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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

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

3 Steps to Make Sure Your Professional Development Supports Teachers as they Implement NGSS

Nov 2, 2017 by Sara Goodman

Educators sometimes underestimate the shifts in teacher practices that are required under the Next Generation Science Standards.

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Topics: NGSS, 3-dimensions, Professional Development, Implementing New Science Standards

4 Features of All NGSS-Designed (Not Just Aligned) Curriculum

Oct 28, 2017 by Sara Goodman

Those educators responsible for choosing a curriculum will need to be critical consumers to avoid investing in resources that are superficially “aligned” to NGSS but don’t fully articulate the vision of the NGSS so students can achieve the levels of mastery that will be expected of them.

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Topics: 3-dimensions, Implementing New Science Standards, NGSS-Designed Curriculum

Concrete Ways to Maximize Your NGSS Implementation

Sep 27, 2017 by Sara Goodman

The Next Generation Science Standards call for dramatic shifts in teaching and learning. It will be important to go about implementation carefully and thoughtfully.

There are concrete steps that educators and administrators can take to ensure a successful implementation.

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Topics: NGSS, Next Generation Science Standards, Implementing New Science Standards

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