Coronavirus & Remote Learning

Updated: Free Science Resources for Schools During the COVID-19 Outbreak

(Updated June 8) Education technology companies and organizations have stepped forward to help educators bring STEM and STEAM experiences to students in virtual ways during the COVID-19 closures. The following is a list of free resources in science for PreK–12. This will be updated regularly as announcements are made. (If you know of a company that should be included on this list, please send details to [email protected].)

The American Museum of Natural History is sharing a bunch of online content for teachers and families to use during virus days. That includes the "OLogy" science website with lessons on subjects from anthropology to zoology; online science curriculum collections; virtual visits to the museum through its YouTube channel; and massive open, online museum courses delivered through Coursera.

Amplify has created a series of K-8 remote learning experiences in reading and science that are free and easy to use at home.

Arizona State University has publicized access to three free educational resources it operates for K-12. The first two are "Ask an Anthropologist" and "Ask a Biologist." Activities include teacher toolkits with lesson ideas, podcasts with transcripts and videos showing the scientists in action, articles, puzzlers, experiments and the ability for students to ask experts questions. The third is "Virtual Field Trips," which provides 18 virtual trips with photos, explanations, short videos and maps. While the trips can be viewed on a computer, they really come to life through a virtual reality headset that allows for 360-degree viewing.

The Carnegie Science Center has set up an online educator resources page for students in K-12. The page includes links to lesson plans for simple science experiments that early learners can do, videos of behind-the-scene sessions at the Center's field station, do-it-yourself videos for maker science projects, an educator guide for engineering-themed lessons and a "STEM for Social Good" toolkit that can be used by middle and high schoolers who want to spark social change. The resources are being expanded weekly.

Carolina Biological Supply Company has curated a series of free science learning resources, grouped by grade bands (K-5, 6-8 and 9-12). In each group are grade-specific instructions, links to multimedia and cross-curricular activities that can provide "backyard" science projects using household materials.

Chemistry Shorts is a new series of brief films about the role that the chemical sciences play in contemporary life. Each film is accompanied by a lesson plan to incorporate it into the classroom instruction. The first two films are also available on YouTube.

CREST, an awards program created by the British Science Association, is making free educational resources available for students ages 5-18 who are stuck at home. Each activity includes detailed lesson plans and extended learning ideas. Some require specialized component kits.

Exploratorium, in San Francisco, has released a new online learning toolbox with free science activities and materials addressing public health topics around COVID-19 and more general science support activities and materials for virtual classrooms and at-home learning, covering the nature of viruses, the effect of soap on viruses, how we test for and fight against viruses, as well as the science of personal and social behaviors and interactions. The organization has also posted 285 science activities, called "science snacks," which use "cheap, readily available materials" and can be done at home.

ExploreLearning is providing free 60-day trial runs of three programs: For math and science, there are 400 "gizmos," covering topics and concepts in math and science for grades 3-12. "Reflex" helps students master basic math for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. And Science4Us covers inquiry, physical science, life science and earth and space science with lessons for K-2 students.

Science equipment reseller Flinn Scientific has compiled numerous resources for science education, including video labs with teacher and student guides and 40 at-home activities for middle and high school science students. The company is also offering broadcasts of lab experiments conducted by its own scientific staff, with scientists on hand to answer questions.

Generation Genius is offering access to its K-5 science resources for a month. According to the company, the videos and lessons are being produced in partnership with the National Science Teachers Association. The content is aligned to educational standards in all 50 states and are "easy for parents to use." Both teachers and parents can get access to their own accounts.

HERA Science is a beta version of an adaptive learning system for helping develop critical thinking skills through a combination of gamified digital activities, scientific phenomena, interactive simulations, real-time feedback and scaffolding tools. To learn more and gain access, contact mailto:[email protected] or mailto:[email protected]

JumpStart Academy and Edmodo are offering Edmodo's tutoring program AskMo for free. AskMo is a mobile app for Apple and Google devices to get live, personalized tutoring in math or science for students in grades 7-12.

