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Practicing the NGSS Practices: Asking Questions

As we started our year in Science with the Next Generation Science Standards for Middle School, I knew that we'd need some prep time familiarizing ourselves with the Science and Engineering practices as each standard is framed in a particular practice as we migrate through the year.  To those unfamiliar, the SE practices are:
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices

 To start our year in sixth grade, I decided to PRACTICE each PRACTICE before practically applying them to our standards.  That way the students have a good understanding of the process, procedures and expectations that correspond with each of the Next Generation Science standards. 

Some of the practices have more of an engineering focus, and others relate better to Science.  Paul Anderson does an excellent job of explaining these practices and I used his Bozeman Science video series here to glean a better understanding of each practice.  After we worked on each practice, we then reviewed using this game and posters:

Science and Engineering Practice #1:  Asking Questions

Our first practice was Asking Questions.  For this I followed the QFT (Question Formulation Technique) as developed by the Right Institute

 The steps of a QFT are:

#1.  Brainstorm AS MANY questions as you can about a phenomenon
#2.  Identify which of your questions are Open Ended and which are Closed Ended
#3  Change ONE Closed Ended question to an Open Ended question to improve it.
#4.  Prioritize your top 3 questions that you are truly curious about.


I used this Google Slide Deck to introduce the strategy and then students placed the handout above into their interactive notebooks.   We actually used a Merge Cube as our phenomenon the first time!!  It was a fun way to show the Merge Cubes to the students and they had little to no knowledge of them!

Needless to say, it's always effective when you are

AR Vision with QuiverVision

It's no secret that I'm a fan of all things AR/VR in the classroom, but I also understand that the prospect of integrating AR/VR can be intimidating to some educators OR at times educators find it difficult to find a seamless way to integrate AR/VR strategies into the curriculum without forcing it.

One GREAT way to get started with Augmented Reality in the classroom is through an app that's been around for awhile, yet truly is compelling for students, and that's Quivervision (formally named ColAR)

Augmented Reality Coloring Pages

Quivervision combines the 'low tech' activity of coloring, with 'high tech' augmented reality.  Using Quivervision requires you to download and print coloring pages that serve as triggers for its AR app.  Each page, once colored,  has multimedia components that activate when the corresponding Quivervision app is aimed at the colored page.  As a result, sneakers dance, birds animate, or a flag waves....all with the same colors that students applied to the page during their coloring/decorating time!

The Quiver app is available for iOS, Android, and Fire OS and there are two choices of apps:

#1.  The Original Quiver App.  This app is free and there are MANY free pages for you to test out!  Several of the collections require in-app purchases (around $2.99 each) to unlock them.

#2.  The Quiver Education App . This app is a paid-for app (iOS:  $7.99, Google Play:  $5.49)  that requires a one time fee to access ALL of their educational materials.  Within the printable coloring pages are plant/animal cells, pi-day activities, design a flag, earth map, platonic solids, landmarks, sea creatures and MORE!!

Quiver Companion Project Ideas

#1.  Back to School
As the new school year approaches, I'm hoping to integrate augmented reality right out of the starting gate.  To assist me in this endeavor, I've decided to use the QuiverVision Starter Pack #1 and the Converse Shoe Coloring page:
Converse Shoe

Students will plan their shoe based on a guide page that asks them questions related to the design of a shoe such as:

Tongue:  What do you like to talk about? 

Heel:  What makes you stubborn?  

Toes:  What keeps you on your toes?

and then decorate their QuiverVision page to reflect their personalities and then share!!

Get this fun QuiverVision Back to School Activity here!!

Quiver Vision Converse ShoeQuiver Vision Shoe

#2.  Earth Map

The QuiverVision Earth Map (FREE) makes a GREAT reinforcement tool for students learning the geography of the world.  When I use it, I provide them with a companion sheet giving students directions on how to color each section, label continents and oceans as well as adding an equator, prime meridian and a compass rose.

Quivervision Earth Map

Get the fun QuiverVision Earth Map Activity here!!

#3.  Dot Day

Not to be overlooked is the tremendously fun Dot Day QuiverVision page!  This FREE page was created to help educators celebrate International Dot Day (September 15)  Inspired by Peter H. Reynold's story, The Dot, educators can encourage students to "make their mark".   I love using this page along with the book to reinforce our studies of Identifying Theme in fictional text.  We color our dots with a theme or slogan to guide us throughout the school year.

Get your DOT DAY QuiverVision coloring page here!

Piecing Together EdPuzzle

EdPuzzle is a fantastic tool that allows you to customize ANY video to serve as an interactive lesson!   All you need to do to use EdPuzzle is to choose a video (or upload your own) and add your own multiple-choice questions, voiceovers, stop points, open-ended questions, etc.  Can you say 1:1 WOW??!?!

EdPuzzle allows you to pull videos from YouTube and customize them to use in your classroom for assessment, instruction or comprehension checks.  You can even assign the videos to students that you've imported from Google Classroom,  and score their performance within the EdPuzzle Gradebook.  Best of all, EdPuzzle promotes sharing!!  If you have a video that you KNOW can support student learning, you can see how other educators have used that video, what questions they've added to the video, and use or modify it for your students. 

Here's an example of an Edpuzzle creation I used this year in to help teach characterization

Video Editing Features

EdPuzzle has a FREE Basic account, and in that account you can locate videos from YouTube, crop the video as you see fit, and then edit those videos with your OWN Voiceovers, Audio Notes, Open Ended questions, Comments or Multiple Choice Questions. (For my example I use a Cause and Effect Lesson featuring the ADORABLE Ormie the Pig.)

Crop a Video: crop a video down to just the important stuff.

Voiceover:  Record a voice over in a particular section of a video to explain an important concept in a way that you prefer.  

Audio Notes: Get your students' attention - pause the video for an introductory comment, to explain a concept in more detail, or just to make sure they're not sleeping.

Questions:   Add three styles of questions to your videos!!  1. Open-ended questions. These questions are perfect if you want your students to give a free response.  2. Multiple-choice. Here you can select which answers are correct and incorrect. Test your student's understanding with all kinds of question formats, like true/false, single answer, multiple answers and more. These are graded automatically and results are in the Gradebook section of EdPuzzle. 3. Comments. This is your tool for telling your students anything you need them to know about the video. Add context, give instructions or add an interesting fact!

Learn More About EdPuzzle

Need Help Finding Video Ideas????

For YEARS I've been using Animated Short Films as instructional tools in my ELA Classroom.  I simply provide students with a link to a video, and give them with a worksheet with stop points to answer questions and guide their understanding through the video.  Check them out here:


Eliminate the Need For a Worksheet!

What I LOVE about EdPuzzle, is that it can pretty much eliminate the need for worksheets 😃  With so many classrooms converting to 1:1 platforms, it's nice to know that there's a better option!!  I have now taken the stop points that I created  in these printables, and converted them to EdPuzzle activities for my students!  If you're trying to get inspired or just getting started with EdPuzzle, download these activities to help you get started.  Here you'll get ideas for videos to use to support your reading instruction, questions to insert into EdPuzzle and you'll be glad you were: