Cool Learning Links for Kids
Our Makerspace is focuses on using design thinking to solve problems - all aspects of STEAM learning are rolled into our projects. We computers for research, design, programming, photo and video editing, and sharing our awesome projects with the world and community.
Students come into the Makerspace with a wide range of computer abilities and experience. Access to computers and internet at home also varies widely. Our time in the Makerspace is limited to 50 minutes per week, so it is difficult to provide enough access to all children to fully complete projects or practice skills. We have had many requests for ways students can practice or follow up at home, so we created this list of websites that will help support their time in the Makerspace.
Games for PreschoolersWhile we recommend limiting screen time for preschoolers, there are a few game sites that can help them develop skills. Check out the following:
Keyboarding - Badges Available!
One of the fundamental skills needed for living and working in the 21st Century is keyboarding. We have established a school-based account on typing club. When students log in to the Benchmark portal, they view video lessons and then practice using the tutorials and games. Student account information will be sent home with children in grades 2-4. Progress is reported to Mrs. Krause. Students who earn badges will have some recognition in the Makerspace.
While touchscreens are relatively prevalent, it is still important to be able to use a mouse. These websites offer games and opportunities to use the mouse to contribute to science!
Scratch - Students learn to code using this block coding program designed by engineers at MIT. No account is required, but it is recommended so students can access their work from anywhere. Foundational block coding is combined with engineering and story telling. Games, graphics, and stories can be shared with the greater Scratch community, which provides real world application. In fact, a team of Benchmark students started learning Scratch in the Makerspace, and ended up developing several games and involved other classmates as testers - truly going through the software design process used in the real world. Check out some of their work here.
Participate in Real World Scientific Research
Citizen science offers the opportunity for families to participate in real scientific research by analyzing photographs. There are several different projects that are available to families. Some of them require a login, but many others do not. Checkout Zooniverse for a links to current projects.
General Research Projects
Sometimes a simple Google search returns material that is unreliable or inappropriate for kids. While Google is a powerful tool, it is useful to add the phrase "for kids" to any general Google search when you want results returned that are tailored to a children's audience. There are also some resources that are designed specifically for kids to get reliable information at their skill level. Here are a few websites that can help with that type of research:
The Benchmark Student Portal is available from home! Students can access links to things they have been working on such as Alecks, AR, Makerspace links, and Typing Club.