1. Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19th)

    Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19th)

    Every year on September 19th, people around the world celebrate “International Talk Like A Pirate Day”. This Remarkable Idea includes activities students can participate in and have fun celebrating this wacky day with a wide range of activities that will engage all learners.

    This activity addresses:

    • Team-work
    • Social skills
    • Sensory engagement
    • Cause and effect
    • Following multi-step directions
    • Alternative methods of access

    What you need:

    Pirate Ships

    • Small milk cartons
    • Straws
    • Hole punch
    • Tape/Glue
    • Construction paper
    • Battery Operated Scissors

    Ship Race

    • Aluminum tray/gutter with end caps/Rubbermaid tub (for racing area)
    • Water
    • Blue food coloring (optional)
    • Fan
    • Jelly Bean
    • PowerLink 4

    Treasure Hunt

    Pirate Parrrty
    Pirate themed snacks could include: Chips Ahoy, Goldfish crackers, Sand buckets (vanilla pudding topped with crushed butter cookies or golden Oreos), gold chocolate coins, seawater (blue or green juice), etc.


    1. Record clues for the treasure hunt onto the TalkingBrix 2. Place one at the X location on the treasure map which gives students a clue to the next location, place the next TalkingBrix 2 with the next clue at that location (repeat as appropriate).

    What to do:

    Pirate Ships
    1. Have students use the Battery Operated Scissors to cut squares of construction paper for the sails of their pirate ship.
    2. Assist students in cutting one side of the milk carton off.
    3. Glue or tape the straw into the inside of the milk carton, punch two holes into the construction paper sail and slide the paper onto the straw.

    Ship Race
    1. Fill your container with water (optional: add blue food coloring to the water)
    2. Place students pirate ships into the water and give each student a straw to blow their ship across the water or use a fan connected to the PowerLink 4 and a Jelly Bean switch to blow the ship across the water. (Caution: Do not place the fan too close to the water)
    3. Allow all students the opportunity to race each other.

    Treasure Hunt
    1. Show students the treasure map.
    2. Students follow the map to find the location marked by the X on the map.
    3. When students arrive at the X they press the TalkingBrix 2 and hear the clue to the next location (ex. There be no treasure here! That scalawag Mrs. Johnson the Red must have taken it!) Students solve the clue and proceed to the next location.
    4. Students eventually find their way to the location of the treasure.

    Treasure ideas:
    Set up the Pirate Parrrty with food and drinks in your classroom while the students are on the treasure hunt. The final treasure location can be back in your classroom.

    • Prizes or costumes for the students
    • Pirate themed movie
    • Gold chocolate coins

    Additional materials, lesson plans, and even Pirate talk apps can be found at the International Talk Like a Pirate Day website here:


    team work | talkingbrix 2 | social skills | sensory | powerlink 4 | jelly bean switch | following directions | cause and effect | alternative methods of access |

  2. Sensing Patterns

    Sensing Patterns

    In this Remarkable Idea, students will explore patterns using senses other than sight.

    This activity addresses:

    • Patterning skills
    • Five senses
    • Critical thinking
    • Alternative methods of access

    What you need:

    • TalkingBrix 2
    • Step-by-Step
    • Cards/pictures to identify each TalkingBrix 2 (labeled AB pattern, ABB pattern, ABC pattern)
    • Cardstock
    • Glue
    • Sandpaper
    • Foam pool noodles
    • Utility knife
    • Various candies/food – (jellybeans, M&Ms, Reeses Pieces, Skittles, Fruit cut into small pieces, etc)
    • Small containers/paper cups
    • Acrylic Jars .20oz
    • Various extracts (vanilla, cinnamon, coconut, lemon, etc.)
    • Various herbs/spices
    • Cotton balls
    • Instruments
    • Animal sounds
    • Letter sounds
    • Something to tap a pattern with (pen, ruler, drum stick, etc.)


    1. Create your TalkingBrix 2 identification cards.

    1. Cut a piece of cardstock in half so you have two pieces that are 8.5” x 5.5”.
    2. Cut 3 small squares out of the sandpaper.
    3. Glue sandpaper onto the cardstock, leave spaces for the other unit (sandpaper, blank space, sandpaper, blank space, etc.). A small line of glue can be placed and allowed to dry between each unit to denote each unit.
    4. Create more cards using different textures (aluminum foil, felt, dried glue, different types of paper, etc.)
    5. Label cards AB pattern, ABB pattern, ABC pattern
    6. Cut the pool noodles in half lengthwise (you should have two semi-cylinders)

    1. Cut up small pieces of fruit or other foods you wish to use.
    2. Place into small cups/containers

    1. Place a cotton ball into each jar and add a few drops of the extract of your choice. (Add more drops to increase the strength of each fragrance).
    2. You may wish to mark the bottom of the jars for easy identification later.

    1. Record a pattern to the Step-by-Step using animal sounds, letter sounds, or a simple sound (example: the sound of a Morse code).

