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Free science kits help Richmond students learn at home

Posted at 7:45 AM, May 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-27 07:45:45-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- An educational nonprofit called Blue Sky Fund is distributing 1,500 free home science learning kits for students at Richmond Public Schools. Those kits are being handed out at Richmond Public Schools' meal distribution sites.

Academic Program Manager Tanesha Powell said the goal of Blue Sky Fund was to continue to encourage learning by doing and experiencing, especially when it comes to the outdoors.

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The Blue Sky Fund typically gathers large groups of students together for field trips out in nature. But due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Stay at Home Order, and Richmond Schools closing early, Powell said typical programs haven't been possible.

But that hasn't stopped Blue Sky Fund from working to make learning interactive.

In late April, Powell said the nonprofit began distributing science kits geared towards K-5 students. Powell said the kits are filled with hands-on items like balloons, cotton balls, tape, rubber bands, cups, and more.

The two kits contain seven science activities each. Powell said they will continue to hand these kits out at meal distribution sites until the end of the school year.

"We want kids to know that learning goes beyond the screen," said Powell. "That everything you do and engage in is an opportunity to learn. And we learn by doing, much more than we learn by just reading or hearing. So when they have that hands-on experience, it’s much more likely to stick with them."

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In addition to the science kits, Blue Sky Fund is also creating online learning videos using #ThinkOutsideWithBlueSky.

Powell said these are simple online lessons that go hand-in-hand with the Science kits.

"During this time more than ever we know that connecting with the outdoors is something that we’re all doing in order to make it through this pandemic era," Powell said. "So connecting our students with outdoor spaces, continuing to keep them involved in their learning, and excited about connecting with nature, and understanding the healing powers of it is really important to Blue Sky Fund and RPS."

Videos are published on Blue Sky Fund's social media and YouTube page. Students who participate can post themselves doing the activities using #ThinkOutsideWithBlueSky.