A BetterWorldEd.org School and Homeschooling Unit
Learning About Coronavirus in School and for Homeschooling
To every educator, student, parent, and human learning about Coronavirus in school or at home:
We are living through a challenging situation, all across our world. This Coronavirus Academic Unit exists to be a learning resource, a learning hub, and a place where we can continue to love learning about self, others, and our world.
And where we can learn to love self, others, and our world — especially in these trying times for all of humanity. It’s an all (soap-washed) hands on deck kind of time right now. A time for us to Be WE, boldly.
Our team is here with you (virtually) and for you. If you or a loved one wants or needs help, Crisis Text Line is here for you.
with a socially distanced virtual hug,
your Better World Ed friends
Note: this unit contains links to Learning Journeys from BetterWorldEd.org. Some of these stories need a membership. If you’re a member already, look for green text sections in the unit. If you’re not yet, use code COVID19 for 50% off All Access plans. The fully free version of this unit is here.
What is Coronavirus (COVID-19)? Why does it matter to learn about this virus? What can we do to stop the spread of this virus? What are the perceptions, biases, and judgments about Coronavirus out there in the world today?
What are the things that make this virus unique? How might we practice compassion, empathy, critical thinking, and curiosity before judgment during this challenging time? How can we distance physically without distancing ourselves emotionally from one another? Are socially distanced virtual hugs possible? (Yes!)
How might we make this time into a deep learning experience, actionable both in the future and also in our present moments? Where might practices like mindfulness, meditation, empathy, kindness, and exercise fit into the mix? What about things like hand washing?
How do we do all of this in a way that ties into the goals we have in our daily lives, without putting EVERYTHING on pause? Is it possible? Can we still do math and literacy learning in the midst of all that is going on in our world? (Spoiler Alert: Yes!)
By the end of this unit…
We will have explored these big questions and more! We’ll see the challenges that Coronavirus (COVID-19) presents in different environments around our world, the ways humans are working to address those challenges through the obstacles and fears, and we will explore what we can do in our own lives to become as effective as possible in moving beyond Coronavirus.
Introduction to Coronavirus:
For School and Homeschooling
First of all…
If you are feeling sick, it is very important to be aware of how to best handle your situation. For your health and the health of those around you. In case you’re wondering how to go about any or all of the aspects of the path from sick to “in good health” again, check this CDC guide out.
Here are important resources from the World Health Organization (WHO)
Do you have questions you and your students want to dig into with us? Reach out and we can coordinate / heartstorm about it!
Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Situation
This map experience from the World Health Organization (WHO) provides us a visual view of the situation humans are experiencing globally during the Coronavirus pandemic.
As you’re exploring the map, want to chat about what “home” can mean in relation to location and emotional ties (while also practicing addition and subtraction)? Let’s learn with Latasha in the U.S. as she shares how our differences can impact our perspectives!
How Pandemics Spread
This TED-Ed video from 2012 explores what pandemics are, the history of them, and how they spread in our world today. Though not specifically focused on COVID-19, this video is particularly important for us to have a better understanding of disease and pandemics. A few questions to ponder and explore as/after you watch:
What makes the Coronavirus (COVID-19) unique or different, if anything? What is similar about it to past pandemics?
Why do pandemics spread, after all? How?
Exploring Disease with Crash Course
Write, Discuss, Reflect:
In this Crash Course video with John Green, we can explore (some parts of) the story of disease on our planet. This might be a fun and helpful thing to watch to explore some of the topics you and those around you can research and dive into further. Note: watch in advance to decide if this feels suitable for your students. This may be a video, depending on your context and grade level, for educators to use as a learning guide rather than a video to present to students.
Some questions to reflect on:
What have humans learned from past diseases and epidemics?
What have been some changes in the way humans have lived over time that can contribute / may have contributed to the growth in diseases spreading?
Some Big Reflection Questions
Think, Write, Heartstorm, Discuss:
1. What is Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
2. What kind of impact is COVID-19 having on humans across our planet in school and at home?
3. What is the impact COVID-19 has had on you and those close to you in school or at home?
4. Are there ways those around you can be of support to you? Are there ways you can be of support to others?
5. What are the ways in which all of us can work together to stop the spread of and mitigate the negative impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in School and at Home?