    What to do:

    1. Allow students to feel the pattern cards (you may wish to have them close their eyes!).
    - Once the student has had a chance to feel their card, challenge them to identify the type of pattern: AB, ABB, or ABC.
    - Students may use TalkingBrix 2 to assist in identifying the pattern.
    2. Place the semi-cylinder pool noodles on the floor in a pattern (Example: 1 by itself, 2 close together, 1 by itself, etc.)
    - Students each take a turn rolling over the pool noodles.
    - Once the student has had a chance to roll over the pattern, challenge them to identify the type of pattern: AB, ABB, or ABC.
    - Students may use TalkingBrix 2 to assist in identifying the pattern.

    1. Organize the cups/containers of food/candy into a simple pattern. (Example: M & M, Reeses Piece, M & M, Reeses Piece.)
    2. Have the student close their eyes then hand them the cups for their pattern one at a time.
    3. They taste each cup until the pattern is finished.
    4. Ask them to identify the type of pattern: AB, ABB, or ABC that you created with the food/candy. Students may use TalkingBrix 2 to assist in identifying the pattern.

    1. Ask the student to close their eyes (so they can’t see the pattern) and have them smell 4-6 (depending on the pattern) smelling jars. (Example: vanilla, peppermint, vanilla, peppermint.)
    2. Ask them to identify the type of pattern: AB, ABB, or ABC that you created with smelling jars. Students may use TalkingBrix 2 to assist in identifying the pattern.

    1. Have students activate the Step-by-Step and ask them to identify the pattern that they hear. Students may use TalkingBrix 2 to assist in identifying the pattern.


    AB pattern
    ABB pattern
    ABC pattern

    Additional suggestions:

    For the Hearing patterns section, if you choose particular sounds to use (animals, letter, etc.) you can ask them identify what they heard in addition to the pattern.

    Also for the hearing patterns section this could be a nice intro to learning about Morse code and the complex patterns that make up this form of communication.


    talkingbrix 2 | step-by-step | sensory | patterns | critical thinking | alternative methods of access |

  3. Mystery Boxes

    Mystery Boxes

    In this Remarkable Idea students will be challenged to feel disgusting items in the mystery boxes and determine what everyday items are inside. The reward for completing this challenge is a meal made of dirt and worms!

    This activity addresses:

  4. Critical thinking
  5. Choice making
  6. Sensory
  7. Fine motor skills
  8. Alternative methods of access
  9. What you need:

    • Jelly Bean
    • TalkingBrix 2
    • PowerLink 4
    • Mystery boxes
      Boxes or containers students cannot see inside of, such as tissue boxes, bowls with a box placed over the top, etc.
      Pictures/labels of the “disgusting” objects inside
      Pictures/labels of the actual objects inside
    • Mystery Box Contents – (These are just some examples)
      Pistachio shells – Fingernails
      Pistachio pudding with mini marshmallows – Boogers
      Grapes (peeled preferably) – Eyeballs
      Baby carrots/little sausages – Fingers
      Baby dill pickles – Witches fingers
      Jello – Brains
      Peeled tomato – Heart
      Cooked Spaghetti – Worms
    • Dirt & Worms
      1-package of instant chocolate pudding
      2-cups of milk
      1-tub (8 oz.) of Cool Whip
      15 chocolate sandwich cookies
      Gummy worms
      Locking plastic bag
      Electric Mixer


    1. Place all the food into the containers so students cannot see what is in them.
    2. Place the “disgusting” item cards on the outside of the containers.
    3. Record “I want to touch it” and “No way!” onto the TalkingBrix 2.

    What to do:

    1. Combine pudding mix and milk into a large bowl. Have a student activate the mixer using the Jelly Bean and PowerLink 4 and whisk for 2-minutes, then let stand for 5-minutes.
    2. Crush 8 chocolate sandwich cookies in a locking plastic bag.
    3. Stir Cool Whip and cookie crumbs into mixture.
    4. Using a spoon, scoop the mixture into cups and refrigerate for 1-hour.
    5. Crush remaining cookies and add to the top of the cups along with gummy worms just before serving.
    6. Allow each student the opportunity to take turns feeling what is inside each container. They will use the TalkingBrix 2 to say “I want to touch it” or “No way!”
    7. Once a student has felt what is inside, allow them guess what they are actually feeling.
    Let them choose from the “actual item” cards and match them to the containers.
    8. At the end of the activity, students can be rewarded for being adventurous enough to feel what was inside the boxes by eating dirt!


talkingbrix 2 | sensory | powerlink 4 | jelly bean switch | fine motor skills | critical thinking | choice making | alternative methods of access |

  • Arctic Exploration

    Arctic Exploration

    In this Remarkable Idea, a sensory-based activity, students will find objects hidden in “snow” that they create from common household objects.

