KnowAtom's Blog

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: Next Generation Science Standards, Innovation, Inquiry Based Learning, STEM Education Policy, science education, engineering education, KRI

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: Next Generation Science Standards, Guest Innovator, Innovation, Implementing New Science Standards, Three-Dimensional Learning

Dr. Erika Ebbel Angle, CEO of Ixcela, Talks Microbiomes and Women in STEM

Jul 10, 2016 by Sara Goodman

"I think that's what makes true mentors really exceptional. They're able to guide you to learn these different things, even if they know that what you're doing isn't going to work, but they know how to inspire you. They know how to help you build confidence and they know how to help you to think the right way. Ultimately, science is not about memorizing facts. We live in a society where we can look anything up online, but how do you use that information in a way that is productive, that builds something. Those are the critical thinking skills that everyone is talking about." - Dr. Angle

Massachusetts-based innovator Dr. Erika Ebbel Angle chats with KnowAtom CEO Francis Vigeant about her work with microbiomes, and the importance of female role models, mentors, and nurturing educators to inspire more women to pursue careers in STEM.

In their conversation, transcribed below, you'll learn about:

  • What microbiomes are and what Ixcela does to help people rebalance their internal fitness
  • How one sixth grade English teacher served as the catalyst for Erika's love of science 
  • Why cultivating a learning environment where mistakes can happen is vital
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Topics: Guest Innovator, Innovation

Why a STEM Career? A Conversation with KnowAtom Alum Joshua Lederman

Mar 18, 2016 by Sara Goodman

"The best thing that educators could do to make students interested in STEM is show that the STEM areas involve creativity. They allow the student to explore. They’re not these static areas ... There’s room for students to make their own contributions."

Before Joshua Lederman was a freshman at Cornell University in the College of Engineering, planning to major in Applied Engineering Physics, he benefited from the KnowAtom science curriculum while in elementary school. His experience in the STEM disciplines gives him a unique perspective on the impact of a good STEM education.

Now, at Cornell, he is a member of CUAUV, a Cornell project team which designs and builds an autonomous underwater vehicle to compete in the International RoboSub Competition. The following is a transcript of a conversation between Josh and KnowAtom CEO Francis Vigeant.

In this Paths to Innovation conversation, Francis and Josh discuss:

  • The different roles on the CUAUV team and Josh's work with the team
  • How higher-order thinking translates to college
  • The traditional and next generation model from a student's perspective
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Topics: Innovation

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