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Keep learning going without electronics

Here are some tips on how parents can work with their children and keep learning going with using electronic devices.  Kindergarten For Reading Practice writing upper and lower case letters using correct letter formation. Time your child to see how many they can write in a minute. Practice sounding out and reading words found around […]

Here are some tips on how parents can work with their children and keep learning going with using electronic devices. 


For Reading

  • Practice writing upper and lower case letters using correct letter formation. Time your child to see how many they can write in a minute.
  • Practice sounding out and reading words found around your house
  • Identify the letters and the letter sounds of items found around the house
  • Use letter cards or tiles to create CVC words (short vowel words such as c – a -t) and practice reading them…. These can be real words or nonsense (made up words such as “sot”)
  • Read to your child every day, talk about words they may not know the meaning of, and ask questions about the story content along the way. Reread the book over 2-3 days.
  • After reading, have your child write about the story. It’s ok if the writing is not all spelled correctly.   Have your child tell you what they wrote.
  • Practice fine motor skills like coloring, writing, cutting etc.
  • Play I Spy using letter sounds to find objects


For Mathematics

  • Practice writing numerals from 0-20+
  • Practice counting 0-100
  • Practice comparing 2 numbers up to 100+
  • Practice adding and subtracting numbers less than or equal to 10. Allow your child to use objects, fingers, mental images, drawings, sounds ( such as claps), acting out situations(using words like “how many more”, “add on”,”more”, “pull together”, “take from”, “take apart”), verbal explanations, or equations.
  • Compare the size, height, weight of two objects using the phrases such as “more of”/ “less of” and allow your child to describe differences between the two objects. For example, which sibling is taller and how do you know, which is heavier: a basketball or an apple, etc.
  • Play board games (such as Dominos) with your child which involves counting or matching.

How can families support student science learning at home?

Parents, families, and home guardians play a critical role in science learning at home.  Since no two families are alike, families can support their children in a variety of ways.

Don’t Forget!

  • Student, family, and community physical and emotional well-being are most important! As schools close, and the news cycle is dominated by information about COVID-19, it may be frightening or confusing to children. Take care of your child’s emotional and health needs during this time. Do not neglect your own needs, and reach out to available community networks and resources.


  • Home-based learning is unique and should not try to recreate school. Trying to support school-like learning in a home setting may frustrate teachers, students, and families without leading to real and lasting learning. Instead, work with your child to have meaningful science learning experiences that connect to your home lives, interests, and identities. Some everyday activities that can promote meaningful science learning could include cooking, baking, cleaning, reading together, building, painting and drawing, and taking a walk outside.


  • When technology is available, use it in smart ways. Meaningful science learning can happen with or without devices or access to the internet. If you do have access to technology to help your child, use technology to enhance learning. People learn best when they can figure things out together. Consider using devices and internet access to help learners find information they can use to figure something out; to make connections with others to build ideas and get feedback; and to share their thinking.


Recommended Actions You Take

  • Model the Learning Process. You don’t have to be an expert in science! One of the most supportive things you can do is to be a partner in your child’s investigations and thinking. Think out loud or describe what you are doing as you do it, whether it is cooking, fixing something, taking care of pets, or other housework. Ask questions, even when you do not know the answer! You and your child might learn something new together.


  • Be a Thought Partner. Support your child’s reasoning by talking with them about their science learning. You can ask your child questions, like “What do you notice? What do you wonder? Why do you think that’s happening? What can you teach me about this?” Let your learner bounce ideas off of you–remember, you don’t need to know the answer, just help them surface current understanding, deepen their thinking, and identify and figure out next steps to figure out more.


  • Talk! As you work with your children on their investigations, you can engage in a range of productive types of talk. You can try using some “talk moves” with your learners to help them think more deeply.  If you want to learn more about how to use these moves, different kinds of productive talk, check out this blog post about using talk moves, this primer that helps describe talk strategies, and this series of videos used to help teachers use productive talk.


