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I hope you are all doing as well as can be expected at this difficult time. Things at Braintastic! HQ are ticking over, as we try to support teachers and parents in any way we can.


As we all settle in to remote learning, now is a great time to think about how to mix things up, to keep kids as engaged as possible. Some of these will probably be familiar to you, but I wanted to share the psychology behind some top tips for online learning.


Repetition

The best way to help information pass from short to long term memory is to repeat it. So don’t be afraid to go over what you learnt yesterday at the start of the next day’s lesson- and maybe even the day after!



Spacing

The spacing of these repetitions is important too- the trick is to revise something just as you start to forget it. The more times you repeat something, the longer this spacing can become, so you might be able to revise the next day, then a week later, then two weeks… and so on. This is the best way to strengthen the connections between neurons, and make sure those memories stick for the long term.



Attention

We’ve all seen kid’s eyes glaze over as they begin to zone out, but if their attention wanders, they won’t be taking in the fascinating information you are telling them. And our attention spans are lower online than in person! To avoid this, try to vary the activities as often as possible- perhaps giving students problems to solve at various points throughout the lesson, rather than in a block at the end.



Gamification

Games are fun, and enjoyment improves attention. Can you give the students a challenge, pitting them against one another, or against the clock, to win points or prizes? These can be great ways of breaking up a class and keeping them engaged.



Screen time

We are all suffering screen fatigue at the moment, and it can be tough to provide students with time away from the computer, whilst keeping them learning. But letting them get hands-on, making or building something, can really help their learning.



If you are looking for something a bit different, Braintastic!’s online shows, workshops & science club can be a great way to give your students a change, and to give yourself a bit of a break! Our sessions include loads of interactive games and experiments to keep kids hooked, and we also have hands-on worksheets available, which help continue the learning offline after the show, including some we are offering for free- just head to our freebies page for details.


We are now taking bookings for Science Week, as well as through the rest of Easter and Summer terms- just get in touch to find out more.


Wishing you happy learning and, as always, stay curious!

Ginny & the Braintastic! Team

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Updated: Feb 3


2021 is finally here. It feels like a moment we have all been looking forward to for so long- hoping that it would bring with it a different set of circumstances, and some easier times. But sadly that hope hasn’t lasted long. Because, of course, a new year means nothing to a coronavirus- a tiny piece of RNA, wrapped up in a protein coat.


I do believe better times are on the horizon though. The vaccine is the solution, and I have been so pleased to see the beginning of the roll out. Hopefully, the vaccination of those most vulnerable will begin to bring down the death rate fairly quickly, and reduce the burden on the health services. But it is going to take some time before enough people have been vaccinated to truly allow us all to return to business as usual.


So, until then, we have to find ways to not just survive, but also thrive, despite the circumstances. But it’s not easy. When I heard the UK government had announced a change of plan just 12 hours before schools were due to re-open, my heart went out to the educators who had been working so hard to ensure their schools were as safe as possible, and to the parents forced into a last minute scramble to secure child care, or adapt their own work around their child’s remote learning



At Braintastic!, we want to help, and we have a developed range of resources that can help both parents and teachers with remote learning.


For families


For the duration of the lockdown, we are offering our online Sens-ational Science Club completely free for the families of key workers, and on a pay-what-you-can basis for everyone else. Just head to Families | Braintastic (braintasticscience.com) to make a free account, and you will get instant access to 6 activity-packed sessions all about your amazing senses. You will also find a button to make a donation to Braintastic! If you are able to do so, we really appreciate it, as it will help us continue to reach as many young people as possible.



For schools

All our shows are available virtually, and we are happy to adapt to deliver to a full classroom, or straight into pupil’s living rooms. We have worked hard to keep them as interactive and engaging as they are on stage, and students will be able to take part in experiments and activities however the shows are delivered.

We understand how hard it is to plan ahead at the moment, but we are currently taking bookings for this term, including Science Week in March, and are happy to agree the exact delivery method nearer the time. Just head to our website to see the shows & workshops we have available, or get in touch to discuss your needs.



And if the changes have you, or your kids or students feeling anxious, it’s important to remember this is a natural reaction to an unusual situation. Earlier in the pandemic I made this video with Elfyland Studios, but it applies as much today as it did then- please do share it with anyone else you think might find it useful.




Stay safe, and stay curious


Ginny and the Braintastic! team

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