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3 Ways to Ensure a Groovy Back-to-School Transition


3 Ways to Ensure a Groovy Back-to-School TransitionMost STEMists enjoy the free time afforded during winter break.  Students get to sleep later in the morning, participate in late-night family gatherings, and hang out with friends without the worry of completing project assignments or homework. Although a winter holiday is much needed, it can present challenges when it’s time to get back into the educational groove.

In fact, many teachers find that grades drop in the third quarter.  And, though this is not true for all students, there are several reasons a drop in grades may occur.  Some say it is the more challenging curriculum in the third quarter, and others blame the long winter break that causes students to get too relaxed and lose focus.

Here are 3 ways to ensure a smooth and groovy back-to-school transition for your STEMists to help them make the grade.

Get Organized

Now is the time to clean out your backpack.  STEMists should completely empty their backpack and go through each folder and binder, pulling out already-graded papers, old project outlines and other items they won’t need for the next semester.  Be sure to include working pens and pencils, and fill binders with a new supply of paper.

STEMists should also declutter their workspace at home.  Whether a STEMist does homework at a desk in his bedroom or has a designated space in the family room or den, a clean and clutter-free area will allow for a more productive and stress-free environment.  Make sure to clear a space for new incoming homework assignment materials and discard old papers.  File them into a file folder or file drawer.

Set Goals

STEMists will experience a true sense of accomplishment by setting and meeting personal goals. Whether it’s to get a better grade in math, make new friends, join a club, keep their room clean, or even read the entire Harry Potter series, people who set goals are more likely to be successful.  Ask your STEMists to set at least two goals for the remaining grading quarters in their school planner.  Be sure to check them off after they are met. Also remind your STEMists to use their planners each day to help prioritize homework and in-school assignments.

Exercise Your Brain

Keeping your mind active is as important as physical exercise, and will help the brain stay fit and focused while out of the classroom.   Engage your STEMists brains with board games such as Monopoly, Scrabble or Risk.  Jigsaw puzzles also keep the mind in tip-top shape!  Or, try one of the many free brain training apps that offer brain exercises to help your STEMists keep their minds in good working condition.

BrainHQ – Brain Training Exercises:


Posit Science claims BrainHQ is the only brain training program clinically proven to improve memory, speed, and attention. Top scientists provided input into the challenges in this app, resulting in a training system that comprehensively improves brain function, from the most basic elements of perception through the most complex elements of memory, thinking, and decision-making.



Sophisticated, scientifically designed brain training for anyone, Lumosity is part of the Human Cognition Research Project and offers a personalized brain training program that includes a personal brain trainer, 40+ scientific-based games, and a variety of brain tests to assess your performance at different points in time.

A monthly-themed Groovy Lab in a Box is another way to keep your STEMist’s brain fit and focused to help transition from winter break to a back-to-school routine.  The Groovy Lab in a Box challenges STEMists to use their natural creative skills to complete investigations and an engineering design challenge!  Recently named in Popular Mechanics 100% Wholesome Holiday Toy Guide, Groovy Lab in a Box challenges enhance STEMists’ ability to retain knowledge and to think like engineers—all while having fun!

9 Back-To-School Tips For Your STEMists

The end of summer break can cause back-to-school madness in many families.  Parents struggle with changes in their schedules, managing transportation, juggling before- and after-school activities, packing lunches and hours of homework help.  Children have other concerns, such as meeting new teachers, making new friends and managing homework. Unanswered questions and concerns can cause anxiety and sometimes panic in young STEMists.

Here are 9 back to school tips to help you and your STEMists have a successful stress-less school year.

9 Back-To-School Tips For Your STEMists

# 1. Routine Schedule

Start your school routine now for school success.  One week prior to the first day of classes,  you and your STEMists should transition from your summer routine to a school routine.  Gone are the days of late-night movies.  Re-set your alarm clocks to get up early and be sure to make time to eat a well-balanced breakfast. Recent studies show that eating a nutritional breakfast is important for successful performance in school.

#2. Map Your Classes

Most schools give students with a class schedule and school map before the first day of school.  Ask your STEMist to highlight his classes on the map and draw points from one class to the next as listed in his schedule.  Then, visit the campus with your STEMists and walk the map.  A campus and class tour will help ease first-day jitters.

#3. Create a Study Space

A quiet pre-determined homework space will help your STEMists to focus on their studies. If you don’t have a separate room for studying, create a space that provides a writing desk and a comfortable chair for reading assignments.  Be sure the space is away from tempting distractions, such as TVs, radios, the refrigerator and other siblings at play.

#4. Choose a Storage Space

Put all school books, binders, folders, notes and homework in one place for easy access. Siblings should each have their own storage space—parents too!  A drawer, storage cube, bin or a shelf on a bookcase in your predetermined study space or bedroom will do the trick.

#5. Get Organized

Color coding your folders, binders, notebooks and supplies by subject may help keep your STEMists organized.  Creating an organized system prior to the start of school, no matter what type of system you implement, will make it easier for your STEMists to stay focused.

