December 02, 2013
Gizmos Support Science Understanding in English Language Learners
Science class can be frustrating for English Language Learners (ELL). When teachers build on concepts in the science curriculum, they use complex vocabulary and often rely on students' background knowledge. Providing rich visual support and modeling during instruction has been shown to be a highly effective strategy in supporting students' understanding of science concepts. The use of Gizmos can help students connect concepts and vocabulary to real-world experiences, providing a bridge to learning between languages.
A Texas Science Coordinator agrees. She explains:
"Using Gizmos for ELLs is one of the best way to show a nonlinguistic representation of any science content/topics. Students enjoy the manipulation of variables and have the ability to communicate using pictures to the teachers with the simulations. Students see science content in a vivid and relevant way to help them increase their scientific literacy."
Gizmos' easily customizable lesson materials and vocabulary sheets provide students the opportunity to build on prior knowledge and communicate scientific content using multiple modes of representation (e.g. discussions, pictures, models, writing, graphs).
After attending a recent Initial Training Workshop, this is what one Memphis high school teacher had to say:
"The student body at the school I teach at consists majorly of ESL [English as a Second Language] students, and I definitely believe that Gizmos will assist my ESL students to better understand the concepts taught in science class, in which language can be a barrier for student comprehension."
Explore Gizmos today to see how they can help you transform learning for your ELL students.
November 26, 2013
Teachers are "thrilled to start using Gizmos" in their classes
An elementary teacher at Golden Vally School in Québec recently attended our Initial Gizmos Training. Here's what she had to say,
"The training was well balanced, and gave many opportunities to search through and test out many Gizmos. It was very informative and left no questions unanswered. I am thrilled to start using Gizmos in my classroom."
With Gizmos' flexible professional development and support, you can start integrating Gizmos into your lessons today! Learn more
November 13, 2013
Educator of the Month: Larissa Jackson
Larissa Jackson has been teaching for 17 years. Mrs. Jackson currently teaches Biology at a Title I high school in Shelby County Schools, TN.
Many of Mrs. Jackson's science computer lab sessions involve Gizmos. When she’s not using the computer lab, she has students engage with Gizmos on an interactive whiteboard during whole-class instruction. After her first year of using Gizmos in her lessons, she saw remarkable results. Her Biology students’ proficiency scores more than doubled! She attributes this success to the unique learning design Gizmos provide. Not only are students excited about using Gizmos in her class, they are deeply engaged in the content because of Gizmos. She explains:
“Because my students are such visual and kinesthetic learners, I was able to reinforce my lessons in a way that I hadn't previously. I also like the way Gizmos require students to make predictions and inferences based on evidence. Because of limited time and resources, I couldn't perform all the labs that I wanted students to experience. Gizmos gave students the hands-on and visual experience they needed to really understand the concept — specifically, the genetics lessons.”
Mrs. Jackson thinks the Mouse Genetics Gizmo is fabulous for teaching students about genetics. In the Mouse Genetics Gizmo, students can breed "pure" mice with known genotypes that exhibit specific fur and eye colors, and learn how traits are passed on via dominant and recessive genes. The Gizmo allows students to use Punnett squares to predict and track results of successive trials. Mrs. Jackson often has students work in cooperative groups to complete the Student Exploration sheets. Student Exploration sheets generally include multiple activities, with increasing levels of difficulty. This helps teachers differentiate their instruction more easily, so students of all ability levels can succeed.
Even when Mrs. Jackson engages students with hands-on labs, Gizmos are still part of the lessons — enriching students’ understanding of the concept before and after the lab. Gizmos are a great resource to remediate and reinforce the content and skills required of students. Mrs. Jackson really appreciates the Gizmo Assessment Questions too. They are a quick and easy way to assess students’ understanding of a concept.
Mrs. Jackson is currently enjoying another great year of using Gizmos with her students!
October 31, 2013
Tracey McLaughlin: ExploreLearning Educator of the Month
Tracey McLaughlin has been teaching for 26 years. She teaches grades 7-11 including Science, English, and Drama. She teaches at St. Michael High School in the Western Quebec School Board. St. Michael’s High School is located in the rural village of Low, Quebec, which has a population of approximately 850 people.
With only 85 students at her school, one of Mrs. McLaughlin’s biggest challenges is keeping students engaged. Because of the rich visual support and hands-on learning Gizmos provide, they have been invaluable in supporting student learning. She was first introduced to Gizmos five years ago. Since then, she has been able to integrate Gizmos in all of her science classes. She really likes to use Gizmos with her interactive whiteboard during whole-class instruction because it improves student understanding. “Students’ grades have improved because they can ‘see’ the concept and better understand the material. I love using Gizmos!”
