If your home isn’t set up for baking-soda volcanos, papier-mâché or backyard cricket, but the kids are tearing the house apart in fits of cooped-up frustration, you don’t have to weather this storm alone.
While schools remain closed for some grades under Covid-19 restrictions, Museums Victoria has launched a platform of online education resources from Scienceworks, Immigration Museum and Melbourne Museum for teachers and parents to fill the home-learning gaps and keep kids entertained.
“I’ve spoken to a lot of parents recently who have young children, and they’re struggling to work from home whilst their kids are learning from home at the same time,” says Bridget Hanna, one of the education experts at Museums Victoria . Their team has created a 10-week, curriculum-aligned learning journey for students from kindergarten to high school. With these activities, Hanna says, students “don’t need the parents to be sitting there with them as they engage with the activities.”
The experiences are delivered through two streams, Museum at Home Learning – which was created with the school curriculum in mind– and Museum at Home Play. In the learning portal, students have access to videos; virtual tours of museum collections, with links to objects for further exploration; Melbourne Museum’s Field Guide app, which allows you to explore flora and fauna in your area; and workbooks to download and print. You can even stream IMAX documentaries for free. (And if you tell your kids they need to make their own 3D glasses with cardboard and clear cellophane to watch, that’ll kill at least an hour of boredom – they’ll never know, right?)
The Museum at Home Play portal is all about fun; filled with how-to videos and DIY activities. Students will find guides to everything from magnet making and experimenting with static electricity at home to drawing dinosaurs, making fanoos lanterns for Ramadan with a printable template, and designing cards to post to friends and family from isolation.
When restrictions were first put in place in March, Hanna’s team conducted a survey with teachers all around the state, asking them how Museums Victoria could support their remote teaching, and what would help students stay engaged from home. Hanna says the response was overwhelming, and the feedback since has been overwhelmingly positive.
“When looking through the data from our online resources we can see that students and teachers are engaging and interacting with our webpages, videos and workbooks which is exciting,” says Hanna.
After completing learning activities, students can submit questions online about that week’s topic. The museum staff then films its experts answering those questions, and posts the video on the portal at the end of the week. They can also document their at-home experiences by creating ‘exhibits’ as part of the Museum of Staying Home project.
And for when screen time is over, Museums Victoria has also stuffed its online shop full of toys, books, models and craft kits, which can be delivered straight to your door. Here are six available products that the Museums Victoria education experts at are loving right now:
The critically acclaimed book of groundbreaking research on First Nations’ agricultural practices, repackaged for young readers 10 and older.
DIY glow in the dark planets. Includes a wall chart and space facts so your child’s cheeky friends don’t have to loudly ask which one is Uranus.
Featuring ladybirds, beetles, spiders, butterflies and all manner of attractive insects, these illustrations, 3D puzzles and colouring pages are particularly suited to holing up in a corner with a bunch of pencils and textas and having some quiet time.
Cool and colourful wooden blocks to build mini-cities, motorways, or simply pile up until they fall over – always impressive to the parents.
A stack of wooden crocodiles that can pile-up on top of each other in all manner of shapes and sizes.
The original “Sad Otter” was a poorly taxidermied specimen first purchased by the Museum in 1884, and became a meme in the mid-2010s. These days it lives on in plush, comfy toy form.
Broadsheet readers will receive a 20 per cent discount on Museums Victoria’s online shop for the next two weeks. Just enter promo code: Museum@home at checkout.
Broadsheet is a proud media partner of Museums Victoria.