#6. Use a Planner

Use of a planner is an excellent way to learn time management skills and can help prioritize deadlines, appointments and homework assignments.  Also, use your planner to map out project timelines.  A family whiteboard or chalkboard also is a way to keep every family member informed and prepared.

#7. Study Wisely

Use a timer to keep your STEMists on track—30-45 minutes is an effective amount of time to study.  Also, be sure to allow 5-10 minute breaks.  Be cautious of break times; extended breaks may cause your STEMists to lose focus.

#8. Develop Study Aids

Purchase plenty of index cards.  Use them to create study guides and flash cards for all of your STEMists’ school subjects.  Index cards are an effective study tool and easy to store, especially if you recycle a Groovy Lab in a Box. Decorate and label a Groovy box for each subject to achieve the ultimate study-aid organization!

#9. Communicate

Your STEMists should learn to communicate with their teachers.  Encourage them to ask questions when they don’t understand a concept or an assignment.  Also, when your STEMists are absent from class, they should email their teachers to ask about missed assignments. If they don’t have an email yet, it’s never too soon for STEMists to use communications technology. Consider setting up a Yahoo or Gmail email account for your STEMists so they can feel empowered to use email to communicate with their teachers.

Getting organized, setting a routine and being prepared will help you and your STEMists get on a path to a successful year.  If your STEMist wants to enhance his STEM learning this school year, check out our theme-based Groovy Lab in a Box monthly subscription. Subscribe to Groovy Lab in a Box today to help your STEMists continue to stimulate their science, technology, engineering, and mathematic abilities.


12 Ways to Recycle a Groovy Box

What do you do with your Groovy Lab in a Box once your STEMists have completed the monthly themed activity?  Teach your STEMists about the importance of recycling and reusing materials by finding new ways to use the Groovy box.

12 Ways to Recycle a Groovy Box

Below are 12 fun and groovy ways to repurpose your cool retro-style Groovy Lab in a Box

1. Make a Diorama.  Use your box as a creative STEMist summer project by making a diorama using the theme, “My Summer Vacation.” Or, save your box for an upcoming school diorama project.

2. Use as a Shoebox.  Our Groovy Lab in a Box packaging is an excellent way to keep your STEMists’ shoes in tip-top shape and an awesome way to organize your closet!

3. Make Wall Shelves. Paint or decorate our packaging to create unique and inexpensive wall shelving that you can use to store light weight knick knacks such as a small picture frame or flower vase.

4. Create a Memory Box.  Cover the box with decorative scrapbooking paper, wrapping paper, or masking tape.  Then, when your STEMists experience something cool or unusual, ask them to write that event on a piece of paper.  The STEMist should then fold the paper and place it in the box.  At the end of the month, at the end of the year, or anytime your STEMists are in need of cheering up, recommend they pull out their memory box to read some of their favorite memories.

5. Make a Sailboat. Cut off the front flap of your groovy box, and then cut into thirds.  Take one of the third pieces and fold into the shape of a number 2. Tape the bottom edges of the 2 shape together, and then crinkle to make a C shape. Place a piece of tape down the back to hold. Place your groovy sailboat and let the wind blow.  Groovy Sailboat VIDEO: Groovy Sail Boat.  

12 Ways to Recycle a Groovy Box

 6. Gift Box.   Our boxes are great for packaging a gift.  Just place your gift in the box, and wrap it with wrapping paper or make it more fun and colorful with the Sunday comic strip section.

7. Covered Map Box.  Use an old map to cover the Groovy box to use as storage for your folded maps, or to store office supplies and other items.  This project is great for an office and a fun way to display a practical-use storage box.

8. Charging Station.  Cut several holes large enough to pull a charger cord through to connect with your mobile devices. Wrap the box with decorative paper or fabric for a more sophisticated look.

9. Photo Storage.  Decorate to your liking and use the box for storing and organizing your photo prints. Remember to label the box for easy identification!

10. Ribbon Dispenser.  Similar to the charging station (above), a ribbon dispenser is ideal for crafters or holiday gift wrapping.  Cut one or two holes, depending on the size of ribbon spools you have, on each short side of the box.  Starting outside of the box, insert the wooden skewers through the ribbon spools inside the box.  Then, cut holes and use grommets for decoration; thread your ribbons through the grommets for easy ribbon measuring and cutting.  Again, decorate the box to fit your room decor.

11. Sock Drawer Organizer. Use a straight-edge blade to cut the top off the Groovy box.  Then cut pieces to use as dividers inside the remaining box piece.  Insert the dividers and place pairs of socks in the box for easy access!  Save one divider space to add a favorite sachet or dryer sheet to keep your clothing freshly scented.

12. Store your Groovy Lab Notebook. Finally, for prosperity— keep one Groovy box to store all of your Groovy Lab in a Box custom designed lab notebooks that has all your STEMists’ engineering design challenges!

To encourage your STEMists’ engineering minds, become a Groovy Lab in a Box subscriber and receive your Groovy box that you can use to complete all the DIY projects mentioned above!

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