For example, after using Gizmos, Mrs. McLaughlin’s 7th grade students had a much better understanding of density. She first used the Density Experiment: Slice and Dice Gizmo to create a conceptual understanding. In this experiment, students drop a chunk of material in a beaker of water and observe whether it sinks or floats. They can cut the chunk into smaller pieces of any size, and observe what happens as they are dropped in the beaker. The mass and volume of each chunk can be measured to gain a clear understanding of density and buoyancy.
Then students extended their knowledge with the Density Gizmo. This Gizmo allows students to measure the mass and volume of a variety of objects, and then place them into a beaker of liquid to see if they float or sink. Students learn to predict whether objects will float or sink in water based on their mass and volume. They can even compare how objects float or sink in a variety of liquids, including gasoline, oil, seawater, and corn syrup.
Thank you for your dedication Mrs. McLaughlin!
October 29, 2013
Gizmos bridge the gap between science and technology
“In the 21st century, technology is becoming more of a priority in the lives of our youth. Gizmos are a great tool to implement technology with our students. Gizmos have impacted the success of my students by allowing them to see the concepts come together in a visual manner. After the students are able to ‘see’ the concepts, it makes answering the higher-order questions on the Exploration Guide easier to do. I love the design of the Exploration Guide. It chunks and scaffolds the information for the students, making it easier for all levels of students to enjoy and comprehend scientific concepts. Gizmos are allowing teachers to bridge the gap between technology and science for our students!
--High School Science Department Chair, Miami-Dade Public Schools, Florida
October 24, 2013
“Gizmos are great for science…”
“Gizmos are great for science because they provide models for student use that could never be simulated in the classroom science lab.”
-- High School Science Teacher, Mobile County School District, Alabama
October 17, 2013
Niels Walkau: ExploreLearning Educator of the Month
Niels Walkau is a teacher at Coberg West High School in Ontario. He has been using Gizmos for 4 years and has been teaching for 18 years. He teaches 10th and 11th grade academic-level Biology and Chemistry.
Mr. Walkau facilitates students’ academic growth by focusing on learning goals. One of the most important resources he uses to achieve this is Gizmos. He tells students, “There are a variety of resources to help you meet each goal, but one thing’s for sure, if you use the assigned Gizmos, you will learn.” Since adding Gizmos to the curriculum, his students have responded well. “The kids just run with it. They love the freedom and independence Gizmos provide. It allows them to speed experiments up, change variables, and helps them learn at their own pace. Also, it’s interactive and digital, so it maintains students’ enthusiasm and engagement.”
Gizmos have not only been helpful to Mr. Walkau’s teaching practice, but they have also added new content to his curriculum. He explains, “I didn’t teach the concept of star spectra before Gizmos, but after seeing it in the Star Spectra Gizmo, something just clicked. I realized that students need to know where matter comes from before they can start talking about its properties and behaviors. I realized Spectroscopy would be the cornerstone for the unit. Spectroscopy is one of the most important tools for element identification, and it made perfect sense to use the Star Spectra Gizmo as an intro to the topic. After using the Gizmo, the kids did a hands-on lab and burned elements. They used real spectroscopes to observe elemental spectra, just like the ones shown in the Gizmo. With Gizmos, kids that had no background knowledge could test and play, and then do it for real. When it was all tied together, students began to understand where the elements come from—students’ eyes were opened! It even led to a class discussion about the Big Bang theory.”
Gizmos also rekindled Mr. Walkau’s love of astronomy. After creating the unit with the Star Spectra Gizmo, he joined an astronomy group and has even begun collecting a few telescopes of his own. Happy star gazing, Mr. Walkau!
October 16, 2013
Mobile teacher appreciates the flexibility of Gizmos to support instruction
“Gizmos add a new depth to learning for the students. It lets the students interact with the material being presented by the teacher. It allows the flexibility for the teacher to interact with Gizmos in a whole class setting via interactive tools or allows the students to interact with the program individually, paired, or cooperatively in small group settings. The versatility of the program is also ideal for today’s educational trend in guided inquiry.”
-- High School Science Teacher, Mobile County School District, Alabama
October 15, 2013
Gizmos are great on the SMART Board
“I adore Gizmo, they are a great way to involve the class in neat science experiments that they may otherwise not get the chance to do. I use Gizmo all the time to teach science, my students love coming to the SMART Board and participating in the experiments, when we are doing the gizmo as a group. They love seeing what will happen in the experiment and manipulating objects on the screen. Furthermore, it is a great way to practice the scientific method because of the way the student labs are written up. I will definitely continue to use this excellent learning tool and am looking forward to any new Gizmos that may be on their way!”
-- Science Teacher, Quebec, Canada
October 09, 2013
How Miami-Dade students learn about tides
"I use Gizmos throughout my lessons to introduce and reinforce concepts. One of my personal favorites is the Tides Gizmo that explains the neap/spring tides. Gizmos help students develop an understanding of concepts that are not easily observed in our classroom."
