Teach Middle East Magazine | Page 3

Advertorial allowed my students to explore various STEM topics freely . soon enough , Lina and her classmates were changing variables , analysing graphs , making predictions , sharing hypothesis and persevering in finding solutions .
These online simulations made it possible for us to study complex concepts and develop 21st century skills such as critical thinking , collaboration , communication and creativity , naturally . Every Gizmo ( or simulation ) allowed my students to explore various STEM topics .
After a few weeks , we tried a STEM Case – a special type of Gizmo that starts with a real-world problem and then takes students through foundational knowledge and virtual guided-inquiry activities as they work to solve it . Students became pediatricians , forensic scientists , agricultural scientists , medical toxicologists , marine biologists , etc .… From case to case , I was able to measure each student ’ s STEM skills and intervene as needed . I could even measure their skills progress from case to case . Lina delved into these cases regularly because now she could see the connection between math , science learning and real life .
The bast part of this story is that one day Lina said she had something to ask . She wanted to find out why it took me so long to find a program like Gizmos . I laughed because I guess it was her way of telling me how much she is enjoying learning with Gizmos .
I am not saying that Gizmos is going to solve all the problems you have in the STEM class room but it really does enhance teaching and learning .
Below I outline some of the features of Gizmos and what I have learned using Gizmos .
Each Gizmos allow for differentiated accommodations which can be adapted to meet the instructional needs of the full range of abilities and learning styles in my classroom and include questions designed to provoke higher order thinking with real-time online plenaries to assess understanding of key concepts .
Lessons Learned
It has been over a year that I have been using Gizmos in my class ( and remotely ) and here is what I have found :
ExploreLearning Gizmos bring research-proven instructional strategies to life . With Gizmos , any teacher can supplement and enhance his or her instruction with powerful interactive visualizations of STEM concepts and guide students the chance to think and act like scientists , engineers , and mathematicians .
Gizmos enabled my students to be active participants in the scientific inquiry process . The simulations provide clear visualization of abstract concepts and are especially helpful for students with processing deficits who struggle with text .
Gizmos support my English Language Learners with visual and experiential support that connects to students ’ background and prior knowledge as well as concepts and vocabulary to realworld experiences , providing a bridge to learning between languages . My gifted students also were challenged with extended activities and questions aimed at extending learning .
During my classes , I could easily set up experiments as the interactive controls were very intuitive . I did not have to worry about dangerous or expensive lab equipment , paper worksheets to clutter my classroom or even social distancing .
We used the available tools in each Gizmos to easily capture and compare results from experiments : With graphing , exportable tables , screen shots etc . The teacher guide provided for each simulation included full inquiry-based lesson plans , critical thinking questions , differentiated activities , and so much more so it cuts down on much of my prep works . The customizable student exploration guide and quick assessments helped me provide my students with all the tools and feedback they need to explore , discover , and apply new concepts .
I have been encouraging other colleagues to use Gizmos , and one of them sent me her student ’ s feedback , just after she started using the program :
“ I apologize about emailing you during the weekend , but I couldn ’ t wait to tell you on Sunday . Gizmos is so much fun , and I absolutely love it . I actually learned something , and I like the fact that it is interactive . Thank you so much for making us do Gizmos .”
I now feel that I am better prepared to address students ’ needs and as they continue on their educational journey . Try Gizmos for yourself : www . explorelearning . com . You can thank me later .