Activities, Videos, and Citizen Science For Kids
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many U.S. school districts have been forced to shut down. In addition to ski area and school closures, UC Davis TERC has closed its science centers and suspended all regular program offerings. We would still like to be a resource to the students and parents that are now sheltering at home and trying to continue getting through the normal day-to-day. If you are looking to incorporate science into your child's educational routine, look no further. We have been searching for free STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) resources and have compiled a list. Check out the links below for some of our top choices for at-home, STEM educational resources. Below you will find a combination of indoor and outdoor activities that can be done in or around your home, as well as instructional videos. Everyone is welcome to suggest thoughts and comments to this live document. We wish we could do more and hope that this will be helpful to families and students during this difficult time.
To suggest edits or additional resources, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Talking with children about Coronavirus Disease 2019: Messages for parents, school staff, and others working with children (https://scienceatcal.berkeley.edu/covid-19-resources/)
“As public conversations around coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) increase, children may worry about themselves, their family, and friends getting ill with COVID-19. Parents, family members, school staff, and other trusted adults can play an important role in helping children make sense of what they hear in a way that is honest, accurate, and minimizes anxiety or fear. CDC has created guidance to help adults have conversations with children about COVID-19 and ways they can avoid getting and spreading the disease.”
Science activities and more to share:
Science Expo (Direct Student use for Grades 3-5): https://tahoe.ucdavis.edu/science-expo Science activities designed for third, fourth, and fifth-grade students outlined at https://drive.google.com/open?id=1v1obrpI6G9BKue3TxsJ-CXcPHXbm77eC. Videos available at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLa3BRSex0pXzgivsqrJuvjyXCFKylfmUu.
SWEP Snippets (Direct Student use for Grades K-8): https://www.4swep.org/swep-snippets Over the next few weeks (and beyond; if necessary) SWEP will be releasing daily SWEP Snippets to support virtual homeschool education. Each SWEP Snippet will feature an inquiry-based, hands-on activity that can easily be done in students’ backyards, in their home or online. These snippets include easy to follow instructions, video resources and links that support learning as well as extension activities for students who are eager to do more.
Discovery Education (Parents and Teachers Facilitate for Grades K-12): https://www.discoveryeducation.com/ (offering free resources over the rest of the school year) Take learning beyond the classroom and into the real world. Virtual learning helps you maintain engagement and continuity of learning outside of the classroom with tools that allow you to still communicate with your students, facilitate group activities, provide feedback, track student progress, and create a lasting educational impact. STEM Connect activities at https://www.discoveryeducation.com/solutions/stem-connect/ including this timely one on Viruses and Outbreaks: https://app.discoveryeducation.com/learn/channels/channel/9ccf523a-5b7a-4856-ae5c-602e40d1e50f
Daily DE (Parents and Teachers Facilitate for Grades K-12): https://den.discoveryeducation.com/participate/dailyde Parents: Check out the Daily DE! Looking for meaningful and engaging learning activities for your children? The Daily DE features a grade-band appropriate learning activity for every day of the week. From digital interactives to virtual field trips to fun science experiments and more, these daily activities are great for keeping the learning going at home!
Museum of Science EiE (Parents and Teachers Facilitate for Grades Pre K-8): http://eie.org/ with 30-minute webinars for #STEMBeyondSchool. Includes a PDF of downloadable resources. New webinars released daily. Free. 30-minutes. Includes this timely video lesson: “Outbreak Alert! Engineering a Pandemic Response”: https://player.vimeo.com/video/136831378
How to Smile (Parents and Teachers Facilitate for Grades K-12): Howtosmile.org Search over 3,500 of the very best science and math activities on the web. Find handpicked activities from your favorite science museums, public television stations, universities, and other educational organizations. All activities are available to anyone, free of charge. Start searching now and filter by age, material costs, and learning time to find exactly what you need for your class, educational program, or family.
Science at Home with the Family (Parents and Teachers Facilitate for Grades K-12): https://www.crscience.org/educators/Family Science isn't just for school! Science is the process of learning about the world around you and how it works. Community Resources for Science helps teachers build on that enthusiasm and bring meaningful science learning experiences to life in their classrooms.
Mystery Science (Direct Student Use after Parent or Teacher signs up for Grades K-5): https://mysteryscience.com/ Mystery Science offers open-and-go lessons that inspire kids to love science. The hook, visuals, and activity have all been prepared for you. Free membership gives you access to some, but not all, Mystery unit videos.
Legends of Learning (Resources for Students and Teachers for Grades 3-8): https://www.legendsoflearning.com/ Math and science games for grades 3-8 that increase engagement and test scores. Curriculum aligned. Backed by Research. Teacher Reviewed. Fun.
Amplify Science (Parents and Teachers Facilitate for Grades K-8): https://amplify.com/programs/amplify-science/?state=CA With Amplify Science California, students don’t just passively learn about science concepts. Instead, they take on the role of scientists and engineers to actively investigate and figure out real-world phenomena. They do this through a blend of cohesive and compelling storylines, hands-on investigations, collaborative discussions, literacy-rich activities, and interactive digital tools.
Exploratorium Science Snacks (Instructions Show How to Facilitate Activities for Grades 6-12): https://www.exploratorium.edu/snacks Hungry for fresh, exciting science activities based in amazing phenomena? Science Snacks are hands-on, teacher-tested, and use cheap, available materials. Science Snacks are well detailed to show all educators how to facilitate the activity and talk through the main learning objectives.
SnowSchool (Parents and Teachers Facilitate for Grades K-12): https://winterwildlands.org/homeschool-snowschool/ SnowSchool has compiled some of their favorite SnowSchool activities that parents can use at home with their own kids. Some of these activities are hands-on and designed to be done in a snow-covered backyard or local park, others can be done online and don’t require snow.
Physics Girl Videos (Videos for Direct Student Use for Grades K-12): https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7DdEm33SyaTDtWYGO2CwdA Physics Girl is a YouTube channel created by Dianna Cowern that adventures into the physical sciences with experiments, demonstrations, and cool new discoveries.
Bill Nye the Science Guy (Direct Student Use for Grades 2-6): https://www.youtube.com/user/TheRealBillNye/featured Bill Nye the Science Guy delves into a variety of different science topics ranging from the atmosphere to momentum. His Youtube channel features short educational clips from full length episodes.
Mystery Doug (Direct Student Use once Parent or Teacher signs up for Grades K-5): https://mysterydoug.com/ This is the opportunity to nurture each child’s burning curiosity, guide them as they explore their world, and ensure they develop the most important skill of all: the ability to figure things out for themselves. Mystery Doug focuses on taking children’s burning questions and answering them well.
Crash Course Kids (Direct Student Use for Grades 4-7): https://www.youtube.com/user/crashcoursekids/featured Crash Course Kids shares easy to understand science videos on topics for 4th-7th graders.
Minute Physics (Direct Student Use for Grades 6-12): https://www.youtube.com/user/minutephysics/featured Brief dives into essential topics related to the physics of our world. Topics ranging from “What is gravity?” to “Is it better to walk or run in the rain?”. Covering topics in an in-depth level in a short amount of time makes these videos best designed for high schoolers who are beginning to learn more specifically about chemistry, physics, and biology.
#SparkOfScience videos to spark your curiosity (each video is 3 minutes long with engagement ranging from 2 minute to 2 hours!) https://www.fi.edu/sparkofscience
Citizen Science Tahoe app (Students, Parents, or Teachers for Grades K-12): https://citizensciencetahoe.org/ Download the Citizen Science Tahoe app and share your observations with scientists at Lake Tahoe.
Citizen Science/Plant phenology (Parents or Teachers Facilitate for Grades K-12): https://www.usanpn.org/usa-national-phenology-network The USA-NPN brings together citizen scientists, government agencies, non-profit groups, educators and students of all ages to monitor the impacts of climate change on plants and animals in the United States.
SciStarter (Students, Parents, or Teachers for Grades K-12): https://scistarter.org/ Over 3,000 citizen science projects and events are searchable by location, scientific topic, and age level, and by joining SciStarter, members can track their contributions and provide valuable feedback. Learn more about citizen science and check out these Ten Principles of Citizen Science.
iNaturalist (Students, Parents, or Teachers for Grades K-12): https://www.inaturalist.org/ Connect with nature and share your observations. Every observation can contribute to biodiversity science, from the rarest butterfly to the most common backyard weed. iNaturalist shares your findings with scientific data repositories like the Global Biodiversity Information Facility to help scientists find and use your data. All you have to do is observe.
Merlin (App for Students, Parents, or Teachers for Grades K-12): https://merlin.allaboutbirds.org/ The Cornell Lab of Ornithology created this app to help you identify birds by answering three simple questions about a bird you are trying to identify and Merlin will come up with a list of possible matches. Merlin offers quick identification help for all levels of bird watchers to learn about the birds across the Americas, Europe, Asia and Australia.
