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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

7 Expectations You Should Set for a Genuine Socratic Dialogue

Jun 6, 2018 by Francis Vigeant

Socratic dialogue is an important part of a next generation science classroom because it is all about students learning how to work with their own ideas and the ideas of others. The skills students need to actively contribute to a Socratic dialogue take time to develop. 

The amount of time that it takes is really a function of how clear and consistent you are as the teacher, communicating your expectations and coaching your students.

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

Lawrence Public Schools Sees Uptick in Science Performance Among English Learners

May 30, 2018 by Nicole Lanoue


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.

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Topics: Next Generation Science Classroom Instruction

How to Get Students to Participate in Socratic Dialogue

May 23, 2018 by Nicole Lanoue

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.

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

5 Features of All Socratic Dialogues

May 16, 2018 by Francis Vigeant


To understand why Socratic dialogue is so important in a next generation science classroom, it’s important to first describe what exactly a Socratic dialogue is—and equally importantly, what it is not.

What a Socratic Dialogue Is:

There are 5 key features of all genuine Socratic dialogues.

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

Why is Socratic Dialogue So Important in a Next Generation Science Classroom?

May 9, 2018 by Nicole Lanoue

A next generation science class is all about students learning how to work with ideas, both their own ideas and the ideas of others.

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Topics: Three dimensions, Socratic dialogue, Phenomena-Based Learning

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

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

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

7 Habits of Highly Effective STEM Teachers

Dec 18, 2017 by Maryellen deLacy

There are only so many hours in a school day. Here are seven habits that you can easily incorporate into your teaching approach that will help you maximize your effectiveness as a STEM teacher.

Check out our list and let us know in the comments if you think we missed anything.

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Topics: STEM

5 Reasons Inquiry Science in Schools Gets the Best Results

Dec 14, 2017 by Maryellen deLacy

If you asked a child if they wanted to sit down and read and/or memorize a list of scientific facts, what do you think they would say? You’ve probably experienced this exact scenario with your students at some point. Being the awesome teacher that you are, you probably found a way to make this activity seem more exciting than that, but it likely still involved some hard work on your part. On the other hand, what if you asked that same child to design and perform cool experiments using everyday objects along with tools they’ve never used before? You would probably be greeted with a much more positive response, right?

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Topics: STEM, interactive science, Science Curriculum

STEM Grants for Teachers: Where Can I Find Them and How Do I Apply?

Dec 12, 2017 by Maryellen deLacy

Do you want to implement a new STEM curriculum in your school and/or improve upon the way your school currently teaches science and math? Every student deserves the latest, most innovative tools, materials, and inquiry-based learning curriculum, but unfortunately a lot of schools just don’t have the budget to pay for an all-new set of curriculum and supplies. However, there are many STEM grants for teachers designed as seed funding to help implement new STEM resources.

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Topics: STEM

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