LabLearner During COVID-19
If there is anything good about COVID-19 it’s that, to this point, it has spared making children sick. On the other hand, the 2019/20 school year was abruptly ended for many children throughout the world early in the new year. Nearly the entire second half of the school year has been conducted romotely, if it has been continued at all.
LabLearner schools turned to us for help and we responded in two ways. First, we provided all of our schools with remote learning links for their students including online videos of LabLearner experiments along with unit notes and downloadable student manuals. Second, we released a public resource website containing grade-level science lessons and cognitive activities for LabLearner students and parents at home. There has been no charge to schools, teachers, or families associated with these resources and services.
As soon as it became clear that schools would be closed due to COVID-19, perhaps to the end of the 2019/20 academic year, LabLearner schools began to search for methods of continuing science education. The idea was to follow the LabLearner curriculum as closely and completely as possible so that students could progress to the next grade-level LabLearner curriculum when retuning in the fall of the 2020/21 academic year.
In order to provide the laboratory component of the LabLearner curriculum remotely, all lab experiments were made available to students by their teachers online. In addition, teachers were able to follow PreLab and PostLab discussions with their students, as well as presenting online LabLearner Concept presentations with digital materials provided for the purpose directly from LabLearner.
Using this method, over 85% of LabLearner schools continued with their science curriculum despite social-distancing constraints across the entire country. Many teachers also augmented the remote experience by modifying protocols to permit their students to actually perform LabLearner Investigations in their own homes. The website grab shown here is from Immaculata Catholic School in Durham, North Carolina. Immaculate has been with LabLearner since 2015 and has since received STEM certification from AdvancEd.
LabLearner Public Resource Website
The reality that both students and parents would be sequestered in their homes during state-sanctioned social-distancing, came suddenly and unexpectedly. Many parents, including LabLearner parents, were searching for meaningful and grade-level-appropriate learning activities for their at-home children. In response, LabLearner quickly designed and launched a public website providing the needed content.
One section of the website centers on Cognitive Workouts. These are short, hands-on activities that are both age- and cognitive domain-specific. The cognitive skills developed by the Cognitive Workouts are shown in the chart below.
Another major component of the Lablearner public resource website are sets of graphically-driven LabLearner Discussions. These are short, guided discussions that parents and other adults can have with their children. As with the Cognitive Workouts, the LabLearner Discussions are developmentally adjusted for preschoolers, primary students, and intermediate and middle school students.
One of the LabLearner Discussions is a four part set specifically involving the COVID-19 pandemic (below). This subject is addressed not only in terms of public health and personal hygiene issue, but on basic relevant scientific concepts. Each of the LabLearner Discussions is correlated to specific LabLearner CELL curriculum units.