We are developing a series of line-drawing illustrated short books, which require little to no reading and allow 5-8 year old students to do science experiments without adult supervision. We will provide these books, along with necessary materials to children who lack internet access, and are thus further disadvantaged due to distance learning. To further the kids' scientific thinking skills, an adult guide with science background and thought-provoking questions for children will be included.
There is a huge digital divide in California. Over 1,200,000 students still lack internet access at home. Although the state Department of Education and school leaders are working diligently on this, it will be months or even years before everyone is connected. This disproportionately affects low-income students, whose families are also working or taking care of others and cannot help them with schoolwork. This pilot will bring kits to 100 students.
These kits will allow students to conduct hands-on science experiments on their own, without the need for internet connectivity or adult supervision. Kits will contain books and required materials, allowing students to independently conduct the experiments. Even kids who cannot read yet will be able to participate by following the simple line drawings in the books.
By providing robust age appropriate educational materials to impacted populations, we will help address the learning loss resulting from the COVID19 school shutdown (learning decline for impacted students is estimated at 20-30%). Mitigating learning losses has been shown to increase high school graduation rates and social mobility. This project will also help students learn science and scientific thinking so that they can better themselves and their communities.
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