Hands-on experiences are one of the best ways to learn and make education more engaging. Give your students the opportunity to make lasting memories and to learn something new as you consider this list of free activities and field trip locations, from great works of art to the great outdoors! If you’re a teacher or a parent looking for free learning opportunities for your curious crew, check out one of these free field trip destinations around the great state of Ohio! Please note that large groups sometimes require advance reservations; be sure to contact the organization you’re interested in directly for more information.

In and around Akron, Ohio

Akron Police Museum

For those interested in law and order, consider a tour of the Akron Police Museum and learn about the history of the Akron Police Department. Police equipment, uniforms spanning the decades, historical photos, and a 1965 Harley-Davidson police motorcycle are some of the displays you will encounter in the museum.

Operating Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:00am-3:30pm

Notes: Check the website or contact the Community Relations Department for current hours and availability of tours.

Website: https://www.downtownakron.com/go/akron-police-museum   

Phone: 330-375-2390

Akron Art Museum

Live creatively! Thursdays are free admission days at the Akron Art Museum, so visit their renowned collection of modern and contemporary art! Growing from a small, eclectic collection housed in two borrowed rooms in the basement of the public library, the Akron Art Museum has blossomed into a 63,000 square foot location filled with a variety of art and artists, rotating exhibits, and art programs for children and adults of the Akron community.

Admission to the Bud & Susie Rogers Garden on the Museum grounds is free.

Operating Hours: Gallery Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 11am-5pm; Thursday, 11am-9pm Bud & Susie Rogers Garden Hours: Monday-Friday, 9am-6pm; Thursday, 9am-9pm; Saturday and Sunday, 10am-5pm

Notes: Gallery and Museum are closed Mondays and most major holidays

Website: https://akronartmuseum.org/

Phone: 330-376-9185

The Butler Institute of American Art

This museum celebrates American art and showcases the works of American artists in all media. With over 20,000 individual works, the Butler is considered “America’s Museum”. From their locations in Youngstown and Howland Township, the museum holds juried exhibitions and rotating collections of art ranging from printmaking to photography. Their “Arts in the Early Morning Programs” offer free activities focused on specific age groups from strollers to seniors – check out their website for a complete calendar of events.    

Operating Hours: The Butler Institute of American Art (Youngstown): Tuesday-Saturday, 11:00am-4:00pm, Sunday 12:00pm-4:00pm; closed Mondays and major holidays. The Butler Trumball Branch (Howland): Wednesday-Saturday, 11:00am-4:00pm, Sunday 12:00pm-4pm, Closed Mondays, Tuesdays, and major holidays.

Notes: Guided tours available

Website: https://www.butlerart.com  

Phone: 330-743-1107 (Youngstown); 330-609-9900 (Howland)

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Part of the National Park Service, the Cuyahoga Valley Park is full of activities and adventure for all ages! Visit the Park’s website for a list of daily activities and events and plan to visit the Boston Store Visitor Center at the start of your trip to familiarize yourself with all the Park has to offer. The Canal Exploration Center is a historic building that now houses an interactive Canal Era exhibit for children and adults. The Hunt House offers child-friendly, hands-on nature exhibits. Rangers and volunteers are available throughout the Park to answer questions or provide guidance. The Park offers a variety of day field trips and student explorer opportunities; please check the website for details.

Operating Hours: Open every day of the year; Boston Store Visitor Center closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day

Notes: Some areas close at dusk, the remaining areas are open 24/7 – check the website for a list of closed areas; some activities within the park do charge a fee (i.e., the scenic train ride) – check the website for fees

Website: https://www.nps.gov/cuva/index.htm

Phone: 330-657-2752

In and around Ashland County, Ohio

Ashland County Historical Society

Did you know that Ashland, Ohio was once the balloon capital of the world? Learn more about Ashland County’s rich history with a visit to the Ashland Historical Society. Comprised of three fully restored historical houses and a nineteenth-century barn, visitors can step back in time to experience Ashland at the turn of the 19th century, visit what was possibly the first brick house built in the town, and browse through antiques and collectibles, including photos, newspaper clippings, and histories of the county. There is a collection of military weapons and other collectibles and the Veteran’s History Committee is recording the oral histories of Ashland County veterans, the videos of which are kept in the Society’s library and are accessible for public viewing. Don’t forget to check out the Thornburg Insect Collection, one of the largest collections in the U.S.!

Operating Hours: Mondays and Wednesdays, 11:00am-2:00pm (April through December)

Website: http://www.ashlandhistory.org

Phone: 419-289-3111

Ashland Symphony Orchestra

Music lovers, rejoice! The Ashland Symphony Orchestra presents a variety of free concerts and events throughout the year and offers some outreach programs free of charge. Check out their website for a complete calendar of events or to schedule a visit with a Conductor or Musical Ensemble.

Operating Hours: Office hours for Orchestra Tickets are Tuesday-Friday, 9am-12pm.

Website: http://www.ashlandsymphony.org/

Phone: 419-289-5115

In and around Athens, Ohio

Kennedy Museum of Art, Athens

Located on the campus of Ohio University, Athens, the Kennedy Museum of Art is open to the public for viewing of its national and international exhibitions. Collections of Southwest Native American textiles, ceramics, and jewelry; American paintings; drawings and photography; contemporary prints; and ceramics and sculpture make up its permanent collections and exhibitions. Rotating visiting exhibitions and collections are also on display – check the website for current exhibitions.

Operating Hours: Monday-Wednesday, 10:00am-5:00pm; Thursday, 10:00am-8:00pm; Friday, 10:00am-5:00pm; Saturday-Sunday, 1:00pm-5:00pm

Notes: Closed on University holidays

Website:  ohio.edu/museum

Phone: 740-593-1304

In and around Canton, Ohio

Beaver Creek Wildlife Education Center

Learn about the wildlife in your own backyard! The Beaver Creek Wildlife Education Center offers displays of Ohio and North American wildlife, a kids’ discovery room, a snake and insect display, and Native American artifacts for visitors to learn about and view. Programs including learning about local reptiles, a wildflower hike, and a butterfly activity for the whole family are offered free of charge. Check their website for an updated calendar of events.

Operating Hours: Saturday and Sunday, 1:00pm-5:00pm (first weekend of May through the first weekend of October)

Notes: Some workshops require pre-registration due to space limitations.

Website: https://www.beavercreekwildlife.org

Phone: 757-876-5438

Canton Museum of Art

Calling all art enthusiasts! The Canton Museum of Art showcases a collection of American watercolors and works on paper from the 19th century to the present and contemporary ceramics and sculpture. The museum also offers art workshops for all ages, though fees may apply. Their artisan boutique located on-site supports local Ohio designers and artists by showcasing local artisan crafts.

Operating Hours: Tuesday-Thursday, 10:00am-8:00pm; Friday and Saturday, 10:00am-5:00pm; Sunday 1:00pm-5:00pm

Notes: Free admission to the gallery every Thursday and free the first Friday of every month; regular hours do not apply during exhibit installation and changeovers or special event periods, so please check the website or the museum’s Facebook page for updated hours.

Website: https://www.cantonart.org

Phone: 330-453-7666

In and around Cincinnati, Ohio

Cincinnati Art Museum

Get lost in time with a visit to the Cincinnati Art Museum. With a collection of more than 67,000 pieces of artwork spanning 6,000 years and multiple continents, visitors are invited to view the permanent collection and the traveling exhibits hosted throughout the year. Wander the Museum on your own or sign up for a free docent-led tour, available daily. The Museum offers a wide range of art-related programs for all ages – visit their website for more details.

Operating Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 11:00am-5:00pm; Thursday, 11:00am-8:00pm

Notes: Closed Mondays, general admission to the museum is free, though there may be a fee for some special exhibitions – check the website for details

Website: http://www.cincinnatiartmuseum.org/

Phone: 513-721-2787

Cincinnati Library

More than just a public library, the Cincinnati Library has a variety of programs geared toward all ages, from kids to teens to adults and seniors. From homework help to the Veterans History Project, the Cincinnati Library offers thousands of free programs each year for all ages. Check their website for a complete list.

