Carnegie Mellon University

FREE Education Resources for Families

Great to use any time to motivate K-12 students and to extend learning!

Associated with Carnegie Mellon

This video activity series is designed to spark curiosity in young learners (and lifelong learners) as to how exactly computers work. Choosing to instead focus on computer hardware components instead of programming, viewers get a first-hand look at what parts make up their computers and how they work. Throughout the series two laptops are taken apart working from the outside to the inside, and each hardware component has it's own episode. When available, laptop components are compared to their desktop counterparts. 

Batteries

Hard Drive - Coming Soon!

Developed from a desire to share information about STEM Career opportunities with future generations of students and show them current research environments, this series hopes to bring new ideas to current middle and high school students. CMU undergraduate students who are performing research in CMU faculty member labs become autobiographers and tell about their experiences from middle school to the present focusing on the moments that helped carve their path to STEM fields of study. Faculty members also share their current research with viewers and discuss the potential real world impact that their focused efforts can have in any area. After viewing the interviews, walk through the faculty member’s lab and see highlights of what equipment students are able to use in a 360˚ lab tour that’s VR compatible.

New! Dr. Victoria Webster-Wood, Charli Ann Hooper, Allison Rojas, Mechanical Engineering

Dr. Stephanie Tristram-Nagle, Akari Kumagai, & Diamond Moody - Biological Physics

Dr. Rebecca Taylor & Charlotte Andreasen - Mechanical Engineering 

Amazing research is taking place at Carnegie Mellon!  You can learn about this work directly from College of Engineering Faculty!

OLI provides dozens of college-level courses and is used by students whose teachers choose our materials for class. But independent learners can learn with OLI, too.

DailyAsk Math Anything, with Po-Shen Loh

Dr. Loh is a Carnegie Mellon professor. In each 60-minute weekday live stream, Po-Shen Loh invites students, teachers, parents, and anyone interested in math to post math questions in the YouTube Live interactive chat. He will improvise mini-lessons around them, showing how mathematical reasoning is interconnected, and how learning to think creatively about math can actually simplify the task of learning math itself. He gives preference to questions in Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2, as they are the gateways to mathematical fluency.

Format. This stream is intentionally friendly and informal. Po-Shen Loh will pick out the most mathematically interesting questions in the chat in real time, and interact with the audience. None of the mini-lessons will be prepared in advance, to give the session a more lively feel.  You can also view previously presented sessions.

Next Show Times (all times USA Eastern)
Consistent Time: 4:00pm – 5:00pm
Days of Week: Monday – Friday

This daily stream will continue to operate based upon the level of interest, with the potential to expand in scope, again depending on interest.

THE ROBOT DOCTOR premiered Wednesday, May 6 at 7:30 pm on WQED-TV, and new episodes air every Wednesday through June 24.  Episodes are archived at http://www.wqed.org/therobotdoctor and http://www.robotwits.com/education  RobotWits LLC is a CMU spinoff company!

The limited series will introduce the basics of Robotics: the what, why, and how with examples, and provide take-home problems to solve.

 

Teachers from the Children's School share short, age-appropriate video lessons for young learners.  Topics include Dramatic Play, Story Time, Science and Outdoor Activities plus many others!

Students and faculty are learning and working remotely in the effort to combat the coronavirus. Recitals and performances have been canceled, but Carnegie Mellon's spirit of innovation lives on wherever you are!

In this running series, Play–In–Place, the talented artists of the School of Music are submitting performances recorded in their living rooms, porches, offices, back yards, or wherever they are sheltering in place.

You may also want to visit the School of Music's YouTube Channel to see more performances and to take a tour!

The Science Inquiry Lesson was developed by the ISP Tutor Project at Carnegie Mellon University. In this lesson, middle school students can learn science inquiry skills such as selecting a research question about Crystal Growth, conducting background research, creating a hypothesis and more. Requires some teacher/parent facilitation. Includes complete lesson plan for teachers/parents. Computer/laptop required. Chrome browser recommended.

-Can be done at home
-Best for grades 6-8
-Materials Needed Teachers: Computer, Internet
-Materials Needed for Students: Computer, Internet
-Aligned to Next Gen Standards

Alice is a FREE gift from Carnegie Mellon University, initially developed by Randy Pausch.

