Want to get out with your students this spring? With the Covid-19 pandemic keeping kids and teachers at home, many field trips are going virtual.
The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane) Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Program is bringing its K-12 STEM program online. Traditionally, the center has hosted field trips, including one where kids get to perform experiments at the organization’s WestGate Academy STEM Lab. Due to the pandemic, the center is making virtual field trips available to schools that have already signed up and hopes to offer programming to more schools when available. Students will be given hands-on science experiments and lessons using materials they can find at home.
“The activities themselves aren’t overly complicated,” Tina Closser, who is in charge of NSWC Crane’s STEM Program, told Naval Sea Systems Command. “We purposely kept it simple so kids could easily create with materials they had at home. Our goal was to give students hands-on science lessons they could do in the home. I believe it’s important to help teachers who may be stressed trying to make impactful lessons virtually and it may help the kids to learn from different people on the screen.”
The Connecticut Science Center may be closed, but it’s going on plenty of adventures. The center is offering a number of virtual field trips to cool museums and nature preserves throughout the U.S., including NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, and the Carlsbad Caverns National Park.
Boston’s Museum of Science has gone virtual with live streaming events that transport the museum straight into students’ living rooms. Teachers also get to learn and have fun. Educators from the museum’s award-winning EiE curriculum for PreK-8 STEM are providing tips and advice on how to teach STEM online through a series of free webinars.
Boeing and Discovery Education teamed up to take students in grades 6-12 on a virtual field trip of Boeing’s historic Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, where they can watch Boeing employees work on spacecraft and prepare for future take-offs. Kids can also take a trip to Seattle through the ecoAction tour to learn how Boeing is using technology to make the planet more sustainable. The program also offers some cool STEM aerospace and engineering lesson plans for kids.
STEM activities don’t have to be limited to field trips. Every morning at 10 a.m. PDT, students can tune into the California Science Center’s “Stuck at Home Science” live stream. The live stream teaches kids all about science through easy-to-follow experiments using stuff around the house.
As summer approaches, there are plenty of other resources to keep students engaged in STEM. The NASA STEM @ Home for Students, for example, provides a bunch of fun and interesting activities for 4th grades and younger — from cool design activities, to puzzles, games, and coloring books. If you’re having trouble keeping students engaged in online lessons, STEM Ecosystems is hosting a number of webinars for educators and parents that give advice on how to keep students interested in learning while stuck at home. To see more virtual field trips, visit TryEngineering.
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