-- Science Teacher, Miami-Dade Public Schools, FL
October 04, 2013
Gizmos help students on Biology finals
"Last year my biology students told me that Gizmos helped them a great deal on the end-of-course exams. This year I continue to implement Gizmos as classwork and homework for the same reason."
-- Biology Teacher, Palm Beach Schools, FL
September 30, 2013
Biology students love Gizmos
"My experiences using Gizmos have surpassed any other learning methods I use. Gizmos provide environments and conditions that are impossible to provide for our students in the actual world. Gizmos are a great resource. We love them."
-- Biology Teacher, Shelby County Schools, Tennessee
September 24, 2013
"The possibilities are limitless" with Gizmos
Dr. McDowell is the Secondary Science Coordinator for Frisco ISD in Texas. After trying out various simulation products, his district chose ExploreLearning Gizmos because it's easy to support and has great content, especially in Biology and Chemistry.
He explains, “It was easy to decide to fully adopt the Gizmos for all our core content areas. We have always preferred Gizmos because they allow students to ‘do’ science. They allow students to change variables and see what happens. Many of the other products are mostly animations or interactive tasks that all have a common end. With Gizmos, it seems the possibilities are limitless. Each student gets the experience they want/need in the learning process.”
In addition, “administration of the accounts is much easier. With other products, I had to collect all the student and teacher names to supply for upload. With Gizmos, students can enroll themselves, so I don’t have to maintain any type of mass roster for the district.”
Thank you Frisco ISD for choosing Gizmos to support student learning!
September 18, 2013
Gizmos meet a variety of learning styles
”Gizmos have a positive impact on our students. Many of our students are below-level readers and Gizmos does a great job of combining the visual and kinesthetic piece together with content-rich reading and analysis tasks."
-- Secondary Science Teacher, Palm Beach Schools, FL
September 16, 2013
Gizmos bring science to life
“When I was introduced to Gizmos I thought, ‘WOW, this will REALLY enhance my instruction.’ Now, when I teach protein synthesis using the RNA and Protein Synthesis Gizmo, students can simulate the process more closely to what happens in their body. The old way of cutting and pasting the nucleotides to a piece of paper was too abstract for some. Students can now see the concept in 'real world models'."
-- Teacher, Richmond Public Schools, VA
September 13, 2013
Flower Mound, TX Students Explore Pollination with Gizmos
Flower Mound High School students in Lewisville ISD are using the Pollination: Flower to Fruit Gizmo to dissect flowers in Pre-AP Biology. Using this Gizmo, students can label a flower anatomy diagram, understand the function of each structure, compare the processes of self-pollination and cross-pollination, and explore how fertilization takes place in a flowering plant. Their teacher comments,
"I love Gizmos! The students can work independently and then apply what they learned in lab or use it in place of lab due to time constrictions. Thanks for such a great product."
Help your students’ learning blossom with Gizmos!
September 09, 2013
Gizmos are great for learning abstract concepts
“I love Gizmos to teach topics that are either too miniscule to see with the naked eye or too dangerous or to do in real life. For example, in my anatomy class we use the Cell Division Gizmo. We can't observe living cell division in the equipment that we have at school. I have observed that students have a greater ability to grasp an abstract concept if it can be visualized.”
--Anatomy Teacher, Lewisville, TX
September 05, 2013
Amazing student success with Gizmos
“It is amazing how far we’ve come in math! Gizmos are a wonderful support for all students K-6!"
-- Education Consultant, Lester B. Pearson School Board, Quebec
September 02, 2013
Gizmos engages students and gets them excited about science
“Gizmos have been great to use in the classroom. It is something that kids get excited about and want to use. Students would come to school in the mornings and tell me about what they did at home using Gizmos. It is engaging and really teaches and reinforces the topic in a way the students can understand.
The Solar System Gizmo helped my students out a lot. These are concepts that cannot be seen very well concretely. With Gizmos they were able to see and manipulate what things look like. Students were able to connect topics on quizzes, warm ups, reviews, and tests back to what they saw on the Gizmos. It also helped some of my ESL's with vocabulary by allowing them to see and use the language as they worked through the Gizmos.”
-- Elementary teacher, Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, TX
August 29, 2013
Teacher praise for Gizmos training model
“I was so pleased how the trainings went yesterday. Both of your trainers were tremendous. Teachers came away with great ideas on what Gizmos can do for instruction using whole class as well as small group. The teachers truly appreciated [the presenter’s] knowledge, expertise and delivery. She was truly engaging and informative. I look forward to having additional trainings.
-- STEM Teacher, Volusia County Schools, FL
“Yesterday's Gizmos workshop was truly outstanding. Rarely do I return to school the next day and try to implement immediately, but today I did. As often as I saw Gizmos over the years, it wasn't until yesterday that I left with enough confidence to try and set it up in my classes. Gizmos allow us to introduce something new and interactive to our students. Thank you for providing such a great in-service.”
