event, thunderstorms are relatively complex. While the basic principles of such noisy, crashing weather are easy to explain, the reasons for some of a thunderstorm’s elements are not so simple to decipher. The storms themselves occur when a cold front moves quickly into an area filled with warm air. As cold air is denser than warm air, the cold front pushes warm air up and out of its way. When the rising warm, moist air meets the approaching cold front, it cools and condenses into cumulonimbus clouds – the rolling, billowing clouds characteristic of summer storms. “Clouds write a kind of journal on the sky that allows us to understand the circulating patterns of weather and climate … The study of clouds has always been a daydreamer’s science, aptly founded by a thoughtful young man whose favorite activity was staring out of the window at the sky.” In this TED-Ed video,” Richard Hamblyn tells the history of Luke Howard, the man who classified the clouds and forever changed humanity’s understanding of these changeable, mysterious objects.”

STEM/CONVECTION CURRENTS: One informative and straightforward way to learn about the air currents that cause thunderstorms (called convection currents, as the hot air rises) is to do a simple experiment at home. Instead of relying on moving air, families can replicate currents with water, using food coloring to observe the molecules’ motion. Before experimenting, freeze an ice cube with blue food coloring in it. Once it has frozen, drop it into one side of a flat-bottomed container of still water. Then, drop some red food coloring on the other side of the container. Watch as the colors move across the container – as the ice cube melts, the blue food coloring will move across the bottom of the container, and red will float above it, just like the warm and cold air currents behave before a storm takes place.

CITIZEN SCIENCE/CLOUDS: Once kids understand how air currents cause storms, a summer filled with thunderstorms becomes an entirely different beast. A loud, wet, and scary occurrence can be transformed into something fascinating once its cause is understood. Enthusiastic cloud watchers can turn studies of thunderstorm clouds into a Citizen Science project by participating in NASA’s S’COOL cloud-watching program, a project that allows NASA to pair observations of clouds with data collected by special satellites.

MEDIA EXPLORATIONS/WEATHER: To continue the weather theme at home, listen to our archived weather-themed episode of the Hilltown Families Variety Show and watch this video of art inspired by T-Storms! Additionally, check out these thunderstorm-themed titles to learn more about the science behind storms and how they affect people in all geographic locations: 18 Story Books on Weather for Kids.


Start planning for Fall 2020!

Friday, July 10, 2020

Suggested Events: Click here to suggest distant learning and in person events!

Want to have your online or in person event, class, or workshop featured with Hilltown Families? Inquire at info@hilltownfamilies.org.


Learn about the theater through a “behind the scenes” look at technology, choreography, costume design, rehearsal, stories, and the impact a teacher can have “behind the scenes” of a young child’s life. In this series of videos: examine the history and techniques of an 18th-century mechanical theater; review 50 years of costume at the National Theatre; become intimate with a costume from the Disney’s The Lion King on Broadway; take a tour of The Metropolitan Opera’s home at Lincoln Center; listen to stories from a winner of a Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award for Best Play; watch rehearsals with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.


Hilltown Families’ list of Suggested Events is supported in part by grants from the Amherst, Bernardston, Buckland, Chester, Gill, Goshen, Hadley, Heath, Hinsdale-Peru, Holyoke, Montgomery, Mt. Washington, New Salem, Northern Berkshire, Pelham, Plainfield, Rowe, Shelburne, Shutesbury, South Hadley, Springfield, Washington, Westhampton, and Windsor Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.