Operating Hours: Main Library: Monday-Wednesday, 9:00am-9:00pm; Thursday-Saturday, 9:00am-6:00pm; Sunday, 1:00pm-5:00pm

Notes: Check the website for a current list of events – some may require registration

Website: http://www.cincinnatilibrary.org

Phone: 513-369-6900

Contemporary Arts Center

Tired of the same old, same old? A visit to the Contemporary Arts Center will cure that as the Center is a non-collecting institution, meaning that there is no permanent collection housed there and the exhibitions on view are temporary displays and are constantly changing. Encouraging artists everywhere to experience contemporary art, the Center hosts community events, exhibitions, performances, and art outreach programs for all ages – visit their website for details.

Operating Hours: Saturday-Monday, 10:00am-4:00pm, Wednesday-Friday, 10:00am-9:00pm

Notes: No backpacks, large bags, food, or drink in the Galleries

Website: https://www.contemporaryartscenter.org/

Phone: 513-345-8400

Eden Park

Take a nature walk in the heart of Cincinnati. Eden Park and its 186 acres is home to a variety of city landmarks and memorials, the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Krohn Conservatory, and Hinkle Magnolia Garden. With picnic areas and playground features, stroll through the park and enjoy scenic river and lake views, public art, and manicured gardens. Check the website for a calendar of free community events.

Operating Hours: Daily, 6:00am-10:00pm

Website: http://www.cincinnatiparks.com/central/eden-park/

Phone: 513-357-2604

In and around Cleveland, Ohio

Baseball Heritage Museum

Celebrate America’s favorite pastime with a trip to the Baseball Heritage Museum in Cleveland, Ohio. Share in the love of the game viewing memorabilia and equipment from major names in baseball and the unsung heroes. Exhibits showcasing women’s baseball, baseball in Cuba, and Satchell Paige’s Traveling All-Stars are among the exhibits on display.

Operating Hours: Summer Hours: Saturdays, 10:00am-4:00pm; Sundays, 12:00pm-4:00pm; Wednesdays and Fridays, 1:00pm-5:00pm

Notes: Hours vary by season – check website for current hours

Website: http://baseballheritagemuseum.org

Phone: 216-789-1083

Cleveland Cultural Gardens

A collection of more than 30 gardens representing the diversity and multiculturalism of Cleveland, the Cleveland Cultural Gardens are a beautiful way to enjoy Cleveland. From Albanian to Vietnamese gardens, each garden section is carefully designed and cultivated by cultural or national groups. And with the wide variety of gardens, something is always in bloom. In addition to the flora, the gardens also include depictions of notable cultural figures and monuments to specific achievements of each nation. The Gardens are a part of Rockefeller Park and extend roughly 1.5 miles on MLK and East Boulevards. There are also a variety of events held in the park and various gardens, so visit their website for an up-to-date list of events. The One World Day celebration held at the end of the summer is an especially popular event.

Operating Hours: Daily

Notes: Walking tours may be booked – contact the organization regarding fees and scheduling

Website: http://www.clevelandculturalgardens.org/

Phone: 216-220-3075

Cleveland Institute of Music

Enjoy an evening (or morning or afternoon) of classical music! The Cleveland Institute of Music is an independent music conservatory that offers free concerts and master classes to the public. CIM is one of three music conservatories in the US devoted exclusively to the performance of classical music. They have world-renowned musicians and conductors speak and perform as part of their concert series. Check their website for a list of free to the public concerts and events available.

Operating Hours: Concert and event hours vary

Notes: Some events require the purchase of a ticket or seating pass

Website: https://www.cim.edu/concerts-events

Phone: 216-791-5000

Cleveland Museum of Art

When Jeptha Wade deeded the land the museum now sits, he noted that it was to be used “for the benefit of all the people forever”. Thus, the Cleveland Museum of Art is committed to welcoming members of the community and visitors to the area into its collection art representing the human experience. The Cleveland Museum of Art opened in 1916 to serve a community seeking a comprehensive art museum. In its 100+ year history, the Cleveland Museum of Art has established art programs for children and adults and has gained an international reputation in its collection of significant works. Rotating exhibitions and permanent collections inspire all who share the experience of being human.  

Operating Hours: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday: 10:00am-5:00pm; Wednesday and Friday, 10:00am-9:00pm.

Notes: The Museum is closed on Mondays; some exhibits may require the purchase of tickets – see the website for a list of events, performances, and exhibits; some events are free, but require registration – see the website for a list of events, performances, and exhibits.

Website: http://www.clevelandart.org/

Phone: 216-421-7350

Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

Do you like money? The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland offers hands-on, interactive exhibits to teach visitors about personal finance, economics, and the history of money. You can trade on Barter Island to test your ability to trade for what you need in a world without money, stand beneath their 23-foot money tree, see if you can spot counterfeit money, and pick up a free financial skills booklet that introduces kids to the concept of money.

Operating Hours: Monday-Thursday, 9:30am-2:30pm

Notes: Visitors age 16 and older must present a valid driver’s license, school ID, or other photo ID for admission into the building; closed Fridays and for occasional special events – call or check the website before arriving; group tours may be scheduled in advance for groups larger than 10 and may be scheduled for Tuesdays at 2:00pm or Thursdays at 10:00am.

Website: https://www.clevelandfed.org/learningcenter

Phone: 216-579-3188

Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument

Remember the sacrifices made by the soldiers and sailors who have fought for American values and freedom when you visit the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument in the Public Square of Cleveland, Ohio. The monument commemorates the American Civil War and consists of a 125-foot column with a Memorial Room and esplanade at its base. The interior of the monument is newly renovated, with its original coloration restored, new lighting, and refurbished stained glass windows. The Tablet Walls list the names of honored veterans who have served their country.

Operating Hours: Daily from 10:00am-5:30pm with additional hours as posted

Notes: Hours vary by season – check the website for current hours

Website: http://www.soldiersandsailors.com

Phone: 216-621-3710

In and around Columbus, Ohio

Al’s Delicious Popcorn Tour

If the smell of popcorn sets your mouth to watering, check out the free tours offered at Al’s Delicious Popcorn. A small, family-owned and operated business, Al’s obsession with delivering a quality product has resulted in a wide variety of hand-crafted gourmet popcorn selections that you can sample for a small fee at the end of your tour!

Operating Hours: Tours are offered January 15th through September 15th and you must make an appointment ahead of time

Notes: Tours are available by appointment ONLY, and are offered at 11:30am or 1:30pm Monday-Friday; tours are free, but sample bags are $1.25-$1.50 and must be ordered ahead of time so they are available at the end of your tour.

Website: http://www.alspopcorn.com 

Phone: 614-451-7677

Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum

Looking for a little humor? Billy Ireland was a self-taught cartoonist who worked for the Columbus Dispatch newspaper drawing editorial cartoons. He also penned a weekly feature, The Passing Show, a full-page color strip published every Sunday. His work targeted local politics, culture, and the locally beloved Ohio State sports teams. The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum, part of the Ohio State University Library system, is home to the world’s largest collection of cartoon and comic-related materials, including original art by Ireland and others, comic books, archival materials, and newspaper comic strip pages and clippings.

Operating Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 1:00pm-5:00pm

Notes: Closed Mondays and major holidays – check the website for a complete list; the site may also be closed during exhibit installations

Website: https://cartoons.osu.edu

Phone: 614-292-0538

Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Located just two miles east of downtown Columbus, Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens operates from within Franklin Park and offers visitors a look at lush gardens, special seasonal horticulture and art exhibitions, and a variety of botanical biomes. The Scotts Miracle-Gro Community Garden Campus, a 4-acre garden with community garden plots, a rose pavilion, and berry house, is free and open to the public daily from dawn to dusk.