-- Mathematics Teacher, Palm Beach Schools, FL
August 26, 2013
Gizmos Enable Exploration
"I feel that Gizmos help my science students learn in a fun way that they enjoy. Gizmos reinforce their learning and allow them to explore certain science experiments in ways that we cannot in the general classroom. I believe that it is a great tool for science teachers."
-- 5th Grade Teacher, Lewisville School District, TX
August 19, 2013
Encourage discussions in science with Gizmos
“Gizmos for science have allowed my students to not only conduct investigations that would be challenging to conduct in the classroom, but they allow my students to extend their ideas in many ways that other activities or labs do not really offer. It generates science discussions, and provides opportunities for new ideas.”
-- Elementary School Teacher, Lewisville ISD, TX
August 16, 2013
Trenton Teachers Use Gizmos during Summer Program
A Trenton, NJ Middle School piloted Gizmos this summer in math and science classes during their extended school year. After the pilot, teachers were asked to evaluate Gizmos for continued use in the classroom. The data overwhelmingly supported going forward with Gizmos! When asked if they would recommend Gizmos to other teachers in their district, 100% said, "YES". Here are some other great things the teachers had to say,
“Students loved being able to work hands on.”
“Gizmos allowed me to teach certain subjects in a hands-on way, which helped me to differentiate instruction.”
“Gizmos is a great learning tool for students.”
“When students used the Gizmos they had a better understanding the topic.”
"Students were more engaged and eager to learn, resulting in a better academic performance."
“Thank you for helping me to learn different ways of teaching and assessing my students.”
We're pleased Trenton teachers and students had such a great summer experience with Gizmos.
August 08, 2013
Student engagement improves with Gizmos
“Gizmos have become an integral part of my teaching repertoire allowing me to further differentiate my instruction with the intended goal being increased student achievement in science. Many of my students, especially those who we might consider 'at-risk' have benefited from this educational technology by showing higher levels of student engagement and better learning of science concepts, which otherwise would probably not happen had I used 'traditional' instructional strategies.”
-- High School Teacher, Peel DSB, Ontario
August 01, 2013
Professor Uses Gizmos to Teach Best Practices
Wendy Schroeder, a College of Education professor at California State University at Northridge uses Gizmos to demonstrate how to build conceptual understanding in math and science. She feels it’s an excellent way to model technology integration for tomorrow’s teachers.
“I feel exposure to Gizmos has had a definite impact on my pre-service teachers, and many of them have gone on to use Gizmos in their own classrooms.”
In addition, Wendy sees the value of Gizmos to prepare students for Common Core testing. After participating in a SBAC pilot test, Wendy shared,
“I think that the technology aspect of Gizmos is even more relevant to math K-12 instruction than ever. As pre-service teachers become more aware of the various components of the new Common Core standards they often draw comparison to what they saw in Gizmos”
Explore how Gizmos can prepare your students for technology-enabled assessments, take a free trial today!
July 31, 2013
Students have fun and learn with Gizmos
“My students love Gizmos because they are fun! When they are working on Gizmos they are doing two of their favorite activities, working on the computer and collaborating with other students. I love Gizmos because, while my students are having fun, they are also learning.
-- High School Science Teacher, Richmond Public Schools, VA
June 20, 2013
Gizmos Support the Common Core
A deputy superintendent in Pulaski County Special School District in Arkansas wrote to tell us that Gizmos support the Common Core:
"Gizmos are a quick and easy way for teachers to incorporate interactive technology into their math and science lessons to support the Common Core, I love Gizmos!"
If you would like to try Gizmos in your classroom, take a free trial.
October 18, 2012
Florida Teacher Links High Science Scores to Gizmos
Teacher Michelle Yarish just moved from a high school to a middle school magnet school in Hillsborough County Public Schools in Florida. She says her 7th graders are excited to use Gizmos like Growing Plants this year, but she also wanted to share her experiences with Gizmos with her high school students last year.
She writes that "I do feel confident in saying that my use of Gizmos (specifically Water Pollution, Greenhouse Effect, Distance-Time and Velocity-Time Graphs, Measuring Motion, Free Fall Tower, Fan Cart Physics and Doppler Shift Advanced) was integral to Steinbrenner having the highest Physical Science second semester exam scores in Hillsborough County. I especially think the students benefit by working at their own pace. I often observed students helping their peers which we know shows the highest level of learning. As a teacher I appreciate being able to adjust the handouts and the data obtained from the quizzes."
We look forward to hearing a similar science success story with her 7th Graders this year!
February 21, 2012
Gizmos: Best preparation for the Common Core State Standards
The District Mathematics Chair from El Dorado Public Schools in Arkansas wrote to us about his perspective on preparing for the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics.
