1. Angie Kolonich
  2. Graduate Assistant/Instructional Coach
  3. Developing and Testing a Model to Support Student Understanding of the Sub-Microscopic Interactions that Govern Biological and Chemical Processes
  4. https://learn.concord.org/interactions
  5. CREATE for STEM
  1. Daniel Damelin
  2. https://concord.org/about/staff/dan-damelin
  3. Technology and Curriculum Developer
  4. Developing and Testing a Model to Support Student Understanding of the Sub-Microscopic Interactions that Govern Biological and Chemical Processes
  5. https://learn.concord.org/interactions
  6. Concord Consortium
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Daniel Damelin

    Daniel Damelin

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2017 | 08:58 a.m.

    This project is a collaboration between the CREATE for STEM Institute and the Concord Consortium. It began when the Next Generation Science Standards were still in draft form and was meant to be an exemplar for what an NGSS-aligned curriculum might be if designed from the ground up with NGSS in mind. We have extensive teacher guides associated with our materials. To see them create a free teacher account at https://learn.concord.org/interactions and look for the "teacher guide" button associated with the materials.

    How might this work intersect with that of others trying to support teachers in adopting a pedagogical approach consistent with the spirit of the NGSS? 

     
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    Angie Kolonich
  • Icon for: Sarah Haavind

    Sarah Haavind

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2017 | 02:16 p.m.

    Hello Dan and visitors to Interactions! This video describes a pretty exciting development project about a key science idea. Mike Lim, one of the teachers in the video seems to be particularly impressed with how Interactions works in his classroom. I'm curious Dan, do you know what sorts of changes he is referring to specifically? Or if Mike stops by, perhaps he can fill in more details there. Certainly I have myself seen how shifting to pedagogical approaches consistent with the spirit of NGSS can be deeply transformative for teachers and learners of science. Would love to understand more in this case.

    In addition, Dan invites you above to share how your work might intersect with Interactions. What are your questions, thoughts and insights?

     
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    Angie Kolonich
  • Icon for: Angie Kolonich

    Angie Kolonich

    Presenter
    May 16, 2017 | 03:02 a.m.

    Hi Sarah, thank you for your interest and questions! I worked with Mike Lim as a professional learning community facilitator during his Interactions implementation. While Mike always worked to lead engaging discussions, he reported that Interactions helped him transition to a "teacher as facilitator" where he would consistently push their understanding by asking more questions rather than giving them answers.  The other change he made to his teaching was implementing literacy into his science classroom. He used the articles embedded in the Interactions curriculum to promote deeper understanding of the three dimensions of NGSS, and used writing to give students varied opportunities to share funds of knowledge. Mike also gathered evidence of using this approach, and presented on his use of literacy to promote understanding of the 3 Dimensions at NSTA in Los Angeles this year. 

  • Icon for: Angie Kolonich

    Angie Kolonich

    Presenter
    May 17, 2017 | 06:49 a.m.

    Hi Sarah!

    Please see Mike's post below regarding changes to his classroom.

  • Icon for: Breanne Litts

    Breanne Litts

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2017 | 10:57 p.m.

    Interactions looks like a promising approach to teaching various science concepts. Some of the units have been used in up to about 25 classrooms. I'm wondering who has taken up the curriculum and why certain units seem to be used more than others. I'm also curious what sorts of trends you've seen across classrooms both regarding teachers' perspectives on ease of use and integration (of both the units and the simulations) and students' learning outcomes and engagement. I'd love to hear more about what folks think the potential of this model could be for STEM teaching and learning and beyond. 

     
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    Angie Kolonich
  • Icon for: Angie Kolonich

    Angie Kolonich

    Presenter
    May 16, 2017 | 03:28 a.m.

    Hello Breanne, thank you for your comments and questions! Perhaps Dan can speak to the use of particular units. I have worked with over 20 teachers implementing Interactions across the country - and there seem to be varied perspectives on ease of use. As one teacher put it "How easy it is to adopt depends on how many curve balls we experience". For example, teachers with some NGSS knowledge who are comfortable with technology and are used to project, or inquiry based-instruction seem very comfortable implementing the curriculum. However, teachers who are learning NGSS, transitioning away from the traditional lecture style of teaching, and learning to use computers in the classroom seem need more support in implementation. 

    In general I would say that teachers enjoy and appreciate the curriculum, the changes they see in their classroom - and their students. For many teachers, Interactions serves as a curriculum that supports learning NGSS by doing it - both for teachers and students - and a few teachers have stated they are better able to develop NGSS lessons for other classes because of their participation with Interactions. 

  • Icon for: Daniel Damelin

    Daniel Damelin

    Co-Presenter
    May 16, 2017 | 10:03 a.m.

    Regarding usage numbers, those can be a little deceiving. We updated the version of these investigations and assessments several months ago, so those numbers are related to just the most recent versions. In general, teachers have been adopting the curriculum as a whole and work through it from the beginning. It was designed as a coherent progression that continually builds on previous knowledge. The course was designed as a 9th grade physical science replacement, using atomic and molecular interactions as a framework for understanding much of what we observe around us, and providing a framework to support more in-depth discipline specific work that follows in later years. That being said we make connections to physics, chemistry, and biological phenomena, so some teachers are using particular Investigations in subject specific classes. 

     
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    Angie Kolonich
  • Small default profile

    Michael Lim

    K-12 Teacher
    May 16, 2017 | 10:32 a.m.

