Education Technology

Summer of STEM: 4 Engaging Solutions To Keep Your Students Learning All Summer Long

Posted 05/15/2023 by Cara Kugler, Instructional Content Manager, Texas Instruments

“I’m bored.”

“What are we going to do today?”

Sound familiar?

Summer days often leave students with more time on their hands and parents searching for productive activities that help prevent the “summer slide,” or the answer to “I’m bored; what can I do?” Check out these four suggestions to help fight off that “summer slide” with ideas to enrich students’ time off from traditional learning (ahem, school).

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1. Introduce a coding challenge!

Did you know that TI leads a formal coding contest every spring? The TI Codes Contest - 2023 edition has just ended and TI has recently released the top video entries from the sixth annual coding contest on the website. Remember a “coding challenge” doesn’t have to be a formal contest like this one but can also be more of an informal challenge where you pose a problem for students to think on creatively. Try using past TI contest prompts and related student videos to inspire your students to get creative themselves. By simply sharing past entries with interested students, you may inspire some to work on their own designs over the summer.

A coding challenge can be a fun way to motivate and encourage students to continue learning through summer and maybe even have some fun with friends! Encourage students to build a “team” with some friends, and create their best solutions to everyday problems using TI technology. Be sure to check out the list of past contest prompts and plenty of student examples in the “Get Inspired” section of the TI Codes Contest site. If you really want to motivate, offer some simple prizes for those who take on the challenge and create a video. You may also want to visit the previous blog, “How to Host Your Own TI Codes Contest,” for helpful resources including a customizable template to help interested students get started with a plan.

Not quite convinced that this is an awesome idea? We interviewed teachers and students to get their thoughts on participating in a coding contest — "Thrilling, Challenging, Exhilarating." Check out that blog.

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2. Bloopers — science gone wrong can make for extra fun learning!

Don’t believe us? Watch some current TI employees who experienced a few bloopers of their own while recording some science experiments in action! Encouraging students to explore science with simple experiments is a great way to instill the love of science, learning and exploration in all ages of curious students. All students are naturally curious, and if we can leverage that “What will happen if …” (within reason) it can be a great to keep young minds active this summer. Encourage students to try the experiments themselves and potentially create videos of their own experiments (bloopers included) to share with younger students. Students may even be able to lead some simple activities at a local library — a great opportunity to learn through teaching others and to give back to the community through potential volunteer work.

Try the following activities:
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3. Learn to code with Python!

Go ahead, try it with “TI Codes with Python.”

Encourage your students to learn Python this summer using their calculators. TI Codes offers a perfect self-paced experience for students (or teachers) to work through the simple lessons and build confidence in this popular programming language. Get students coding in Python with quick and easy activities. This well-known programming language can spark interests in computer science, engineering, robotics and more to help students succeed in the future. Students only need a TI-84 Plus CE Python or TI-Nspire™ CX II graphing calculator to get coding with TI Codes Python.

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4. 3-2-1 … take off with Tello (drone)!

This final option is a bit more involved but is a super exciting one! It does require some additional materials and would require a purchase for the student(s) by a willing parent (or a school that already has the equipment or is willing to buy a few setups for student loans). As a parent myself, I know that sometimes a purchase with a learning payoff (especially over summer when there is a time that it may actually get used) may just be worth it! We think this one is.

It’s a bird … it’s a plane … is it Superman? No! It’s the Tello drone! When you thought the TI calculator was already a superhero in disguise, and capable of way more than “just math,” get ready. We’re really going to blow students’ minds! Their trusty TI-Nspire™ CX II or TI-84 Plus CE Python graphing calculators can now be programmed to control the flight of the Tello and collect flight data for further exploration. You will need a few other accessories to pull off the flight takeoff, but we think it’s sure to get your students motivated for some summer learning.

Discover more about this newly supported technology from TI and what you'll need to start flying.

If you already have a Tello drone and associated hardware, be sure check out the new TI Codes > Tello mini projects for TI-Nspire™ CX II and TI-84 Plus CE Python technology.

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These are just a few grab-and-go ideas to encourage your students to make summer a time of fun and learning new things. The flexibility of summer yields the perfect chance to continue and/or accelerate learning for our students. The above suggestions are options that can be done outside of the school by students themselves. But if you, your school or your district are considering hosting STEM and coding camps this summer, take a look at for more ideas, downloadable lessons, instructional videos, and even learn how to borrow everything you need to do the projects. activities shown include “Making Music With Code,” “The Heart Project,” “The Mars Mineral Challenge,” “Running the Bases (with TI-RGB Array),” “Smart Irrigation System” and “Some Like It Tepid.”
A sampling of projects you can find at

Finally, congratulations to all teachers reading this blog who are approaching (maybe even sprinting) to the finish line of another school year! Pat yourself on the back, and a fellow educator too, for all the amazing work you did this year to impact young lives in a such a positive way. We applaud you and value your work and dedication in the classroom and with students across the world!

Enjoy your summer!

About the author: Cara Kugler currently works as the Instructional Content Manager at Texas Instruments. She has been with TI for over 16 years and works with educators to create content and resources to help both teachers and students get the most of TI technology in the classroom and at home. Prior to joining TI, she worked in educational publishing and actually started her career in education as a biology teacher. She enjoys the unique combination of getting to put her love for teaching and learning, technology and publishing as she manages the many activity websites TI offers. In her spare time, she spends her weekends on the soccer, baseball and lacrosse fields cheering on her two sons. She loves to travel with her family, and her happy place is the beach.