  • Focus on Science in Everyday Life. Many activities you regularly do can support meaningful science learning! To explore the kinds of connections that are possible, you can do Internet searches like “science of [EVERYDAY ACTIVITY]]” (e.g., construction, cooking, gardening, washing). This can open up all sorts of meaningful questions that may lead to your child making sense of something they observe in the world and solving problems they encounter (e.g., how does soap work, how do we hear sounds).


  • Connect Science to Your Work or That of Your Family. There may be meaningful ways to engage your child as part of your own work that can contribute to meaningful science learning. In your work or that of another family member, how do you find the answers to your questions? How do you communicate techniques, processes, or ideas? What problems or challenges might you face? Share your work and allow your child to think and work with you in a meaningful, career-related context.


  • Build from the Science-related Interests of Your Children. You know your child — consider whether they have personal, family, or community interests that they do not always get to pursue in school and let them do a project related to that interest. Think about challenges facing your community, ideas or activities your child is passionate about, or even ideas that have come from books or television. Science is everywhere!


  • Don’t stress about creating a perfect homeschool experience. This situation is stressful and might be scary for your child and your family. Learning happens all the time–when we are baking or cooking together, building the best fort we can, making art, reading novels, writing stories, and taking a walk outside. Engage your child in activities you love doing together and explore what you can learn through those experiences. Your family might even look back on this time as some of the most meaningful learning experiences!


  • See “Additional Science Ideas” below.


First Grade

For Language Arts

  • Have your child read every day for 20 minutes independently and read aloud to someone 10 – 15 minutes.  When reading aloud pick 2-3 words that may not be familiar to your child and talk about what the word means.
  • After reading a story, have your child write something important about the story, what they liked/didn’t like etc. 1-2 sentences.
  • Create word family lists and have your child read the words (fall, ball, call, mall)
  • Give your child letter tiles or make letter cards and have them make words using the letters. As an extra, use the word in a sentence.
  • Play board games that require your child to read directions or game cards.

For Mathematics

  • Practice counting up to 120 with your child starting at any number less than 120.
  • Have your child practice recognizing and writing numerals 0-120+.
  • Give your child real life addition and subtraction problems to solve with 20 using words such as: adding to, taking from, putting together, taking apart, comparing,and using objects around your home or items in your kitchen (such as beans)and drawings.
  • Practice addition and subtractions problems where your child will have to find the unknown. For example, you have 5 siblings. 2 are reading a book. How many of your siblings are not reading a book?
  • Help your child practice telling and writing time in hours and half-hours using analog and digital clocks. If you do not have an analog clock, create or draw one with your child.
  • Practice recognizing and counting pennies and dimes (include nickels and quarters once your child has mastered pennies and dimes. Have your child purchase adding and subtracting with using pennies and dimes.  Make it fun.
  • Practice drawing circles,rectangles, triangles, trapezoids, half circles.
  • Practice diving circles and rectangles into halves, fourths, and quarters.
  • Play board games (such as Dominos) with your child which involves counting or matching.


For Science

  • See instructions for Kindergarten.
  • See “Additional Science Ideas” below.


Second – Third Grade

For Language Arts

  • Read independently at least 20 minutes and write about something that you read
  • Listen to stories read aloud by a sibling or parent and talk about the story characters, setting, problem, solution
  • Read a recipe and work with an adult to make the food
  • Keep a journal, writing every day. This should be at least 5 sentences with proper handwriting and punctuation.  Allow your child to write about anything of interest.
  • Play word games and board games that require any kind of reading.
  • Read aloud to sibling, stuffed animal or pet.

