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Sara Goodman

Science is filled with stories that explain the world around us. It is constantly revealing new insights into everyday happenings, and answers to questions I haven’t even thought of yet. Goodman began her career as a science writer at an online publication focused on energy and the environment in Washington, D.C., where she covered chemicals, nanotechnology, and other science-related topics. Her articles have appeared on numerous websites, including the New York Times, Scientific American, and the Society of Environmental Journalists. After her stint in D.C., she moved to Texas, where she taught journalism at Texas A&M. Goodman holds a Master’s of Science from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

Recent Posts

New Resource Helps Teachers Make 3-Dimensional Science Assessments

Aug 5, 2019 by Sara Goodman

Now that the majority of states (40, to be specific, plus the District of Columbia) have adopted either the Next Generation Science Standards or very similar science standards, there is a growing focus on how to create assessments that are aligned to the new standards.

The Next Generation Science Standards were developed based on recommendations from the National Research Council’s A Framework for K-12 Science Education.

“Fully meeting the vision set forth by the Framework and Framework-aligned standards requires high-quality and aligned assessments that can provide actionable information to students, teachers, and families,” according to a recent report by the nonprofit Achieve.

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Topics: NGSS, Next Generation Science Standards, NGSS Assessments, Three dimensions, Implementing New Science Standards, Next Generation Assessments, STEM Education Policy, Teaching in 3 Dimensions

New Report Focuses on Science Time on Learning

Jul 30, 2019 by Sara Goodman

Across the United States, there isn’t adequate guidance on how much time on learning schools need to dedicate to science instruction.

According to a new report by the nonprofit group Achieve, this needs to change, and the change needs to happen at the state level.

There are 40 states plus the District of Columbia that have now adopted the NGSS or similar next generation standards for science.

Time on Learning in a Next Gen Classroom

An inadequate amount of science time on learning is not news to many teachers who struggle to incorporate science into their already full days. In fact, not enough time on learning for science is one of the most common complaints facing schools implementing the Next Generation Science Standards.

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Topics: NGSS, Next Generation Science Standards, Time on Learning, State-Specific Science Standards, STEM Education Policy, science education, engineering education

How to Create a Culture of Thinking in the K-8 Science Classroom

Jul 22, 2019 by Sara Goodman

The Next Generation Science Standards call for a significant shift in instruction: students need to actually think, to develop and refine their own ideas and the ideas of their peers.

This leads to a basic question that is surprisingly hard to answer: how do we think? When we ask students to think, what should really be going on in their minds?

The book “Making Thinking Visible” tackles these questions head-on, exploring how and why thinking is so important in the classroom.

As part of their research, the authors came up with eight thinking moves, what they call “high-leverage moves that serve understanding well.” These eight thinking moves are “integral to understanding and without which it would be difficult to say we had developed understanding.”

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Topics: Next Generation Science Classroom Instruction, Phenomena-Based Learning, Teaching in 3 Dimensions, science education, engineering education

Iraqi Teachers Adopt KnowAtom to Create a Next Generation Science Experience for IDP Students K-8

Feb 17, 2019 by Sara Goodman

When Mahma was a child, he dreamed of being a teacher.

However, poverty made that dream out of reach to Mahma as he grew up. Instead, he became a farmer in Sinjar, a town in northern Iraq.

Then in 2014, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) attacked Sinjar and surrounding villages in what has been internationally recognized as the 74th attempted genocide of the Yazidi people. Tens of thousands of Yazidis, including Mahma, fled to escape ISIS.

Now, almost five years later, hundreds of Yazidi adults and thousands of Yazidi children have found hope in an unexpected place—inside the camps for internally displaced people (IDP) in the Kurdish Region of Iraq (KRI) where they’ve ended up.

This hope has come from an innovative STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) program for K-8 students that has taken root in the U.N. camps and surrounding schools. The STEM program, launched in 2015, is aimed at bringing relevant and lifelong skills to children living in the camps while at the same time helping them build skills to cope with conflict.

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Topics: NGSS, Next Generation Science Standards, international, Innovation, Inquiry Based Learning, STEM Education Policy, science education, engineering education, KRI

What Does a Successful K12 NGSS Implementation Look Like?

Nov 28, 2018 by Sara Goodman

Fully implementing the Next Generation Science Standards is a growth process. Once you actually have a program that is thoughtful and well developed, it will take three to five years to get to a fully successful and effective implementation.

A quote that resonates when thinking about teaching and learning with the Next Generation Science Standards comes from Angela Duckworth in her book Grit: ‘‘Novelty for the beginner comes in one form and novelty for the expert in another. For the beginner, novelty is 

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Topics: School Climate and Culture, Implementing New Science Standards, Next Generation Leadership, Next Generation Science Classroom Instruction, STEM Education Policy, Teaching in 3 Dimensions

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.

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

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.

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

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Topics: Evaluating Curriculum, NGSS-Aligned 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. 

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Topics: higher order thinking, Creativity, Next Generation Science

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.

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

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.

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3 Ways Phenomena Transform Science Classrooms

Jan 29, 2018 by Sara Goodman

The Next Generation Science Standards are all about students being scientists and engineers every day in the classroom. And if a student is going to be a scientist or engineer in the classroom, if that's going to be the mode of learning, there needs to be a purpose.

That’s where phenomena come in.

Phenomena provide the real-world context for learning. For scientists, a phenomenon is an observable event, a complex, real-world context. For engineers, phenomena have to do with a problem that may be solved by extending their knowledge of science.

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

3 Strategies Science Classrooms Can Adopt From Innovation Companies

Nov 25, 2017 by Sara Goodman

Innovative companies like iRobot face many of the same challenges as teachers and school districts that are adopting and beginning to implement the Next Generation Science Standards.

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Topics: 3-dimensions, Next Generation Science Standards, Guest Innovator, Innovation, Implementing New Science Standards

Expanding the Maker Movement with STEM

Nov 14, 2017 by Sara Goodman

When Paul McCarthy’s son was born without fingers two years ago, McCarthy decided to find a solution on his own. He began to search for an inexpensive, functional prosthetic hand online and came across an internet video for a hand that could be made out of plastic by a three-dimensional printer, along with free instructions for how to print the hand out of plastic.

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Topics: STEM

Young Americans in STEM: From Recession to Optimism

Nov 10, 2017 by Sara Goodman

The Great Recession was tough on everyone, especially Generation Z now entering today's workforce.

So why should the next generation have reason to be optimistic about their futures?

The answer, for some, can be found in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education that empowers students to think critically and solve problems. 

A strong STEM education can transform students’ ability to create, evaluate, and analyze in any 

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Topics: STEM

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