Professional Learning

Teaching About Coronavirus, Epidemics, Pandemics

Summary:

News media and online educational tools are pulling together items from their collections to support educators and the public in learning about and teaching about the pandemic and related topics. Here is a starter list of what will certainly be a growing collection as more and more curriculum providers create materials.

Resources for Everyone to Learn (including us)

Coronavirus vocabulary: Dictionary.com has a basic list of words and definitions that are helpful to students in understanding the news about coronavirus. NPR has an expanded list with a fuller discussion of the context for the significance of the term.

News and explainers: PBS Learning Media’s landing page for the coronavirus is gathering explainers and news items. More and more journalists are writing basic explainers that would work well with young people. For example, this piece at the Washington Post walks through a great analogy that explains why everything looks fine until it’s not. That’s because the virus spreads “exponentially”—a key concept to understand. If you want to go deeper than the Washington Post piece, try this one from The Conversation: Coronona cases are growing exponentially: Here’s what that means.

Data displays: New data displays, infographics, and visualizations are starting to pop up as well, often with a focus on modeling infection patterns and spread. The Washington Post has been especially attentive to using and explaining models. See, for example, Why Outbreaks Like Coronavirus Spread Exponentially, which has a spread simulator, and How Epidemics Like Covid-19 End.

Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center: Johns Hopkins University is currently maintaining the most authoritative data dashboard for COVID-19 data and modeling along with basic information and FAQs.

Article collections: Aggregators and curation sites are working to produce “best of” lists to collect long-form pieces that are high quality and credible. Here’s a collection page from Pocket.

Materials made for use in teaching

Teaching resources: The New York Times Learning Network has pulled together a wealth of resources, information and teaching ideas, including a moderated posting space for teens and access to some of their best reporting on the virus.

Courses: Coursera has opened up a full course called Science Matters: Let’s Talk About COVID-19, offered by the Public Health Department at the Imperial College of London.

Science examples: NSTA members can access the NSTA collection relevant to coronavirus, but for those who are not members but would like to see what those lessons would be like, edweek.org has published some examples. NIH has an example lesson about the spread (PDF) of infectious diseases that has set the pattern for lesson adaptations like this one about viruses specifically, or one at PBS NOVA about the 1918 Flu.

For younger students: The National Association of School Psychologists has produced a Parent Resource on Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and the New York Times Parenting blog produced How to Talk to Kids About Coronavirus. There are also Infographics on washing hands in order to Stop The Spread of Germs Infographics in English and in Spanish: Detenga La Propagación De Los Microbios in Spanish, all by the California Association of School Administrators.

And speaking of/in Spanish: Colorin Colorado has a collection of Bilingual resources in English and Spanish.