REVERE Awards Profile: Spotlight on Science Instruction

The current focus on STEM and the introduction of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) have put science literacy and instruction in the spotlight. The PreK-12 Learning Group is excited to be at the forefront of identifying high quality science products in the REVERE Awards and also providing professional development in this area for learning resource developers through our Essentials for Next Generation Science Instruction Master Class event in New York on November 5.

Read below for a look behind the scenes of 2015’s top science products.

PLEx Life Science

Filament Games

FINALIST in Supplemental Resources - Science, Health, and the Environment & Innovation

Our intent for our game-based curriculum is two-fold: we aim to provide students with meaningful learning conveyed through authentically engaging gameplay, and we strive to equip teachers with the tools they need to get the most out of a game-based learning implementation in their classroom. We build our games around learning objectives without sacrificing the quality of the gameplay itself–this is why our tag line is "Real Games, Real Learning." We don't short-change either side of the equation.   

In response to our market's feedback, we made the decision this January to re-brand our game-based curriculum content, emphasizing the individual game units as a la carte offerings as opposed to emphasizing a full suite of game-based content. We also departed from a subscription model and now sell each game as a permanent license. Users can even recycle accounts, so there really is no need to re-purchase. Teachers have responded very enthusiastically to this new model, and we're excited to have made a change that brings us a bit closer to our mission of helping teachers improve education.                      

Advanced Biology Through Inquiry       

PASCO Scientific

FINALIST in Supplemental Resources – Science, Health, and the Environment          

Advancing Biology Through Inquiry’s goal is to help teachers and students succeed in AP® Biology by providing a manual of lab activities that address core learning objectives and science practices as well as offering teachers flexibility in their execution. 

The main challenge was developing a lab manual that was flexible enough for any teacher (novice vs. expert, or “traditional” vs. reform-minded) to find value in it and, in turn, engage their students in inquiry. Throughout the process we truly engaged in inquiry ourselves, experiencing a number of unexpected issues for every success, collecting, aggregating, and analyzing data from many trials, and researching the literature for meaningful data related to the lab manual investigations so students would synthesize conclusions from their data and from others’ research. What started as diagrams, flow charts, and phrases on a whiteboard evolved into a pedagogical approach and a set of investigations that get teachers and their students analyzing data, finding patterns, and making sense of the results. As former educators the final product represents something we would definitely use if we returned to the classroom.

Biology for NGSS

BIOZONE International Ltd.

WINNER in Supplemental Resources – Science, Health, and the Environment    

We were very excited to see the launching of a state-led coordinated initiative to develop a national program for science education in the US. The major innovations of the NGSS program represent a paradigm shift in thinking and pedagogical approach. We wanted to bring to this new program the highly successful pedagogical approach that has worked so well for us in many other markets around the world. Biology for NGSS provides a superbly crafted suite of supplemental resources that both streamline the teaching of high school biology and provide a richly illustrated collection of activities that make clear connections to the most important ideas in biology.

Being one of the first publishers with an entirely new product 'designed from the ground up' for the high school NGSS life sciences program was rather daunting and a little frightening.  While sticking steadfastly to the guiding principles of the comprehensive NGSS document, it still felt like the process was a "leap into the unknown". We are relieved to discover that trials of the product with "early adopters" have yielded very enthusiastic, positive results.                      

STEMscopes Suite

Accelerate Learning 

WINNER in Whole Curriculum – Science, Health, and the Environment

STEMscopes represents an effort to transform how students learn STEM and how teachers teach STEM. We use diverse instructional models with engaging and versatile content and support each product with dedicated professional development to facilitate this educational transformation. With development lead by teachers STEMscopes is an ever-changing, dynamic curriculum that molds and adapts to new evidence-based research, educational trends, and new scientific discoveries. 

We build a community and develop rapport and relationships with all the educators who work with us. Last summer, while she was in the middle of writing a middle school lesson with us, one of our teacher writers got the horrific call that her father had passed away. The STEMscopes community surrounded her with support—we immediately drove her home to pack for the funeral in California, sent her and her family flowers, and called and texted with our support over the next few weeks. When she was ready, she rejoined the STEMscopes family and continued writing middle school lessons, this time among closer friends than she had imagined.

Read more about these and the other 2015 honorees at the REVERE Awards Gallery.