Jello Teacher Tip

Want to really grab your students’ attention? Serve up some Jell-O! It’s the perfect prop for teaching your Grade 2s about the three main states — solids, liquids and gases.

Start by pouring Jell-O crystals into a container while they’re in a solid state. For the gas portion, boil water and observe how the liquid turns into steam when it reaches a high temperature. Now, add the hot water to the container and watch the crystals dissolve into liquid. For the grand finale, show everyone how the Jell-O returns to a solid as it cools down.

—Dawn Crawford, OCT
Prince of Wales PS, Brockville

Have a great classroom tip to share? Send it to us at
If we choose to publish it, you will receive an Indigo gift card.

Check out our new Teacher Tip research archive at

here’s how
it works:

  • The initiative must be available to all students in either Grade 9 or 10, in a mandated course like English or civics that includes at least 25 students.
  • Teachers typically complete the free 35-hour program within 4 to 6 weeks using YPI’s resource guide (linked to the Ontario curriculum), including session outlines, teacher notes and student worksheets.
  • Students team up to research local charities that address an important social issue they identified in their community.
  • Each team conducts a presentation on why their charity deserves the grant; one team from each class is picked to do a school-wide presentation for a panel of mostly student-judges.
  • The winning team has bragging rights to the $5,000 YPI grant.
learning to give

Move over Warren Buffett — there’s a new generation of givers in town and they’re about to make it rain. These do-gooders are investing their time in the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI), and as a bonus they are becoming engaged in their community while developing their teamwork, communication, research and presentation skills.

The Toskan Casale Foundation — launched by the MAC Cosmetics founders — established the initiative 11 years ago as a small single-school program in Toronto. Since then, it has won a Premier’s Award for Teaching Excellence for Philanthropy in Education, turned more than 275,000 students worldwide into social citizens and donated nearly $5 million to almost 1,000 Ontario charities.

The feel-good initiative is a hit with students and teachers alike. “It’s the embodiment of everything we teach in civics,” says Vincenzo Pileggi, OCT, who created and runs the Legal Education Advancement Program (LEAP), and teaches Grade 10 civics at Father Henry Carr Catholic SS. French language schools can get in on the action too, by using the program as part of an Anglais credit.

To learn more about how you can get your school involved, visit — and get ready for a serious return on your investment!
—Randi Chapnik Myers

Apps Analysis by Stefan Dubowski

Night Zookeeper

Inspire creativity with the magical Night Zookeeper Teleporting Torch. Students take on drawing missions and literacy tasks while they help a zookeeper tend to his unusual menagerie of animals — spying giraffes, time-travelling elephants and thieving monsters. You, too, can get in on the fun by customizing challenges and selecting pre-existing ones from a handy library of assignments. Send these to your students at any time, from anywhere, by using a private online dashboard. Students can then “teleport” their work to this same site for evaluation. For more info, check out the blog. For a free lesson plan, visit

SOURCE: iTunes, 99¢

ISS Detector

Channel your inner Chris Hadfield with this intergalactic app that lets science students observe the International Space Station (ISS) from a hand-held device. The program indicates the ideal time for a sighting and even pinpoints the spot to watch in the sky. In-app purchases add the ability to track comets ($2), radio and weather satellites ($2) and other notable objects such as the Hubble Space Telescope ($2). The ISS Detector app pulls info from NASA, (a satellite-tracking website), the Minor Planet Center and the Norwegian Meteorological Institute. Users can share ISS sightings via Twitter, Gmail and other networking services.

DEVICE: Android
SOURCE: Google Play, free
RATING: Low maturity

Oh No Fractions!

Are your students frightened of fractions? Fear not. Here’s an app that will cut their learning time in half and more than double the fun factor.

Oh No Fractions! makes a game of the difficult-to-grasp concepts linked to adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing fractions. For instance, when comparing two side-by-side fractions, the player must decide if the one on the left is less than, greater than or equal to the one on the right. Simple visual aids are used to further explain the correct answers. Students can keep an eye on their progress by checking the statistics attached to their successful/unsuccessful attempts to solving the problems.

SOURCE: iTunes, free