For Mathematics

  • Grade 2-Practice adding and subtracting within 100 and have your child explain to you what strategy they used. Grade 3-Practice adding and subtracting within 1000; multiplication and division within100 and have your child explain to you which strategy they used.
  • Have your child explain to you what the digits’ value means in a number. For example, 726 equals 7 hundreds, 2 tens and 6 ones.
  • Practice solving real world money problems using pennies, nickels,dimes, quarters. (For example, play store with your child.)
  • Practice solving real world money problems using dollars.
  • Help your child practice telling and writing time in hours, half-hour, and minutes using analog and digital clocks. If you do not have an analog clock, create or draw one with your child. Also, have your child tell you how much time elapsed between 2 activities. For example: how much time elapsed between when they ate breakfast and when they ate lunch or dinner.
  • Give your child real life problems to solve involving addition, subtraction, multiplication(grade 3) and division (grade 3).
  • Partition circles and rectangles into two, three, or four equal shares and describe the shares using the words halves, thirds, or fourths and quarters
  • Grade 3-Compare two fractions with the same numerator or the same denominator using <,>, or =. (Fractions to work with are ½,⅓, ¼,⅙,⅛ ). Such as if a recipe calls for ½ cup of flour but you only have ¼ measuring cup. Experiment to see how many ¼ cups are needed to make a ½ cups.
  • Grade 3- Have your child practice finding the total number of steps needed to walk around your back/front yard (practice the concept of perimeter).  Ask your child about how many plates might it take to cover your table ( practice the concept of area).
  • Play board games (such as Dominos) with your child which involves counting or matching.


For Science

  • See instructions for Kindergarten and/or Grades 4-6, depending on the student’s interest.
  • See “Additional Science Ideas” below.


Grades 4 – 6

For Language Arts

  • Read every day for 30 minutes. Your child should hopefully have two library books and their reading book home with them.   Read and reread any story in the reading book.
  • Answer the questions at the end of the story.
  • Every day give your child 3 -5 new words that they are not familiar with. Have them investigate the word and determine what it means based on the word parts.   Challenge your child to use these words sometime during the day.
  • Write every day…. Keep a journal of the happenings during Covid 19 or write whatever is on your mind. At this age, your child should be able to write an entire page (at least) on a topic.    Have them read their writing to you and add anything to make it better or correct things that are not clear.
  • Read recipes and cook them for the family. Simple directions on the side of a box of food or frozen meal can be used.   Read the ingredients and nutritional information on foods.
  • Play board games that require any kind of reading

For Mathematics

  • Give your child a number (only 3 digit numbers for Grade 4) and have them figure out how to get that number as an answer to an addition, subtraction, multiplication and division problem.
  • Have your child explain to you what the digits’ value means in a number. For example; 7,260,000 equals 7 million,2 hundred thousands,and 6 ten thousands.
  • Have your child edit recipes (4th grade fractions whose denominators are ½,⅓, ¼,⅙,⅛,1/10,1/12 , 1/100).
  • Have your child create math stories for you to solve involving addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of whole numbers and or fractions. Make a mistake and see if your child can find your mistake.

Grades 5 and 6

  • have a scavenger hunt with your child by creating a map using coordinates.  For example, 6 spaces to your right and 5 spaces down the hall(6,-5) and look underneath the bed.
  • Have your students explain to you decimal and fraction values; also, how to add, subtract, multiply and divide decimal and fractions using drawing or equivalent fractions. (Not rules unless your child can figure out  a rule on their own ;-).
  • Give your child real life opportunities to determine when area, perimeter, volume might be used. For example, if I want to make a table cloth for the kitchen table would I need to find the perimeter, area, or volume of the table? Answer: the area.
  • Play board games (such as Dominos) with your child.


How can you continue science learning at home?

You do not stop learning science when you leave the classroom. Science is all around us, including at home! You can continue to explore the world around you, understand natural phenomena, and solve engineering problems from your own home.


Don’t Forget

  • Your physical and emotional well-being are most important. Take care of yourself and do not be afraid to ask adults for information or support.


  • Learning at home is a unique opportunity! Learning at home and learning at school are different. At home, you can work with your family. You can connect science to your home life and interests. This is an opportunity to explore something that really matters to you!


  • Don’t stress too much! Learning science at home might be really new for you. Remember that a lot of people are feeling this way too. Do your best and explore science that matters to you. We will all figure it out together!