Alice is an innovative block-based programming environment that makes it easy to create animations, build interactive narratives, or program simple games in 3D. Unlike many of the puzzle-based coding applications Alice motivates learning through creative exploration. Alice is designed to teach logical and computational thinking skills, fundamental principles of programming and to be a first exposure to object-oriented programming. The Alice Project provides supplemental tools and materials for teaching using Alice across a spectrum of ages and subject matter with proven benefits in engaging and retaining diverse and underserved groups in computer science education.

Research has shown that Alice has a measurable positive effect on performance and retention in computer science education. The team has researched and published their findings in support of the increased retention of “at-risk” students in introductory computer science course when Alice is implemented. It has also been proven to improve up to a full letter grade outcomes in early computer science courses when implemented as a mediated transfer from Alice to Java.   Access How To, Lessons, Exercises and Projects.

Free language education – no hidden fees, no premium content, just free; choose from one of 35 languages for English speakers.  

Duolingo is a CMU spinoff co-founded by CMU alumnus and faculty member, Luis von Ahn, who now serves as CEO, and one of his doctoral students, Severin Hacker, who received his Ph.D. from CMU in 2014.

With Expii you can choose where, how and when you learn.

We love learning. We know everyone can love learning if you relate it to your unique interests. Expii is the free platform that embraces what makes us all individuals: our voices, experiences, and cultures. Through creative, fun, practical, and personal lessons you can have your own aha moment. No matter what your learning style, Expii has something for you.Experiment. Mess up. Try again. The journey is yours.

Expii was co-founded by Carnegie Mellon University's Ray Li (S'17) and Associate Professor of Mathematical Sciences Po-Shen Loh.

Explore robotics and computer science at home with our robots. No programming or technical expertise required to get started!  Participate in live classes, program remote robots, learn about books that can help you to learn about programmers, roboticists and engineers.

BirdBrain Technologies was founded by CMU Alumnus Tom Lauwers.

We love the book ENGINEERING BRIDGES by Pendred Noyce! The Gelfand Center has developed some activities to help students learn about bridges 

Here's a challenge that you can complete at home: with materials that you find around the house, make a 3D version of one of the TRUSS BRIDGES that are shown in the photo below.  Truss Bridges

The Dean's Office in the School of Computer Science has also compiled a list of educational activities for children.

Tours, Simulations, Webcams, Media

The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History virtual tours allow visitors to take self-guided, room-by-room tours of select exhibits and areas within the museum from their desktop or mobile device. Visitors can also access select collections and research areas at our satellite support and research stations as well as past exhibits no longer on display.

Founded in 2002 by Nobel Laureate Carl Wieman, the PhET Interactive Simulations project at the University of Colorado Boulder creates free interactive math and science simulations. PhET sims are based on extensive education research and engage students through an intuitive, game-like environment where students learn through exploration and discovery.

To help students engage in science and mathematics through inquiry, PhET simulations are developed using the following design principles:

Encourage scientific inquiry
Provide interactivity
Make the invisible visible
Show visual mental models
Include multiple representations (e.g., object motion, graphs, numbers, etc.)
Use real-world connections
Give users implicit guidance (e.g., by limiting controls) in productive exploration
Create a simulation that can be flexibly used in many educational situations

Visit the National Park Service main page to search for virtual tours of several different parks.  For example, start here to see sites in Yellowstone National Park.

Be delighted by the antics of our sea otters or mellow out to the hypnotic drifting of our jellies. With ten live cams to choose from, you can experience the wonder of the ocean no matter where you are.

 

HHMI BioInteractive brings the power of real science stories into tens of thousands of high school and undergraduate life science classrooms. Our stories anchor a variety of classroom resources based on peer-reviewed science.  Explore topics such as Lizard Evolution, Viruses, The Eukaryotic Cell Cycle -- and MANY more!

Join Boeing and Discovery Education on a mission to inspire the world through aerospace innovation with an exclusive virtual field trip to historic Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. This behind-the-scenes tour will introduce students to just a few of the amazing Boeing employees who are preparing to write the next chapter of space history with the launch of the Starliner/CST-100 spacecraft and the deployment of the Space Launch System (SLS).

NASA wants to be sure that every student, educator and lifelong learner has access to the resources and inspiration of NASA to continue their studies or enrich their ongoing journey. A this site you will find access to everything from formal lesson plans to amazing imagery and stories about how science and exploration are lifting our world. There will also be ongoing opportunities to chat and interact with scientists directly. 

In response to the spread of COVID-19 and the recommended practice of social distancing, the Frick is committed to providing virtual museum experiences for our visitors.  They've also included activities for children that  combine art and history.

