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The “Art of Teaching NGSS”: How Phenomena and a Culture of Learning Impact Student Engagement

Jun 11, 2019 by Francis Vigeant

Not too long ago a reader of this blog posed the following question:

My question is how do you get kids to want to even ask questions? I teach high school and the only way most of my students learn anything is by my forcing it down their throats, because they aren't even curious about phenomena. This new model is awesome for kids who WANT to learn, but for the vast majority, school is where their parents want them to go so they aren't home all day. Any thoughts?

It got me thinking because it strikes at the very heart of teaching and learning: What is the value-add of time on learning today?

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Topics: NGSS, Next Generation Science Standards, Time on Learning, Next Generation Science Classroom Instruction, Phenomena-Based Learning, Teaching in 3 Dimensions

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

Why is Culture Key to Implementing the Next Generation Science Standards?

Nov 21, 2018 by Francis Vigeant

“Culture eats strategy – and programs—for breakfast.”

This quote is KnowAtom’s take on the quip attributed to management guru Peter Drucker, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast,” which emphasizes the critical role that an organization’s culture—even more than any strategy it might develop—plays in that organization’s success.

We're modifying it to say that culture eats both strategy and programs for breakfast.

This saying is relevant for districts and classrooms implementing the Next Generation Science Standards because people often focus on programs and/or strategies for the new standards, but fail to consider a balance of both to address the 

cultural shifts needed to ensure a smooth and successful implementation.

So what is culture?

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Topics: Next Generation Science Standards, Implementing New Science Standards, Next Generation Leadership, Next Generation Science Classroom Instruction, Teaching in 3 Dimensions

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: 3-dimensions, Next Generation Science Standards, Guest Innovator, Innovation, Implementing New Science Standards

Where do NGSS and ELA Standards Intersect?

Nov 16, 2017 by Maryellen deLacy

The Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy are the next generation of K–12 literacy standards.

In grades 6-12, Common Core State Standards require teachers of history/social studies, science, and technical subjects to use their content area expertise to help students and ELA teachers meet the particular challenges of reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language in their respective fields.

For this reason, there are a number of crossovers between the Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core ELA standards.

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Topics: NGSS, Next Generation Science Standards

What Are the Next Generation Science Standards?

Nov 6, 2017 by Francis Vigeant

When it comes to the Next Generation Science Standards, educators sometimes have more questions than answers. What are the NGSS all about? Why do they exist? Why is the approach to science and inquiry methods changing? The answer lies in the STEM cycle.

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Topics: NGSS, Next Generation Science Standards

Simple Ways to Promote Your School's Vision

Oct 5, 2017 by Francis Vigeant

As school leaders become more focused on successfully implementing the Next Generation Science Standards, I’ve noticed one topic is getting more attention than ever before: how important it is that principals understand the new standards and the expectations of a next generation science classroom.

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Topics: 3-dimensions, Next Generation Science Standards, science vision,

Concrete Ways to Maximize Your NGSS Implementation

Sep 27, 2017 by Sara Goodman

The Next Generation Science Standards call for dramatic shifts in teaching and learning. It will be important to go about implementation carefully and thoughtfully.

There are concrete steps that educators and administrators can take to ensure a successful implementation.

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Topics: NGSS, Next Generation Science Standards, Implementing New Science Standards

Breaking Down the Cost of NGSS Implementation

Sep 18, 2017 by Sara Goodman

Educators frequently want to know what kind of investment is expected in order to implement NGSS in schools. This is a difficult question to answer.

The Next Generation Science Standards are inquiry-based standards, which inherently require students to be put into the role of scientist and engineer.

That requires certain materials because the NGSS standards are all about investigative phenomena happening in the classroom in real time.

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Topics: Next Generation Science Standards, Implementing New Science Standards, Cost

Why Time on Learning Matters When Implementing NGSS

Sep 15, 2017 by Nicole Lanoue

Budgeting enough science time on learning will go a long way toward helping districts successfully implement the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

If you don’t have enough time on learning for science, your implementation of NGSS will likely run into some significant hurdles.

This is because of the importance of effective STEM instruction under NGSS . The National Research Council definition of effective science instruction is that it capitalizes on students’ early interest experiences and builds on it. 

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Topics: Next Generation Science Standards, Implementing New Science Standards, Time on Learning

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

Sep 7, 2017 by Francis Vigeant

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

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.

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

Differences Between Next Generation “Aligned” vs. Designed

Jun 2, 2017 by Francis Vigeant

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

A New Definition of Effective STEM Instruction

Apr 30, 2017 by Francis Vigeant

According to the National  Research  Council’s  2011  definition of effective STEM instruction (a definition that helped lay the foundation of what would become the Next Generation Science Standards), "Effective STEM instruction capitalizes on students’ early interests and experiences, identifies and builds on what  they  know, and provides them with experiences to engage them in the practices of science and sustain their interest."

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Topics: Next Generation Science Standards

NGSS And K-12: Supporting The Shift With Effective Resources

Apr 29, 2017 by Francis Vigeant

Because of the Next Generation Science Standards, the classroom experience is moving away from the traditional models of remembering, understanding and applying information. Memorizing information, like that there are solids, liquids and gasses, won’t cut it anymore. The idea that we know this rock is sedimentary because it has layers isn’t enough. What is going to move students forward is being able to use that knowledge to analyze a situation, evaluate a problem or create something.

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Topics: Next Generation Science Standards

When Art and NGSS Meet Common Core: Math & ELA

Apr 27, 2017 by Francis Vigeant

There are a number of crossovers between Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core math, art and ELA practices. Here are a few real-world examples of each.

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Topics: Next Generation Science Standards, STEAM Curriculum

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