New Inquiry Based Science Curriculum Help Students Improve Collaboration and Teamwork Skills, Research Shows

Elementary and middle school curriculum is designed for NGSS and engages K-8 students in interactive science investigations connected to real-world phenomena

Leading hands-on curriculum for NGSS science

Northeast University researcher Dr. Tracy L. Waters found students showed improved collaboration and teamwork skills with the use of KnowAtom's Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)-based curriculum in elementary and middle school classrooms. The inquiry-based science curriculum is designed to engage students in interactive science investigations connected to real-world phenomena and scenarios. Teachers who participated in the study reported more collaboration among their students, as they worked together to investigate, question, and explain core science theories.

"Using KnowAtom's (NGSS)-based curriculum, students take the lead on how to conduct their own investigations into NGSS phenomena," said Francis Vigeant, founder and CEO, KnowAtom. "With regular hands-on investigations forming a key part of the NGSS lessons, students quickly learn that they succeed only if their whole team thinks collaboratively and cooperatively in their investigation." 

During Waters' evaluation of KnowAtom curriculum implementation in fourth and fifth-grade classrooms, KnowAtom's professional development also made a difference, teachers shared the following feedback: 

  • Using the KnowAtom curriculum requires teaching students how to work together in teams and how to coach and mentor team members who fall behind, because each hands-on investigation involves scientific or engineering process.
  • Students strengthened public speaking, debate, active listening, and collaboration skills during Socratic seminars. Learning how to disagree based on evidence and respectfully with peers was a key takeaway from classroom discussions.
  • Giving students the freedom to choose their team members and change teams throughout the year helped teach collaboration skills, as students learned who they worked best with and what the consequences of working on different teams could be for their own learning outcomes.
  • Asking teams to partner up to solve difficult challenges, when one or more teams struggled to complete their own investigation, helped encourage a supportive classroom culture.
  • Teachers had more time to work one-on-one with struggling students and small groups when students were given more responsibility to lead their own investigations into core science concepts.
  • Students were kept on task with clear timelines and check-ins but had the flexibility to work through the process and discover on their own.

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About KnowAtom:

KnowAtom provides solutions designed for NGSS mastery: thoughtfully designed curriculum, integrated hands-on materials, and personalized professional development. Our research-based, classroom-tested tools and techniques bring students' own ideas to life with hands-on materials and technology.

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Francis Vigeant

Source: KnowAtom