School Login

KnowAtom's Blog

How to Incorporate Formative Assessment Into Your Next Generation Science Lesson

Aug 2, 2018 by Sara Goodman

In general, it’s important to have straightforward expectations that you hold students accountable to in each part of a science or engineering lesson.

Students need to understand that they’re being held accountable to these expectations. Straightforward expectations help both parties to engage and provide feedback, and to do so in a way that's meaningful to each other.

Here we’ll walk through a KnowAtom lesson, which has 5 parts that unfold over the course of a week or a week and a half, but these ideas can be applied to any lesson.

Continue reading

Topics: Teaching in 3 Dimensions, Next Generation Science Classroom Instruction, Next Generation Assessments, NGSS-Designed Curriculum

3 Features Shared by All Next Generation Formative Assessments

Jul 26, 2018 by Nicole Lanoue

In any part of a next generation science lesson, formative assessments provide useful feedback to both the teacher and the students in the moment.

Formative assessments can come anywhere in a lesson, so they can be verbal, written, electronic, and take a variety of different forms. However, they all share three characteristics.

3 Features Share By All Formative Assessments

  1. Similar to a milestone, formative assessments occur in the moment as students are engaged in making sense of phenomena, which includes planning and carrying out investigations. This allows students to incorporate the feedback into their thinking and their work, becoming more aware of their own learning process.
Continue reading

Topics: Teaching in 3 Dimensions, Next Generation Science Classroom Instruction, Next Generation Assessments, NGSS-Designed Curriculum

Why Are Formative Assessments Essential to Effective Next Generation Science Instruction?

Jul 19, 2018 by Nicole Lanoue

The Next Generation Science Standards are all about students developing the skills to work with ideas, both their own and those of others.

That means that it's not sufficient to know about something. Students have to be able to form an opinion, have an idea, to work with that idea to be able to inform themselves, and also to refine the idea over time, perhaps through experimentation or through prototyping.

This is a significant shift from traditional science instruction, one that will require changes from both teachers and students. 

Continue reading

Topics: Next Generation Science Classroom Instruction, NGSS-Designed Curriculum, NGSS Assessments

How Do Formative Assessments Benefit Elementary and Middle School Students?

Jul 13, 2018 by Nicole Lanoue

Formative assessment needs to be a key part of any next generation science instruction.

At its core, a formative assessment is an opportunity for useful insight on behalf of both parties—the teacher and the students. Often, formative assessments look a lot like a conversation because they’re bilateral, with both parties offering ideas, listening, and acting as a critical skeptic to the other.

Benefits to Students

Students get frequent, focused feedback that is useful for improving their learning in the moment.

Continue reading

Topics: Teaching in 3 Dimensions, Next Generation Science Classroom Instruction, Next Generation Assessments, NGSS-Designed Curriculum

5 Concrete Steps to Ensure Students Are Making Deep Connections

Jun 13, 2018 by Sara Goodman

Socratic dialogue is an important way to get students to begin working with their own ideas and the ideas of others, clarifying what they think and why they think it, and then refining their thoughts as a result of the discussion.

Continue reading

Topics: Teaching in 3 Dimensions, Socratic dialogue, Next Generation Science Classroom Instruction

7 Expectations You Should Set for a Genuine Socratic Dialogue

Jun 6, 2018 by Francis Vigeant

Socratic dialogue is an important part of a next generation science classroom because it is all about students learning how to work with their own ideas and the ideas of others. The skills students need to actively contribute to a Socratic dialogue take time to develop. 

The amount of time that it takes is really a function of how clear and consistent you are as the teacher, communicating your expectations and coaching your students.

Continue reading

Topics: Teaching in 3 Dimensions, Socratic dialogue, Next Generation Science Classroom Instruction

Lawrence Public Schools Sees Uptick in Science Performance Among English Learners

May 30, 2018 by Nicole Lanoue

SUMMARY:

Lawrence is one of 26 “Gateway Cities” in Massachusetts, which means it is a mid-sized urban center that was once home to industry but struggled as its manufacturing jobs disappeared. Gateway cities are home to the largest numbers of English Learners (EL) in the state. In the case of Lawrence Public Schools, 71.3% of students' first language is not English.

