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Francis Vigeant

“Growing up, I wanted to be an inventor, solving problems that would help people have better lives. Every day at KnowAtom is an opportunity to invent solutions that give thousands of students and teachers a better experience doing science, engineering, technology, and math (STEM). Providing educators with professional satisfaction and students with the opportunity to understand the world we live in is my way of helping people have better lives.” As a high school math teacher, Vigeant asked himself a simple question: How can I take the knowledge our students need and make it matter to them? His answer was to create KnowAtom, building its core architecture and platform alignment around the idea of making science, engineering, and math relevant. Vigeant has taught science, engineering, and mathematics to kindergarten through twelfth-grade students in a variety of learning environments, ranging from college prep and honors classrooms to self-contained, team-taught, and inclusion settings. His focus on scientific and engineering process pedagogy and practice has helped schools become leaders in science education, based on common assessment programs. Vigeant is a strong believer in empowering professional teachers and has created Professional Learning Community models for large urban districts. Vigeant’s achievements have been recognized by the American Federation of Teachers’ publication, The Advocate, in which he was profiled as an up-and-coming educational innovator. He is a presenter at the National Science Teachers Association National Conference, Massachusetts Association of Science Teachers, and Massachusetts Technology Education/Engineering Collaborative. Vigeant serves on several STEM-related boards focused on creating opportunities for students and teachers from traditionally underserved communities. He is a graduate of Gordon College.

Recent Posts

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.

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Topics: NGSS-Designed Curriculum

STEM Industry Wants Employees Who Can Think

Dec 7, 2017 by Francis Vigeant

Over the past year, various industry leaders in Massachusetts have joined with an unlikely group: elementary educators. Their purpose: begin a conversation about why it is important to hook students onto science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) early on.

Consensus emerged on the importance of developing not just students’ technical abilities, but on "softer" skills as well: curiosity about the world around them, the ability to think on their feet, and resilience in the face of challenges. For many in the industry, hiring employees who can apply higher order thinking to any challenge is far more important than hiring employees who have a specific skill set.

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Topics: STEM

Should Every Student Learn STEM?

Dec 1, 2017 by Francis Vigeant

Someone recently asked me: "If only 4 percent of students will become scientists, engineers, or mathematicians, why should time, effort, and resources go toward helping the other 96 percent learn science, technology, engineering, and math?"

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Topics: STEM

Why is Alignment More Difficult with Next Generation Science Standards?

Nov 30, 2017 by Francis Vigeant

With the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) at or near the classroom implementation stage in most states, principals and teachers have come together to discuss their interpretations. Everyone involved is doing their best to understand where they need to be in September.

The problem facing all educators, early elementary through high school, is that few classrooms have ever taught science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) effectively. While "science classes" have been taught PK-12 for decades, many educators are now questioning if they've ever really taught students science, and if not, what effective STEM instruction is and what it looks like.

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Topics: NGSS

STEM that Competes with the Street

Nov 21, 2017 by Francis Vigeant

It’s been 52 years since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech, and 50 long years since the march on Selma. But today, a half-century later, a quarter of African American and Latino Americans still live in poverty, with the economic—and educational—reality even dimmer for young black and Latino men.

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Topics: STEM

Are You Modeling a STEM Mindset?

Nov 20, 2017 by Francis Vigeant

After years of research, Stanford University psychologist Carol S. Dweck seems to have found a way you can develop grit and perseverance in your students: instill in them a "growth" mindset where they see challenges and mistakes as opportunities for real learning. Luckily there is already one subject that lends itself to the discovery, questioning, and inquiry that sparks this type of learning: STEM. 

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Topics: STEM

Developing Curriculum for the Next Generation Classroom

Nov 8, 2017 by Francis Vigeant

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are changing the K-12 science classroom. Memorizing facts and recalling demonstrations aren't enough under these new standards.

Classrooms now need to focus on engaging students in the practices of science and engineering, teaching students to analyze, evaluate, problem-solve, and create – facilitating the development of higher order thinking skills through STEM experiences.

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Topics: NGSS

Questioning the Need for Next Generation Science Standards

Nov 6, 2017 by Francis Vigeant

When it comes to the Next Generation Science Standards, educators sometimes have more questions than answers. What are the NGSS all about? Why do they exist? Why is the approach to science and inquiry methods changing? The answer lies in the STEM cycle.

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Topics: NGSS, Next Generation Science Standards

Was STEAM Involved in Picasso's Guernica?

Nov 2, 2017 by Francis Vigeant

Did you know that the Next Generation Science Standards have applications in art?

While including the arts with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEAM) may seem counterintuitive, the fact is that at their core, STEM and art have higher order thinking in common. STEAM learning is about creativity – discovery and invention – as well as analysis, communication, and critical thinking, all of which are essential to the creation and appreciation of art.

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Topics: STEM, STEAM, STEAM Curriculum

Simple Ways to Promote Your School's Vision

Oct 5, 2017 by Francis Vigeant

As school leaders become more focused on successfully implementing the Next Generation Science Standards, I’ve noticed one topic is getting more attention than ever before: how important it is that principals understand the new standards and the expectations of a next generation science classroom.

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Topics: 3-dimensions, Next Generation Science Standards, science vision,

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