Getting Back to In-Person Learning: Pandemic Educator Resources

See how you can educate students about all aspects of the pandemic, whatever grade level or subject you teach!

February 10, 2021

Being a teacher can be challenging at the best of times, let alone during a pandemic. If you’re a teacher who knows this in your bones, read on. As more and more students head back to class, they’re counting on you for accurate information about the state of our rapidly changing world. Meanwhile, administrators are urging you to strike the balance between good information and unnecessary fear, and families are depending on you to run the show with the utmost of care for biosecurity protocols, even though you’re not a public health worker! There’s a lot on your shoulders.

Luckily, your fellow educators and citizens are here to help! Drawing from the breadth of educational subjects, we have pulled together an incredible set of resources. And they aren’t just useful for science teachers-whether you’re interested in teaching the history of pandemics or looking at exponential growth- you can find inspiration here. 

As we roll out classroom pooling across the country, our job is to support you as you navigate healthy in-person learning during these difficult times. One way, of course, is with educational tools. Below you’ll find a list of free teaching resources that we curated to empower you and your students as you carve out a safe and stimulating culture in the classroom, until we eliminate COVID-19 for good. It’s a growing list, selected by the expanding Concentric community, and if you have any resources to add to it we encourage you to share them with us! Tweet us @ginkgo or email us at [email protected] so we can promote more great educator resources that teachers like you are finding useful.

PBS Kids Journey of a Germ Video (Kindergarten) 

An engaging video accompanied by a song presented by Sid the Science Kid.  Simple visual storytelling for Kindergarten and Preschool age children to understand how germs spread and the importance of hygiene. 

Exploratorium Learning Toolbox (Grades 1-8)

Various interactive activity ideas that break down multiple levels of viruses and COVID-19.  Some questions that are addressed are: How do we test for viral infection? How long does Coronavirus last on surfaces? How do viruses reproduce? 

Virus Explorer  (Grades K-12)

This interactive website offers an effective perspective on what viruses look like. Not only is this a wonderful visual aide for students but also offers an understanding of scale and sizing of viruses. The Virus Explorer can be used for all grades depending on how in depth you would like students to go. (Geography, Origin Stories, Prevalence)

National Geographic Interdisciplinary Lesson Plans (K-12)

A “salad bar” style selection of lesson plans that range from vaccination discoveries to infection control and statistics. Additionally, there are lesson plans for english language learners. (ESL, Virology, Social Studies, Immunology)

Beyond Statistics: Living in a Pandemic  (Grades 6-12)

A virtual exhibition brought to you by the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. This virtual experience aims to dive deep into the experiences of pandemics from three different eras.  This historic lens on pandemics challenges students to understand how pandemics have affected previous generations and ethnic groups specifically in New York City. (History, Public Health, Visual Thinking, Urban Studies, Social History)

Using Visual Effects to Explain Exponential Growth (Grades 6-12)

A fantastic in depth video explaining the concept of exponential growth using various examples to explain how fast a virus can spread.  Smaller segments appear on the different types of data curves and what they represent. 

Making Sense of the Coronavirus Through Storytelling and Media Making (Grades 8-12)

Brought to you by PBS Newshour Student Reporting Labs, this curriculum breaks down the process of what it takes to document current events in a responsible way.  Students also have the option to submit their multimedia work to showcase it.

National Institute of Environmental Health Services Pandemic Vulnerability Index Lesson Plans (Grades 9-12)

This curriculum is designed to guide students as they explore various risk factors involved in the spread and resulting mortality of COVID-19, including biological, socio-economic, and environmental factors. 

[Generation Human Rights] unMASKing: Pandemic Curriculum (Grades 9-12)

The unMASKing pandemic curriculum is designed to empower students to “break free from the isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic, reflect on their own life experiences, make tangible connections to their peers around the world, and create ways to be actively involved in their local communities.” (World Geography, Social Studies, Human Rights, Civic Participation)

—–> Curriculum Spotlight: Pandemic stories from students all over the world (interactive)

An interactive classroom map that highlights the various pandemic experiences of children all over the world. 

[Generation Human Rights] QuaranTEENing: COVID-19 (Grades 9-12)

The QuaranTEENing project invites teens to capture the myriad ways they are living and coping during the pandemic, quarantined in their homes or as they re-emerge into the new ‘normal’ that is our world now. Teens can submit a photo and/or written reflection to the project using hashtags (#quaranteening #insidemyroom, etc.). Submissions will be compiled to create a multimedia-based curriculum that will include the archive and will be available to educators when schools reopen, either in-person or online. (Creative, Storytelling, Writing, Multi-Media)

Other Resources: 

The New York Times: 150 Resources for Teaching About the Coronavirus Pandemic

Mathematics of Epidemics 

A Facebook group created to provide resources to Middle School and High School teachers to share with each other the mathematics of epidemics.

Design Your Own Mask (All Ages) 

Created by Corinne Okada Takara from Biojam Camp, this template can be used for all ages to creatively express pandemic experiences visually.  A selection of these masks accompanied by written statements are currently on display at the San Francisco International Airport.  Alternatively, there is an option for teens to take it up a notch and create your own Mycelium Mask