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Research Shows Teachers Implemented More Hands-on Learning Activities When Using KnowAtom's NGSS-Based Curriculum

Posted by Samantha Ozgood on Jul 12, 2021 3:31:00 PM

SALEM, Mass., July 12, 2021 ( - Research from Northeastern University's Dr. Tracy L. Waters shows a shift in teaching methods and belief in what students can achieve through hands-on, collaborative learning with the implementation of KnowAtom's Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)-based K-8 curriculum. Dr. Waters evaluated implementation by teachers who had been teaching the KnowAtom curriculum for at least two years and who ranged in teaching experience from 2 to 25 years. Her study participants reported a shift in their own understanding of the different processes, practices, and results that can come from collaborative science investigation in the classroom.

next generation hands on science

"KnowAtom's hands-on science curriculum is designed to shift the thinking part of learning from teachers onto students," said Francis Vigeant, founder and CEO, KnowAtom. "By focusing on student's ideas, giving students a hands-on way to express themselves, students can discover concepts that are personally relevant. Using KnowAtom, teachers become coaches and facilitators, rather than lecturer."

In the study, both teachers and administrators reported that the 'release of responsibility' from teacher to student was one of the hardest parts of implementing NGSS-based curriculum. Teachers reported before their school adopted KnowAtom's hands-on learning model they spent up to 60% of their instructional time lecturing in front of the classroom. After implementation, the teachers saw an increase in student engagement and collaboration, including using Socratic seminars.

One administrator reported, "the biggest change… seen in the teachers is with letting go and moving the control over to the students, allowing students to struggle just enough, and then coaching them toward understanding." By asking students to reflect on their understanding of key concepts during classroom discussion, the KnowAtom curriculum helps strengthen career skills like critical thinking, communication, and collaboration. In addition, students accomplish more reading and writing in the science classroom, use vocabulary words in context, and model concepts in real life situations.

Teachers who admitted they had been fearful at the start of implementing KnowAtom's curriculum reported feeling amazed and astonished at how much their students accomplished together. The teachers changed their own belief in how much students could achieve and expressed more diverse opinions on what 'correct answers' could result from active science investigation in the classroom.

Implementing the KnowAtom curriculum resulted in more collaboration with colleagues, with one teacher reporting reaching out for help from her literacy colleagues. Implementing the KnowAtom curriculum introduces more reading and writing activities in science. The teacher said, "KnowAtom has wonderful books, great vocabulary, really good investigations, excellent open-response questions, helping [students] prepare for their writing. It definitely has the science, technology, engineering, and math. It covers everything."

Learn more: see the full blog post here.

Topics: Next Generation Science Standards, Professional Development, Time on Learning, NGSS-Designed Curriculum

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