CODE (Students, Parents, or Teachers for Grades K-12): https://code.org/ Get your kids started with general coding with Code.org. Code.org is a nonprofit dedicated to expanding access to computer science in schools and increasing participation by women and underrepresented youth.
Guide for Free or Low Cost Online Coding Classes for all Skill Levels (Direct Student Use or Direct Use after Parent sign up for Grades K-12): https://summercamphub.com/best-online-coding-classes-for-kids/: Coding is a creative way for kids to express their ideas and thoughts. Although, it’s not something that can be easily taught by a parent or teacher with no previous coding experience — there are plenty of coding websites and classes out there that can teach kids for free or at a low cost. With that in mind, here are some of the best coding websites that offer amazing coding classes for kids. There are 16 different programs that range in the ages they serve some getting kids as young as the age of 5!
Khan Academy (Direct Student Use for Grades 4-12): https://www.khanacademy.org/computing/computer-programming Students can begin to learn basic coding principles or delve deeper into learning specific languages.
Scratch (Direct Student Use for Grades K-12): https://scratch.mit.edu/ Use code to create stories, games, animations and share your creations with people around the world.
Resources for Parents and Teachers:
Smithsonian Resources (Resources for Parents and Teachers for Grades K-12): The Smithsonian has prepared a Distance Learning Resources Guide to consolidate resources from across the Smithsonian and will continue, over the coming days and weeks, to add new relevant teaching and enrichment resources to it, including high tech, low tech, and technology-free activities. The Resource Guide is available as part of the Smithsonian Learning Lab, a free, interactive platform for discovering millions of authentic digital resources from across the Smithsonian’s museums, research centers, libraries, archives and more. For an introduction to using the Learning Lab, download the new Getting Started Guide here.
Homeschool Hideout (Tips for Parents and Teachers for Grades K-12): https://homeschoolhideout.com/ Experienced homeschool teacher shares cheap and free homeschool resources with her readers. Additionally, she shares homeschooling tips and tricks to keep students engaged and ready to learn. A great resource for families starting to do at home learning.
Sheppard Software (Direct Student Use for Grades K-12): http://www.sheppardsoftware.com/ Sheppard Software is an educational website, with hundreds of free, online, learning games for kids. But anyone interested in online learning can use the site - with so many subjects - (geography, math, animals, science, language arts, creative activities, health) and lots of levels for all abilities - loads of games and activities for learners of any age.
Earth Science Week Classroom Activities (Parents and Teachers Facilitate for Grades K-12): http://www.earthsciweek.org/classroom-activities A compiled list of Earth science activities for students of all ages. Most activities are categorized based on the Next Generation Science Standards, and the earlier National Science Education Standards. Activities are also marked with the appropriate grade levels for your learning or teaching needs.
From ABCs to ACTs (Homeschooling Crafts and Activities for Parents of Grades K-5): https://fromabcstoacts.com/ You’ll find crafts and activities for toddlers and preschoolers, free resources for new homeschoolers, and tons of fun printables to add to your homeschooling day.
The Best Ideas for Kids (Educational Craft Ideas for Parents of Grades K-12): https://www.thebestideasforkids.com/ The Best Ideas for Kids is an online community where mostly craft ideas are shared for kids of all ages! They also create and share activities, recipes and other ideas for kids. Whether you’re a parent, caregiver or teacher, there is something for everyone.
NASA Space Place (Parents and Teachers Facilitate Activities for Grades 3-5): https://spaceplace.nasa.gov/menu/parents-and-educators/ NASA Space Place's mission is to inspire and enrich upper-elementary-aged kids' learning of space and Earth science online through fun games, hands-on activities, informative articles and engaging short videos. With material in both English and Spanish and resources for parents and teachers, NASA Space Place has something for everyone.
PBS Design Squad (Students, Parents, and Teachers for Grades K-4): https://pbskids.org/designsquad Videos, games, and activities for students to do at home. PBS is also sharing a daily newsletter on activities and tips to help kids play and learn at home. Sign up here (https://www.pbs.org/parents/pbskidsdaily) for that newsletter.
Khan Academy Computer Animation and Pixar in a Box (Direct Student Use for Grades 3-12): https://www.khanacademy.org/partner-content/pixar Pixar in a Box is a behind-the-scenes look at how Pixar artists do their jobs. You will be able to animate bouncing balls, build a swarm of robots, and make virtual fireworks explode. The subjects you learn in school — math, science, computer science, and humanities — are used every day to create amazing movies at Pixar.