Visit the Pittsburgh Zoo website to see the Cheetah Cam, Penguin Cam or listen to a PodCast. You can even control the cameras for 1 full minute!  Just look for the box on the right hand side of the screen -- ZOO TO-GO!

Travel the world virtually to see places like the Palace at Versailles in France or the National Museum in New Delhi, India.

Through 4 seasons of "The Fiona Show" you can meet Fiona, a baby hippopotamus that was born 6 weeks premature at the Cincinnati Zoo. She is the smallest hippo ever to survive. Follow her remarkable story that has lead her to become an international phenomenon.

Explore.org has links to dozens of livecams in categories such as oceans, birds, bears, Africa,  When clicking there is an option to provide an email address to subscribe to a newsletter that provides updates and featured live streams.

NOVA is the most-watched prime time science series on American television, reaching an average of five million viewers weekly. In addition to its weekly television broadcast, NOVA extends its award-winning science reporting both online and in classrooms, producing an extensive list of resources and original content—including short-form videos, science and education blogs—available on the NOVA website.

Covering the outer reaches of space to the tiniest microbes in our bodies, Science Friday is the source for entertaining and educational stories about science, technology, and other cool stuff.  Scroll to the bottom of the page to see archived stoies, sorted by category.

Founded in 2003, Science News for Students is an award-winning online publication dedicated to providing age-appropriate, topical science news to learners, parents and educators. Science News for Students is a publication of the Science News Media Group, which is a program of the Society for Science & the Public (SSP), a nonprofit 501(c)(3) membership organization dedicated to public engagement in scientific research and education. Science News for Students — which is free to use — helps to fulfill the Society’s mission by connecting the latest in scientific research to learning in and out of the classroom.

In Nature Changer  children choose an animal, and then play the game to help that animal find what it needs to survive. For example a frog is hunting for insects.

This game is aligned to the science disciplinary core idea  of Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms (LS1.C). As children are playing the game they are engaged in the following element: All animals need food in order to live and grow. They obtain their food from plants or from other animals. Plants need water and light to live and grow. (K-LS1-1).

 For more K-2 STEM games from PBS 

Homemade science is a collection of classroom tested ideas, suggestions, projects, and experiments that retired physical science middle school teacher has done over his 41 years as an educator. 

It’s lunch time and Tami, the golden lion tamarin, is hungry! Help Tami reach the delicious fruit by building a tower. But watch out! Other animals can cause Tami’s tower to topple over.

From the Smithsonian Science Education Center, Tami’s Tower: Let’s Think About Engineering is an educational engineering design game that will help teach your child how to design a solution to a problem using basic engineering design principles.

  • Aligned to educational science standards for kindergarten through second grade
  • Designed for emergent readers

If you have a library card you can check out books, magazines and audiobooks.  If you don't have a card, see how you can register online for a card!

The Natural Science Museum of Barcelona believes that science is vital for the sustainable management of biodiversity and ecosystems, and thus for the survival of the human race on this planet.

Check out BioExplora, where viewers can explore collections online, explore a 3D catalogue of
specimens, or manipulate an interactive biodiversity map!

Direct Instruction, Content Specific

Are you a parent or educator looking for home-based learning resources? The Pennsylvania Game Commission launched Wildlife on WiFi, a hub of conservation and wildlife-themed educational resources and lessons to support parents, students, and educators with home-based learning through the end of Pennsylvania’s academic school year.

The Game Commission's Wildlife on WiFi learning resources hub of activities, lessons, and content is grouped under three themes: Wildlife Science, Discover Backyard Wildlife, and Celebrate Pennsylvania Birds.

Educators at the Monterey Bay Aquarium have developed guided activities for parents, caregivers and educators to support children’s learning at home. They  hope the resources will help to encourage a sense of wonder and connection to the natural world, even in this time of turmoil.

With schools across the country closing their doors to restrict the spread of the COVID-19 virus, nearly 30 million students in almost every state are facing disruption to their daily education. NSF has long supported innovative STEM education programs that supplement classroom learning and draw from existing best practices in education theory. Here are a few activities for learners of all ages that can be practiced at an appropriate social distance.

Hungry for fresh, exciting science activities based in amazing phenomena? Science Snacks are hands-on, teacher-tested, and use cheap, available materials. Satisfy your curiosity without ever getting full.