Labster, which provides virtual laboratory simulations for high schoolers, has made its software free. Some 100 lab experiments cover biology, chemistry, physics, engineering and general sciences, which students can perform "at their own pace."

LabXchange from Harvard University is an always- free resource that provides digital content compiled from multiple sources in the sciences, including lab simulations, which educators can mix into their own learning narratives and share with students. Among the functionality provided are social networking, class groupings, discussion forums and "mentorship" (to bring learners together with educators and researchers around the world).

Legends of Learning has opened access to its 2,000 standards-aligned math and science games for free for the rest of the school year to schools and parents. The company is also providing its premium-level custom assessments, scheduling features, data and analytics and training and support for all schools affected by closures.

MEL Science has introduced free online science lessons with "practical experiments" that students can carry out at home, such as creating a DIY hand sanitizer, showing how to cool a drink with salt and how to make a simple barometer. The company has also launched MEL Academy, a set of webinars delivered by science teachers giving online science lessons and hands-on demonstrations of experiments for students ages 5 to 16.

NOVA is streaming weekly "NOVA marathons," to provide educational and entertaining content for families at home. There are also free education resources available for each, including teaching tips, discussion questions and background essays. The sessions consist of multiple programs organized under content collections, covering space and the universe, the planets, black holesApollo,what the universe is made oflife beyond Earth and the fabric of the cosmos.

NOVA is also streaming free virtual field trips on Wednesday, which let students interact with researchers and ask questions in real-time. These begin at 10 a.m. Pacific time through YouTube.

OpenSciEd, already available for free to teachers in face-to-face instruction, is promoting the use of functionality that works for online teaching. In particular, the organization's simulations allow students to explore scientific concepts. Teachers are also sharing how they're adapting the materials for online instruction through social sites, using the hashtag #OpenSciEd #Remote.

Readorium's "Reading in Science" program is free for the rest of the school year. The online program teaches reading comprehension to students in grades 3-8, using science text that, according to the company, automatically adjusts to the right reading level.

Science Buddies, an always free service, is offering STEM activities that can be done in an hour or less and use materials found around the house; STEM videos; and resources about COVID-19, including an interactive tool that helps students learn how the pandemic evolves.

Smart Sparrow is making its "inspark Smart Courses" available free at no cost to institutions and schools. These are replacements for textbooks, that use interactive activities for learning. Instructors get tools to track student outcomes and customize the content using the Smart Sparrow platform. Courseware topics include biology, anatomy and physiology, chemistry, astrobiology, astronomy, geology, science for citizens, science writing, Galapagos exploration, global challenges and English composition.

The Space Foundation is providing free educational resources for students, parents and teachers. These include downloadable lesson plans, grant writing guidance, space expert podcasts and how-to videos, including a professional development series for teachers.

Space Station Explorers is providing free learning activities tied to the International Space Station. Those include online videos, a way to request access to the ISS camera, research opportunities and hands-on projects to understand the basics of the ISS.

The UN Environmental Programme (UNEP) and TED-Ed, along with 30 other collaborators including National Geographic, have launched "Earth School," a freely accessible website for students ages 5-18. The site provides 30 "quests" for students to help them "celebrate, explore and connect with nature." Videos, reading materials and activities, translated into 10 languages, focus on science and the environment.

Vernier has produced free remote learning solutions to keep students engaged in STEM during school closures. That includes access to Vernier Video Analysis, which lets students use their mobile devices in video analysis work (through June 2020); Pivot Interactives for allowing students to vary experimental parameters one at a time (for 30 days); a free demo version of Logger Pro to allow students to collect and analyze data that is good until Oct. 1, 2020; as well 200-plus experiments with sample data covering numerous subjects.

Find more resources for schools during the COVID-19 crisis here. Or return to the main list of free resources.