Greg Tang Math (Students, Parents, and Teachers for Grades K-12): https://www.gregtangmath.com/index Games for students and resources for parents and teachers. Some books and resources are for purchase. Greg Tang also hosts workshops on how to make teaching math engaging for students.
Storyline Online (Students, Parents, and Teachers for Grades K-5): https://www.storylineonline.net/library/ Videos show children’s stories narrated by celebrities. Activity guides have exercises students can work through before, during, and after hearing the story.
Science Rules Podcast with Bill Nye (Listening for Students, Parents, and Teachers for Grades 7-12): Bill Nye is on a mission to change the world— one phone call at a time. He’ll tackle your curliest questions on just about anything in the universe. Perhaps you’ve wondered: Should I stop eating cheeseburgers to combat climate change? How often should I really be washing my pillowcase? Can I harvest energy from all those static-electricity shocks I get in the winter? With a little help from his co-host Corey S. Powell, field experts, and special celebrity guests, Bill will answer those questions and convince you that science rules.
Duolingo (Students, Parents, and Teachers for Grades K-12): https://www.duolingo.com/ Learn a new language for free!
Scholastic Learn at Home (Students, Parents, and Teachers for K-12): https://classroommagazines.scholastic.com/support/learnathome/grades-1-2.html Day-by-day projects to keep kids reading, thinking, and growing.
Engineering Challenges Activity Guide (Parents and Teachers Facilitate for Grades 4-7): https://pbskids.org/designsquad/pdf/parentseducators/DS_Act_Guide_complete.pdf PBS offers insight to parents about how to engage their kids in engineering.
Brains On! Podcast (Students, Parents, and Teachers for Grades 3-12): https://www.npr.org/podcasts/414697070/brains-on Brains On! is a science podcast for curious kids and adults from American Public Media. Co-hosted each week by kid scientists and reporters from public radio, we ask questions ranging from the science behind sneezing to how to translate the purr of cats, and go wherever the answers take us.
Science Gizmos (Direct Student Use Following Parent or Teacher sign up for Grades 3-12): https://www.explorelearning.com/index.cfm?method=cResource.dspResourceCatalog Gizmos has a variety of videos on science and math topics for students in 3rd through 12th grade. Gizmos breaks down content by age group and subject matter to make it easy for you to find the subject you are wanting to learn or teach on.
ST Math https://www.stmath.com/coronavirus (providing this free through June 30) No-Cost Access to ST Math from the MIND Research Institute, our mission is to ensure that all students are mathematically equipped to solve the world’s most challenging problems.
Project WET: https://www.projectwet.org/distancelearning Project WET is traditionally a workbook of water related educational activities. They have created a page of free and discounted resources that educators, parents and children can use to learn about water includes a video with our PWET USA Director (and parent at home) demonstrating a the Early Childhood activity ‘A House of Seasons’ with her son - and wonderful new tutorial for ‘A Drop in the Bucket’. Tutorials for, ‘A Grave Mistake’ and ‘Water Audit are in the works!
Discover Water (Grades 2-7): https://www.discoverwater.org/ This is a student self-directed educational resource about different water topics—ranging from global to personal perspective—which together reflect many of the complex and important roles of water in our lives. It is designed for use by children ages 7-12 and for educators and parents working with this age group – the website includes Spanish & Mandarin versions.
Water Education Foundation (Grades pre-K through college): https://www.watereducation.org/post/information-about-water-resources-covid-19 The Water Education Foundation has put together resources and background information for all ages. They have broken down activities for pre-K-Kindergarten, K-12, and 12-college.
California Department of Water Resources (Grades K-12): https://water.ca.gov/News/Blog/2020/March/DWR-Water-Education-Materials Whether you seek independent work activities like coloring sheets for your little one, a workbook for your tween, or you are ready to roll up your sleeves and lead simple hands-on science experiments, DWR can help. Workbooks, worksheets, and posters are available for free in hard copy by placing an order online, and many are also available to download and print from your home computer. We even have educational videos available on DVD and on our YouTube channel. And be sure and check out our Kids Corner for online games and activities offered by other water organizations and agencies.
National Science Teaching Association Daily Do (Grades K-12 and College): https://www.nsta.org/dailydo/ Teachers and families across the country are facing a new reality of providing opportunities for students to do science through distance and home learning. The Daily Do is one of the ways NSTA is supporting teachers and families with this endeavor. Each weekday, NSTA will share a sensemaking task teachers and families can use to engage their students in authentic, relevant science learning. We encourage families to make time for family science learning (science is a social process!) and are dedicated to helping students and their families find balance between learning science and the day-to-day responsibilities they have to stay healthy and safe.