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How to Create a Culture of Thinking in the K-8 Science Classroom

Jul 22, 2019 by Sara Goodman

The Next Generation Science Standards call for a significant shift in instruction: students need to actually think, to develop and refine their own ideas and the ideas of their peers.

This leads to a basic question that is surprisingly hard to answer: how do we think? When we ask students to think, what should really be going on in their minds?

The book “Making Thinking Visible” tackles these questions head-on, exploring how and why thinking is so important in the classroom.

As part of their research, the authors came up with eight thinking moves, what they call “high-leverage moves that serve understanding well.” These eight thinking moves are “integral to understanding and without which it would be difficult to say we had developed understanding.”

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Topics: Next Generation Science Classroom Instruction, Phenomena-Based Learning, Teaching in 3 Dimensions, science education, engineering education

Concrete Ways to Ask Students Better Questions

Jul 16, 2019 by Nicole Lanoue

This blog is the second part of a two-part series titled "Asking Better Questions: The Key to Deeper, More Engaged, More Authentic Instruction." To read the first part, click here.

"Children grow into the intellectual life of those around them. School is no longer about the quick right answer, but about the ongoing mental work of understanding new ideas and information." (Vygotsky 1978)

Given this, the questions that we ask shouldn't be about quick right answers. Instead, they should be about getting students to engage in the mental work—the cognitive load—of understanding new ideas and information, which can come from the individual or other students.

What are some techniques and some practical approaches that you can use?

  1. Start by identifying key big ideas, or concepts, for yourself that are a part of the unit.
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Topics: Next Generation Science Classroom Instruction, Phenomena-Based Learning, Teaching in 3 Dimensions, science education, engineering education

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

Why is Socratic Dialogue So Important in a Next Generation Science Classroom?

May 9, 2018 by Nicole Lanoue

A next generation science class is all about students learning how to work with ideas, both their own ideas and the ideas of others.

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Topics: Three dimensions, Socratic dialogue, Phenomena-Based Learning

5 Steps to Use Science Phenomena More Effectively in Your Classroom

Feb 9, 2018 by Sara Goodman

There are 5 steps educators can adopt in their own classrooms to use phenomena most effectively in the classroom.

 Step 1: Find a real-world anchor phenomenon.

If you're a KnowAtom user, you don't need to find anything because phenomena are the basis for all of our lessons. If you don't use KnowAtom, that's fine. These are all things you can do in your class.

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Topics: NGSS-Designed Curriculum, Next Generation Science Classroom Instruction, Phenomena-Based Learning

3 Ways Phenomena Transform Science Classrooms

Jan 29, 2018 by Sara Goodman

The Next Generation Science Standards are all about students being scientists and engineers every day in the classroom. And if a student is going to be a scientist or engineer in the classroom, if that's going to be the mode of learning, there needs to be a purpose.

That’s where phenomena come in.

Phenomena provide the real-world context for learning. For scientists, a phenomenon is an observable event, a complex, real-world context. For engineers, phenomena have to do with a problem that may be solved by extending their knowledge of science.

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Topics: Next Generation Science Classroom Instruction, Phenomena-Based Learning

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