In 2015-2016, Lawrence Public Schools adopted KnowAtom’s K-8 science and engineering curriculum and hands-on resources because of KnowAtom’s success in helping other large urban districts significantly improve the science learning outcomes of all students, including EL students.

Continue reading

Topics: Next Generation Science Classroom Instruction

How to Get Students to Participate in Socratic Dialogue

May 23, 2018 by Nicole Lanoue

A strong Socratic dialogue can be helped by the layout of your class and how you organize students. We'll focus on three different formats for Socratic dialogue.

Choosing a Socratic Dialogue Format

The layout of your classroom and how students are positioned can go a long way toward getting students to be active participants. The format you choose will depend on your grade level and the familiarity of your students with Socratic dialogue.

Continue reading

Topics: Teaching in 3 Dimensions, Socratic dialogue, Next Generation Science Classroom Instruction

5 Features of All Socratic Dialogues

May 16, 2018 by Francis Vigeant

 

To understand why Socratic dialogue is so important in a next generation science classroom, it’s important to first describe what exactly a Socratic dialogue is—and equally importantly, what it is not.

What a Socratic Dialogue Is:

There are 5 key features of all genuine Socratic dialogues.

Continue reading

Topics: Teaching in 3 Dimensions, Socratic dialogue, Next Generation Science Classroom Instruction

Why is Socratic Dialogue So Important in a Next Generation Science Classroom?

May 9, 2018 by Nicole Lanoue

A next generation science class is all about students learning how to work with ideas, both their own ideas and the ideas of others.

Continue reading

Topics: Phenomena-Based Learning, Socratic dialogue, Three dimensions

3 Key Takeaways from Achieve’s New Alignment Claims Resource

May 3, 2018 by Sara Goodman

Achieve has recently published a new resource aimed at helping educators begin to evaluate common claims made by curriculum providers about how their materials relate to the Next Generation Science Standards.

We asked our curriculum content specialists to review the document, and they came up with 3 key takeaways.

Continue reading

Topics: NGSS-Aligned Curriculum, Evaluating Curriculum

3 Key Features of Next Generation-DESIGNED Science Curriculum

Feb 27, 2018 by Francis Vigeant

Curriculum is what translates the Next Generation Science Standards into a classroom experience where students can be scientists and engineers. It is what helps students gain experience performing the expectations and making connections on an everyday basis in order to reach mastery, so that over time they can generalize those skills to a variety of situations.

Continue reading

Topics: NGSS-Designed Curriculum

Three Years In, Science Program in the Kurdish Region of Iraq Yields Positive Results  

Feb 16, 2018 by Sara Goodman

A program aimed at providing children living in camps for internally displaced people in the Kurdish Region of Iraq with important skill-building science instruction has established a vital network of people who know STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and who have a desire to learn and to teach other people in one of the most challenging environments on Earth.

The program began in 2015 in an effort to build relevant and lifelong skills for children living in conflict while at the same time helping to take their mind off of the conflict. Since its beginning, KnowAtom has partnered with local aid workers and the precursor to STEM Synergy, a non-profit that partners with community leaders to deliver quality STEM education to communities on the cusp of rapid development. 

Continue reading

Topics: Next Generation Science, Creativity, higher order thinking

5 Steps to Use Science Phenomena More Effectively in Your Classroom

Feb 9, 2018 by Sara Goodman

There are 5 steps educators can adopt in their own classrooms to use phenomena most effectively in the classroom.

 Step 1: Find a real-world anchor phenomenon.

If you're a KnowAtom user, you don't need to find anything because phenomena are the basis for all of our lessons. If you don't use KnowAtom, that's fine. These are all things you can do in your class.

Continue reading

Topics: Phenomena-Based Learning, Next Generation Science Classroom Instruction, NGSS-Designed Curriculum

How to Use Phenomena to Develop NGSS Practices in the Classroom

Feb 2, 2018 by Sara Goodman

Phenomena are an essential part of teaching the Next Generation Science Standards.

This is because they provide the real-world context for learning. When combined with the science and engineering practices, phenomena are a powerful way to engage students as scientists and engineers in the classroom.

Phenomena are central to a next generation-aligned instructional model because they allow students to develop and use all of the practices in a variety of contexts.

Continue reading
New Call-to-action

Posts by Topic

see all

Stay Up to Date With Our Latest Posts

Pick How Often: