Teaching Science during Pandemic

Author: Cristina Nicolaita

For every teacher, the Coronavirus lockdown came with a big challenge, which for me was Teaching Science during school closure. We had to reshape our teaching style, taking into consideration our students’ needs during these days. The current situation of not being able to meet each other in our classes is a huge change. Our educational ministry has sent us a “letter of recommendation”. However, it was mostly up to every teacher’s creativity, skills and motivation to guide our students that are learning online. Sharing experiences with other colleagues helped a lot, like here, on the 2020 STEM Discovery Campaign. This is why I would like to tell you about my experience, as a Physics and IT teacher.

Teaching Science online

My first concern was my students’ online security and how to make sure everyone in the online class feels comfortable. It is also important for everybody to understand the teaching material keeping their own individual pace. Being the eTwinning ambassador for a long time, I have already known the answer: eTwinning platform. With its great functionalities, it allows us to share resources, communicate and collaborate in a safe environment. It became a solution for my 6th – 8th grade students learning physics. Together with my colleague Marusia Gabriela Cobel, on 4 April 2020, we co-founded “The virtual class of Physics”.

About our virtual class

eTwinning virtual class of Physics

Following the national curriculum for physics, in the project, we used the TwinSpace tools. We also used some scientific videos and platforms for remote or virtual experiments. Padlet was used for collaborative work and KAHOOT! for online challenges that could be launched and kept open for a chosen period of time. I had met my students once a week via Zoom, under the supervision of their parents. I guided them while using the materials on TwinSpace and through the challenges they had to solve.

Students were very enthusiastic, happy to see their colleagues online, and eager to make something creative. They made some experiments at home, with domestic materials. Sometimes they were helped by their parents, posted their results on Padlet and solved the KAHOOTs. They could also comment on their colleagues’ posts, appreciating each other’s work, keeping the optimistic spirit.

For IT lessons it was a little easier as we have digital manuals already. In addition to that, I involved my students in lessons on Hour of Code and  Nextlab.tech

Collaboration with teachers

Being the eTwinning & Scientix ambassador and a teacher trainer for physics in my region, my second concern was to keep in touch with my like-minded colleagues, encourage helping each other during these challenging times. I kept connected with my colleagues through social media, on professional groups. I tried my best to share my experience which would help teaching science during school closure through the three most important activities.

eTwinning and Scientix ambassador activities

  • On the 11th of March was the first day of school lockdown in Romania. I took part as an expert, together with my colleague Cornelia Melcu, in an online event. It was named  eTwinning and Scientix: a friendship on the serve of eTwinners’.

    In this online seminar, the Scientix opportunities for eTwinners (teachers who are a part of eTwinning projects), including courses, workshops, webinars, campaigns, resources were presented. During the event, we took a closer look at the relationship between eTwinning and Scientix. We also tried to inspire eTwinners in developing STEM projects related to the annual topic – Climate Change and Environmental Challenges. More than 200 participants took place in this webinar.
  • On the 28th March, I took part in the 6th Unconference in the Creative Classroom Group in eTwinning. Teachers presented projects related to Climate Change and Environmental Challenges.

    My presentation was about our Erasmus+/eTwinning project ‘We are creating STEAM embassies in the European school network’. STEAM activities related to climate change organised in the frame of the project were presented to more than 400 participants.

Resources for teaching Science

Physics resource repository
Physics resource repository

First of all, this repository contains all ideas and platforms that can be used in virtual classes. Ideas for experiments with everyday materials that can be made at home are illustrated with pictures and videos. You can also find a collection of KAHOOT! physics tests I created. Also, some recommendations for online projects and courses to follow when in lockdown are included. I highly recommended my colleagues projects like Scientix and STEM Alliance, Edu-Arctic, ESA, Esero, Space Awareness, GoLabz, OSOS. Courses on European Schoolnet Academy and School Education Gateway, Teacher Academy are among the recommended ones as well.

More than 10 000 individuals viewed the items until now. It proves that this repository is interesting for many teachers. This is my humble contribution that hopefully will help other teachers. Take care, stay safe!

6 thoughts on “Teaching Science during Pandemic

  1. Absolutely amazing as always. I have actually checked them out 🙂 the Pearltrees and the public padlet today with my class though I don’t teach physics:) but they loved the ideas. It is a wonderful contribution, priceless for many many teachers. Big thanks.

    • Thanks, dear Sophia!
      Teachers are education’s first responders to this pandemic, so I am sure everybody did the best! Teachers went online, sometimes with little advanced notice, but this way millions of students are continuing to learn.
      So let’s keep up the great work!

  2. Thank you, dear Loredana! An English Language teacher fond of Science, what a great combination you are! Grateful for your comment! <3

  3. Your motivation, creativity and skills have partnered up once again, and have managed to make this lockdown period a fruitful one for your students, dear Cristina! And for other students and teachers as well, as I can see from the comments to your post. Stimulating work to say the least, lots of time invested in an amazing attempt to be useful and remain caring and encouraging! I especially like the use of Kahoot, and I persistently admire the recommendations for projects that can help other teachers with inspirational ideas in these challenging times. Superb effort, thanks for sharing!
    Daniela Bunea

    • Thank you for your nice words, my dear Daniela! Coming from such an experienced and dedicated teacher, they are even more meaningful! And, indeed, KAHOOT! is a great tool, the platform offers new free features to help teachers during school closure.
      Take care, stay safe! 🙂

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