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As the situation surrounding the COVID-19 global pandemic continues to evolve, we are all adjusting to a new normal. Schools in Idaho, and in most other states, will be closed to students for the next several weeks. The transition to students learning from home can be difficult not only for them, but for their family and other household members.

As students, teachers and parents adjust to learning at home, INL’s K-12 Education Program is dedicated to supporting these efforts by providing digital resources and other support.

Learning From Home Resource Library

One major cornerstone of this effort is a new “Learning from Home” resource library, which hosts an ever-growing number of lessons designed specifically for the current circumstances.

INL’s K-12 Education team includes local teachers as part of its Partnering Teachers program, and these 10 dedicated professional educators have been instrumental in the development of this “Learning from Home” curriculum.

Each new activity is designed and tested to be hands-on, aligned with curriculum standards, tailored for a specific age range, and easy to do with items commonly found around the house. Topics range from physics and biochemistry to simple engineering and coding, all in order to introduce students to a broad range of STEM topics. All “Learning from Home” STEM lessons include vocabulary, a supply list and step-by-step instructions to ensure success for parents and students. Each lesson includes an explanation of the science or math concepts, principles and skills behind the activity, and real-world connections.

While students may still be attending their regular classes online and working on their typical school projects, these new lessons can help keep them engaged and may even introduce them to new topics and disciplines.

“At the core of our mission is a commitment to impact and support students, teachers and families across Idaho and the nation,” said Jennifer Jackson, INL’s K-12 education program manager. “We hope that by providing access to high quality STEM learning activities, we can help families discover and learn together while staying safe at home.”

A new lesson is provided each weekday in the resource library. In addition to viewing the archived lessons at any time, parents are encouraged to follow INL on social media, where a new activity is highlighted each morning.

The INL resource library contains a section on “helpful links for families” that may be useful to browse. Featured links include the Idaho STEM Action Center Resource Portal, which hosts a wide range of information, and a Spanish-language STEM resources list for students who are more comfortable learning in Spanish. Discovery Channel’s Navigating Nuclear curriculum, which includes a virtual field trip to INL facilities, is a great tool for older students.

Other INL STEM Support

As a resource for employees and the education community, INL’s education team is looking to support parents in the coming weeks. To request additional support or connect directly with an educator on questions and ideas, visit our website and click on “Request STEM Support.”