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Earth School can be your kid’s at-home science teacher

This series of 30 short videos will help kids explore and connect with nature.

With 1.5 billion children out of school right now, due to the coronavirus pandemic, many parents are scrambling to figure out how to continue their education. Some schools have provided guidance, but it's nowhere near what children usually receive in classrooms. And the Internet is so full of resources that it can be daunting to know where to start.

Enter Earth School, an interesting collaboration between TED-Ed (TED's youth and education initiative) and the United Nations' Environment Programme. Together with experts from National Geographic, WWF, and the BBC, they've created a brand new online science curriculum of sorts that comprises 30 short animated videos about various topics.

Starting on Earth Day, April 22, one video has been released daily, and this will continue until World Environment Day on June 5. All videos posted remain available online, so you could start the 30-day cycle at any point, or just dip in and watch random ones anytime.

The videos are divided into six weeks' worth of programming, each with a theme: The Nature of Our Stuff, The Nature of Society, The Nature of Nature, The Nature of Change, The Nature of Individual Action, and The Nature of Collective Action. They cover interesting and relevant topics such as entomophagy (why we should eat insects), what's in a smartphone, how composting works, the issue with plastics, the nature of transport, and the clothes we wear, among many others. There are options to delve deeper into topics beyond the introductory videos, with quizzes, additional reading content, discussion questions, and takeaway activities.

A press release describes the three goals of the program. First is to provide a reliable source for science learning amid a sea of options, many of which have questionable quality: “Earth School aggregates a wide span of lessons from trusted sources under a single platform. With these lessons, learners of all ages will be able to explore how to live greener and cleaner lives individually and in their communities.”

Second, it strives to keep kids connected to the natural world at a time when it's hard to get out of the house. The more young people understand the connection between a healthy planet and healthy humanity, the better off we'll be in the long-term. “We aim to inspire the awe and wonder of nature in Earth School students and help them finish the program with a firm grasp of how deeply intertwined we are with the planet.”

Finally, Earth School wants to help parents at a difficult time, making it easier for them to educate their children at home. As a parent juggling work and impromptu homeschooling, I can appreciate this – and after watching a few of the Earth School videos, I know for sure that many of these videos will be mandatory viewing for my kids.

Check out the full list here, which will continue to be updated until June 5. Introductory video below:

This series of 30 short videos will help kids explore and connect with nature.