10 Free STEM Resources Available to K-12 Students During COVID-19
Due to COVID-19, it has now become harder for students to get access to opportunities and technologies that could help expand their knowledge in their STEM-related interests, especially as the school year comes to a close and the 2020 summer camp situation is less than certain. Luckily, numerous organizations and companies have created online resources to bring STEAM and STEM experiences to the hands of educators and students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are 10 free online resources for students to continue to practice their skills or learn new ones.
Students can take free sponsored computer science courses thanks to Amazon Future Engineer. The classes are targeted for grades 6-12 and teachers who are remotely teaching these grades. Parents also can monitor and access their children's courses. One of the programs the organization is called Georgia Tech's Earsketch, which teaches code through music. Students can remix celebrities' songs by creating codes! Some other courses include Virtual Robotics, Professional Development: Get Ready to Teach Intro to CS (Python), AP Statistics, AP Computer Science, Explorations in Coding I, and more! These courses will be available until Fall 2020. They are also providing free laptops to AP Computer Science students who do not have access to a computer for the exam.
Girls Who Code is a non-profit with a mission of supporting and encouraging female students to learn code in hopes of closing the gender gap in tech jobs. Students, parents, and educators have access to free weekly activities on Mondays featuring a woman in tech who created innovative technology. The courses have varying levels of difficulty. Some courses include: Algorithmic Artistic Game, Chatbot with Python, Debug the Maze and more! Girls Who Code also offers a Summer Immerse Program! Although the application period is closed, students can fill out an interest form, and if a spot becomes available, they will contact you!
First is a nonprofit organization that has collaborated with the Walt Disney Company to create the Star Wars: Force for Change philanthropic initiative. This initiative hopes to inspire the next generation of innovators and heroes. According to their website the 2019-2020 season, is setting out to “inspire citizens of the galaxy to work together, strengthening and protecting the Force that binds us and creating a place where collaboration and collective wisdom can elevate new ideas and foster growth.” There are programs for grades k-12! Students can either build (pseudo-coding) or design robots that could aid in the fight against COVID-19.
YWIB’s goal is to help girls “achieve the highest levels of leadership, influence, and decision-making that they desire.” They have launched a free online program for young girls who are curious about STEM. There are currently seven online modules that inform about the statistics and science behind COVID-19. Some of the modules include COVID-19: Understanding Testing, Epidemiology: Understanding the Spread of COVID-19, and more.
iRobot’s tools use robots to connect classroom learning with the real world. Students have access to offline and online coding projects targeting elementary and middle school students that do not require specific technology nor prior experience. Programs include Pizza Challenge, Pirate Costume for Root, Robot Typography, and more! Educators also have access to a free subscription program!
AskMo helps students who are stuck or unsure about their math or science homework. They offer math and science tutoring programs for grades 6-12. Free trials are available so students can speak to experts for 10 minutes to help them learn how to solve their homework problems to improve their test scores. Experts are available around the clock, seven days a week. There are also free mini-lessons and ACT and SAT prep.
AIAA is providing Aerospace micro-lessons for students to learn about a plethora of subjects, including space-based technology, exoplanets, space shuttles, and more! The company hopes to help teachers and students experience new ideas and expand their knowledge. Some other activities include instructions on how students can also build an AIAA paper airplane, and they can take a virtual field trip of the F-35 plane.
8. Core Academy
Core Academy's website states that it is "the best place in the world to learn game development." Students can now join a free online school that hopes to grow the next generations of game creators. Through the program, students learn professional development skills, make great games, and publish their first game. In less than an hour, students will create a playable multiplayer 3D shooter. Students have access to videos, hands-on examples, and detailed tutorials. There are also weekly live streams where students can ask instructors questions. There are four lessons available, and more are expected to come by the end of May.
This website provides students with step by step experiments and inspires students to design their own experiments. The series hopes to teach students how to generate a hypothesis, design an experiment, and analyze the results using statistics. There is also a collection called “Lets Learn About” where kids can learn more about a topic in STEM through articles, puzzles, and more.
10. Boolean Girl
Students can register for free to attend an instructor-led online hour of code events through zoom. The courses are targeted for ages 8 to 18. According to the website, students will learn to “code, build, invent, and animate.” A Boolean girl has been teaching kids with no coding experience for six years, and their instructors are STEM professionals who are trained to work with kids. Their program hopes to narrow the gender gap in STEM fields and allow students to get to coding and engineering experience. Classes take place on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 3 pm to 4 pm Eastern time. The classes are also recorded so students can watch it if they cannot make it during the scheduled times.
Staying at home is difficult, especially for young students. However, online resources like these will allow students not only to be occupied but also to learn something new and exciting over the summer. These programs are specifically designed to keep students engaged and entertained while learning from home.
In this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, we adults are at various distances outside the eye but nevertheless in the throes of the storm. Most children, however, do not share our experience. They see the world around them – they see us –from a very different vantage point. They sit in the eye of the storm. For them, life is unstable in a different way.