He noted, "For the past several years we have used ExploreLearning’s Gizmos in our math and science classes. Based on a preliminary release of the assessment piece for Common Core State Standards, we feel this platform may be the best preparation for our students to be successful on the forthcoming online assessments."
He continues: "Not only do the Gizmos work well with our SMART Board presentation system, the biggest impact for students comes when teachers have them conduct explorations at individual computer work stations. A key addition to their product is the quarterly usage report. Using data generated by teacher and student usage, we have been able to spend our funds more wisely as well as identify training needs for our teachers. Overall, we have been extremely satisfied with the quality and value of this product."
We are thrilled to get this kind of support, as we have been working very diligently to ensure Gizmos not only correlate to the Common Core, but actively help educators prepare for its implementation. The emphasis on conceptual understanding combined with their interactive, online nature, make Gizmos a superb preparation for the rigorous Common Core standards and for the associated PARCC and SBAC assessments.
December 01, 2011
Gizmos contributed to a jump in standardized scores
The Atlanta Journal and Constitution recently published an article about the importance of science education in preparing children to enter the 21st-century workforce.
The article emphasizes how students are at risk of dropping out of school if they lack confidence in their ability to handle academic challenges. It then goes on to talk about how Gizmos, with their emphasis on deep conceptual understanding, help students succeed:
Kelly Stewart, a former science teacher at Ridgeview Charter Middle School, saw her eighth-grade students' science CRCT scores jump 8 to 13 percent in two years after she received a grant from SSEF to put Gizmos in her classroom.
“Gizmos gave my students online labs and simulations that we couldn’t have done in middle school,” said Stewart, now school data analyst for Fulton County Schools. The program is visual, interactive and allows her students to grasp concepts and make connections they wouldn’t otherwise.
To learn more about the effectiveness of Gizmos in improving student achievement, read about the research behind Gizmos.
October 04, 2011
Great Gizmos training experiences
We get a lot of great feedback about our top-notch Professional Development staff. As an example, recently we got a note from an inclusion teacher in Massachusetts' Falmouth Public Schools who said this after attending a training with PD Regional Manager Betty Korte:
"Betty was just terrific and adeptly read the 'pulse' of our staff as tech-savvy and tailored an afternoon which was just perfect for my staff. She was totally knowledgeable about all aspects of the program, kept the training moving at a good pace for the audience, she was wonderfully pleasant and kept to the agenda in a timely manner."
Betty is just one of many superb trainers ready to help you improve teaching and learning in your classrooms. Our PD team brings a wide variety of training offerings to schools, from Initial Gizmo Training which helps teachers start off right with Gizmos, to targeted offerings helping teachers utilize best practices in math and science to customized support programs to sustain broad use of Gizmos over time.
September 19, 2011
Gizmos provide a rich experience for students
We recently heard from Paul Therrien, Vice Principal at I.V. Macklin Public School in Alberta, and we wanted to share what he had to say about Gizmos in his school:
“Our school has been using Gizmos and our teachers and students love them! Gizmos allow our students and teachers access to science and math demonstrations and labs within seconds. Students are able to easily manipulate variables and conduct experiments that they would not be able to do in class. They also allow students to do experiments outside of the regular classroom and get caught up if they are away from school.
“The Gizmos are easy to use and provide a rich experience for students learning science and math. Gizmos also provide teachers with the ability to differentiate for students with other needs.
“The Circuits Gizmo gives students the flexibly to create electrical circuits virtually and provides students with instant feedback on whether they were successful or not, without having to worry about equipment malfunction.”
Thanks, Paul, and keep up the good work!
July 20, 2011
Using Gizmos to teach teachers
Gizmos are popular with Education professors as a means to demonstrate inquiry-based learning. We often hear that they are also used to help pre-service teachers to improve their own understanding of math and science concepts. (You're never too old to learn from a Gizmo!)
One of these university-level instructors, Sue Glascoe, has recently subscribed to Gizmos and written a review of Gizmos in her Teaching Math with Technology blog. She concludes:
"I will have my pre-service students evaluating and choosing their favorite Gizmos for different areas of Elementary mathematics this Fall semester. I can’t wait to see their reactions to these amazing math and science simulations!"
We're looking forward to hearing more from Sue and anyone using Gizmos in the post-secondary environment.
June 30, 2011
A New York elementary school's plan for summer enrichment: Reflex!
Teachers, schools, and even entire districts are starting to adopt Reflex to help their students excel in mathematics.
At the recent ISTE conference, an educator from Richard P Conner Elementary School stopped by to show us their school's Reflex website for parents. The school sent login info home with report cards, giving students the chance to benefit from Reflex throughout the summer.
After a whole summer with Reflex, these kids are going to be lightning fast in math facts!