Recommended Actions You Take

  • Explore science that matters to you! Is there something you’ve always wondered about–maybe why something happens the way it does, or a problem you want to solve? What do you already know about this? What does your family know? What are the next steps you might take to figure this out? You might:
    • Look for information from a trusted source.
    • Design an experiment and collect data about something you are wondering about.
    • Build or draw a model that shows why something happens or how something works.
    • Figure out a solution to a problem you have noticed and explored.


Be creative! You can use your science experiences to work on something you really care about.


  • Set some goals for your own learning. Setting learning goals can help us make a plan to be successful. Think about something you would like to learn, understand, or solve. You can share your learning goals with a family member, friend, classmate, or your teacher to help you. Try to make your goals SMART:
    • Specific: What exactly do I want to happen?
    • Measurable: I will know I have reached my goal when…
    • Attainable: With hard work, is it possible to reach this goal in the time I have?
    • Realistic and Relevant: My goal is important enough for me to put a plan into action! I will do these things to reach my goal…
    • Time-bound: I will reach my goal by…


  • Find a Thinking Partner! As you are doing your science learning, who can you stop and think with? They might be members of your family, your friends, or other students from school. A phone call, text, video chat, email, or even connecting on social media should work if you can’t sit down and talk with them in the same room right now. People learn best by talking and thinking with each other.


  • Work on Your Own and With Others! When you try to figure out a science phenomenon or solve an engineering problem, think through your ideas first. Then check in with others to see what they think. If possible, do the experiment or design challenge together—even if you aren’t in the same location. If you get stuck or frustrated along the way, ask others to listen to your thinking, share other perspectives, or give feedback. Some ways you can think with others even when you’re not in the same place might be:
    • Keep a journal or scrapbook of your ideas and thinking. Swap with a classmate and write notes back to them, or talk through your ideas with a family member or friend.
    • When you are reading something, imagine a classmate or one of your teachers is also reading it. What would you say to them? What might they respond? Write notes about your reading, imagining you are discussing it with someone else.


  • Reflect on your own learning! One of the most important ways we build our understanding is by reflecting on what we are learning, and how we are learning it. You can do this with a partner, or by yourself. When you finish your work on science for the day, think about these questions. You can write, draw, or talk through your answers with a friend or family member:
    • What are some of the most interesting discoveries I made while working on this project?
    • What were some of the most challenging moments, and what made them so difficult?
    • What were some of my most powerful learning, and what made them so meaningful?
    • What is the most important thing I learned?
    • What moments during this work made me most proud?
    • Why was this project important to me, my family, or my community?
    • How did this work move me toward my science learning goals?


  • Document and Share What You Learn! Try to capture what you think and learn in a way that you can share with others. You could write or draw your ideas, make a short video of your thinking and work, take pictures of your work, or record an important conversation you’re having with your family or classmate. Be creative! What makes the most sense for you to capture and share your own learning?


  • See “Additional Science Ideas” below.


Grades 7-12

For Language Arts

  • Read and write every day. Read for at least 30 minutes and write in response to what was read.   Read different kinds of text including fiction and nonfiction.
  • Reread a favorite book and write about what you found different or interesting in the second read.
  • READ AND WRITE every day!!!!!

For Mathematics

  • Have your child practice adding, subtraction, multiplying and dividing integers(positive and negative numbers ) without using a calculator.
  • Have your child write a story or children’s picture book explaining how to add, subtract, multiply or divide integers and include negative and positive fractions and decimals.
  • Have your child pick items in from a sales add and give them a budget to determine which and how many items to purchase to make sure they stay with that budget but buy enough food to feed or toilet paper for the family.
  • Have your child create their own measuring tool and use that tool to find the perimeter, area, and surface area ( find the area of each wall and add those areas together to get the total surface area).
  • Have your child interview family members about how they use math in their everyday lives.
  • Have your child tutor some of the grades K-6 activities with their siblings.
  • Have your child record and graph the number of times an activity is done. Grades 8-12 can then find the rate of change (slope) of the activity. For example, Monday I completed 3 choress, Tuesday I completed 4 chores,Wednesday, I completed no chores, etc.  The ordered pairs would be (1,3), (2,4), and (3,0).  To graph these points, you would start at 1 on the horizontal axis and move up to the number 3 and place a dot for the (1,3) order pair.
  • Play board games (such as Dominos) with your child.


