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KnowAtom's Blog

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

Schools Show Success in Improving Student Learning, Engagement and Behavior with a Combination of KnowAtom’s Research-Based Instructional Practices and Professional Development

Jun 14, 2021 by Samantha Ozgood

Implementing a Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)-based curriculum transforms educators from transmitters of information to facilitators of learning. KnowAtom’s innovative approach to teaching science helps transform classrooms into collaborative teaching laboratories – where students take the lead in their own learning process. That’s just what Northeastern University researcher Dr. Tracy L. Waters found when evaluating fourth and fifth grade science teachers implementing KnowAtom – measurable improvements in student learning, as well as changes in teaching methods, as educators began to give students more responsibility in the learning process.

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Topics: NGSS, Next Generation Science Standards, Professional Development, STEAM Curriculum

New Findings: Teachers & Students Transformed by Next Generation Science Standards with Curriculum Designed by KnowAtom

Jun 8, 2021 by Samantha Ozgood

New research from Northeastern University researcher Dr. Tracy L. Waters identifies the changes middle and elementary school teachers made to their instructional practices when implementing KnowAtom’s Next Generation Science Standard (NGSS)-based curriculum. She describes the KnowAtom curriculum as “built on an innovative approach to teaching science based on the NGSS, where teachers become facilitators of learning rather than givers of information.” Her research shows just how much “teaching practice was transformed through curriculum implementation when teachers began to release responsibility to students…”.

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Topics: Next Generation Science Standards, STEM grants, Policy, Professional Development, Implementing New Science Standards, Next Generation Leadership

Do teachers have a new role in the NGSS classroom?

Aug 22, 2019 by Sara Goodman

As new science curricula appear in the market claiming to be designed for the Next Generation Science Standards, more and more teachers are starting to ask what their purpose is in a next generation classroom.

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Topics: NGSS, Next Generation Science Standards, Next Generation Science, Implementing New Science Standards, NGSS-Designed Curriculum, Next Generation Science Classroom Instruction, STEM Education Policy, Teaching in 3 Dimensions

New Resource Helps Teachers Make 3-Dimensional Science Assessments

Aug 5, 2019 by Sara Goodman

Now that the majority of states (40, to be specific, plus the District of Columbia) have adopted either the Next Generation Science Standards or very similar science standards, there is a growing focus on how to create assessments that are aligned to the new standards.

The Next Generation Science Standards were developed based on recommendations from the National Research Council’s A Framework for K-12 Science Education.

“Fully meeting the vision set forth by the Framework and Framework-aligned standards requires high-quality and aligned assessments that can provide actionable information to students, teachers, and families,” according to a recent report by the nonprofit Achieve.

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Topics: NGSS, Next Generation Science Standards, NGSS Assessments, Three dimensions, Implementing New Science Standards, Next Generation Assessments, STEM Education Policy, Teaching in 3 Dimensions

New Report Focuses on Science Time on Learning

Jul 30, 2019 by Sara Goodman

Across the United States, there isn’t adequate guidance on how much time on learning schools need to dedicate to science instruction.

According to a new report by the nonprofit group Achieve, this needs to change, and the change needs to happen at the state level.

There are 40 states plus the District of Columbia that have now adopted the NGSS or similar next generation standards for science.

Time on Learning in a Next Gen Classroom

An inadequate amount of science time on learning is not news to many teachers who struggle to incorporate science into their already full days. In fact, not enough time on learning for science is one of the most common complaints facing schools implementing the Next Generation Science Standards.

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Topics: NGSS, Next Generation Science Standards, Time on Learning, State-Specific Science Standards, STEM Education Policy, science education, engineering education

How To Ask Questions that Lead to More Engaged Students

Jul 10, 2019 by Nicole Lanoue

How do the questions we ask students influence the quality of classroom instruction—and by extension, the depth of students’ learning?

This question is critical for classrooms implementing the Next Generation Science Standards and adaptations of the NGSS. Creating a next generation learning environment requires space for creativity, analysis, and decision-making so that students can develop the control and agency necessary to develop and use the three dimensions of the NGSS—science and engineering practices, disciplinary core ideas, and crosscutting concepts.

For students to develop control and agency, they need opportunities to be creative, to independently and collaboratively use the eight science and engineering practices and crosscutting concepts to make sense of the disciplinary core ideas, and then have the opportunity to own the result of their efforts, regardless of the outcome.

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Topics: Next Generation Science Standards, Three dimensions, Phenomena-led teaching, Next Generation Science Classroom Instruction, Teaching in 3 Dimensions

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

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