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News Release

3 Nov 2020

VAI now creating Customized Virtual Science Experiences

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To better assist teachers and parents throughout the 2020–2021 school year, Van Andel Institute for Education is offering customized virtual science experiences to supplement student learning. The continued presence of COVID-19 has forced educators to modify lesson plans to include both virtual and blended learning options. It also has meant that teachers are having to focus more than ever on the subjects included on standardized tests (namely reading and math), with little to no time left for science instruction. VAI hopes that by supplying these engaging, hands-on experiences, we can help alleviate some of the pressure while simultaneously inspiring students to exercise their curiosity, creativity and critical thinking skills.

This new offering is perfect for teachers who aren’t able to find the time to create meaningful, engaging science experiences, or parents who want to ensure their children are prepared for the future. VAI educators will lead students in inquiry-based investigations where students will ask questions, collect data, and discover answers while utilizing a variety of scientific methods, tools, and resources.

If you’re thinking this means more screen time, think again. These activities are designed to get students up, moving, and conducting their own investigations right from their living rooms. Best of all, they give teachers back some time — a scarce resource during pandemic teaching!

How It Works:

  1. Students connect virtually with VAI instructors to set a learning purpose and introduce the experience.
  2. The students then step away to conduct their own investigations. (Don’t worry, we don’t leave! We’re there to answer any questions.)
  3. They then reconnect to engage with other students and reflect on their learning.

Each Virtual Experience Includes:

  • A hands-on, inquiry-based investigation customized for the teacher and aligned to science standards
  • A kit for every student with all the materials needed to conduct the investigation
  • Half-day experiences include a virtual tour of one of Van Andel Institute’s research labs and a conversation with a real VAI scientist!

If you know teachers or parents who might like to take advantage of this offering, please share this with them. They can simply let us know their goals and time constraints, and we will work with them to create an affordable, virtual science experience that meets their needs and sparks their students’ desire to learn!

Price for a virtual science experience is $10 per student, with a minimum of $200 per group. Virtual Science Experiences require a minimum of 12 students. To get an estimate, contact our Student Programs Manager, Randy Schregardus, or fill out this form. To learn more about VAI’s Customized Virtual Science Experiences, visit vaei.org.