Khan Academy offers practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard that empower learners to study at their own pace in and outside of the classroom. We tackle math, science, computer programming, history, art history, economics, and more. Our math missions guide learners from kindergarten to calculus using state-of-the-art, adaptive technology that identifies strengths and learning gaps. We've also partnered with institutions like NASA, The Museum of Modern Art, The California Academy of Sciences, and MIT to offer specialized content.

The National Science Digital Library provides high quality online educational resources for teaching and learning, with current emphasis on the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines—both formal and informal, institutional and individual, in local, state, national, and international educational settings. The NSDL collection contains structured descriptive information (metadata) about web-based educational resources held on other sites by their providers. These providers have contribute this metadata to NSDL for organized search and open access to educational resources via this website and its services.

Most resources in the library adhere to principles of Open Educational Resource (OER) access, although some resources are restricted to provider site membership, or may have a cost associated with them (indicated in the full record of the resource).

With the National Oceanic  and Atmospheric Administration’s Data in the Classroom, students use real-time ocean data to explore today’s most pressing environmental issues, and develop problem-solving skills employed by scientists. Access online and classroom-ready curriculum activities with a scaled approach to learning and easy-to-use data exploration tools.

Presentations look across the online collections of the Library of Congress to explore events and issues from U.S. history and beyond.

Many resources are available through the Energy Kids page!

Energy.gov also has a variety of resources for K-12 learners

Learning about the environment can be fun with the resources at this site!

NSTA asked their conference exhibitor community to share information about free online resources they are offering to help teachers and parents deal with the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz launched the first phase of Math, Science & Music in 2016 as a new initiative that uses music as a tool to teach math and science to young people in public and private schools around the world. The program addresses the growing need for students to gain skills and acquire knowledge in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects and learn to think creatively. The Institute is collaborating with math, science, music and education experts at leading universities and in the private sector to develop a wealth of free engaging curricula, games, apps and other interactive online components.

STEAM Squad is a citizen science workbook curriculum developed with the aid of a National Science Foundation grant. The grant was commissioned by a citizen science research team, including Rob Dunn at North Carolina State University and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. The STEAM Squad explores topics like evolution, pollution, and animal communication through the lens of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math problems geared toward the US Common Core curriculum for sixth graders (though grades 5-8 may all be able to enjoy the activities). This team has partnered with Zooniverse and other great institutions to provide topic-related, people-powered projects for folks of all ages.

Search for a variety of types of resources by grade and subject!  There are hundreds of resources available!

The "We Are Teachers" group has compiled a list of FREE learning resources. They are grouped, generally, by grade band (elementary, middle or high school).   Many of the sites that are listed have always been free while others have provided or have extended the length of free trials to allow children to access the content.

Outdoor activities suggested by the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources:  

The Math Learning Center, which grew out of a project funded by the National Science Foundation, is committed to offering free tools, materials, and other programs in support of our mission to inspire and enable individuals to discover and develop their mathematical confidence and ability.  Free Math Apps, lessons, and books can be downloaded!

The Salvadori Center has developed a series of FREE Project-based STEM lessons.  These are designed for teachers to share with their class - but can also be downloaded and completed at home.  New challenges wil be released every week.

Any teacher can receive or access the free lessons by signing up for the email list - send a message to thecenter@salvadori.org and ask to be added.

Students learn through a project-based approach.  They apply new knowledge to a real-world challenge.

In 2007 Erikson Institute launched the Early Math Collaborative to increase the quality of early math education.

For example, when children play The Hoop Game they get to explore the part-part-whole relationships within a given number of beanbags. Taking apart and putting together numbers in flexible ways is an important foundation for later number operations.

Start with a small set of beanbags, no more than 5 or 6. Each child gets to toss the beanbags one by one into the hoop. How many land inside the hoop? How many land outside of the hoop? How many beanbags in all? Each round gives children practice seeing and naming smaller parts of a total number in a variety of ways. 

There are more PreK-2 games like this

Statistics in Schools: K-12 Activities :  Find activities specially designed to be engaging and appropriate for your students' grade level, from counting for kindergarteners to examining career statistics for high schoolers. Each activity also teaches your students about the importance of a complete count in the 2020 Census.

See Scholastic’s Learn at Home website.

This free resource provides children with 20* days of exciting articles and stories, videos, and fun learning challenges. Children can complete them anytime, in any order. They can work on their
own or together with you and your family.

The active learning journeys are available on any device and will provide children with up to
three hours’ worth of exciting learning experiences per day. They can go on virtual field trips,
meet best-selling authors, or dig deep into a topic they love.

See THIS PAGE for experiments that you can do with things that you find around the house!