Planning for Grit and Growth

Poor organization conflicts with streamlined lessons and opportunity for growth. The way you set up your class sets a tone for your expectations of students and can help them (or hinder them) in focusing on purpose and engaging them in the task. Therefore, you must ensure the arrangement of your classroom supports your top-level goals.

Several factors go into effectively arranging a classroom. For one thing, you must ensure that your layout allows decent classroom management, or you won't get much done. However, it's also important to arrange it in such a way that you:

  • Place students on the front line of their own learning
  • Enable students to contribute ideas during Socratic dialogue
  • Work together in teams
  • Check in with the teacher at milestones

Just like planning the layout of your classroom, it's critical to plan the progression of a lesson to ensure the maximum opportunity for student grit and growth. When we think about claim-evidence-reasoning, for instance, we see the intentionality of this progression.


The progression of question, hypothesis, claim, evidence, and reasoning is very intentional and helps us bring students to a higher level of thinking.

If we are really thoughtful and intentional about planning lessons, we have an opportunity to bring students to a much higher level of skill through every aspect of the lesson. The above is an example of technical writing at a 5th-grade level that uses the claim-evidence-reasoning model. That's a key part of Next Generation Science Standards: they require a good grasp of skills that aren't just related to science and engineering, but to math and ELA as well. It also requires the higher order thinking skills of creating, evaluating, and analyzing. This piece of writing here is an opportunity to develop students' grit, which is going to benefit more than science time on learning. This piece of writing, and the conclusion it represents, has a purpose. It is the whole reason we engaged in asking a question, forming a hypothesis and designing an experiment in the first place.

Conclusions align to the purpose of being a scientist or engineer

Conclusions align to the purpose of being a scientist or engineer, flowing from why we're engaging to what we did during the experiment to how that illuminated the ultimate understanding we came to about that question or solution (even if more information is needed).

As you can see in the image above, conclusions align to the purpose of engaging in science or engineering. Students engage in the first place because they asked a question or formed a hypothesis and now need to gather data. They planned the experiment to help answer this question, and now they can come away from the process with information—data, the results of the experiment—that helps them understand their question as well as their hypothesis. This type of thinking is rigorous, and it benefits students' entire lives in all content areas.

“Growing up, I wanted to be an inventor, solving problems that would help people have better lives. Every day at KnowAtom is an opportunity to invent solutions that give thousands of students and teachers a better experience doing science, engineering, technology, and math (STEM). Providing educators with professional satisfaction and students with the opportunity to understand the world we live in is my way of helping people have better lives.”