KnowAtom's Blog

Jul 16, 2017 by Francis Vigeant

Explore How Trash Becomes Electricity with STEM in ScienceWorks!

Have you ever wondered what happens to your trash after the truck hauls it away from your curb? Well we’re going to show you how garbage can turn into powerful electricity brought right back to your home!

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Topics: Science Curriculum

Jun 4, 2017 by Francis Vigeant

Designing Classrooms for Next Generation Science and Engineering Success

We frequently hear statements like this: "We teach earth science in 6th grade." While assertions of this nature are now so common and entrenched in the educational tradition as to avoid question by most educators, that shouldn’t be the case. Because again, what happens if a student wasn't there for 6th grade? What if a student was there but they had some home issues or personal issues? In a one-and-done unit, that student has missed their chance to experience this entire facet of science learning, and indeed, of our world.

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Topics: Next Generation Science

Jun 2, 2017 by Francis Vigeant

Differences Between Next Generation “Aligned” vs. Designed

In short, NGSS-aligned curriculum does not demonstrate the same depth of thinking as curriculum intentionally designed to help students think critically, meet the performance expectations, and step into the shoes of scientists and engineers. To see why, it’s helpful to look at specific differences between aligned and designed curriculum, then discuss how we might go about designing classrooms for true alignment to the Next Generation Science Standards.

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Topics: Next Generation Science Standards

May 31, 2017 by Francis Vigeant

Habits of Mind and the Classroom Experience

“Habits of mind” is a buzzword these days, but we shouldn’t dismiss it because of that. By way of quick background, the Habits of mind are a set of 16 life skills related to problem solving, relationship building, creativity and so forth. Without going into all of them, they include abilities such as persisting, managing impulsivity, thinking flexibility, thinking about thinking (metacognition), striving for accuracy, gathering data with all senses, taking responsible risks, and so on.

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Topics: Habits of Mind

May 28, 2017 by Francis Vigeant

How 5E’s Become Non-Linear & Iterative

In order to properly prepare students for mastery and meeting the NGSS performance expectations, we must change our perception of the 5Es from a linear process to an iterative spiral. As you will see, each phase now includes multiple Es each, linking together one to the next. When you reach the 5th stage, the cycle is not “complete,” but ready rather to inform a new iteration. The breakdown goes like this:

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Topics: 5E Instructional Model

May 26, 2017 by Francis Vigeant

Making More Effective Use of the 5E instructional model under NGSS

The 5Es are still a valid instructional model for STEM education, but in order to ensure that it can help mold students who meet the new three-dimensional Next Generation Science Standards, we need to adjust what each E standards for, as well as understand the true nature of science and engineering and how that informs the new instructional model.

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Topics: 5E Instructional Model

May 24, 2017 by Francis Vigeant

Does Phenomena-Led Teaching and Learning Fit the Old K-W-L Chart?

So does phenomena-led teaching and learning fit the old K-W-L chart? Is it practical that 30 to 40 students in a room can articulate what they “know.” Is that really a useful activity? Do they even know what they want to learn, and if so, how would you even prepare for that? Moreover, how well can you really summarize that body of knowledge as a group, especially if you haven't encountered the investigative phenomena to start with?

The standard K-W-L chart, which asks students to list out what they already know, what they want to learn in the lesson and what they learned at the end.

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Topics: Phenomena-led teaching

May 20, 2017 by Francis Vigeant

Connecting Phenomena with the Nature of Science & Engineering

The “elaborating” piece of the 5Es is about students making concept-self, concept-to-concept, and concept-to-world connections, as well as relating anchor phenomena to their investigative phenomena.

Before we explore that, though, let’s define anchor phenomena, which are complex, real-world situations. They can be investigated in the classroom through an investigation that students or student teams have planned, and are a way of encountering just a thread of often much more complex ideas.

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Topics: Phenomena-led teaching

May 17, 2017 by Francis Vigeant

Traditional Versus Next Generation Models of Instruction

The Next Generation Science Standards require a complete rethinking of how teachers and students interact in the classroom because they call for students to develop their higher order thinking skills of creating, evaluating, and analyzing.

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Topics: 5E Instructional Model

May 14, 2017 by Francis Vigeant

What is the 5E Instructional Model?

The 5Es are an instructional model encompassing the phases Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate and Evaluate, steps which educators have traditionally taught students to move through in phases. First, instructors open a lesson with an activity or question meant to engage students, snag their interest and offer the opportunity for them to share what they already know on the subject. This phase might include helping them make connections between their preexisting knowledge base and the new ideas that will come down the pipeline in the lesson or unit.

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Topics: 5E Instructional Model

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