As many schools and districts move to remote or hybrid learning this school year, preserving what makes science learning most valuable for students, whether it's in the classroom or remote, is critical.Continue reading
Topics: Remote Learning
Dr. William Glasser, a renowned 1960s American psychiatrist, said, “We learn 10 percent of what we read, 20 percent of what we hear, 30 percent of what we see, 50 percent of what we see and hear, 70 percent of what we discuss, 80 percent of what we experience, and 95 percent of what we teach others.”Continue reading
Topics: Remote Learning
We’ve all heard the saying, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” In the spring of 2020, most of you had to live it. In a moment’s notice, teachers across the U.S. pivoted to a remote learning model with scarce notice.Continue reading
Topics: Remote Learning
This blog is the second part of a two-part series titled "Asking Better Questions: The Key to Deeper, More Engaged, More Authentic Instruction." To read the first part, click here.
"Children grow into the intellectual life of those around them. School is no longer about the quick right answer, but about the ongoing mental work of understanding new ideas and information." (Vygotsky 1978)
Given this, the questions that we ask shouldn't be about quick right answers. Instead, they should be about getting students to engage in the mental work—the cognitive load—of understanding new ideas and information, which can come from the individual or other students.
What are some techniques and some practical approaches that you can use?
- Start by identifying key big ideas, or concepts, for yourself that are a part of the unit.
How do the questions we ask students influence the quality of classroom instruction—and by extension, the depth of students’ learning?
This question is critical for classrooms implementing the Next Generation Science Standards and adaptations of the NGSS. Creating a next generation learning environment requires space for creativity, analysis, and decision-making so that students can develop the control and agency necessary to develop and use the three dimensions of the NGSS—science and engineering practices, disciplinary core ideas, and crosscutting concepts.
For students to develop control and agency, they need opportunities to be creative, to independently and collaboratively use the eight science and engineering practices and crosscutting concepts to make sense of the disciplinary core ideas, and then have the opportunity to own the result of their efforts, regardless of the outcome.Continue reading
Last week we talked about why focusing on a building or district's culture is so important for a successful implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards.
This week we turn our attention to the important role that instructional leadership plays in culture, which in turn affects how successful any implementation will likely be.Continue reading
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
- 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.
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
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
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
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
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
The conversation about women in STEM is everywhere and growing exponentially in popularity, something seen in the sheer number of headlines written in the past few years. What you may not know, however, is that while women are better represented in the science and engineering workforce today than in the past, there are still gaps, especially in the engineering and computer sciences fields.
In grades K-12, a report by the National Girls Collaborative Project found that more girls than boys took advanced biology and pre-calculus classes, but male students were six times more likely to take engineering classes and slightly more likely to take calculus beyond pre-calc. After high school, the numbers drop even more dramatically.Continue reading
"When the going gets tough, the tough get going." It’s an old adage, but one that holds a lot of truth, at least when it comes to the youth in rural and tribal communities hit the hardest by our most recent economic downturn. This is our heartland: areas that have lost jobs, industry, and population over the past decade. It’s an old problem, but one that a STEM education can potentially help solve.Continue reading
The economic recovery may be well underway, but for many American families—and many urban centers in our nation—the turnaround has been slow in coming, with a return to real prosperity not yet on the horizon. Lower unemployment rates and economic growth in some places give many people reasons for optimism. But the hard truth is that the American ideology that tells us anyone who works hard can achieve his or her economic potential seems far from reality these days.Continue reading