On the first Sunday of each month, the Conservatory is free for residents of Franklin County and the City of Columbus (with valid ID) during normal operating hours of 10am to 5pm. Check their website or call the location to inquire about other free events sponsored by the Conservatory.

Operating Hours: 10am-5pm daily

Website: https://www.fpconservatory.org/

Phone: 614-715-8000

Ohio Statehouse

Visit a working body of government as you tour the Ohio Statehouse, Senate Building, and Atrium. Completed in 1861, the Statehouse is an example of Greek Revival architecture while the Senate Building boasts the Grand Stair Hall, created in Carrara marble with murals on the ceiling. The Atrium is a recent addition, completed in 1993 as a connector between the Statehouse and the Senate Building. However, the Atrium is home to the Lincoln Plaque, commemorating Abraham Lincoln’s visit to Ohio in 1859 where he spoke from the area where the Atrium is now located. All of these buildings, as well as the statues and monuments located throughout the 10-acres that make up Capitol Square are open to the public.

Operating Hours: Monday-Friday 8:00am-5:00pm; Saturday-Sunday, 11:00am-5:00pm

Notes: Free guided tours are offered Monday-Friday every hour on the hour from 10:00am-3:00pm and Saturday-Sunday every hour from 12:00pm-3:00pm. “Monument Cell Phone Tours” are also available to learn about the history of the monuments on the Capitol grounds – check the website for instructions; the Ohio Statehouse is closed on major holidays – see the website for a complete list.

Website: http://www.ohiostatehouse.org

Phone: 614-752-9777

Riffe Gallery

Immerse yourself in Ohio art and culture as the Ohio Arts Council showcases the work of Ohio artists and curators with rotating exhibitions at the Riffe Gallery. Events and programs including “Artist Talks” are free and open to the public. See their website for current exhibitions.

Operating Hours: Monday-Wednesday and Friday, 10:00am-5:00pm; Thursday, 10:00am-8:00pm; Saturday, 11:00am-4:00pm

Website: http://www.oac.ohio.gov/Riffe-Gallery/On-View

Phone: 614-728-2239

Robbins Hunter Museum

On the National Register of Historic Places, this historic house museum is filled with 18th and 19th-century decorative arts collected by the home’s original owners and added to over the years. Completed in 1842 and serving as a private residence until 1903, the Avery-Downer House, which houses the Robbins Hunter Museum, was also used as a fraternity house until the 1950s when it again became a private residence and then was transformed into a museum to celebrate this stellar example of Greek Revival architecture in the heart of Granville, Ohio. Rotating exhibits and events on the museum grounds and gardens are accessible to the public.  

Operating Hours: Wednesday-Saturday, 1:00pm-4:00pm (April-December)

Notes: Admission is free, though donations are graciously accepted. If you are going with a group of 10 or more, you must make a reservation and pay $5/person. Special exhibitions may require purchased tickets for entrance. 

Website: http://www.robbinshunter.org/

Phone: 740-587-0430

Thurber House

“Where laughter, learning, and literature meet.” This is the tagline for the Thurber House, a museum, of sorts, dedicated to literacy and literature. Housed in the home of James Thurber, celebrated humorist, author, and New Yorker cartoonist, the literacy center hosts author readings, writing classes for children and adults, and awards the prestigious Thurber Prize for American Humor. The museum portion of the home includes a wide range of Thurber memorabilia.

Operating Hours: Daily, 1:00pm-4:00pm

Notes: Self-guided tours are free; guided tours are available ($4 for adults, $2 for students and seniors) on Sunday afternoons, from 1:00pm-4:00pm; some programs and events are fee-based – see website for details.

Website: http://www.thurberhouse.org

Phone: 614-464-1032

Topiary Park

Is that a…monkey?!? Come see living art at the Topiary Park in Columbus, Ohio. This garden is a landscape of a painting of a landscape and the vision of sculptor James T. Mason, who created the idea of bringing George Seurat’s famous painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Isle of La Grande Jatte to life through topiary. Located on the grounds of what was once the Ohio School for the Deaf, the 7-acre park is meticulously landscaped and includes more than 220 trees, a variety of flowerbeds, and of course the topiary figures.

Operating Hours: Seasonal: May-September, weather and conditions permitting, open daily, 11:00am-3:00pm

Notes: Check the website for off-season event openings and park hours

Website: http://www.topiarypark.org

Phone: 614-645-0197

In and around Dayton, Ohio

Aullwood Audubon Center and Farm

An environmental education and nature center, Aullwood Audubon Center provides activities and programs that help the community learn and understand about the preservation of the planet. With miles of walking trails and over 200 acres of nature sanctuary, thousands of people come each year to get back to nature.

Operating Hours: Monday-Saturday, 9:00am-5:00pm, Sunday 1:00pm-5:00pm

Notes: There is a daily admission fee, but check the website for the calendar of free events.

Website: http://aullwood.audubon.org

Phone: 937-890-7360

Aullwood Garden

Aullwood Garden, part of the Five Rivers Metroparks organization, is named in honor of Marie Aull, the “godmother of the environmental movement in southwestern Ohio”. The grounds include expansive gardens, a native prairie, and giant oak, ash, and sycamore trees, including the 600-year old “Marie’s Sycamore”, which was growing at the time Columbus sailed to the Americas. The Aull House, dating back to 1907, is open occasionally for tours. Wander the mile-long garden path to enjoy the variety of flowers, catch a glimpse of butterflies, and see hummingbirds, finches, and sparrows in their native prairie habitat.

Operating Hours: April 1-October 31, 8:00am-10:00pm; November 1-March 31, 8:00am-8:00pm

Website: https://www.metroparks.org/places-to-go/aullwood-garden/

Phone: 937-275-7275

Bear’s Mill

Step back in time by visiting the Bear’s Mill, one of the few water-powered mills still in operation today. Grain takes a journey through the Mill’s four-stories, passing through French Buhr millstones to be ground into healthy, minimally processed flours and meals. Numbered signs located throughout the Mill building provide insight and history of the Mill’s role in the community. In addition to its rustic setting, Bear’s Mill also features a rotating exhibition of art and photography of the region.

Operating Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 11:00am-5:00pm; Sunday, 1:00pm-5:00pm

Notes: Free self-guided tours can be taken through each floor of the mill or organized tours are available for a fee.

Website: http://www.bearsmill.org/

Phone: 937-548-5112

Brukner Nature Center

Enjoy some time outdoors and perhaps catch a glimpse of some local birds and wildlife with a visit to the Brukner Nature Center. Committed wildlife conservation and rehabilitation, the 165-acre wildlife preserve has 6 miles of hiking trails, an Interpretive Center with seasonal wildlife exhibits, and a log house dating back to 1804. The Nature Library is open to the public and has an extensive collection of picture books for children. Visitors can also visit the Tree-Top Bird Vista, a premier birding spot for bird enthusiasts.

Operating Hours: Interpretive Center Hours: Monday-Saturday, 9:00am-5:00pm; Sunday, 12:30pm-5:00pm; Brukner Nature Center trails are open sunrise to sunset 7 days a week

Notes: Sunday admission is free, there is a $2.50 charge per person all other days of the week; Interpretive Building is closed on major holidays and for special events, so please check the calendar on the website; no credit cards; no pets

Website: http://www.bruknernaturecenter.com  

Phone: 937-698-6493

Carriage Hill

If a return to simpler times is what you are looking for, you’ll find it at Carriage Hill. Part of the Five Rivers Metroparks organization, Carriage Hill includes a Visitor’s Center with an interactive “classroom” for the kids, fishing at Cedar Lake, and miles of hiking trails. The historical farm on Carriage Hill recreates what life on a family farm was like in the 1880s. Volunteers and staff demonstrate period farming techniques and domestic activities throughout the year. Visitors can explore the blacksmith shop, historic farmhouse, barn, and woodshop. Heirloom vegetables grow in the garden and a variety of farm animals call Carriage Hill home.

