SALEM, Mass., July 19, 2021 (Newswire.com) - A study of the use of KnowAtom's Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)-designed curriculum in the classroom from Northeastern University researcher Dr. Tracy L. Waters shows an increase in student engagement and hands-on application of core principles and 21st-century career skills. The collaborative KnowAtom curriculum promotes differentiation in how students learn core science concepts and helps spark excitement about the scientific process in K-12 students.
Dr. Waters investigated the implementation of KnowAtom's hands-on science curriculum by 4th- and 5th-grade teachers. Her research shows teachers better met the needs of diverse learners through the use of differentiation, allowing students more responsibility over their own learning process and promoting diversity of thought through hands-on science investigations.
"Using the KnowAtom curriculum, learners take the lead in their own journey," said Francis Vigeant, founder and CEO, KnowAtom. "Instead of being given information, students begin to discover core competencies on their own within a framework of phenomena and the NGSS. Rather than recalling facts, students discuss what they've read, challenge thinking, collaborate with peers, and identify their own connection to STEM - skills vital for life."
A district administrator who took part in Dr. Waters' study reported a dramatic change in how students learned using the KnowAtom curriculum with 5e constructivist teaching techniques. Promoting teamwork and diversity of thought through hands-on science investigation, students were encouraged to come up with their own ideas and hypotheses, as well as processes for testing them. Together, students experimented, tried different ways to solve problems, worked together to overcome obstacles, and learned core competencies while strengthening reading, writing, math, and teamwork skills. Previously, teachers in the district taught by demonstrating experiments, with students watching and recording results.
The teachers in the study also reported a change in their teaching processes and beliefs about what students could learn when given the opportunity to take the lead in the classroom. Rather than pre-defined classroom activities where all students are encouraged to take the same route and report the same results, KnowAtom's curriculum gives students more choice in the classroom and rewards a variety of outcomes. Students are encouraged to work together to overcome obstacles and model their knowledge in response to real-world scenarios.
Implementing the KnowAtom curriculum also resulted in an increase in the use of science vocabulary and "strong academic language" during classroom discussion, teachers reported. Dr. Waters found that students strengthened core reading, writing and math skills while using the KnowAtom curriculum. For English language learners, KnowAtom's visual vocabulary helped students master the communication needed to accomplish teamed hands-on learning opportunities.
Using KnowAtom's curriculum helped improve engagement and made students more accountable for the choices they made throughout their learning process, the teachers reported. Their testing methods changed, differentiation increased, with fewer "one right answer" assessments. Continue reading.