What do cookies, college and skyscrapers have in common? They’re all part of this month’s theme – The Sky is the Limit – which centers on the sky and goal setting.

“We’re always looking for fun ways to introduce students to new ideas and interests,” says Rhetta Hunyady, Vice President of Education & Training at the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce. “So instead of pulling out a textbook to explain the different phases of the moon, we give students a stack of Oreo cookies and instruct them to scrape off varying amounts of frosting to depict the moon in the sky. It’s all about igniting their imagination and desire to learn.”

What else is YouthQuest up to in January? Lots! For instance:

  1. In addition to the Oreo assignment (which is tasty and educational!), students in grades K-2 are learning about the concept of propulsion and space travel by making rockets powered by plastic straws.
  2. Grades 3-5 are building their own free-standing “skyscrapers” and seeing how they hold up against wind power.
  3. Some of the older elementary students are finding that it’s never too early to dream big. They’ve been tasked with requesting information from their choice college and creating a marketing display to promote the school to fellow classmates.

Want to help extend their learning beyond YouthQuest? Parents can try some of the following activities to keep students engaged at home in the evening, on Fridays and during the weekend:

  • Observe the sky during daylight and darkness. Ask your student what differences and similarities they observe. And since retelling is an important part of learning, ask them what they’ve learned about the sky during YouthQuest.
  • Set short-term goals (today or tomorrow) and long-term goals (a week or two), and help record the progress. Little ones can have fun tracking something as simple as brushing their teeth every day. Older children can focus on more lengthy goals involving home and school.
    • BONUS: Offer star stickers and a calendar as rewards. Also, be sure to keep the energy positive and remind them starting over is OK, too!

FOR OLDER STUDENTS

Rather than use themes, YouthQuest’s middle and high school programs aim to encourage leadership through short-term and long-term clubs. This month, for instance, students have the option to join one of the robotics clubs offered at Southwestern, Northwestern and International Academy of Flint. To build on their enthusiasm at home, consider a field trip to Flint Steam Works, which offers “Open Shop” on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.