The District brings free, hands-on lessons to your classroom with our education programs. All of our programs are aligned to state standards and conducted by a licensed teacher. Check out the programs we currently offer here.
If your students are learning at home, consider booking a Virtual Visit. Our Virtual Visits are designed to bring the same high-quality, engaging lessons to students that our Classroom Programs do, except from the safety of students’ homes. Virtual Visits are typically conducted via Google Meet, but we can deliver these programs through the platform of your choice. Virtual Visits can also be delivered as a prerecorded screencast that your students can participate in at their own pace. Materials for hands-on activities are things students most likely have around the house, but the District can provide them in the form of student kits upon request. Check out what Virtual Visits we offer here.
It's Complicated: Exploring the Relationship between People and the Environment- Haywood Soil and Water is offering a free, in person PD for formal and non-formal educators titled "It's Complicated". During this professional development, science and social studies teachers will learn best practices for increasing student understanding of the complex relationship humans have with the environment, particularly the atmosphere. Topics teachers will explore include impacts and management of natural disasters (past, present and future), local and global air quality issues, best management practices for the conservation of natural resources, and how to make these topics relevant for students. Dr. Joseph Harris, Assistant Professor of Emergency and Disaster Management at Western Carolina University, and Keith Bamberger, Information and Communication Specialist for the NC Department of Environmental Quality, will be hosting breakout sessions. Register here before July 9, 2021. Attendees will receive more detailed information closer to the event. Teachers will receive a certificate eligible for CEUs for attending.
We All Live in a Watershed- Haywood Soil and Water is offering a free, virtual PD for formal and non-formal educators titled "We All Live in a Watershed". It is a self-paced module on Google Classroom. The purpose of the PD is to give educators who teach about watersheds a toolbox of educational activities they can use for in-person or remote instruction. Upon completion, participants will receive a certificate that can be used for 0.5 CEUs or 5 EE credits. The PD is open to anyone in the state. To join use this link or go to Google Classroom and use the code "wostly5".
Digital Learning Resources
Below is a list of our favorite resources for digital learning. These resources are easy-to-use and engaging to students across grade levels; they are great to use in the classroom or for distance learning.
Steve Spangler Science- From the Steve Spangler Science team comes a library of easy, accessible experiments for students. Make a density column, build a simple motor, and shrinking a chip bag are examples of the hands-on experiments that comprise the library. These resources are free and use household items, making it easy (and cheap) to engage your students in science learning!
Google Arts & Culture- Google Arts & Culture is a vast resource that your students (and you) will enjoy exploring. Complete a virtual puzzle with a friend, explore art galleries around the world, take a VR tour of a space shuttle, bring marine mammals to life with augmented reality and so much more! Google Arts & Culture will take you to over 10,000 famous places in street view, allow you to view over 100,000 pieces of artwork in high definition and grant you access to 2,000 museums around the world. The site also includes a variety of games, activities and experiments to engage viewers.
Edpuzzle- This is an excellent teaching tool! An “edpuzzle” is an informational video with embedded questions (multiple choice, short answer, checkboxes, etc.). Edpuzzle’s library is full of great videos that already have questions, or you can make your own by picking out a video and adding your own questions. Post the edpuzzle directly to Google Classroom. Edpuzzle also makes it incredibly easy to grade students’ responses; they even automatically grade multiple choice responses. Pro tip: make sure you indicate that students cannot skip the video and go straight to the questions.
PhET- PhET is a collection of online science simulations for students. Simulations are broken down by subject matter and many have teacher-submitted activities that you can use. You can also create your own activity to use with the simulation. Gizmos is another similar option for science simulations.
NASA STEM Engagement- NASA understands the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education to the breakthroughs that the organization has accomplished. NASA STEM Engagement provides tools to young people and teachers to foster the next generation of scientists. Check out their website for hands-on activities, games and challenges that can be done in the classroom or at home. These resources include lesson plans for K-12 educators and are a great way to get students building, creating and problem-solving
Newsela- Newsela offers a plethora of credible articles on a variety of subjects. You can choose articles and “assign” them to students. Newsela allows students to choose their lexile level, so articles are tailored to their abilities. This is a great tool to get your students reading, especially while libraries are closed.