January 13, 2011
Gizmos promote active learning
One of the most rewarding parts about being an educator is the moment when your teaching helps unlock new concepts in students' minds. What can be even more rewarding is when students then challenge themselves to learn even more. As teacher Amy Barrieau has discovered, Gizmos encourage students to take their understanding to this next level:
"I've had much success with Gizmos thus far and some great feedback from students and parents alike...Gizmos encourage cognitive ﬂexibilty in the way [they] require students to question, explore, test and discover in multiple ways. The simulations are accurately based on real life tests and students challenge themselves to ﬁnd new combinations of variables to accomplish a goal."
New Brunswick School District 16, Canada
While other products are "sit and receive", passive tools, Gizmos promote active learning. Students can experience phenomena virtually and connect classroom learning with the real world.
January 05, 2011
Gizmos have the "pin drop" effect!
Let's admit it. Kids today know far more about technology than we ever did at their age. The infusion of technology into virtually every aspect of our lives is something they fully appreciate and understand. So, it only makes sense to induct technology into classrooms and transform the way kids learn. What may seem like a daunting learning task can easily be accomplished with Gizmos! Science teacher Cami Field knows just what a wonderful effect Gizmos has in her classroom:
"My students love doing Gizmos. Any activity that uses technology immediately grabs their attention. They are so involved in the activity that you could hear a pin drop!"
Earth Science Teacher
Portsmouth Public School District, VA
Check out the Research Behind Gizmos and discover some of the reasons why Gizmos are such powerful tools for improving student learning!
December 15, 2010
Add Gizmos to your holiday wish list!
When shopping for the hottest items this season, don't forget to accessorize your classroom too! Gizmos provide powerful interactive visualizations of concepts, helping students develop deep and lasting understanding. Chemistry teacher Towana Baldwin loves what they have done to enhance her science lessons:
"Finally! An effective resource that science teachers can use to make science come to life! Gizmos are awesome! They go beyond scientific visualization, and incorporate independent learning...This semester I introduced students to Gizmos in reviewing Balancing Chemical Equations. After working with Gizmos, many understood that balancing equations involves actual molecules and atoms. It amazed me that after all of my instruction my students still needed to SEE science to UNDERSTAND it. That’s why I love, love, love Gizmos! It’s a must have for teachers."
Tamona J. Baldwin
Portsmouth Public School District, VA
Bring the “Ah-Hah!” moment to your classroom with Gizmos. Your students will reap benefits the whole year through!
October 08, 2010
Gizmo users see results!
Gizmos help get students excited about learning and thinking critically about math and science concepts, but do they really yield results? Teachers and administrators from all over are telling us: "yes!" Teacher Caryn Murray in Kansas can personally attest to the success of using Gizmos. Caryn shares with us:
"Our 7th grade students made a 98.6% on the Kansas State Science Assessment! Explorelearning.com is one of our favorite resources. It really helps teach concepts that are otherwise difficult to explain!!!"
Frontenac Unified School District 249, KS
This is great news Caryn! We hope that Gizmos will continue to impact your students and increase their scores.
Educators are all a-Twitter over Gizmos
We asked our followers on Twitter to tell us what they love about Gizmos, and the response has been remarkable! Here are just a few of the great things we've heard:
Amy Gilbert: "I love @ExploreLearning Gizmos because they are actual inquiry-based activities that require students to think!"
MaryJac Reed: "I love @ExploreLearning Gizmos because they capture my students' imagination and get them thinking outside the box! True inquiry science!"
Lynn Jeffs: "I love @ExploreLearning Gizmos because gizmos are fun, engaging for students and the teacher can assess understanding easily."
Jared Stavinoha: "I love @ExploreLearning Gizmos because it gives my students tools to interact with, so they develop and reason through problems."
Lorenzo Arredondo: "I love @ExploreLearning Gizmos because it lets me track student data as they answer questions from interactive lessons that are fun!"
Joseph Blizzard: "I love @ExploreLearning Gizmos because it lets my students do "real labwork" that I just can't get done in the time and space that I have."
Brian Gordon: "I love @ExploreLearning because it allows my students to have visually stimulating and hands-on technology for math and science concepts."
Elisa Heinricher: "I love @ExploreLearning Gizmos because the kids get so excited about learning and stay focused for such a long time!"
...and that's just a few of them!
We're re-tweeting these from our own Twitter profile, so you can see more just by checking us out there. Follow us from your Twitter account, and you'll also get great breaking news from the worlds of math and science: many of these are stories and ideas you can use in your classroom.
September 30, 2010
"...Limitless opportunities for conceptual and extended learning"
It's always wonderful to hear how much teachers love Gizmos. And it's great to know that the people who support teachers appreciate Gizmos as well.