Operating Hours: April-October: Visitor Center, Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00am-5:00pm; Sunday, 12:00pm-5:00pm; Historical Farm Grounds: Tuesday-Sunday 8:00am-5:00pm; Historical Farm Buildings: Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00am-5:00pm; Sunday, 12:00pm-5:00pm; November-March: Visitor Center, Tuesday-Sunday 12:00pm-4:00pm; Historical Farm Grounds: Tuesday-Sunday, 8:00am-4:00pm; Historical Buildings: Saturday-Sunday, 12:00pm-4:00pm

Notes: The Carriage Hill Metropark Riding Center offers trail rides, though fees may apply; check the website for a calendar of events and daily demonstrations; guided tours are available for groups of 10 or more, call the site to schedule; all farm facilities are closed on Mondays.

Website: https://www.metroparks.org/places-to-go/carriage-hill/

Phone: 937-275-7275

Cox Arboretum

Master the maze! Hike the trails! Visit the butterfly house! A trip to the Cox Arboretum, part of the Five Rivers Metroparks organization, keeps visitors busy with a wide variety of activities. The butterfly house features native pollinator plants that attract birds, bees, and butterflies and has tips on how to make home gardens more pollinator-friendly, which helps make the garden and environment healthier. The Barbara Cox Center for Sustainable Horticulture offers opportunities for visitors to learn about sustainability and horticulture while the Tree Tower offers an 81-step climb up a Douglas Fir to witness breathtaking panoramic views from 65 feet above the conifer collection at the park. The Bell Children’s Maze challenges kids (and adults!) to navigate their way through 1,175 boxwoods to the center of the maze – and back again!

Operating Hours: Park Hours: April 1-October 31, 8:00am-10:00pm; November 1-March 31, 8:00am-8:00pm; Zorniger Education Center Hours: open year-round, Monday-Friday, 8:00am-5:00pm and Saturday-Sunday, 11:00am-4:00pm.

Website: https://www.metroparks.org/places-to-go/cox-arboretum/

Phone: 937-275-7275

Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park

Explore the “Birthplace of Aviation” with a trip to the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park. The park consists of 5 locations in and around Dayton, Ohio, but the start of things is at the Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center where you can explore the early careers of Wilbur and Orville Wright as printers and newspaper editors. With historical artifacts, memorabilia, and photographs learn about the impact and contributions these brothers made to modern aviation.

Operating Hours:

Notes: There are some fees to enter parts of the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park – check the website for a list and for an updated calendar of free events, exhibitions, and opportunities.

Website: https://www.nps.gov/daav/index.htm

Phone: 937-225-7705

Englewood Metropark

Relax to the peaceful sound of waterfalls with a visit to Englewood Metropark, part of the Five Rivers Metropark system. Limestone and shale rocks are being carved by a series of three waterfalls, accessible on the green trail loop. Test your frisbee skills with a round of disc golf at the Blue Heron Disc Golf Course, located within the park. The Benedict Blincoe Wildlife Observation Area boasts one of the best birding sites in the area, along with possible sightings of beaver, muskrat, and raccoons.

Operating Hours: Park Hours: April 1-October 31, 8:00am-10:00pm; November 1-March 31, 8:00am-8:00pm

Notes: The lake on Martindale Road is open 24/7 for fishing and the North Park fishing ponds are open 24/7 from April 1-October 31 for fishing only; fishing activities may include fees – check the website for details.

Website: https://www.metroparks.org/places-to-go/englewood/

Phone: 937-275-7275

Germantown Metropark

Hike the 15+ miles of wooded trails, sit by the Twin Creek stream, be awed by the largest old-growth woodland in Montgomery County, and take in the spectacular views from the Valley Overlook. All of this and more await you at the Germantown Metropark, part of the Five Rivers Metroparks system, just 20 minutes from Dayton. The Welcome Center orients visitors to the area and provides interpretive displays about the local flora and fauna while hiking trails await those looking for adventure in a beautiful natural setting.

Operating Hours: April 1-October 31, 8:00am-10:00pm; November 1-March 31, 8:00am-8:00pm

Website: https://www.metroparks.org/places-to-go/germantown/

Phone: 937-275-7275

National Museum of the US Air Force

Attention pilots and aviation buffs! The National Museum of the US Air Force presents military aviation history along with historical and sensory exhibits designed to bring history to life. From flight’s early beginnings to the research and development that will launch us into advanced aerospace understanding, visitors can view the missile and space galleries, warplane examples, and see how American presidents from Roosevelt to Clinton traveled in the Presidential Gallery. The Memorial Park on the Museum’s grounds honors those who have served in Air Force-associated units for their service and sacrifice to defend the principles of American freedom.

Operating Hours: Daily, 9:00am-5:00pm

Notes: Some exhibits have special hours – check the website for details; there is a charge for the AF Museum Theater and the flight simulators; adults may be asked to show picture ID before entering

Website: http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil

Phone: 937-255-3286

Paul Laurence Dunbar House Historic Site

“I hope there is something worthy in my writings and not merely the novelty of a black face associated with the power to rhyme that has attracted attention.” – Paul Laurence Dunbar  

The fully restored home of acclaimed African-American poet Paul Laurence Dunbar is open for free tours for visitors to view some of Dunbar’s literary treasures, personal items, and family furnishings. Dunbar’s bicycle, a gift from neighbors Orville and Wilbur Wright, is on display, as is the desk and chair where Dunbar penned some of his most famous works. Also on display is Dunbar’s collection of Native American art and a ceremonial sword gifted to Dunbar by President Theodore Roosevelt, for whom Dunbar wrote a campaign poem. The house has been restored to the appearance it had when Dunbar and his mother lived there (early 20th century).

Operating Hours: Friday-Sunday, 10:00am-4:00pm

Notes: Hours tours are given throughout the day, with the last tour departing at 3:30pm

Website: www.ohiohistory.org/visit/museum-and-site-locator/paul-laurence-dunbar-house

Phone: 800-860-0148

Possum Creek

Visit the Education Center at Possum Creek to learn about local food and the environment. The “Edible Farm” located in the park, part of the Five Rivers Metropark system, promotes small-scale food raising for the local community and encourages novice “urban farmers” to expand their yards’ potential beyond just growing fruits and vegetables. Argonne Lake provides free-of-charge fishing, while the Argonne Forest and the Jean V. Woodhull Prairie offer visitors a glimpse into the history of land use in the area and promotes the need to conserve natural space in its natural state.

Operating Hours: Park Hours: April-October, 10:00am-10:00pm; November-March, 10:00am-8:00pm; Farm buildings at the Edible Farm are open 9:00am-3:30pm daily

Website: https://www.metroparks.org/places-to-go/possum-creek/

Phone: 937-275-7275

Taylorsville Metropark

A popular fishing and hiking spot, Taylorsville Metropark is part of the Five Rivers Metroparks system. It sits at what was once the bustling trades town of Tadmor, one of the busiest crossroads in the country. The Old National Road, Great Miami River, the Miami-Erie Canal and multiple railroads all converged here and Tadmor was considered one of the most important transportation centers in the country. Today the Park has more than 8 miles of trail, some through old-growth forest and with spectacular river views, remnants of the great Miami-Erie Canal, and visitors can walk up stone stairs to explore small caverns created by water traveling through the stone over time.

Operating Hours: April 1-October 31, 8:00am-10:00pm; November 1-March 31, 8:00am-8:00pm

Website: https://www.metroparks.org/places-to-go/taylorsville/

Phone: 937-275-7275

Wegerzyn Gardens

Get your green thumb blooming with a visit to Wegerzyn Gardens. Part of the Five Rivers Metroparks organization, a trip to Wgerzyn Gardens will help inspire your inner gardener. With insight and expertise from volunteers, visitors can learn about native plants, view design ideas for their own gardens, and discover environmentally-friendly plant combinations and cultivation techniques successful in the Miami Valley. There is also a Children’s Discovery Garden where little gardeners can get their shovels dirty and build a love for gardening.

