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Week of June 15th | Issue 9

Dear PREP Families,

Happy Monday! We hope you are all having a happy, productive summer so far. This week, we'd like to invite you to think about ways you like to spend your free time. Summer is the perfect time to experiment with different hobbies and find something that you really enjoy doing. Hobbies can help us relax and take our mind off things when life gets a bit stressful. They can also help us connect to peers who have similar interests, learn new skills, or even save the world! 

Does saving the world sound like a hobby you could enjoy? You're in luck - this week we're featuring resources from Keep Austin Beautiful! They have a ton of great activities you can do at home that will help you learn more about our beautiful Earth and how to take care of it. Check them out below! 

                                       - The PREP Team
Virtual STEM Academy Updates
We kicked off our first week of the Virtual STEM Academy with Geometry, Algebra, Pre-Algebra, and College of Career Awareness A today! Seats in all of our modules are filling up pretty quickly, but a couple of courses have space and instructors who are waiting for you to join!

Did you like working on Arduino with Mr. Ybarra and Mr. Umana last summer? They would love to see you in their Advanced Electrical Engineering module, co-taught with our PREP 2 Arduino Instructor, Ms. Martinez! Learn more about other open modules and how to register on our website. 

Hello from Ms. Garcia, Engineering Instructor!

Digital Toolkits combine technology and outdoor learning. They're perfect for helping you find hands-on activities close to home and around your neighborhood. We love the Clean Creek Campus Toolkit, which features lessons about biodiversity, pollinators, and more! This toolkit also features some really cool app recommendations, like iNaturalist (one of our favorite apps of all time).  

The Generation Zero Waste Toolkit also has a bunch of really cool activities and resources! The purpose of this toolkit is to help you find ways to divert waste from the landfill. You'll see some resources that might be familiar to you, like the Texas Farmer's Market, while others will be brand new! The Litterati app, for example, lets you identify and map the litter around you.  If you do nothing else in this page, PLEASE watch the Landfill/Compost Tour from Texas Disposal Systems - you won't be disappointed. 

Keep Austin Beautiful's App List is a wonder to behold. Scroll down to the bottom of this page to find apps like Night Sky App, which allows you to identify stars, planets, and constellations; Texas Invasives, which allows you to submit invasive species observations into a statewide database; and the Audubon Bird Guide, which can help you identify more than 800 species of birds. 
As students progress through their school work, many find that they are drawn to particular topics or challenges. The best way to determine which topics and or challenges you enjoy working on is to experience them first hand! In school, there are opportunities to experience and gain new skillsets through organizations, hobbies, and after-school activities. These, along with your classes, can help you determine what you might one day want to turn into a career. 

For example, if you enjoy the challenges posed in your physics class, explore a career as an Optics Engineer. If you have taken, or are looking forward to, a computer science elective course, look into a career as a Semi-Conductor Technician. There are research and career fields for almost any hobby, classroom topic, after-school club, or extracurricular activity you are a part of. The most important thing you can do is to try as many new ones out as you can! 
There are many, many time constraints you may have as a student. Although keeping up with classwork is very important, it is also vital that you allow yourself time to explore and practice things that you enjoy. A great way to do this is to find a hobby that you enjoy. A hobby can be playing an instrument, crafting/building something, playing a sport, or anything that you enjoy. It can even help your career in the future! Don't believe us? Ask Science. 

To allow you time to reflect on this topic, we'd like you to complete this week's journal prompt: 

What are the three things I spend most of my time on every day? What am I learning or gaining from these experiences?
We hope you enjoyed last week's challenge! You can see solutions in the "Video Responses" section of last week's website

We've featured the introductory video for the ninth math challenge below.  After watching the video, you can read more about the challenge and how to complete it on the Collaborative Mathematics site. Remember to submit your solutions by emailing them to us with the subject line "Awe of Large Numbers" for a chance to be featured in next week's newsletter! 
Math Challenge #9: Awe of Large Numbers
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