Leslie Accardo is the Model Schools Coordinator at the Lower Hudson Regional Information Center in New York. She says:
“I have been advocating and supporting the Gizmos in this region to different degrees for quite a number of years. In my experiences in reviewing all genres of instructional products, there are few that I would recommend with such personal excitement, and the Gizmos are one of them. High interest, easily accessible; low learning curve, and multiple entry points for teaching and learning. One Gizmo in the hand of a math/science teacher can provide almost limitless opportunities for conceptual and extended learning.”
That's exactly what we have in mind when we're working on Gizmos, Leslie!
September 07, 2010
Gizmo videos on YouTube
Fourth grade students at Woodside Elementary School in Maine have been posting videos about Gizmos on YouTube. Check out some of the fun content they have made public:
- Cole, clearly a spokesperson-in-training, gives a video demonstration of the Factor Trees Gizmo.
- Josh demonstrates the concept of volume using the Balancing Blocks Gizmo.
- Junie shows number line estimation using the ever-popular Cannonball Clowns Gizmo.
- And, Josh and Junie collaborate on an overview video about Gizmos.
We love seeing Gizmos being used, explored and explained by students, and we would be delighted to see even more! If you make a good video that helps people discover and learn more about Gizmos, consider posting it for others to see on YouTube. Be sure to tag it with #ExploreLearning to make it easy to find. If you drop us a line as well, you may see a mention right here in the EL News.
September 02, 2010
Start the school year with Gizmos!
Once again, it's that special time of the year: Back to school! The classrooms are spotless, the notebooks are full of crisp paper and the pencils are freshly sharpened. But, the one thing that will get students interested in learning isn't the allure of colorful book covers, it's technology. Follow the lead of middle school teacher Lindsey Blevins and integrate Gizmos in your classroom to keep students engaged the whole year through:
"I found that with the added use of technology, using Gizmos, I reached even a greater percentage of my students because of the varied level of instruction each Gizmo provides. I was able to direct students with specialized learning needs, from basic to advanced...Even those students who may not be technology oriented had an interest in the Gizmos because they were manipulating the learning situation and it became an individualized challenge for them to succeed....ExploreLearning and Gizmos has provided a wonderful technology tool that provides strong differentiated, supplemental instruction."
Middle School Science Teacher
Mountain Home School District 9, AR
There are Gizmos for all learners. Browse our library of over 450 Gizmos by math or science topic, state/provincial standard, or textbook correlation to find the right ones for your classroom!
August 20, 2010
Survey of PA 8th graders reveals stellar results
Anthony Jackowski, Assistant Principal of Springton Lake Middle School, PA, conducted a survery among 8th grade students to see how they were responding to Gizmos. He graciously shared their responses with us, and the comments speak for themselves:
"I like Gizmos because..."
•"...I was able to use an interactive website which gave feedback."
•"...They are very convenient. Doing them from home is nice."
•"...I am a visual learner and they were well illustrated."
•"...They are very easy to use. They are fast and simple with hardly any flaws."
•"...We don’t have to waste real materials: we can use [Gizmos] on a computer."
Rating based on a 1-10 scale (10 being the highest):
•"I would rate Gizmos a 10 on how much they help understand the science concepts. You don’t always know if you understand a concept until you are tested on it and Gizmos help to reinforce what I learned."
•" I’d give [Gizmos] a 10 because you can move around objects to get your answer, which may be easier than doing it mentally."
•"I would give Gizmos a 9. It helps me because I actually get to see and experiment on what we’re learning."
We are always thrilled to hear directly from our student audience. Happy students learning more with Gizmos is what ExploreLearning is all about!
June 04, 2010
Gizmo Recommendations contest winner!
Thank you to the many ExploreLearning subscribers who participated in our recent Gizmo Recommendations contest. We received hundreds of new (and terrific) recommendations for Gizmos up and down the curriculum! Today, we randomly chose the winner for our iPod contest, for subscribers submitting at least 5 new recommendations. The winner is Cathy Hammell from Polk County, FL. Cathy teaches middle school science and had this to say earlier today:"Wow! I am very excited and got a big smile when I read the congratulations email. I love Gizmos. They provide my students with the added visual to what I teach in the classroom. They also provide my students with a clear picture of concepts and fill in the gaps of anything I missed."
Take a look at a couple of the science Gizmos that Cathy recommended: Mystery Powder Analysis and Element Builder. Or, try one of these math Gizmos also recently recommended: Order of Operations and Adding and Subtracting Integers.
Look for another Gizmo-related contest over the summer. Details will be coming in a newsletter soon!
May 27, 2010
Gizmos get A+ grade from Arkansas students
For Cheryl Prock, a middle school teacher in Pottsville School District, Arkansas, the enjoyment her students get from using Gizmos in her classroom has not gone unnoticed. She asked that some of her most enthusiatic students write us a letter to tell us just how much they like Gizmos. Cheryl also tells us about her experience with Gizmos as a teacher:
“As you will read, these students really enjoy using the Gizmos. They really have fun exploring the different Gizmos available. As a teacher, it is so nice to have online manipulatives to extend the students' learning. They make it pretty obvious that they do not consider it to be more work, yet they feel like they are ‘playing’.”
