As many of us are experiencing shelter at home with the coronavirus pandemic, those of us with kids are experiencing homeschooling for the first time. My 11 year old daughter has virtual classes with her 6th grade class but in a limited schedule. If you are a busy working parent and need to plan your children’s home school schedule, what kind of educational resources are out there?
Diana Eng (Fashion Tech Designer/NYC Resistor Cofounder) and I are currently working on a new STEM themed program, STEM Chat, for Adafruit. We hope that we can share it with everyone in the near future. In the meantime, I wanted to share some of my favorite links for STEM at home as well as a couple of personal links from Diana and me. For this post, I will note the sites that are a part of social media networks like Facebook video or Instagram. As more sites and social media links pop up, I will keep sharing them here on Adafruit. Please feel free to comment to this post if you have any interesting STEM sites to share. Pictured above is the San Francisco Exploratorium’s Learning Toolbox which teaches kids all about COVID-19 Science and viruses.
In regards to homeschooling, I have found Jennifer Mackintosh, a homeschooling mom to five in Alabama to be a wonderful resource. Please check out her blog post on educational resources and free printables you can use for lesson planning (for multiple children too). We can do it parents!
The Exploratorium is always one of my favorite places to go with my daughter because you can be hands on with all of the projects. The Exploratorium site now is filled with tons of hands on science projects and videos. Pictured here is the Cardboard Automata Project from San Francisco’s Exploratorium.
NASA Explorers Series (Facebook Page/Videos)
This is a wonderful video series that my friend and former MAKE/CRAFT colleague Rachel Barry narrates. Learn about the orbiting laboratory, meet the scientists and see the astronauts in training. Each video is around 6 minutes long and there are lots of behind the scenes clips on their Facebook page. You can also catch NASA Explorers Season 4 on NASA’s You Tube.
Filled with DIY projects, puzzles, games and even story books online there are lots of activities that are age appropriate for K-12 kids.
My daughter is doing a group project in her History class using Tinkercad to build a future city. (They have also done coding projects with greek history as the theme.) Tinkercad comes from Autodesk and kids can do 3D design, electronics and design with code.
Scratch is from MIT and it’s a place kids can create stories, games and animations while sharing it with the world. There is even a fun little section called Quarantine Gym where kids can share ideas on what kind of sports and movement they can do to avoid boredom.
SF/Bay Area based KQED and PBS have curated free educational videos and lessons to help teachers and now parents like you that are homeschooling. For all grade levels, the lessons cover subjects such as social studies, english, science, math, art and there is a special preschool section for the younger kids. Pictured above is Contemplating Infinity from NOVA in the math collection.
This is a site where kids 5+ can learn coding and computer programming. The site is providing free access to premium coding courses during the school closures.
From 7am-7pm PST, you and your kids can relax watching the live jelly cam or see the cute sea otters swim and play with each other. There are 10 different live cams to choose from: Aviary, Coral Reef, Jellyfish, Kelp Forest, Monterey Bay, Moon Jellyfish, Open Sea, Penguin, Sea Otter and Shark.
The San Diego Zoo similarly has a bunch of live cams up for their animals. You can also see an archive of their Panda Cams as the pandas have since returned back to China. Each cam footage features links to learn more about the animals, their habitat, fun facts and even their blog page documenting feedings, births and more
Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden (Facebook Video)
The Cincinnati Zoo has a new Facebook Live series each weekday where zoo keepers offer daily lessons about zoo animals.
Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems (You Tube)
In association with The Kennedy Center, children’s book author Mo Willems (Piggy and Elephant books, Pigeon books) teaches kids how to draw each weekday at lunch at 1pm EST.
Diana Eng/@RainbowResearch Lab (Instagram)
Diana Eng is a fashion tech designer, now turned full-time NYC mom to 2 young girls (preschool & K). We chat each day about interesting STEM things we find that we think each of our children would like. Lately on Instagram, Diana is sharing some quick and easy STEM projects you can do with your kids while we all shelter at home. Pictured above are her balloon experiments (and great mess-free alternative to playdoh on the go) where balloons are filled with salt, rice, flour while asking kids how they think the balloon will behave afterwards.
Adventures in Tinkering is a personal project of mine that I have been working on for the last few years. I decided to put this book online a few months ago and will build a site around it (for now it lives on my blog). The first web book in the Tinkering series is called, “The Tinkering Contest” and also features a DIY project to make a no-sew recycled t-shirt tote bag. The series follows along 3rd grader Chloe who loves to tinker and her talking Pomeranian Lulu who brings in comedy and trouble. My goal is to create stories to empower young girls to learn about STEM through fun adventure stories and DIY projects. This book is geared towards young readers grades 1-4. Audio files for each chapter to come soon. Check out the site at tinkerbinker.com.
Have your favorites? Post them in the comments below.