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May 15, 2013

Math Gizmos - Lesson Materials - 3 new sets released

177DETAlert, Gizmo mavens! More new Lesson Materials have been released for your viewing/learning pleasure!

Perimeters and Areas of Similar Figures - Suppose you took a figure and doubled all of its side lengths. How would its perimeter change? What about its area? Why?

Concurrent Lines, Medians, and Altitudes - If you cut a triangle out of something sturdy, like cardboard, where is its balancing point? How would you find it?

Introduction to Exponential Functions (formerly known as "Exponential Growth and Decay - Activity B") - What's an exponential function all about? How do the y-values behave? What do all exponential functions have in common?

As always, our goal here is real student understanding, beyond just formulas or memorization.

Reminder: Our updated Lesson Materials have 4 documents (Student Exploration Sheet, Answer Key, Teacher Guide, and Vocabulary Sheet), each available as a .doc or .pdf. (You'll need to be logged in to see all four documents.)

At this point, 63 high-school- and middle-school-level math Gizmos have now received the updated Lesson Materials "treatment." We hope you and your students enjoy these latest new ones!

If you'd like to try these Gizmos, or any of the others in our library, sign up for a free trial today!

Posted by Dan at 12:04 PM in Site Announcements, Using Gizmos | Permalink

May 09, 2013

Expert Corner: PD Options for Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards

Pam Larson PicAfter receiving her M.Ed. in Science Education and teaching science in middle and high school classrooms for nine years, Pam Larson began working for ExploreLearning in 2007. As a Regional Manager of Professional Development, Ms. Larson has been instrumental in designing curriculum for science and math professional development sessions, and she manages trainers working directly with teachers using ExploreLearning products.

Many schools are using their summer professional development time to address the Common Core Standards for Math (CCSS-M) and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Gizmos are a great tool that teachers can use to develop the knowledge and the habits of mind of strong math and science students. The PD department at ExploreLearning is offering higher-level training workshops aimed at preparing teachers for the CCSS-M and the NGSS.

Using Gizmos with the CCSS will help participants develop a deeper understanding of both the content standards and the Standards for Mathematical Practice. The Common Core – the Balance between Skills and Understanding workshop allows participants to work collaboratively and identify mathematical tasks that develop students’ capacity to meet the Standards of Mathematical Practice.

Greenhouse Effect GizmoDistricts can also choose from a variety of Troublesome Topics in Math workshops. Each of these is designed for a different grade band around math concepts that are difficult for students to grasp and have moved down in grade level in the new standards. The elementary workshop focuses on fractions, while the middle grades workshop explores ratios and proportions, and the high school workshop examines functions. Teachers leave with a better mastery of the content they are teaching and with specific strategies for leading students to conceptual understanding of their focus topic.

Like the Common Core workshops, using Gizmos with the NGSS is designed to help teachers make the pedagogical leaps dictated in the new science standards. The NGSS encourages teachers to teach fewer content topics, but to take students to a much deeper level of understanding than in the past. The three Troublesome Topics in Science workshops focus on refining teachers’ understanding of science content in three disciplines across all grade levels; Life Science, Earth/Space Science, and Physical Science. If teachers themselves have a strong knowledge of science topics, they will be better prepared to help students develop a deeper conceptual understanding.

As the summer and fall go on, the PD department will be developing additional higher-level offerings to support these new standards.

To learn more about bringing any of these workshops to your school or district, please contact your Account Executive.

Posted by Meredith Cole at 10:55 AM in NGSS, Training and Professional Development, Using Gizmos | Permalink

Scott Lehman: ExploreLearning Educator of the Month

Scott LehmanMr. Scott Lehman has taught for 18 years, and has a B.S. from Pennsylvania State University and an M.S. in Science Education from Nova Southeastern University. He teaches 5th grade science in a Palm Beach County public school.

Mr. Lehman began to use Gizmos when he taught at Village Academy in 2007. He had the opportunity to participate in a Gizmos initial training workshop, and was immediately “hooked.” He found Gizmos both exciting and educational, and saw that the simulations would work as another tool to help his students study science.

His students are excited to learn using Gizmos, and Mr. Lehman uses them to spark interest in the topics they study. Gizmos help start a discussion at the beginning of the lesson, and often the conversations among students continue throughout. He finds that Gizmos help students gain a better understanding of the topics they discuss in class and how they connect to one another.

Energy ConversionsMr. Lehman’s students often have a hard time grasping the concept of energy conservation. Using the Energy Conversions Gizmo helps his students understand the different pathways that can be created with energy. Mr. Lehman spends time introducing the Gizmo, and, after the students work through the simulations, the discussion questions encourage the students to talk amongst themselves. The Gizmo helps the students gain a better understanding of energy.

Mr. Lehman has observed that both students and teachers get excited when they use science Gizmos. He finds that the best part of using a Gizmo is the “Ah-hah” moment. Students will recognize something in class and tell him that they learned it before when they were using a Gizmo. “When students look at you and realize what they are learning is exciting, fun and educational, that’s what makes teaching worth it,” says Mr. Lehman.

Posted by Meredith Cole at 10:53 AM in Case Studies | Permalink

May 07, 2013

ExploreLearning Gizmos wins CODiE Award!

We're happy to announce that Gizmos has won the SIIA CODiE Award for Best Science/Health Instructional Solution!

This year's award marks ExploreLearning's 6th CODiE win. The CODiE Awards recognize leaders and innovators across the software, digital content and education technology industries. We are honored to be included among these leaders.

The SIIA CODiE Awards website has a list of all the 2013 Award Winners.

Posted by Meredith Cole at 09:10 AM in Press Clippings | Permalink

May 02, 2013

Math Gizmos - new Lesson Materials released today

271DETAnother new batch of math Lesson Materials is hot out of the oven!  We've cooked up some geometry for you and your students:

Pythagorean Theorem with a Geoboard

Pythagorean Theorem - Activity B

Similar Figures - Activity A

In these lessons, we work to build students' understanding of these topics, beyond just the formulas or definitions. How can you use a geoboard to show that, in right triangles, a2 + b2 = c2? Also, we've often heard that similar polygons have the same shape but not necessarily the same size. What exactly does that mean in terms of side lengths and angle measures?

As always, our updated Lesson Materials have 4 documents (Student Exploration Sheet, Answer Key, Teacher Guide, and Vocabulary Sheet), each available as a .doc or .pdf. (You'll need to be logged in to see all four documents.)

So we are now up to 60 high-school- and middle-school-level math Gizmos with updated Lesson Materials.

If you'd like to try these Gizmos, or any of the others in our library, sign up for a free trial today!

Posted by Dan at 03:46 PM in Site Announcements, Using Gizmos | Permalink