6. What are we curious about and eager to learn more about in relation to Coronavirus (COVID-19) in School and at Home?
How We Can Address Coronavirus Together in School and at Home
How Can We Protect Ourselves and Each Other? (part one)
This video is a quick resource from the World Health Organization (WHO) that is incredibly important, simple to understand, and is essential foundational information for all of us to have in our minds as we protect ourselves and others from Coronavirus both in school and at home.
Reflect and Discuss:
What are the ways in which you can change habits to prevent becoming infected, and to prevent spreading the virus?
What are the ways you can support others in your family or community?
How Can We Protect Ourselves and Each Other? (part two)
How can we prevent becoming ill with coronavirus (COVID-19)? Why does social distancing matter? How does the virus affect people who get it? This video dives into part of these questions, and the link below has more videos from the World Health Organization on basic protective measures against the new coronavirus.
Understand and Bust Myths
There are a lot of myths spreading about the coronavirus (COVID-19). A lot. This link talks about some of them in a simple, understandable way, with facts from a trusted source: The World Health Organization. If you are hearing mixed messages in your community, please check out this page to dig deeper into some of the myths that are spreading fast.
Looking for ways to have conversations about the role of the media and the importance of fact-checking information (while also engaging with fractions)? Johnfreeco discusses journalism and news sources in Thailand and Myanmar!
The Math of Social Distancing
Social distancing is important right now. It is hard, though very important for our safety as a species. In this article, Vox shows us the math of why it’s so very critical for humans to maintain social distancing efforts for the foreseeable future.
Math that can help us save lives together:
How many cases of coronavirus can we prevent from ever happening in ____ if we practice effective social distancing? Think of this at whatever level you prefer (community, town, country, planet) and pull from case counts in the WHO map in this unit.
Set up an equation for how to calculate the potential lives saved from effective social distancing.
MORE Math of Social Distancing!
Here’s some more powerful visual math on why social distancing matters oh so so so much.
Math that can help us save lives together:
How many cases of coronavirus can be prevented in X area around you (you can determine what X is and the population of X based on your situation) through effective social distancing? What kind of impact does this have on your/our healthcare system? How does coronavirus affect our schools?
Social Distancing Ideas
Craving some ideas for how to stay mentally, emotionally, and physically healthy while indoors? How about exercising mindfulness and trying out some yoga moves (while also practicing math ratios) with Taniya in India!
What are ways we can continue learning from everything around us, even outside of a traditional school setting? Let’s listen to Alex’s stories in Kenya (while developing our addition and place value skills)!
Want to use music as a creative outlet while exploring what keeps us motivated in times of uncertainty (alongside practicing multiplication and division)? Check out Irfan and his beatboxing skills in Indonesia!
Curious about maintaining time management when your schedule is shifting (as you explore units of measurement and time)? David shares how he balances efficiency and flexibility in Ecuador!
Coronavirus School Reading List:
This is not close to an exhaustive list, nor is it necessarily the best list out there. It is simply a list of readings we have found to be helpful in several ways, and we hope you will find them educational and useful for your school learning about coronavirus.
We have linked each article directly here:
Learning is better together (even if it’s over the phone or a video call these days). If you ever want to chat or keep learning more, you know where to find us (hint: bottom right corner of your screen). We hope you will continue to stay safe and keep learning about coronavirus in school and at home. Let’s stay safe together!
Being WE Even When We’re Not As Physically Connected
Excited to brainstorm ideas for supporting our communities? Let’s be inspired by Bernabela’s experiences with an elder program in Guatemala (while also learning about decimals)!
While being mindful of our own resource use and how it can impact others, are you curious about supply chains and how items get to your local store in the first place? Let’s learn from Norma’s experiences in Ecuador (while also practicing multiplication and division)!
How can we keep in mind the wide-spread, positive outcomes of our actions? Dayna discusses the ripple effect of kindness in the U.S. (while also engaging with measurements and data use)!