Google searches for ‘how to do fractions‘ and ‘what is an adverb‘ soar in Britain since lockdown

‘How to do fractions and what is an adverb?‘: Google searches reveal how parents home-schooling their children during lockdown have forgotten many of their own childhood lessons

Online searches for questions including ‘How to do fractions‘ and ‘What is an adverb‘ have skyrocketed during the lockdown imposed due to the crisis.

After schools were closed in March and children were sent home, many pupils have been taught by their parents and taken to themselves to help with school work.

And it appears that some parents have forgotten some basic lessons too – searches for ‘how to do fractions‘, ‘what is an adverb?‘ and ‘why did WW1 start?‘ have all increased since the beginning of March. 

Other mathematics-related searches which have which have seen dramatic spikes include, ‘what is a prime number?‘ and ‘how do to long division‘.   

As for science-related searches, much larger numbers of people asked the question, ‘where does photosynthesis take place?‘ after the lockdown was imposed on March 23 than before it. 

Students and parents needing help with basic grammar also seem to have taken to Google. 

For English, there have been spikes in people have asking both ‘what is an adjective?‘ and ‘what is a verb?‘ since the lockdown began.

The question, ‘what is alliteration?‘ also spiked dramatically in April. 

Top 10 coronavirus-related searches in the UK over the past month 

1. kate garraway coronavirus

2. coronavirus tips

3. kate garraway husband coronavirus

4. coronavirus test

5. daily death toll coroanvirus uk

6. coronavirus prevention

7. bcg and coronavirus

8. uk coronavirus deaths today

9. coronavirus deaths today

10. coronavirus sweden 

One mother-of-two Haddy Folivi, from Essex, told the that homeschooling as a single parents has made her realise how much she has forgotten.   

She said: ‘I‘ve realised I‘m actually quite dumb. Google is my friend right now.‘   

And father-of-four Joel Lawson, in Belfast, said he had to use Google to check the atomic number of an element. 

‘A quick Google and it all came back,‘ he says. ‘It was quite amazing trying to remember things I knew that I knew but I never used.‘ 

The data on search terms was revealed on Google Trends, which also showed that searches for ‘online lessons‘ has increased since mid-March. 

Google Trends also revealed that searches subject areas including maths, grammar, geography, biology and history have all increased.

Last month, a new national helpline was set up for parents who are struggling to home-school their children.

Named ‘StarLine‘, the service will offer advice to families on how to educate their children.

The service, launched by a coalition of academy trusts and parenting groups, will also provide advice to parents on how to deal with difficult behaviour.  

Mufti Hamid Patel, chief executive of Star Academies, one of the academy trusts behind the project, said: ‘We understand that this is a time of additional pressure for many parents and carers.

On Sunday, union chiefs hit out at reports that the Government could look to re-open primary schools in England as early as June 1. 

Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Education Union, the largest teachers‘ trade union for England and Wales, said talks about a June re-opening are ‘very premature‘. 

Reports have suggested Prime Minister Boris Johnson is hoping to put teachers on three weeks‘ notice to re-open the country‘s primary schools.

He told the that he wants primary schools reopened ‘as fast as we can‘.

Ofsted‘s chief inspector Amanda Spielman backed the plans to get younger children back into schools, saying there is a ‘great deal of logic‘ in such a move. 

But Mr Courtney, whose union has more than 460,000 members, has warned the government against ‘rushing‘ its decision and urged decision markers to put the health of teachers and staff first.


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