Children’s Questions, Worries, and Information Needs Over the Course of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Research Summary

Wednesday, June 9, 2021
Resource Type:
Report | Reference Materials
Environment Type: 
Media and Technology, Broadcast Media, Websites, Mobile Apps, and Online Media
Elementary School Children (6-10) | Middle School Children (11-13) | Pre-K Children (0-5) | Museum/ISE Professionals | Evaluators
Health and medicine
Science Museum of Minnesota

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, caregivers were seeking out information to address the questions, worries, and information needs their children had about this unique moment in their lives. Our NSF-funded RAPID research project has helped to uncover some of these questions, worries, and needs by talking to caregivers of listeners of the children’s science podcast Brains On!. This aspect of our research was guided by two overarching quesitons: 

  1. What kinds of worries and questions do Brains On! listeners have about the coronavirus and related aspects of the pandemic? How do children’s worries and questions change over the course of the pandemic?

  2. What resources do caregivers need to answer children’s questions and help them understand science topics related to the pandemic?

The first phase of our research gathered data from children and their families in June 2020. Our data sources included a listener survey and children’s questions submitted to Brains On! or posted on Brains On!’s Facebook page.  The second phase of our research was a listener survey in January 2021. 

Our research revealed important insights into the kinds of questions children were asking at the beginning and a year into the pandemic, the worries they had at these two timepoints, and the types of support caregivers needed in order to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic with their children. This Research Summary provides an overview and comparison of some of our findings from these two key time periods of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We hope our research findings can inform the development of coronavirus-related educational resources responsive to the information and learning needs of families during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as help create educational resources that are adaptable to future global crises.

Funding Program: 
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Team Members

Amy Grack NelsonPrincipal Investigator
Evelyn RonningCo-Principal Investigator
Choua HerChoua HerCo-Principal Investigator
Zdanna KingAuthor
Juan Dominguez-FloresJuan Dominguez-FloresAuthor

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