Operating Hours: April 1-October 31, 8:00am-10:00pm; November 1-March 31, 8:00am-8:00pm; Children’s Discovery Garden Hours: March 1-March 31, 10:00am-8:00pm; April 1-October 31, 10:00am-10:00pm; November 1-December 31, 10:00am-8:00pm (closed January and February)

Notes: The water feature in the Children’s Discovery Garden is open Memorial Day through Labor Day, 10:00am-8:00pm.

Website: https://www.metroparks.org/places-to-go/wegerzyn-gardens/

Phone: 937-275-7275

In and around East Liverpool, Ohio

Beaver Creek State Park and Pioneer Village

Pioneer Village, located within Beaver Creek State Park, is a collection of log structures built in the same fashion and using the same materials as the original log structures of the early 19th century. The grist mill, canal lock, blacksmith shop, log cabin, chapel, schoolhouse, and covered bridge take visitors back to life in a pioneer village. A collection of antiques and replicas of items used by early pioneers in their daily lives are on display throughout the village.

Operating Hours: Saturday and Sunday, 12:00pm-4:00pm, May-October

Website: http://friendsofbeavercreekstatepark.org/

Phone: 740-632-1450

In and around Hocking County, Ohio

Conkle’s Hollow State Nature Preserve

Conkle’s Hollow is a State Nature Preserve, meaning that the area tries to balance user access with the least amount of physical impact on the environment and natural ecosystem. Conkle’s Hollow is famous for its sheer Black Hand sandstone cliffs and a deep gorge that runs through the Hollow’s floor. Beautiful scenic views abound, the Lower Gorge Trail has been redesigned to accommodate visitors of all abilities, and there are 3.5 miles of trails to explore.

Operating Hours: Daily, 30 minutes before sunrise-30 minutes after sunset

Notes: Drinking water is not available on-site; see website for a complete list of rules and regulations

Website: ohttp://naturepreserves.ohiodnr.gov/conkleshollow

Phone: 614-265-6561

Hocking Hills State Park

Hocking Hills State Park is a part of the Ohio State Parks and Watercraft system. Explore the hollows and caves that have seen human contact for more than 7,000 years, carved into the sandstone and shale rocks that illustrate the geological history of Ohio. Naturalists and docent volunteers are on-hand to answer any questions.

Operating Hours: Daily, 30 minutes before sunrise-30 minutes after sunset

Notes: Check the website for updated events, closures, and conditions

Website: ohiodnr.gov

Phone: 740-385-6842

In and around Jackson Center, Ohio

Airstream Factory Tour

If you have kids who love anything with wheels, check out this American classic! Watch the Airstream assembly process from parts to hand rivets. Airstream Factory Tours are available Monday-Friday at 2pm and last approximately 1.5-2 hours over a one-mile walk. Please show up approximately 15 minutes early for the tour and wear close-toed shoes; hearing and eye protection will be provided.

Operating Hours: 8am-4pm, Monday-Friday

Notes: Tours offered at 2pm only; Friday tours may not include the plant in full production; call in advance to verify tour schedule or to make a reservation for groups of 10 or more

Website: https://www.airstream.com/company/tours/

Phone: 877-596-6111

In and around Sugarcreek, Ohio

Alpine Hills Historical Museum

The Alpine Hills Historical Museum in Sugarcreek, Ohio is a complete introduction to Amish Country. The free tour begins with a short video exploring Amish culture and introducing visitors to the Swiss immigrants’ impact on local history. Historical artifacts and exhibits await visitors to the museum and no trip would be complete without a try at playing their Alphorn! Across the street, you will find the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock and The Brick Wall Sculpture, a collection of 13 sculptured brick panels chronicling the local history of the area.

Operating Hours: Open April 1st – October 31st; Monday-Thursday 9:00am-4:00pm; Friday and Saturday 9:00am-5:00pm, Closed Sundays

Notes: Although there is no admission fee, donations are always accepted and greatly appreciated to help defray the costs associated with museum upkeep

Website: http://alpinehills.webstarts.com

Phone: 888-609-7592

In and around Toledo, Ohio

Bowling Green State University Fine Arts Galleries

Celebrate the arts with exhibitions of student and faculty work, in addition to nationally recognized artists, by visiting the Fine Arts Galleries located on the campus of Bowling Green State University. The Dorothy Uber Bryan Gallery boasts over 4,600 square feet of large-scale contemporary artwork pieces; within the Hiroko Nakamoto Gallery is an authentic Japanese tea ceremony room; the Little Gallery welcomes guest artists and student work, and the Willard Wankelman Gallery provides space for BFA student exhibitions. Exhibitions in the galleries are on a rotating basis of 12-14 per year, so check the website for the most up-to-date exhibit information.

Operating Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 11:00am-4:00pm; Thursday, 6:00pm-9:00pm; Sunday, 1:00pm-4:00pm

Notes: Hours may change during summer exhibitions. Check the website for the most up-to-date hours.

Website: https://www.bgsu.edu/arts-and-sciences/school-of-art/galleries.html

Phone: 419-372-2786

Marblehead Lighthouse State Park

Attention mariners! Marblehead Lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse in continuous operation on the Great Lakes, providing a beacon of light on the Marblehead Peninsula since 1822. Visit the Lighthouse Museum and learn about the history of the lighthouse and its keepers, including two women, and the evolution of the light source from whale oil to LED bulbs.

Operating Hours: Park grounds are open year-round; Museum Buildings open daily, 12:00pm-4:00pm from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day

Notes: There is a cost to climb the lighthouse ($3 per person 6 and older, cash only); lighthouse tours may be canceled due to weather

Website: http://parks.ohiodnr.gov/marbleheadlighthouse

Phone: 419-734-4424

Maumee Bay State Park

Maumee Bay State Park is a tribute to Lake Erie, one of the largest bodies of freshwater in the world. Recreational activities including boating, fishing, nature walks, and wildlife viewing abound. The wetlands of Maumee Bay are teeming with wildlife and over 300 species of birds have been recorded there, including a number of nesting pairs of bald eagles. The Trautman Nature Center has interactive displays and is staffed by naturalists who can answer questions and provide history about the park. The Park also hosts a variety of community events – check the website for an updated calendar.

Operating Hours: Daily, 6:00am-11:00pm

Notes: Some fees may be associated with certain activities – check the website for pass and fee requirements

Website: http://parks.ohiodnr.gov/maumeebay

Phone: 419-836-7758

Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge

A visit to the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge exposes visitors to the flora and fauna native to northwest Ohio and the shore of Lake Eris. The roughly 6,500 acres of wetland, grassland, and wooded habitat includes portions of the Great Black Swamp and the ecosystem that lives there. The Visitor’s Center tells the history of the refuge and the surrounding lands. 10 miles of hiking trails meander through a variety of habitats. The refuge offers a variety of programs and events that are free to the public – check the website for more information and to plan your visit.  

Operating Hours: Trails are open daily from dawn to dusk; Visitor’s Center is open daily from 9:00am-4:00pm

Notes: Portions of the refuge may be closed due to weather or natural conditions – check the website before you visit; the refuge wildlife drive is not open every day – check the calendar of events on the website to see if the drive is scheduled to be open the day you plan to visit

Website: https://www.fws.gov/refuge/ottawa/   

Phone: 419-898-0014

Toledo Museum of Art

The Toledo Museum of Art prides itself on its art education for the public. In its 100+ year history, TMA has worked to educate people on how to integrate art into their lives. In addition to their Galleries, TMA offers programming and events to the community. From ancient Egyptian art and artifacts to public glass blowing demonstrations, the Toledo Museum of Art will engage at lovers of all ages.