For Science

  • See instructions for Grades 4-6, and apply to student interests.
  • See “Additional Science Ideas” below.


Additional Science Ideas

Consider providing districts with home learning activities that include options that depend on low or no technology that focus on students’ interests and the world around them. States and schools can provide learning menu activities as options for ways for students to continue learning at home with their families and peers.

Sample Elementary Learning Menu. This elementary learning menu includes options for family-supported science learning for younger learners at home.

PreK- Kindergarten Grades 1-3 Grades 3-5
Observe the weather and draw what you see. Watch videos of baby animals and their parents and describe how they interact. Describe the ways baby animals and parents look alike and different. Discuss ideas about why it might be harder to see at night or in a dark room compared to in daylight or a brightly lit room.
Draw and describe what the weather looks and feels like for several days in a row (e.g., sunny, cloudy, windy, rainy, snowy, stormy) Observe the sun, moon and stars over multiple days (in a journal with descriptions and drawings). Describe the differences in their appearance or location from day to day or week to week. Look at different plants growing outside. Discuss parts of the plants that help them grow or survive. If you can, plant some seeds to watch them grow.
Kick a soccer ball and explore ideas about how a harder kick makes the ball go farther.  Experiment with letting it roll on different surfaces and seeing what happens when it collides with other objects. Go on nature walks and describe plant and animal parts and how they might help the organisms survive. For example: Roses have sharp thorns that hurt when you touch them. Maybe this keeps people from picking them. When you’re riding in a car, wonder about why the windows on one side of the car facing the sun are warmer than the other car windows. When you get home, draw a model to explain it.
Walk around your neighborhood or a local park and name the animals and plants you see, then talk about why the neighborhood or park is a good place for them to live. Go outside after a windy or rainy day. Describe what changes they see or what is different. Discuss how the wind or water might have caused these changes. Place different objects in a container filled with water. Discuss what happens to the objects. Why do you think some of the objects float and other objects sink?
Sensory scavenger hunts. Find 6 objects that have a similar property: are X color, that are X shape, that have a smell, that are hard, soft, etc. Go on a scavenger hunt in the kitchen together and put all the bowls, utensils, pots and pans in groups based on similarities and differences. Cook a meal together and discuss how sometimes when you mix two substances together, something new forms, or whether you can change something back to its raw form after you have cooked it.
Cut out pictures from magazines to make pattern collages by color, shape, size, etc. Walk around your neighborhood or a park and document the different plants, insects and animals you see. Then go to a different neighborhood or park and find out if the same plants, insects and animals are present. Discuss how the construction of a new house or building might change the ecosystem that was there before the construction began.