    Hi Sarah!

    The changes in "the traditional lesson" I was referring to was the following:

    A shift from telling students what's important to using what's already important to them and building deeper understanding with prior knowledge and evidence from real-world investigations.

    A shift from lecture, note-taking, and memorization to phenomena-based discussions, model development/revision based on real-world evidence, and constructing explanations by connecting big ideas to the phenomena.

    A shift from understanding content from textbooks/worksheets to developing skills for constructing explanations and feeling the joy of discovery (applies for teachers too!)

    A shift from students wanting points and grades for completing tasks to students figuring out phenomena because they see the relevance for real-world applications--they have ownership over their learning.

    Hope this helps,

    Mike

    P.S. Email me anytime for more specific examples.  I can talk about Interactions all day!!!

     
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    Angie Kolonich
  • Icon for: Nancy Shapiro

    Nancy Shapiro

    Facilitator
    May 16, 2017 | 03:06 p.m.

    This looks like an incredibly useful tool/curriculum guide for teachers as they step off the ledge and plunge into NGSS. The testimonials are compelling, and make me want to go explore the materials myself!  That being said, how are you assessing the ease of use and adoption among teachers?   what about the impact on student learning?  If you are getting positive results from initial studies, what do you think we need to do to scale up the dissemination of the materials across the country?

     
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    Angie Kolonich
  • Small default profile

    Michael Lim

    K-12 Teacher
    May 17, 2017 | 10:53 a.m.

    I would say the ease of use and adoption of it was challenging for me because I had 7-8 years of traditional instruction conditioned in my mental muscles to unlearn. I had 7-8 years of telling my students explicitly when they were right and wrong which negated their own ability to develop their own understanding of the California Science Standards. 2 years ago, I taught Instructions for the first time and discovered that students can drive their own learning when it's spring boarded on phenomena sense-making NOT my end-all be-all socio-emotional approval of their responses. 

    My students are accomplishing what they have never done before: using the 8 Science and Engineering Practices to figure out phenomena.

    This is what plays out in Interactions:

    1. A phenomenon in the classroom 

    2. Teacher and students ask questions why or how

    3. Students develop explanatory models with prior knowledge to answer question(s).

    4. Class evaluates anonymous student models with teacher facilitating ideas (not validating!)

    5. Class investigates limitations of explanatory models in a real-world lab/activity.

    6. Students gather, analyze, interpret data from the lab individually, in groups, and as a class. (Possibly argue with evidence)

    7. Students revise initial explanatory model. (Compare with articles written by experts)

    8. Repeat steps #4-7 until gaps in initial model are mostly filled.

    *At this point I assign a 1-page essay that requires them to respond with a claim, evidence, and reasoning to the essential question of our Unit--which they do with vigor.

    Your last question can be answered with one word: vision. Once I saw the vision of NGSS through Interactions, I was a changed educator FOREVER. Teachers and students must experience the joy of discovery again. Interactions did that for me and it can for our country.

  • Small default profile

    Mary Virlee

    K-12 Teacher
    May 17, 2017 | 11:13 a.m.

    The "joy of discovery" was exactly what students and myself experienced in using the Interactions curriculum.  Interestingly students who have struggled with reproducing lists of science concepts in past science courses, had excellent insights and asked some of the best questions as we used the models, simulations and experiments to develop an understanding of the phenomena. Almost everyday during discussion, students brought up real-life experiences that could be explained by what we were doing in class.  Things like, "I was eating at a restaurant and I opened the crackers and the wrapper stuck to my hands" became something they wanted to investigate or explain.

    Thankfully I began my teaching career in the 70's when Science education was all about discovery to aid in the space race, so this curriculum felt like a return to my roots.  My students always say, "you only answer our questions with another question or ask what's the evidence?"

  • Small default profile

    Mary Virlee

    K-12 Teacher
    May 16, 2017 | 03:40 p.m.

     This was our first year using the Interactions Curriculum for our 9th grade Physical Science course.  The materials were easy to use and the support team was wonderful whenever we had questions.  Our students have developed the minds of scientists.  Students no longer take notes but are continually asking questions as to why a phenomena occurs and what evidence they can collect to explain what is happening. My students have become very adept in model construction using their models to explain and understand complex processes. This curriculum has allowed us to move away from grades based on points to standards based grading focused on student learning.  I have taught science for many years and I found the flow and  materials to be brilliantly executed.

     
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    Angie Kolonich
  • Icon for: Nancy Shapiro

    Nancy Shapiro

    Facilitator
    May 16, 2017 | 04:04 p.m.

    thanks for this comment--I was hoping to hear from a teacher! 

  • Icon for: Angie Kolonich

    Angie Kolonich

    Presenter
    May 17, 2017 | 06:59 a.m.

    Hi Nancy,  

    Regarding our assessment of teacher implementation and impacts on student learning - during the pilot we collected data from both teachers and students. Teacher implementation data included video-recorded observations, Interviews, and professional learning activities; and data collection for students includes all of their student work, and responses on pre and post assessment tests. Some students were also interviewed to see how their understanding of modeling changed over time.

    Initial results do look promising, and we are currently tackling the challenge of scale up. Within the Los Angeles school district we started with a pilot of five teachers, and added 18 teachers this year. In Michigan, we are also scaling from out initial pilot of 3 districts by introducing Interactions through professional development in three counties across the state. 

  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.