NNPS SciPacks send fun activities home with students

Posted: March 21, 2024

Newport News Public Schools is supplying students in fifth and eighth grades with take-home science and engineering kits this spring.

The activities are completely voluntary, not considered homework and can be opted out of by parents. The free kits, called SciPacks, will be sent home with students starting March 25 and the formal participation time frame will run April 1-12.

With safety as a priority, each SciPack includes carefully selected materials and comprehensive instructions to guarantee a safe and enjoyable experience.

The SciPacks launch students into a journey of discovery with hands-on activities such as building circuits, tackling engineering challenges and exploring Newton’s Laws of Motion through practical experiments. An included activity guide will encourage students to explore and share their discoveries.

The kits are designed for engagement and inspiration, not as homework, and do not require returning anything to school.

Students and families are encouraged to share their experiences through photos and videos on social media using the hash tag #NNSciPack.

"SciPacks are designed to inspire NNPS fifth and eighth grade students to dive into science and engineering at home through engaging tasks outlined in the NNPS SciPack Activity Guide," said Tami Byron, STEM instructional supervisor. "Each task offers students the opportunity to apply Scientific and Engineering Practices, an essential strand across all K-12 Science Standards of Learning.

"By promoting hands-on, minds-on learning from the start, SciPacks challenge students to build, explore, and gather data. Designed for family involvement, SciPacks not only foster collaboration but also spark friendly science competitions, merging home and classroom learning to demonstrate that science is an important part of our daily lives and that everyone can contribute to the discovery process."

By encouraging families to participate in hands-on experiments with their children during breaks, NNPS is not just teaching science while students are at home, but also is creating memorable, shared experiences of discovery and learning, according to Dr. Kipp Rogers, Chief Academic Officer.

"This initiative arose from the challenge given by our School Board to increase family involvement in science education and through SciPacks, we are turning that challenge into an opportunity for growth and engagement," Rogers said.

"As students and their families explore and share their SciPacks experiences using #NNSciPack, we are continuing to build a community of curious, engaged learners. The initiative is helping us to redefine the boundaries of where and how learning happens fostering, hopefully, a lifelong curiosity and passion for science with our students."