Quizlet- Quizlet offers a variety of learning activities that students can access from multiple devices, including their phone. Teachers can create “sets” for each unit that covers important concepts and vocabulary for that unit. Students then practice the set through multiple activities of their choice including games and flashcards. Pro tip: Connect Quizlet to your Google Classroom to easily share sets with students and to track student activity. You will be able to see who has completed what activities.
GooseChase- GooseChase is an app that teachers can use to create scavenger hunts for students. Teachers create the scavenger hunt by putting together “clues” then share the code with students (who will also need to download the app). Students can take pictures and write text to respond to the “clues”. GooseChase is an engaging way to hold students accountable for what they are learning, especially during a field trip. This can be a great tool to help reinforce what you have taught in the classroom while students are at home. Pro tip: create clues that are review for concepts and vocabulary that students have already learned (i.e. take a picture of an amphibian or take a picture of a primary air pollutant).
Hyperdocs- Hyperdocs can be an excellent way to get students learning about a new topic (if they have internet access). Gather links to various web resources and create questions that will get students exploring those resources. Here is an example of a hyperdoc. Pro tip: Create your hyperdoc in Google Docs. When you assign the hyperdoc on Google Classroom, indicate that you want to “make each student a copy”. Google will automatically make each student their own copy of the hyperdoc that they can type their answers in and “turn in” to you on Google Classroom.
Virtual Museum Tours and Zoo Webcams- Stay at home and visit some of the most famous museums, zoos and aquariums in the world. Check out some of the museums that participate through Google here. The National Zoo and the Georgia Aquarium have several live webcams you can watch from home. Provide students with a guiding worksheet or follow up questions.
Google Earth- This is such a fun tool to explore for kids and adults alike! Once you click the link, select "launch Earth" to access a wealth of resources. Choose "Voyager" from the menu, which is denoted by the helm of a ship. Your student can explore Earth’s geography through 3D tours of cities, engaging games like Where on Google Earth is Carmen Sandiego, and ready-made lessons. This resource encompasses literature, language, geography, science, culture and more. Be prepared to have some fun!
Khan Academy- Created by a father helping his kids with school work, Khan Academy is a collection of educational screencasts (basically lectures) on just about every topic. This resource has evolved over the years to be a comprehensive, go-to remote learning tool for many educators and students. Access to Khan Academy videos can also be found on YouTube.
Breakout EDU- Breakout EDU is an immersive learning game platform that brings the escape room to the classroom. Breakout EDU games challenge students to apply content knowledge to open digital "locks" while practicing creative and critical thinking, problem solving, and collaboration skills. The platform may take some getting used to, so watching a tutorial is recommended. Here is a great one to start with! Games span all grade levels and subjects
TEDEd- TEDEd is a diverse library of high-quality educational video lessons for grades K-University. TEDEd’s content ranges all subjects including science, art, business and literature. TEDEd is currently offering free access to their library and families can sign up to receive daily lessons via email that have been put together by experts, teachers and TED speakers specifically for this period of at-home learning.
NCSU The Science House Express- NCSU’s Science House is offering new K-12 virtual STEM learning content for parents, teachers and students. Each week, the Science House will release selected science resources for teachers and parents (on Mondays), a virtual K-12 science activity for students (on Wednesdays), and interviews with expert scientists (on Fridays). Each week’s content will have a different theme. The first week’s theme is rocket science. Check out their Facebook for even more information.
ecoEXPLORE- Looking for a way to get your kids outside? ecoEXPLORE is the NC Arboretum’s citizen science initiative that uses an incentive system to get K-8 students outside exploring. Students sign up to participate online, go outside (their backyard or neighborhood works perfect) to find wildlife species, and snap a picture of what they find. Participants share their pictures and data on their online profile. Participants can earn badges and get on the leader board the more they explore. Get started by going to the ecoEXPLORE website.