So you’re in quarantine, and you’ve got kids playing too much Roblox while the school system scrambles to put digital learning in place. Even for families with experience educating at home, it can be a daunting task coming up with learning experiences to fill a student’s day, especially with most public libraries closed during the COVID-19 crisis. While television is not the cure-all for the problem, a nice educational program, perhaps one that includes instructional materials, could be just the thing to fill in the instructional gaps and give flustered parents a little break from playing teacher.
We’ve listed here our favorite educational television program in each of the main subject areas: math, science, language arts, and social studies. Most of these are available via PBS and are often presented along with materials for follow-up lessons. There’s obviously a lot more out there for the elementary set than any other age group, but we tried to include programming that could appeal to a wide variety of grade levels broken down by subject.
Math: Genius by Stephen Hawking
In the opening credits of Genius by Stephen Hawking, the titular physicist says, “I believe that anyone can answer big questions for themselves.” This show takes the questions we all ask such as “Can We Time Travel?” and “Where Did the Universe Come From?” and turns them into the episode titles designed specifically to explore those ideas through practical demonstrations, commentary from experts, and the interaction of three so-called “regular people” that act as the audience’s proxy. The large-scale experiments and incredible stunts will appeal to students of many ages as they come to grips with molecular biology, astrophysics, and even Hawking’s speciality, quantum mechanics.
Genius by Stephen Hawking was produced in 2016 but is currently available to stream through your PBS station and is free to Amazon Prime subscribers.