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Improving Teamwork and Collaboration Skills with Hands-on NGSS Science

Aug 1, 2021 by Samantha Ozgood

KnowAtom’s interactive science curriculum is designed to help students strengthen teamwork, collaboration and group communication skills through authentic instruction, hands-on lab work, and student-centered STEM investigations. As a result, teachers who use the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)-based curriculum report improved collaboration among their students, as they work together in teams to investigate, question, and explain core theories. One researcher from Northeastern University, Dr. Tracy L. Waters, evaluated KnowAtom implementation in fourth and fifth grade science classrooms and identified diverse examples of increased collaboration amongst students throughout the year.

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Topics: Next Generation Science Standards, higher order thinking, Professional Development, Implementing New Science Standards, Time on Learning

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

Success, Higher Order Thinking Skills and Grit

Nov 1, 2016 by Francis Vigeant

Higher order thinking is a crucial aspect of a 21st century science education. Without a grasp of creative, analytical and evaluative thinking skills, students have scant chance of developing the science and engineering practices they need to engage meaningfully in these subjects, as well as in English language arts and math. While higher order thinking skills are critical to the latter two subjects, science and engineering provide the best possible arena to teach them. In this article, we'll take a look at how grit and higher order thinking skills intersect to the student's benefit.

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Topics: higher order thinking

Defining Effective STEM Instruction

Apr 6, 2016 by Francis Vigeant

Here at KnowAtom, our focus is on helping districts align to the Next Generation Science Standards with authentic inquiry. In order to do this, we are focused on the three dimensions of the Next Generation Science Standards and the National Research Council's definition of effective STEM instruction. 


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Topics: higher order thinking, STEM, Three dimensions

Critical Milestones for the Release of Responsibility in an NGSS Classroom

Apr 3, 2016 by Francis Vigeant

When evaluating alignment to NGSS, ask how well the curriculum releases responsibility to students over the course of the year.

Let’s begin by asking how much time should you be spending on learning. This question is easily answered, even if the implementation is not quite so simple. 

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Topics: higher order thinking, System-Level Alignment, release of responsibility

Next Generation Science Standards Could Refocus Standardized Testing

Mar 27, 2016 by Francis Vigeant

The next generation science standards are calling for a new model of science instruction. As educators make the switch from traditional instruction to next generation, state-level standardized testing for science must make the same shift that the classroom environment is making.

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Topics: higher order thinking, standardized testing

Redefining "Museum": A Fireside Chat with Dr. Carol Tang of the Children's Creativity Museum

Mar 18, 2016 by Sara Goodman

"There's not one way to do science. Each of us have our own strength, our own approaches. We could get to the same answer, or we could actually come up with different answers, and maybe that's what's exciting. ... Museums need to be that place where society can come together and create things together."

Dr. Carol Tang, executive director of the Children's Creativity Museum of San Francisco, joined KnowAtom CEO Francis Vigeant via webinar to talk about her own journey from exploring museums as a child to directing one; the overlap between classroom and museum education; and the advantages and challenges of doing "stealth education." What follows is a transcript of their conversation on Jan. 29, 2016.

In this interview, you'll read about:

  • Her childhood in Buffalo and how visits to museums shaped her love of science and her eventual career path
  • The idea of co-creating content in classrooms and museums versus delivering it 
  • Higher order thinking
  • How the museum environment is uniquely suited for explorative thinking and play
  • How the Next Generation Science Standards complement museum education
  • Additional resources for teachers seeking to recreate museum activities in their classrooms
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Topics: NGSS, higher order thinking, Creativity, interactive science, Museums

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