In a typical school year, Maryland-based nonprofit Learning Undefeated serves over 50,000 K-12 students with immersive STEM learning onboard its fleet of mobile laboratories: tricked out trucks, shipping containers and busses that bring life-changing STEM experiences right to the school parking lot. But when the organization had to park its mobile labs due to COVID-19, Learning Undefeated quickly pivoted to developing hands-on digital experiences that would keep students and teachers connected with STEM subjects while learning at home.
Bolstered by a donation from the AT&T Foundation, Learning Undefeated’s professional STEM educators developed sixteen standards-aligned distance learning bundles for middle and high school teachers that combine laboratory investigations, multimedia STEM resources, collaborative assignment tools, and interactive assessments. Called Anywhere Labs, lesson topics range from engineering to computational thinking to genetics.
“Directly as a result of an AT&T Foundation grant, Learning Undefeated has doubled our student impact this school year,” said Brian Gaines, Learning Undefeated CEO. “We are thrilled by the response to our high-quality, free STEM resources: to date, Learning Undefeated’s hybrid learning program has reached nearly 100,000 students in all 50 states plus Washington, DC and Puerto Rico. The digital learning program has amplified our impact in ways we couldn’t have imagined, and the demand just continues to grow.”
Lessons are aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), currently in use in 22 states, and the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). More than a quarter of students and teachers participating in the hybrid learning program are located in the Mid-Atlantic region, including 15,000 Maryland students and over 1,000 students in Washington, DC.
“We wanted to ensure that students wouldn’t lose interest in STEM subjects just because they weren’t in a classroom with teacher interactions and engaging presentations,” said Jennifer Colvin, Vice President of Education. “Laboratory investigations and a collaborative learning community are critical to students’ acquiring and retaining new knowledge, and our hybrid resources provide exciting new ways to interact with STEM while learning at home. An engaging hands-on approach reinforces students’ STEM identity, empowering them to feel confident with STEM subjects and enabling their path to a STEM career.”
In addition to the Anywhere Labs educator resources, Learning Undefeated also created more than 30 At-Home Science videos short video experiments designed for K-12 students to do at home, using household materials. The video series was specifically created to replicate the experience of hands-on investigations, which so many students have missed out on during the pandemic. More than a third of the At-Home Science videos include expanded digital lesson materials: learning objectives, student handouts, and extension ideas.
All content is available online for free to teachers, parents, and caregivers in any US state or territory. The distance learning resources can be accessed and downloaded at http://anywherelabs.org.
Anywhere Labs are made possible by support from AT&T’s Distance Learning and Family Connections Fund. This fund was developed to give parents, students and teachers tools they need for students to succeed in a digital learning space. The fund also provides resources to maintain meaningful connections and bonding opportunities for those physically isolated from family and friends.