PreK- Kindergarten Grades 1-3 Grades 3-5
Track shadow patterns in a room by making string outlines on the floor. Toss a ball outside, or in an open space inside, and discuss how to make it go shorter and farther distances. Take apart an electronic toy that has a light or makes sound and investigate the circuit inside the toy. Draw a model of the circuit inside the toy. Using evidence from your model/drawing, explain how the circuit works. What effect would an open circuit have on the toy?
Count and record how many stars you can see out a window every night. Draw what the moon looks like every night to identify patterns. Find something that is broken. Take it apart to see if you can find a way to fix it or reuse the parts. Find something that is broken and take it apart to identify all of its pieces. Develop a model to explain how the parts work together and what happens when a piece is broken.
Find an interesting object and observe it carefully. See if you can notice details that someone else can’t. Can you describe it so well that someone can figure out what it is, even if they don’t see it? Measure shadow patterns every hour to see how they change during the day.  Can you make a specific kind of shadow puppet (that is a particular size and shape)? How did you do that? Find a rock and observe it carefully. Write a story to describe where the rock came from and what made it look the way it does.
See if you can find an animal either outside or even living in your own home. Watch it carefully. Where does it go? What is it doing? Why is it doing what it is doing–is it looking for food, or water or a safe place? Be an energy sleuth! Document all of the objects in your home that are using electricity. How do you know they are using electricity? Consider whether they are using energy when not in use and could be unplugged to save energy. Be an energy sleuth! Document all of the objects in your home and the evidence you have that they are using electricity. Consider whether they are using energy when not in use and could be unplugged to save energy.  Make a family plan to conserve energy.
Work with your family to sort items in the trash and/or recycling containers into categories based upon their properties. Are they made from metal, plastic, wood? Try to figure out how much water you use in a day by using kitchen measuring devices to collect water when you wash your hands and brush your teeth. Try to figure out how much water you use in a day by using kitchen measuring devices to collect water when you wash your hands and brush your teeth. Estimate how much water it takes to flush the toilet, wash clothes, wash dishes. Make a family plan to conserve water.
Watch a seed grow! It can be a garden seed or a dried bean you eat. Place the seed in a plastic baggie with a wet paper towel covering one side so you can see what happens as it grows. Make a list of light sources you can find in your house.  How are these light sources used? Write about a light source in your house and how it helps you and your family. Make a flip book of roots, shoots, and flowers for plants and heads, bodies, and feet, for birds based on your own observations and/or images from media. Mix and match them and draw the environment that would be required for the organism to survive.


Sample Secondary Learning Menu. This secondary learning menu includes ideas for older learners who may be more self-directed in their learning.


Middle School (Grades 6–8) High School (Grades 9–12)
What kind of container would keep your coffee the hottest for the longest period of time? What about ice water the coldest? Conduct an investigation using different kinds of containers in your home. Draw a model to explain your thinking.


Which tool is best for the job? Consider some common tools (e.g. scissors, clothespin, spatula/flipper, chisel, pencil, chopsticks)–can they be used interchangeably? Are chopsticks better suited to flipping pancakes than a spatula? What about transferring food from one place to another? Why or why not? Conduct an investigation and construct an argument, including input forces, output force, and the relationship between them.
Discuss why the grass might turn brown during drier months and why grass needs to be mowed after it has rained for several days.



What makes news “fake” or “real”? What makes people think something is fake or real? Using a contested claim, evaluate whether it is supported or not, and construct an argument for your perspective. As part of your argument, consider the other side–what might make someone think this is fake or real news? What evidence can you point to that makes you think they are wrong?
How could you invent something that would make life easier for people? What would you invent and why? Design your invention, describing how it would work.


Consider an important event in history that you find interesting or meaningful. In what ways did technology, climate, or another area of science play a role in this event? Think about the event as a system: how did science and engineering contribute to the event? How did the event change the path for science and/or engineering?
Create a new world! What would the environment be like? What does that mean for the kinds of plants and animals that could live, grow, reproduce, and thrive? What kinds of challenges would they face? How would they be similar to and different from what happens in our world, and why?  Would we be able to live there? What kinds of phenomena would we wonder about in this new world? Design your world, and then tell a story set in your new world, focused on solving a problem someone would encounter. Test out different scenarios/thought-experiments  in your world, updating the design as you go. [A simpler version of this would be: imagine one thing changed about our world–for example, weather patterns.]
Identify a problem in your local community that you would like to solve. Interview family members to see how the problem affects them and what ideas they have for solving it. Try to think about other perspectives, how do some people see the problem differently? Brainstorm possible solutions to the problem and share them with others. Write up a synthesis of your process and prepare a presentation of your solution. Consider multiple audiences and how you might present your ideas differently.
Document your impact on the environment–water use, energy use, food consumption, and waste/trash–for several days. Develop a model to explain how your use of resources affects the environment. Identify ways to reduce your impact on the environment and use your model to explain to someone else how your changes will affect the environment.
Make a scientific illustration. Select a favorite natural object and practice drawing it with as many details as possible from different angles. As you draw, think about all of the parts and how they work together. What would happen if any of the details were changed?