Operating Hours: Tuesday-Wednesday, 10:00am-4:00pm; Thursday-Friday, 10:00am-9:00pm; Saturday, 10:00am-5:00pm; Sunday, 12:00pm-5:00pm

Notes: General admission to the Museum is free, but some exhibits or events may require purchased tickets

Website: toledomuseum.org

Phone: 419-255-8000

student working in classroomThere are many paths students may take as they leave high school. One option is to take the ACT WorkKeys tests and earn a National Career Readiness Certificate. The WorkKeys CRC can be a stepping stone towards enriching careers for new graduates. The certificate is earned by successful completion of the three ACT WorkKeys assessments: Applied Math, Graphic Literacy, and Workplace Documents.

Students can also choose to take the Applied Technology, Business Writing, Workplace Observation, Fit, and Talent exams offered under the ACT WorkKeys umbrella. These tests allow students to demonstrate real-life skills and prove their ability to enter the workforce. While the WorkKeys is a gauge for practical skills, it’s important that students take preparation seriously.  

Prepare Properly

If your high schooler is planning to take any of the ACT WorkKeys exams, make sure they are prepared. The worst mistake many students make is being unsure of a test’s mechanics and underestimating the complexity of the subject.  

Practice Tests

One of the best ways to understand the ACT WorkKeys exams is to take practice tests. These practice tests not only help your teen understand the way the test is structured, but they also help increase students’ confidence. Students who undertake practice tests are much better prepared for the real tests.

Utilize Online Study Materials

The other mistake many teens make is to assume they are ready for these skill tests without proper test prep. While many of the skills being tested are considered common knowledge, some are more complex. Additionally, being well-prepared is the best way to ensure success.

Many parents find that online test prep websites which use the WorkKeys curriculum are valuable assets. Students are led through a set of problems and activities specialized for the ACT WorkKeys tests. Instead of aimless studying, teens are led through a step-by-step guide towards success on their chosen exams.

Entering the Workforce with ACT WorkKeys

Your student’s WorkKeys assessments can help direct them towards specific careers. The job profiles can help students understand their scores and their potential career aptitude. This important function of the exams is essential to helping students plan for their futures.

Once your teens are ready to start applying for jobs, the ACT WorkKeys can bolster their resumes. High test performance allows teens to show off their skills and abilities to potential employers. Since new graduates may not have past employment to show, the WorkKeys assessments can be vital to demonstrate their potential.

Regardless of whether your teen is planning on taking the SAT, enrolling in a university, or entering the workforce after high school, the ACT WorkKeys can prove a valuable investment. Teenagers are given a solid foundation by which to understand the business world. Subsequently, these building blocks can be used to differentiate your graduate from other job applicants.

In a world where new graduates must compete for a finite number of jobs, breaking apart from the pack is essential. Your teen can use the ACT WorkKeys assessments to diversify their skills and prove themselves more capable of transitioning to life after high school.

Texas schools assess student achievement starting in third grade with the STAAR program. The program wasDrawing at lesson implemented in 2012 to help assess student understanding. Early achievement can be a good indicator of later success. For that reason, helping your student improve their STAAR scores can put them on the road to college enrollment.

The test assesses reading and mathematics for students in grades three through eight. For students grades four and seven, the 
STAAR tests writing. Science is implemented for students in grades five and eight. Eighth-graders take a social studies exam. There are also end-of-course tests for English I, English II, Algebra I, Biology, and U.S. history.

Improve STAAR Scores

There are a lot of ways you can help your student master the STAAR assessments, get more out of school, and prepare for higher education. Making your child’s education a priority can be the difference between not being accepted into college versus the Ivy League.

Teach Good Study Habits

Many students are unaware of how to properly study and concentrate. Starting at a young age can help your child understand the importance of self-discipline and priorities. Many young students find study calendars with rewards helpful. As they grow and become accustomed to self-scheduling and prioritization, study becomes easier.

  • Make studying a daily routine.
  • Create a cohesive study zone.
  • Learn how to make notes.
  • Employ sensory learning techniques.

Take Advantage of Online Learning Centers

Enrolling your students in online test prep courses can be an important way to develop their skills and improve STAAR scores. The valuable insight provided by courses developed with standards in mind can be the difference between success and failure for some children. Finding the right course will enable your student to prosper and learn unimpeded.

Engage in Outside Learning

Giving your child fun experiences which allow for experiential learning can help them explore the world around them. That exploration can help your student be more curious and attentive in future courses. Consider the benefits of summer courses, nature groups, Minecraft classes and other creative experiences.

While children need structure, they also thrive on change. The expansion which new experiences give your child’s mind is hard to measure. However, it is known that children learn better when they have fun, touch, feel, see and hear the world around them.

Taking these few simple steps can help your children succeed on the STAAR exams and future courses. Remember that solid foundations help build constant behaviors. Give your children an example of good study habits to follow so they may study and succeed in school. Make learning fun to encourage exploration. Lastly, take advantage of online courses to help develop your child’s skills and understanding.

Dear Valued Teachers,

We know that you are looking forward to your well-earned time away from the classroom this summer.  As a company founded and run by former teachers, we cannot emphasize this enough: Enjoy yourselves! If your circumstances are changing and you won’t be returning to the classroom next school year, please read on.

USATestprep is seeking a teacher who is no longer in the classroom to help us with our training program in the 2018-19 school year.  Here are the requirements:

  • Flexible schedule in the 2018-19 school year to travel nationally and conduct training sessions with groups of teachers
  • Extensive experience using USATestprep website in the classroom
  • Enthusiasm for teaching fellow teachers

This is not full or part-time employment, but a contractual position.  The selected applicants will be paid for all training sessions conducted and be fully reimbursed for all travel expenses.  Typical travel takes 1-3 days, and you can be based anywhere in the US.

If you are interested in this opportunity, please email Amy Brown at amy@usatestprep.com with a copy of your resume or CV. If you know someone who may be interested, please have them do the same.

students group in computer lab classroomCompetition to enter the job market or be admitted to colleges is increasing every year. More international students are gaining entry into top US universities. At the same time, top sectors of job growth in the STEM arena are constantly expanding and searching for qualified candidates. However, American students are losing out on those jobs at startling rates.

To help students compete and reach the necessary benchmarks, states have been reforming and renewing graduation protocols for the past few years. In Florida, students are required to take the Postsecondary Education Readiness Test or PERT. The test is designed to determine readiness for Intermediate Algebra and Freshman Composition I. This system was launched in 2010 with the intention of helping better prepare Florida students for the world beyond high school.

Overcoming the Curve

While all students must complete the PERT to graduate, graduating is not a magical key to success in today’s world. Students need to go above and beyond basic qualification with AP courses and college entrance exams. Many teachers follow the PERT student study guide leading up to the test. Putting in a little extra work, however, can pay off for test takers.

Study Skills

An oft-overlooked reason for scholastic underachieving is being ill-prepared. Many children are never taught how to study properly. They procrastinate, try to cram useless information, and fail to plan ahead. Focus on teaching your children how to organize their work schedules and use alternative study methods from a young age.  

As published in National Geographic, memory is more easily accessed by using visual and tactile experience. Listening attentively in class is often not enough to retain information.

This reinforces the importance of multisensory learning and shows that the tactile can be very important,” says John Black, Cleveland E. Dodge Professor in the Department of Human Development at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Outside Programs

Getting your children involved in educational after-school programs or groups is another great way to help them get a leg up on the competition. There are many STEM camps and programs available for bright children in Florida. Getting young children involved in STEM is a great predictor of future success, according to the National Assessment of Education Progress. Thanks to these findings, many states have recently enacted STEM learning requirements for early childhood education.

Parents should take note and use this valuable information to give young students the headstart they need in STEM. Don’t leave it up to the school to introduce STEM topics or your child will continue to lag behind.

