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Archive for July, 2015

Summer Learning with the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games

Summer learning is top of mind for many families looking to keep their youngsters engaged over the break.

Jessica TudosThe Pan Am and Parapan Am Games taking place this summer in Toronto provide a special learning opportunity for students.

There is much to glean from this major athletic event – teamwork, perseverance and working towards a long-term goal – just to name a few.

In her latest column in the Huffington Post, our Director Joanne Sallay explores this very topic in a Q&A with Jessica Tudos, author of Kika the Upside Down Girl. Read the full interview here.


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Family Road Trips – Fun Educational Games

With summer in full swing, kids are enjoying the beautiful weather and all the amazing activities that Toronto has to offer.   Many families take advantage of this time to take a trip to a cottage or a vacation spot.   This is a wonderful opportunity to keep your children’s minds active during the break and avoid the ‘summer slide.’

As you are planning any car trip with your family, here is some helpful ideas for games or activities to make the ride fun and educational:


  • Teach counting by giving your child a colour car to watch on the road.  Every time they see that colour car it is a chance for them to practice counting.  So for example if two green cars pass by, your children would count to two
  • Next time you fill up for gas, learn about addition and financial literacy to guess how much it will cost to fill up the car
  • Learn about distance and time.  If you happen to be driving in the United States, this can be an opportunity to chat about the difference between miles and kilometers
  • Science impacts how we drive driving.   Use the road and wind as an opportunity to teach about friction, gravity, acceleration and momentum.
  • Spot license plates outside of the province and use that as a game to learn about all the different provinces and states
  • As you drive past rivers, mountains, lakes, forests, etc, chat about the different types of nature we live in
  • As you are driving through historical areas, discuss the significance of the location.   This is also a wonderful idea to break from driving and stop for an activity at a historical site.
Reading and Literacy:
  • Pick a topic and go through the alphabet to name items.  For example: We are going on a picnic, I am bringing an A for Apple, B for Blueberry….
  • Play ‘I Spy’.  Pick something that has a specific colour, shape or purpose and try to help your son or daughter guess the item through a series of questions.
  • Last but most important, unwind from electronics and do some family reading time away from the TV


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How to Prepare for High School

high school student

Transitioning to grade 9 can be a challenging time for students.   Students move away from middle school and enter a larger, more independent and fast paced environment.

Even though summer is in full swing, it is never too early for students and parents to begin to think about the transition to high school.  Below are some helpful tips to help any new grade 9 student succeed.

1) Develop Strong Study and Organizational Skills:  Setting up a successful study area and routine are keys to success.  To read more about successful study and organizational skills, click on our article here.

2) Learn About the Curriculum: The Ontario Ministry of Education has wonderful material about all of the courses available to students.   During course selection time, we would recommend reviewing the high school courses to better understand prerequisites required for future courses and the material covered in the course.   Also, review the grade 12 requirements for any specific college or university programs you may be interested to keep your options opened.  To read more on our course selection tips, click here.

3) School Orientation:  Many schools offer orientations to students before they start high school.  Take advantage of this opportunity to meet teachers and guidance counselors, tour the school to understand the layout and learn about clubs or sports teams your son or daughter can join.   If your high school does not offer an orientation day, we would recommend contacting the school to arrange one.

4) Chat with Current Students:  Encourage your daughter or son to reach out to any friends in the neighbourhood or relatives what it is like to attend high school.   Current students will help provide the inside scoop on all and every question a student could have.

5) Be there to Support:  The next four years will be a challenging time for any student.   Whether it is their academic or personal challenges, your child will count on you  to be a sounding board and support them with any obstacles.

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2015 Pan Am Games – Making Math and Science Fun


Less than one week away until Toronto opens up the 2015 Pan Am Games!   With over 6,000 athletes from 41 nations expected to participate it should truly be a spectacular and memorable event for the city.

With the summer vacation now in full swing, students will get a chance to attend or watch many of the 36 events.   These events are not only incredibly action packed and competitive, but are also an opportunity for students to apply all their Math and Science school year learning to the everyday world of sports.

Below are a few examples of how Math and Science can be related to the Pan Am Games:

Running:  See how Usain Bolt uses his strength, stride and muscle coordination make him the fastest runner in the world.

Swimming:   The pool is a wonderful opportunity to learn numerous applications to Physics including: friction, density, force, inertia, buoyancy and momentum.

Gymnastics: See how Venezuela’s top gymnast breaks down the physics of gymnastics, including excellent applications to momentum, vertical velocity, energy, gravity, centrifugal and centripetal force.

Measuring Time:  Every millisecond makes a difference, especially at the 2015 Pan Am Games.  This requires a sophisticated time system built with cameras, lasers, computers and very accurate clocks.   Properly measuring time requires a combination of accuracy and precision, both excellent Math and Science lessons.

Nutrition: Athletes go through rigorous training and diets in order to compete at an elite level.   Managing their food intake for the specific events to ensure the have the right balance of protein, carbohydrates and fats, has important applications for any Biology or Physical and Health Education student.

Posted in: Math Tutoring, Science Tutoring

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