During the COVID-19 crisis, teachers, parents and schoolchildren around the country have quickly adapted to navigate a unique set of challenges, in a world of virtual classrooms and social distancing.

In many circumstances, children and young people have been greatly impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. One report from Ofsted highlighted the worst-case scenarios, reporting that some school children had lost basic skills and learning as a result of school closures caused by the pandemic.

Now more than ever, the support Amazon provides to teachers, parents and young learners can help maintain and accelerate learning and development.

John Boumphrey, UK Country Manager, Amazon says:

“After a disruptive year of COVID-19 related school closures and distanced learning, we wanted to support families by providing free and easily-accessible educational resources to help young people keep learning while having fun over the school holidays. At Amazon, we are passionate about education and learning, so we have brought charities and educational institutions together to expand our free Maths4All programme, and our Amazon Future Engineer challenges provide a fun way to learn and get a head start with computer science and coding.”

Here’s a round-up of our free STEM learning opportunities for available to young people in the UK.

Maths4All now available for secondary school students

From this week, we have expanded our Maths4All storefront beyond the free resources for primary-aged children to offer free maths learning resources for secondary school students.

Maths4All provides students with hundreds of free games, apps, maths challenges on Alexa, worksheets for Kindle and Fire Tablets, and caters for a range of ages, learning styles and abilities. We are proud to have teamed up with a host of maths experts to deliver these high-quality resources, including The Open University, Conquer Maths, White Rose Maths, Dr. Frost Maths and Cazoom Maths.

Jamie Frost, who runs the online learning platform Dr. Frost Maths, and has contributed a number of original secondary resources to Maths4All, said: “I want to engage students in a way that is relevant to their interests and their lives, as this is the best way to encourage students to consider further study in these subjects. Our passion and enthusiasm as teachers plays a key role in developing world-class learning resources.”

Check out free secondary maths resources in Amazon’s Maths4All storefront.

Maths4All continues to help primary school students enhance their learning

Maths4All was first launched this year for primary school students, just in time for the summer holidays. The storefront is designed to help parents, teachers and young learners to find free, curriculum-linked learning resources from trusted sources – all in one place. Part of Amazon’s response to the challenges of school closures and reduced capacity during the pandemic, the resources have been created in collaboration with a host of experts, including academics at leading universities working on initiatives such as the University of Cambridge’s Millennium Maths Project and University College London’s ScratchMaths.

Other content creators include Mathematics in Education and Industry (MEI), NRICH, White Rose Maths, Times Table Rock Stars and CGP Books.

We really do need to help people to be more comfortable with maths. That’s why I’m so excited to be working with Amazon to make quality learning resources more accessible!
Professor Dame Celia Hoyles, University College London

Check out free primary maths resources in Amazon’s Maths4All storefront.

The Cyber Robotics Challenge

Amazon has also launched the Cyber Robotics Challenge to provide students with a free, three-hour virtual challenge to learn the basics of programming. Recommended for anyone aged eight and above, young learners are asked to code an Amazon Hercules robot to deliver a friend’s birthday present on time.

The fun, engaging challenge is hosted virtually by Fernanda and Jacques, two Amazon Future Engineer apprentices, who will guide the student through the challenge and teach them about their computer science journey.

This challenge is the first of its kind and teaches students coding and computer science in a real-world setting.

Try the Cyber Robotics Challenge today!

Home schooling hacks with Amazon devices

Alexa device sat on top of white desk
Amazon Alexa device

We know that learning can be trickier at home and we want to make it easier, fun, and more varied. Here’s what you can find on Amazon devices:

A selection of fun, educational apps are available for free on Fire Tablets, with a wide variety of content for all ages, including Meet the Numberblocks! and many more to help keep children entertained while learning at home.

There’s plenty of helpful content to choose from for older children too, with maths help from Mathletics Students and opportunities to become a times table wizard with Times Tables Rock Stars.

With Alexa, you can also open the skill ‘Maths Coach’, which helps your mathematical brain stay active with five levels of difficulty. To get started, use a phrase like:

  • “Alexa, ask the Maths Coach to start a test” or “Alexa, ask the Maths Coach for a hard addition test”.
  • For some light-hearted learning you can also ask “Alexa, tell me a fact about maths?”, “Alexa, tell me a joke about maths” or “Alexa, rap about pi”.

Maths4All has a dedicated section full of free Alexa maths apps, games and challenges for all ages that you can try today.

Amazon Longitude Explorer Prize

A sketch in purple and orange robotic fish for an Amazon competition entry
Entry from the Amazon Longitude (last year's prize: robotic fish that remove plastic from the ocean)

The Amazon Longitude Explorer Prize, delivered by Nesta Challenges, calls on young bright minds to put their passion for STEM subjects to the test by creating and developing technological innovations to help solve some of the world’s biggest issues.

The programme aims to reach students aged 11-16 across the UK and hopes to provide young people from all backgrounds with an introduction to the possibilities of entrepreneurship in STEM.

The prize helps teachers easily incorporate key themes into lesson plans by providing an array of free online resources which are aligned with the school STEM and Citizenship curricula and adapted to the classroom restrictions schools currently face. Download the Team Champion support pack, designed especially for teachers, group leaders and educators who work with young people, to get started with materials including lesson plans, judging criteria and key curriculum links.

Last year’s prize saw more than 800 young people compete in teams from across the UK, with ideas ranging from robotic fish that remove plastic from the ocean to drones that enable Wi-Fi access in disaster zones. Among those finalists, 93 percent said they would like to pursue a career in STEM as a result of taking part.

The deadline for entries to the Amazon Longitude Explorer Prize is Friday 12th February – find out more and apply here.

Amazon Future Engineer: free virtual coding programmes

Blue picture of a cartoon shark and cat for Amazon coding class Dance Party
Hour of Code Dance Party in action

Amazon Future Engineer is our comprehensive childhood-to-career programme designed to inspire, educate and enable children and young adults from lower-income backgrounds to try computer science.While many schools were closed due to COVID-19 earlier this year, Amazon Future Engineer launched free virtual coding programmes to help young people build computer science skills while learning at home.

Free resources include Hour of Code: Dance Party, an interactive dance-themed online coding tutorial which gives students the opportunity to build their computer science skills and have some fun coding characters to dance to songs from leading artists.

Our Amazon Future Engineer programme includes opportunities for students from lower income backgrounds aged 18+ to apply for apprenticeships and university bursaries.

We’re also working with education charity Teach First to support the recruitment and training of 50 secondary school computer science teachers and over 200 Teach First ‘Careers Leaders’, a programme run by the charity which helps leaders in schools develop a long-term school-wide careers strategy.