Test Prep Programs

Once you’ve given your child a solid foundation for academic achievement, you can enroll them in an online program which will develop their skills. Some programs can tailor material to align with state standards and prepare students for their assessments. This step enables students to work independently of their peers and often results in higher exam scores.

Practice Exams

Another prime opportunity exists in PERT practice tests. Students who undergo practice exams for the PERT or other college entrance exams generally score higher on the final test. This is because they gain confidence in the test format and content through practice. Encourage your child to take the practice exam before they take the real test. This strategy can help them relax on exam day and reach their full potential.

Graduation Situation

In Florida, there are several factors which can determine your student’s college readiness and future success. The state administers the PERT, to assess student preparedness to enter universities after graduation. The SAT and ACT are also available for college-bound teens. However, the picture we get when we look at the performance of Florida students is that they are improving year to year.

Group of university students working in libraryWith all the requirements needed to get into a good college and on the right track, sometimes it’s hard to focus on any one thing. Students need extracurriculars, sports, clubs, languages, volunteer work and more just to be competitive when they apply for college. And let’s not forget high grade-point averages, SAT and ACT scores, and AP courses. With everything your student needs to keep track of, it’s easy to forget one tiny detail.

The state of Ohio requires students to complete a number of tests to graduate. There are different rules, depending on performance and the tests chosen. However, entering the world without a high school diploma would be detrimental to your student’s future. As a parent, you should understand the graduation rules and requirements.  

Graduation Pathways

Ohio graduation requirements say students need to earn a minimum of 20 credits. Further, they are required to complete a minimum of two semesters of fine arts, and courses in financial literacy and economics. On top of coursework, students must choose one of the following pathways to earn their diploma.

Ohio’s Graduation Tests (OGT)

Students can take the seven-part end-of-course state tests, known as the OGT. They must earn 18 out of 35 possible points. Each test is worth up to five points, depending on performance. Students need a minimum of four points in math, four points in English language arts, and six points between science and social studies.

Workforce Readiness Certification

Students can choose to earn an industry-recognized credential or a group of credentials which equal 12 points and earn the required score on the WorkKeys test. Ohio pays for students to take the test one time. In some districts, the Senior Only program allows kids to earn credentials in one school year.


Each district dictates whether students may take the
SAT or the ACT. The chosen test allows students to earn remediation-free scores, determined by Ohio’s university presidents, in math and English language arts. The one-time statewide spring test is administered in grade 11 free of charge.


  • ACT

  • SAT


  • SAT


  • MARCH 1, 2016

English Language Arts English subscore of 18 (or higher) Writing 430

(or higher)

Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) 480 (or higher)
Entered high school prior to July 1, 2014, reading subscore of 21 (or higher) Reading 450

(or higher)

Entered high school after July 1, 2014, reading subscore of 22 (or higher)
Mathematics Mathematics subscore of 22

(or higher)

Mathematics 520

(or higher)

Mathematics 530

(or higher)

Ohio students score higher than the national average, according to the 2017 ACT College and Career Readiness Report. Data from the Nation’s Report Card agrees, showing Ohio in line with median performance across the country. This means graduating students have a better than average chance at obtaining gainful employment or continuing on to higher education. However, that doesn’t mean your student can sit back and relax.

Planning Ahead

Since each graduation pathway requires different courses and tests, students should choose wisely. Helping your student make this decision, based on his or her graduation plans, is the best option. If your student plans to apply to four-year colleges, the SAT or ACT will be unavoidable. For those wanting to jump into the job market, a workforce certification may be the answer. Likewise, for those students who plan to attend community college, practicing for the OGT would be best.  

Regardless of the path chosen, your student should begin preparation early to ensure timely graduation. Failure to complete the requirements could result in missed chances for your high school senior.

Test Preparation

For those students completing the OGT, practice tests can be invaluable. Since your child will have to undergo seven different tests, scheduling practice sessions and organizing time is important for success. There are also test prep tools available online which can focus your student’s study efforts towards the test of their choice.

Even the College Board has recently begun touting the value of online test prep websites. In 2016, they released a statement which included the following quote:

In addition to the 115-point average score increase associated with 20 hours of practice, shorter practice periods also correlate with meaningful score gains. For example, 6 to 8 hours of practice on Official SAT Practice is associated with an average 90-point increase.”

From this statement, we can see that even the makers of the SAT agree that test prep can make a meaningful difference in your student’s score. This same principle can be applied to students taking the OGT, workforce readiness courses and the ACT. Using personalized tutoring apps and services in short sessions, rather than cramming before a test, can increase understanding and performance.  

There is a lot to consider regarding graduation when you take everything into account for your Ohio student. However, each child is an individual, and the graduation pathways allow for customized choices, based on your student’s goals and interests. The best thing is to make the most of the choice your student makes by helping them focus, prepare, and have confidence for test days.

Teachers have real challenges ahead of them each year when it comes to helping students succeed in school. Earning a diploma and moving on to higher education are increasingly important each year. Without these markers for aptitude, graduates are hard pressed to find gainful employment.
Students who graduate ill-prepared for college are unlikely to pursue higher education and later find satisfactory employment. For that reason, the Arkansas Department of Education has recently implemented teacher training and changed the yearly benchmarks to improve student performance. The ADE has adopted a new annual standardized testing model tailored to specific programs within schools and designed to achieve higher competency scores across disciplines.

Adopting ACT Aspire

For students in Arkansas, academic understanding is now measured in benchmarks by administration of the ACT Aspire test. The ACT Aspire was approved in 2015 for students grades 3 through 10. The test measures comprehension in English, reading, math, science, and writing. Additionally, ninth and tenth graders receive a predicted score for the ACT.

Since the new regimen was adopted in 2015, we can expect teachers and students alike to undergo a learning curve. Arkansas’ teachers are invited to summer workshops on preparing students for the ACT Aspire tests. Hopefully, the coming years will show an upswing in student mastery of the areas addressed.  

Steps to Help Your Students Succeed

If you’re reading all this as a parent, you may wonder how all these scores and tests can help your child. The answer is this: Knowledge is power. Knowing how the school system is preparing your child and what obstacles may impede them is paramount for overcoming possible hurdles.  

You can help your student surpass state standards by using practice exams and taking advantage of test preparation tools online. Many tools can help your student learn the concepts needed for every stage of the ACT Aspire test and, later, the ACT.  

Teach Good Study Habits

Many students suffer from poor study habits. Things like procrastination can hurt a student’s chances in school and in life. Help your student organize their homework schedule beginning at a young age. Use calendars and planners to ensure that study time is divided equitably between subjects.

Invest in Online Supplements

Find an online program which uses your the Arkansas standards to inform its program. These types of platforms use games, quizzes and video lessons to help your classes grasp core concepts. You can use an online study site to bridge gaps during breaks or to help your students stay ahead of the curve at school.

Play to Your Students’ Strengths

Every kid has individual interests and talents, and it’s important to encourage their evolution. Children learn more and retain better when they’re having fun. For that reason, make learning fun at school and at home. The future of the nation depends on our children. Recent changes to the state assessments are a good sign for the future of Arkansas. To improve your students’ college readiness, use all the tools at your disposal and make education a priority!  

stressed studentStudents in Tennessee prepare every year to take the TNReady test and prove they have learned enough to enter the world or proceed to college. The tests are an important benchmark for student progress. They are intended to measure understanding instead of memorization.
Students in third through eighth grade take TNReady assessments in English language arts, math, science, and social studies at the end of each school year. Teachers cover necessary materials to help their classes prepare for the assessments. This year, technical difficulties impeded the test’s efficacy, and lawmakers agreed to wipe the slate clean for students. That means negative results won’t be counted against test-takers for the 2018 cycle. Next year, however, the test will be back in full force. Parents and teachers alike can help students prepare for the 2019 TNReady in many ways.  