    This activity addresses:

    • Social skills
    • Choice making
    • Cause and effect
    • Fine motor skills
    • Sensory
    • Alternative methods of access

    What you need:

    • Step-by-Step
    • TalkingBrix 2 (2) with "yes" and "no" symbols
    • PowerLink 4
    • Jelly Bean switch
    • Bowl or plastic bin
    • 1kg sodium bicarbonate
    • Approximately 2 cans of shaving cream (not gel)
    • Manipulatives for students to find in the snow (letters, numbers, colored objects, etc.) following multi-step directions


    1. On the Step-by-Step record all of the objects you plan on placing in the snow.
    2. Record “yes” and “no” on TalkingBrix 2.
    2. Create “yes” and “no” symbol overlays.

    What to do:

    1. Pour 1kg (approximately 7 cups) sodium bicarbonate into a bowl and have a student activate the mixer using the PowerLink 4 and Jelly Bean switch.
    2. Add shaving cream until a snow-like consistency is achieved (approximately 1.5-2 cans).
    3. Transfer the snow from the mixing bowl to the plastic bin and add in your manipulatives.
    4. Students take turns activating the Step-by-Step and finding the object given by the Step-by-Step.
    5. When a student finds an object, they activate the TalkingBrix 2 to answer the question: “Is that what you were looking for?” If it is not what they were looking for, they may look again or another classmate could take a turn looking. Continue until all objects are found.


    talkingbrix 2 | step-by-step | social skills | sensory | powerlink 4 | jelly bean switch | fine motor skills | choice making | cause and effect | alternative methods of access |

  • Here Comes Fall!

    Here Comes Fall!

    In this activity students will conduct an experiment called chromatography to see the different colors in a leaf, and discuss why leaves change color in the fall. In addition to this experiment, students will use fall colors to create marbled leaves.

    This activity addresses:

    • Following directions
    • Sensory experience
    • Science skills
    • Science of bubbles
    • Alternative methods of access

    What you need:

    • BIGmack or LITTLEmack
    • Jelly Bean
    • My Art Spinnerr
    • Battery Device Adapter
    • Adapted scissors
    • Leaves
    • Rubbing alcohol
    • Small glasses/jars (baby food)
    • Coffee filters/filter paper
    • Hot water
    • Pencils/sticks (one per student)
    • Shaving cream
    • Baking pan
    • Finger paint
    • Construction paper


    1. Cut out leaf shapes from the construction paper.
    2. Record the word “Autumn” on a BIGmack or LITTLEmack.
    3. Record “red”, “orange”, and “brown” on BIGmack or LITTLEmack so students can choose their colors.

    What to do for chromatography:

    1. Students can use the adapted scissors to cut a leaf into small pieces, and place them into the small glasses.
    2. Older students can use the scientific method and develop a hypothesis as to what is going to happen.
    3. Teacher adds a small amount of rubbing alcohol to the glass - enough to cover the leaves is fine. The alcohol will slowly change color from the chlorophyll in the leaves. To speed this up, place the glasses in a hot water bath.
    4. Students can use the adapted scissor to cut strips from the coffee filters.
    5. Attach the coffee filter strips to a pencil. Place pencil over glass so that strips hang down into the alcohol. After 30 – 90 minutes, bands of colors will be noticeable on the coffee filters.

    What to do for the art project:

    1. Place shaving cream on a table or in a baking pan and put fall colored finger paint (red, orange, brown) on top of the shaving cream.
    2. Allow students to swirl the paint around a little (not too much that the colors mix) and add glitter or other decorations.
    3. Place leaf cut outs or construction paper on the shaving cream.
    4. Students that cannot participate with the shaving cream and finger paint can paint their leaves using the My Art Spinner and Battery Device Adapter with a Jelly Bean.
    5. Once the paper is face down in the shaving cream lift it off, and scrape any excess shaving cream from the paper. Allow them to dry.
    6. Students can then play in the leftover shaving cream to draw pictures or practice writing.

    Scripts for activity:

    1. “Very soon the season will be changing from summer to fall. Another name for fall is autumn. Does anyone know what happens to the leaves on the trees in fall?”
    2. “Do you know why the leaves change in the fall? Plants have pigments in them that determine their color. Leaves have the pigment chlorophyll in them that make them green as well as another other pigments called carotenoids. Chlorophyll makes the leaves green while carotenoids can make the leaves yellow, red, or orange.”
    3. “When the weather is warm the tree produces a lot of chlorophyll which is why the leaves are green. As the season changes from summer to fall the weather cools down and the tree produces less chlorophyll, this is when we get to see the colors from the carotenoids.”
    4. “Today we are going to perform an experiment that will hopefully show us some other colors in our leaves, besides the green we see when we look at them.”
    5. Students can then play in the leftover shaving cream to draw pictures or practice writing.


    sensory | science | littlemack | jelly bean switch | following directions | bigmack | alternative methods of access |