As the 2020 year has come to a celebratory end for many, it’s clear that it will still be some time before we return to the normalcy of our everyday lives. Many parents continue to work from home in addition to their students learning from home via distance learning. This can lead to an environment of stress, exhaustion, and frustration.
While distance learning can be strenuous for parents, teachers, and students, it certainly has its benefits and is advantageous to the learning process. Distance learning doesn’t have to be all work and no play, either. It is critical, especially at the elementary level, for students to continue to engage in hands-on activities that not only work their brain, but allow them to have some fun along the way.
There are a wide variety of fun activities educators can share with families and students to help ensure the learning process is both educational and enjoyable from the comfort of each student’s home.
Distance Learning STEM Curriculum: Mission to Moon
One of the more recent activities that is gaining popularity among schools is Mission to Moon. This STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) curriculum is developed by a team of engineers and educators, including NASA experts. Tasked with mastering STEM skills, students ranging from 4th-8th grade will design robot hands, rovers, roller coasters, and more while connecting with real-world professionals and schools around the world. For students stuck in a rut during this distance learning period, this gives them the opportunity to show their creativity in learning about science and engineering with this hands-on program.
Audible is another resource that checks off the boxes of both education and entertainment. With hundreds of book titles available at no cost, this would be a valuable resource for an English classroom or library. It encourages students to continue reading at home when there is no direct access to the school library. There’s even a screen-free option for students to give their eyes a break from their computer screens as they listen to their favorite books being read aloud.
Virtual Zoos and Aquariums
While it’s a little more difficult now to plan a field trip to the local zoo or aquarium, that doesn’t mean students can’t enjoy the sights and sounds from home. Many zoos and aquariums are offering free virtual experiences, including the San Diego Zoo, Houston Zoo, Monterey Bay Aquarium, National Aquarium, and many more. Many of these venues offer live videos of the animal exhibits throughout the park, giving students plenty of opportunities to learn about the various animals and species that interest them. Not only does this virtual experience help students learn more about science and zoology, it’s also a fun way for parents to break up the school day and keep students focused and on-task.
Making these various links and resources available for students and families within Sycamore School is easy. Teachers can add the links in their Sycamore classrooms in the Class | Favorites section, giving families and students direct access once in those classrooms. From there, students can begin their adventure of designing robot hands, listening to their favorite book, and viewing the sights and sounds of a wide variety of animals.