Focus on Healthy Habits

Children need help learning how to study and learn effectively. They should be encouraged to follow a balanced schedule for homework and extra study. Using calendars and rewards for younger children can help them learn to pace themselves and manage their own time. Students are often guilty of procrastination which can make keeping up with study work difficult. Teaching your kids to be proactive in their own education will make them better able to succeed in school.

Make Learning Fun

Studies show that children better remember concepts they learn in a multitude of ways. Tactile learning is more valuable because of its impact. An article from National Geographic reminds us to help our children interact with their environment for better results. Interactive courses can have a real influence on students:

“Our auditory memory isn’t as robust as we might like to think it is,” says Amy Poremba. “We think that we are great at integrating all the senses,” but the experiment shows that tactile and visual memory easily trumped auditory memory.

Consider enrolling your child in a Minecraft program, science workshop, or STEM summer camps.  

Enlist Test Prep Help

Another way you can help your child succeed in school, on the TNReady test, and future placement exams is to enroll them in an online test prep course. The structured setting of most test prep sites allows students to work within the standards through a variety of exercises. Students can enjoy games, video lessons, and practice quizzes, all directed at helping them understand test materials.  

Your third to the eighth-grade student can benefit in many ways from small adjustments to their routine. Taking time to help them learn how to study properly is the first step towards school success. Enrolling your student in interesting extracurriculars or summer programs can give them a leg up in school. Lastly, using test prep websites is a great way to improve your child’s confidence in his or her abilities. Since confidence is key for test takers, never underestimate this last perk.

WritingAre we here already? Is it testing season again? Well of course it is, and just like death, taxes, and another movie based on a comic book, we’ve got to deal with it. Students- and parents- will stress and fret, and there is nothing we can do to prevent that. There are, however, some nuggets of wisdom we can try to impart to help them deal with this time of year. What follows is some advice I’ve given to my own students over the years.
Sleep… Wonderful, Wonderful Sleep. We all know that young people need more sleep. While teachers may not be able to do much to get students to go to sleep at home, it’s something worth telling them- and parents- over and over.

– DO.NOT.CRAM. Make sure to tell students this well ahead of time, not just the days before SOL testing. Rather than rush to shove one’s mind full of information, emphasize to students the need to review often in the days and weeks before the test.

– Fuel Up! Students need to eat a good breakfast and drink plenty of water before their SOL tests. Have them avoid sugary, high carb foods, and instead focus on choices packed with protein.

– Water, Water Everywhere. Massive infusions of caffeine is a great way to wipe out focus. Urge them NOT to binge on coffee and energy drinks. Instead, H20 is the way to go. Hydrate in the days leading up to testing, not just the day of or the day before.

– Move It! Students need to get rid of stress during this time of the year. Encourage them to go for a run, shoot some baskets, or anything that will help them to blow off some steam before and after studying and SOL testing.

– Prepare For the Ice Age. Testing rooms are notoriously arctic-like in the morning. Encourage students to dress in layers so they can peel off a light jacket or sweater as the day heats up. They should be focused on their test, not on worrying about hypothermia or frostbite.

– Good Old #2. If they’re using pencils, be sure they bring plenty of them- all sharpened- to the testing facility. Time wasted looking for or sharpening pencils is not time that can be won back.

As spring approaches, teachers, students, and parents in the great state of Indiana have much for which to prepare. The iLearn measures student achievement from 3rd through 8th and 10th grade. The two-part testing system checks student understanding of English, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies.

The combined results of these exams are used to measure the efficacy of the Indiana school system as a whole. Additionally, the class of 2019 will be required to pass the English and Mathematics portion for graduation. For those reasons, test preparation is paramount.

Depending on your teaching style, you may use iLearn practice guides throughout the year, or only in the months leading up to exams. Either way, a program like that provided by USATestPrep can be invaluable to teachers and pupils alike.

Our standards-based program allows you to integrate iLearn study into daily assignments, technology-enhanced practice, educational games, and more. The dynamic classroom assistant can even track progress and help students engage in performance-guided remediation. Further, USATestPrep provides an overview of the state standards for each grade level and subject.

To help you get the most out of iLearn practice, we’ve compiled some study tips and strategies which will boost student performance.

1. Use Dynamic Lessons for Content Comprehension

Since students learn in a variety of ways, teaching them with more than one tactic is the best route to encourage understanding. Incorporating games, bell ringers, videos, performance tasks, puzzles, and more can liven up test preparation and improve student retention. Group activities and periodic quizzes can also help pupils remember content under pressure.

USATestprep ensures that all supplementary learning items are standards-based for optimal student comprehension. The program also includes understanding checks for the provided material, as seen below.  

Memory retention is more natural when we care about what we’re learning. That’s why students get better grades in the classes which they enjoy. The obvious approach is to engage your class in innovative learning modules to spark their curiosity, imagination and, ultimately, their memories.

2. Familiarize Students with Test Mechanics

The iLearn consists of two parts, given between February and May. Each section includes English Language Arts (ELA) and Math. The ELA part is 3 hours and 45 minutes, while Math is given 2 hours. The result is a very long test for children to focus on and attempt to complete. Especially for younger or more restless pupils, practice is critical.

Working with your students on practice exams and modules specifically designed for the iLearn is paramount in helping children endure such an extended set of tests. Since the test can be administered online or on paper, students should be familiarized with both options. If your class has sufficiently learned the material, testing should be easy.

However, students can be intimidated by the iLearn. Allowing your pupils to track their progress with the class scoreboard function can encourage confidence in their abilities. Sometimes the difference between passing and failing is only believing you could pass.

3. Demystify Technology-enhanced Items

The iLearn makes use of technology-enhanced modules to assess student computer skills within the test setting. It would be a mistake to let your pupils encounter these types of questions on the exam only. Instead, assigning online coursework through USATestprep will familiarize your students with technology-enhanced items.

Content such as drag-and-drop questions, graphs, visual representations and more are tailored to the iLearn standards and at your fingertips for classroom activities, homework and more. Assigning technology-enhanced modules on a regular basis will lead to higher student confidence when faced with the real test.

4. Improve Student Focus

Lengthy tests are challenging for students who have trouble focusing. Even if your class understands the concepts discussed empirically, they may not perform well on exams. To combat this problem try focus exercises or self-regulation techniques.

In Canada, students are regularly trusted with greater control of their education. Teachers observe children and try to suggest ways to overcome stress, hyperactivity, and lethargy. Students are then expected to engage themselves when necessary to return focus to their lessons. The model of self-regulating can look different for each pupil. It may mean a student jogging to release unnecessary energy or approaching teachings in an unconventional way.

In the US, flipped classrooms rely on students to manage their time at home and participate in engaging classroom modules as a group. The approach can only succeed if students are sufficiently invested in their education.  

Favorite ways to improve focus in a group include breaking up long activities into short tasks, getting kids moving, utilizing attention breaks and playing memory games. With USATestprep, you can use flash cards, short videos, games, and puzzles to improve pupil concentration.

Making learning fun and hands-on is a popular and effective method to help students take charge of their futures. Oftentimes, kids are expected to sit and listen to teachers riddle off facts, but their brains don’t work that way. Switching up your routines can eliminate fidgeting and complaints in class.  

5. Bolster Student Confidence

Since students who feel comfortable and able will score better on exams, you need to pave the way for students to know they are capable. The scoreboard can help show students their improvement in a visual way. Meanwhile, audible praise can be a motivator for many pupils. Additionally, many children feel more confident when given greater responsibility.  

An idea you may like is to create peer tutoring across grade levels. This approach allows each class to feel capable and take ownership of their understanding of the material. The National Education Association encourages peer tutoring to improve student performance.

As a teacher, you have vested interest in your student’s iLearn performance. Now you can have a partner in improving student test scores. Employing the help of a standards-based study and classroom model can lead you to a whole new way of encountering iLearn preparation.