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KnowAtom's New Interactive Supports Teachers in Next Gen STEM Education

Posted by Francis Vigeant on Sep 7, 2017

Summer is winding down, which means that most educators are back in the classroom.

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I’ve been meeting with STEM teachers and curriculum planners about using KnowAtom in their classrooms. It has been so inspiring watching all of you dedicated educators as you prepare for a new year of engaging students in the creative, analytic, and evaluative forum that is science education.

NGSS in the Classroom

One of the questions that has come up repeatedly is how exactly to translate the goals of the Next Generation Science Standards into effective classroom instruction.

There are obviously many factors involved in the answer to that question, but one of the most important is understanding how the three dimensions (science and engineering practices, disciplinary core ideas, and crosscutting concepts) support the performance expectations and therefore what students are expected to be able to do. 

Traditional curriculum often falls short when it comes to developing the science and engineering practices because it’s simply not something students are usually asked to develop in the classroom. These are thinking-oriented skills that must be built up and taught intentionally over time, which can only happen in a next generation—rather than a traditional—science classroom. These practices are also higher order skills and a critical benchmark in evaluating the effectiveness of STEM instruction.

KnowAtom is committed to providing educators with all of the resources and support they need to create inquiry environments where students are using the practices, crosscutting concepts, and disciplinary core ideas every day as they carry out investigations and develop prototypes that solve problems.

New Interactive Has Professional Development Feature

As part of this effort, we have launched a new Interactive site to make accessing classroom resources even easier. One of the new features that I’m most excited about is a link to professional development resources that can be accessed from each grade level on the Interactive site.

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This image shows the new Interactive home page.

Some of these resources are videos that focus on one part of next generation curriculum, from how to engage students in the science and engineering practices and processes to how to hold a Socratic dialogue and how to understand the different types of lessons in our curriculum.

Other resources include tools to support the components of a lesson, such as peer evaluations, lab notebook grading sheets, and Socratic dialogue sentence starters.

If you're a customer and haven’t done so, head over to KnowAtom's Interactive website to check it out. (A quick note: Your teacher login and password from last year will no longer work with the new site. You will need to set up a new password using a link KnowAtom has sent to your school email, as provided by your district administrator. Reach out if you have questions about signing in.)

Topics: 3-dimensions, Next Generation Science Standards, Elementary Science Curriculum, Middle School Science Curriculum

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