At this point, most teachers, parents, and school administrators have heard about pandemic-related learning loss. Learning loss, however, is nothing new. We face it every year when students break for summer vacation, and every summer, parents play a vital role in keeping their children academically engaged. Pandemic-related learning loss is no different. No matter how talented and dedicated teachers are, they cannot reverse learning loss alone. It takes a village.
At STEMscopes, we’ve always understood the importance of parent involvement. STEMscopes was designed with dozens of lessons and activities that include parents in their child’s education. Here, we’ll touch on a few that help parents mitigate learning loss from their household.
Real-World Connection Activities
People use math in daily tasks, from cooking to managing their day-to-day purchases. Math is so routine that sometimes we don’t even realize we are using it. That’s why we incorporated real-world connection lessons and activities into STEMscopes Math. These lessons and activities use everyday scenarios to demonstrate the relevancy of math.
In our fourth grade lesson “Add and Subtract Decimals,” for example, students add the volume of rainfall (represented in decimal form) from a tropical storm. Here is a portion of the instructions:
To make this activity a bit more hands on, parents can make a raincatcher with their children by cutting off the top of an empty milk jug or orange juice container and marking it with dashes representing inches. Set the jug or container in the open whenever you’re expecting a rainstorm and then the student can record the amount of rainwater. Don’t forget to empty it out every day! Real-world activities and lessons like this one will help mitigate learning loss by keeping the use of math familiar to students even outside the classroom.
This example of a real-world connection activity is just one of hundreds that parents can find on STEMscopes and do with their children at home during the school year and summer vacation.
To be involved in their child’s education, parents need to know what and how their children are learning. To this end, we’ve included a parent letter in each scope. The parent letter facilitates communication between teacher and parent by outlining learning objectives, teaching methods, key vocabulary terms, and more.
With this information, parents are much better equipped to assist their children and help them combat learning loss. Here is an example of a parent letter taken from the same decimal lesson:
Parent letters are also available in Spanish.
High Dosage Tutoring
A number of studies have found that high-dosage tutoring is one of the most effective ways to reverse learning loss. High-dosage tutoring involves extended one-on-one or small-group sessions, in which the tutor tailors instruction to one or two students and closely oversees their work, correcting mistakes as they solve problems and complete assignments. Typically, licensed teachers or new graduates conduct these sessions, but parents can also do them at their homes. Unfortunately, many school districts have yet to offer high-dosage tutoring.
For the uninitiated, tutoring can be daunting, and when you’re an adult, it’s hard to remember what you learned in your third-grade math class. STEMscopes Math has your back. Parents who want to offer their kids high-dosage tutoring themselves but need a refresher on certain math concepts have access to STEMscopes Math and all its resources. Here, parents can review lessons before tutoring their children. The parent letter is also a great resource for parents who want to fight learning loss with high-dosage tutoring.
We like to say that children are the future. What does our nation’s future—the world’s future—look like when our children must play catch-up constantly in school without ever catching up? Teachers address this challenge almost every day in the classroom, but the outcome will be much better if we all help, even in small ways. The help of parents will especially go a long way. Together we can fight learning loss and ensure that our children thrive.