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March 31, 2011

Updated science curriculum materials -- getting close to the end!

Five new sets of expanded science curriculum materials have been published, leaving us with only 12 more science Gizmos to go! We have added updated materials to the following Gizmos:

Longitudinal Waves

Sound Beats and Sine Waves

Phased Array

Doppler Shift Advanced

Holiday Snowflake Designer

Each enhanced set of materials includes a Student Exploration sheet, Answer Key, Teacher Guide, and Vocabulary sheet, all available as a Word document or pdf. Enjoy!


Posted by krosenkrantz at 11:36 AM in Site Announcements | Permalink

March 09, 2011

Trevor Tyner: Gizmo Educator of the Month

  Trevor Tyner  
Mr. Tyner demonstrating gas laws to his students.

Trevor Tyner teaches science at Lake Worth High School in Palm Beach, Florida. In the past five years he has taught biology, chemistry, physics, marine, environmental, and integrated science. He dove into Gizmos as soon as his district started using them, and they fit very well into his lesson plans.

Mr. Tyner starts many of his lessons by explaining the basics of the material. He then extends that with a live demonstration of the concept and reinforces it by letting his students explore with Gizmos.

As an example, in his integrated science class unit on the solar system, he let his students delve into Gizmos such as Phases of the Moon and Seasons: Earth, Moon, and Sun to discover the effects of planetary bodies on moon phases, tides, and seasons.

SeasonsHe also demonstrated the lesson by gathering his students into the center of the room, giving them the perspective of the Earth, as he walked around (orbited) them while holding a volleyball (the moon). Trevor reports that this "first-hand" experience of moon phases, combined with independent learning from the Gizmos, tied all the concepts together into a lasting lesson for his students.

“I can get my kids to memorize information and regurgitate material, but getting them to really understand the concepts is always a challenge. Because the Gizmo allows each student to manipulate their own models, it's just like a scaled down science experiment. When they are actually able to perform the experiments themselves, they almost always have a more thorough understanding of the material.”

Posted by ExploreLearning at 04:09 PM in Case Studies | Permalink

Expert's Corner: The Next Level of Professional Development

LauraLaura Chervenak has been ExploreLearning Director of Professional Development for the past year. She has taught high school science, and is the founder and former director of GOAL Digital Academy. Laura is National Board Certified in Science/Adolescence and Young Adulthood, with a B.A. in Zoology and an M.S. in Anthropology.

In the Professional Development department at ExploreLearning, our initial focus is to help teachers get the most out of Gizmos. We then want to extend those lessons and help teachers improve their overall teaching and learning in math and science.

TrainingEffective professional development is a continuing process that includes workshops for learning information, regular coaching for the acquisition of skills, and on-demand information for just-in-time training.  At ExploreLearning, we offer Initial Gizmo Training to get teachers started, a variety of classroom coaching services to build teachers' confidence in using Gizmos in their classroom, and a broad array of Help Center videos to address teachers' specific questions about Gizmos and the ExploreLearning.com website.

Now we are extending our offerings beyond those great resources. We are very excited to announce the launch of three new higher-level workshops, which focus on helping teachers develop and enhance teaching methodologies in math and science. 

In “Teaching for Understanding in Math,” teachers learn to use a program of discourse and writing to help students reason mathematically and develop a deeper understanding of concepts. 

Teaching with the 5E Model in Science” shows teachers how to combine hands-on activities with Gizmos within the 5E instructional model to enhance student understanding. 

Inquiry instruction is the focus of “Teaching Scientific Inquiry with Gizmos,” where teachers help students manipulate independent variables and collect and analyze data around authentic scientific questions.

  EL PD Team  
Some of the expert trainers on the ExploreLearning Professional Development Team.

We also know that professional development focused on technology integration is most successful when communities of practice are established, administrative support is provided and relevance to the curriculum is demonstrated.  We can address these needs by establishing a Gizmo Mentor program within a school or district, working with science and math supervisors and coaches to provide targeted support, and aligning local curriculum pacing guides with appropriate Gizmos.

Gizmos are a tremendously versatile and powerful technology tool to add to a teacher's toolkit of instructional options.  We want to work with you to develop a customized program of professional development designed to harness the power of Gizmos in your classrooms. An effective program ranges from Initial Gizmo Training all the way through higher-level workshops on teaching methodologies proven to improve student learning.

Posted by ExploreLearning at 04:07 PM in Training and Professional Development | Permalink

March 08, 2011

ExploreLearning to Appear on Florida Knowledge Network’s “Teacher Talk” Program!

We are happy to announce that ExploreLearning will appear on Florida Knowledge Network’s “Teacher Talk” program in its Teacher Appreciation episode on Tuesday, March 8, 2011. “Teacher Talk,” sponsored by the Florida Department of Education, showcases Florida teachers and innovations in the classroom.

ExploreLearning was one of 20 companies selected to participate in the live studio show at Walt Disney World’s Saratoga Springs Resort.  Our own Florida Project Manager Jane Owen demonstrated the Growing Plants science Gizmo to 100 Florida teachers in the studio audience:

"When I asked if any of the teachers had Gizmos at their school, at least half raised their hands.  After the presentation I asked who would like Gizmos at their school and everyone raised their hands!"

The "Teacher Talk" Teacher Appreciation episode featuring Gizmos will air on March 8, 2011, at 4:00 p.m. through local Florida Knowledge Network channels and will be webcast on the DOE website. We are grateful for the support of all of our Florida gizmologists.  Go Gizmos!

Read the full press release on our parent company's website.

Posted by Erika Sims at 03:04 PM in Press Clippings | Permalink

March 01, 2011

First new Gizmos of 2011

Ripple Tank Gizmo We are proud to announce the first new science Gizmos of 2011! They are Ripple Tank and Electromagnetic Induction

In the Ripple Tank Gizmo, you can run a variety of experiments to demonstrate wave motion, diffraction, reflection, interference, and even refraction with several submerged obstacles. The wavelength and wave strength can be adjusted in each scenario. This Gizmo really complements our other wave Gizmos such as Longitudinal Waves, Refraction, Phased Array, and Doppler Shift.

Electromagnetic Induction Gizmo Electromagnetic induction is the fundamental principle behind all generation of electricity and was one of the most important discoveries of 19th century physics. Students can explore this vitally important phenomenon with the Electromagnetic Induction Gizmo. The Gizmo allows students to move a magnet or a coil of wire to induce an electric current in the wire and light a light bulb. This Gizmo provides the perfect followup to our related Magnetic Induction Gizmo. 

We hope you enjoy the new Gizmos!


Posted by krosenkrantz at 10:25 AM in Site Announcements | Permalink