The letter from three of her 6th grade students adds:
“Gizmos are fantastic, excellent, and superb! The one we like to play the most is Quilting Bee (Symmetry) because we like to draw unknown, weird, and spectacular images.”
Thank you Cheryl for encouraging your students to write to us. ExploreLearning is dedicated to deepening conceptual knowledge in math and science, and allowing students to have fun while learning. It is great to know that these goals are being reached one student at a time!
May 20, 2010
Can you grow the tallest plant?
During a training workshop for Nassau BOCES in New York we enticed some participating educators to get into the spirit of interactive learning. We challenged them to compete against each other to grow the tallest plant, using our Growing Plants Gizmo. Nicole Blumberg (see above photo) was the proud winner of an ExploreLearning t-shirt, but her students, who are experiencing the power of Gizmos, are the real winners.
Here is what Nicole had to say about Gizmos:
"Gizmos are truly exciting and exceptional tools that are motivating and engaging for all students through an interactive learning experience."
K-5 Science Teacher
Solomon Schechter Day School, NY
Congratulations Nicole on your victory. Enjoy your cool t-shirt, and Gizmos too!
May 17, 2010
Arkansas teacher declares: "I love using Gizmos."
With funding from a Title IID grant (EETT), middle school teachers and students across Arkansas are experiencing Gizmos! After just a few short months of implementation, one teacher wrote to us about how integrating Gizmos has transformed her classroom and lesson planning:
“…I love using Gizmos. It is so user friendly that I feel comfortable enough to explore a lesson in front of my class. My students totally enjoy the lessons. We have done them as a whole class, in the computer lab with partners, and as individuals. They talk math and science when we are using Gizmos.
I teach middle school math and science and I find the lessons to be valuable experiences for supporting the content...They are fabulous for giving students an understanding of controlling and manipulating variables. They are probably one of the most helpful tools that I have received in many years. I spend hours in lesson preparation, and yet Gizmos only requires a few minutes to find a lesson, comprehend it, and plug it into the curriculum.
Thank you for designing a program that does not require a doctorate in computer language and operation. Thank you for lessons that have beautiful, appealing, captivating presentations and applicable content. This is so wonderful!!”
Street Middle School
North Little Rock School District, AR
We love to hear that Gizmos are making a difference in Arkansas schools! Thank you Catherine for sharing!
May 03, 2010
NYC Science teacher uses Gizmos to convey abstract ideas
Jeanne Lotito, New York City High School Science teacher and ExploreLearning subscriber since 2008, describes what she loves about Gizmos:
"As a science teacher I sometimes find it difficult to convey abstract ideas. The ExploreLearning Gizmos are an excellent tool for bringing these ideas to life; allowing students to visualize these concepts and solidify their understanding. In addition, as students are interacting with the Gizmos, I have the freedom to be more mobile throughout the classroom and provide more individualized instruction. I am confident that any other teacher who chooses to try ExploreLearning Gizmos will be equally satisfied."
We are so happy to hear about the continued success Jean is having with Gizmos in her classroom. Thank you Jean for your strong recommendation!
High School for Arts and Business
Community School District 24, NYC
August 11, 2009
Gizmos Make A Difference to Science Results...
Wayne Worthley is a teacher at Redland Middle school - which is part of Dade County School District in Florida. Wayne has contacted us with comments regarding the outstanding results he has seen in his students using Gizmos in preparation for their science FCAT (Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test). The results speak for themselves:
"There were around 350 8th grade students in the school and I taught about 75 of them. Of those 75, 67% passed with a 3 or better. Of the other approximately 275 8th grade students, only 10% of them passed with a 3 or better...
GIZMOS make a difference and are a valuable instructional tool for me."
Wayne, we are delighted that Gizmos are making such a difference to the students you teach, and thank you for your support of Gizmos!
June 08, 2009
Miami Students using Gizmos say: “Now I get it!”
Heather Hodson, a science coach in Miami Central High School, wrote us to comment on the great improvements her science students are making using Gizmos, and to thank ExploreLearning Project Manager Mario Junco for all his hard work. This is what Heather had to say about Mario and Gizmos:
Mario's Gizmo demonstration of the Pond Ecosystem and its application of independent and dependent variables, brought rigor and showed the effective educational flexibility of a Gizmo. It was extremely gratifying to work with this and other Gizmos, and hear the students say, "Now I get it!"
We hope to continue working with you in future years, as we feel that our collaboration will continue to help boost the Science FCAT scores at our school..."
Thank you Heather - It is wonderful to know that Gizmos with Mario’s Project Management leadership are making such a difference at your school.
For more information on ExploreLearning Professional Development opportunities, including Project Management, please visit our PD information page.