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Free online education program launches for Arizona students

(Getty Images/Omar Marques)

PHOENIX — Parents and teachers have had to think of creative ways to educate and entertain their students since Arizona schools were shut down due to the coronavirus.

The new online Wide Open School program aims to make that easier.

Now, you can do a science project with your second grader using Exploratorium. Take your sixth grader on a “field trip” with a live video feed from the San Diego Zoo. Practice meditation with your high school student using the Khan Academy.

Common Sense, a nonprofit education program, launched Wide Open School on Tuesday to give parents, students and teachers free access to leading online education material.

The program has partnered with leading education brands including PBS, Sesame Workshop, Khan Academy, National Geographic and Noggin, said Ilana Lowery, the Arizona director for Common Sense Media

“We’ve brought together a very unique group of partners to pull this off,” she said.

Wide Open Schools offers a variety of lessons and projects ranging from typical school subjects like math and social studies to outside growth lessons including improving life skills and emotional well-being.

Lessons are split between age groups pre-K through fifth grade and grades six through 12. In doing so, the model gives parents and teachers a way to easily plan out activities for their kids.

“They can quickly and really easily sort of map out their day and their week even with a real balance of academic and other activities,” Lowery said. “It’s very high-quality, vetted choices … The goal is to keep kids learning, entertained, and then both physically and creatively engaged.”

Just because your kid isn’t at school doesn’t mean they can’t be learning.

With Wide Open School, parents and educators can find an abundance of lessons in one spot at no cost.

“It really streamlines what would otherwise be a really arduous process for parents who are so overwhelmed right now,” Lowery said.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Ali Vetnar contributed to this report.

For all articles, information and updates on the coronavirus from KTAR News, visit

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