Leading school science supplier Carolina Biological launched three new sets of K-8 digital resources for remote teaching this fall: Smithsonian Science for the Classroom™@HOME, Smithsonian Science and Technology Concepts™ Middle School@HOME, and Building Blocks of Science™ 3D@HOME. Carolina updated its award-winning K-8 science programs to support essential remote instruction in elementary and middle schools this fall. All programs are available now and were designed to provide high-quality, Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) science instruction. Carolina enhanced Smithsonian curriculum and Building Blocks of Science 3D products with simplified digital teacher-planning features for robust remote science instruction, as well as a variety of live and online on-demand professional development called Get Ready! Professional Learning. Whether educators are teaching students from their classrooms or at home, they can maintain a high-quality science program, engage students online in three-dimensional learning, and continue to support English language arts and math.
Teachers can access these new digital components and share digital resources in English and Spanish with students online from home or anywhere they have Internet access. The new add-ons for remote learning cover all Smithsonian curriculum and Building Blocks of Science™ 3D programs, to complement the classroom teacher’s instruction. These new features are free and live in their accounts on Carolina Science Online®, the online portal where teachers can access digital components of all programs for schools that already own Smithsonian Science for the Classroom, Smithsonian Science Technology Concepts Middle School (STCMS) or Building Blocks of Science 3D. The new digital @HOME and Get Ready! professional development features are included automatically for new customers at no additional charge. The programs include access to a wealth of digital resources, including instructional videos, demonstrations and simulations.
Carolina created a lesson plan for every lesson in the @HOME programs, which includes a one-page summary with five steps to help teachers use it for a remote learning environment, as many will be doing when school begins this fall. Each summary includes a list of the included digital resources they need to share with students for the lesson. Each of the steps can be done in just five or 10 minutes. If teachers are not able to have live class time or video conferences, they can also create their own content through @HOME by recording videos of themselves talking to introduce and personalize the lessons. Being able to see their own teachers will help students to feel better connected with them.
Certain “critical investigations” for each unit are hands-on investigations that students can’t do at home. A video is included for teachers to walk through these with the students. Alternatively, teachers can assign investigations with common household items students can find at home such as a paper cup or a string. They can also offer additional assignments for students who want to explore more, and include resource sheets and “tell me more” links.
“Many teachers will be teaching remotely this fall, and that’s not easy,” said Jim Parrish, President and CEO at Carolina Biological Supply Company. “Carolina is trying to help with online resources that make teaching science remotely both easier and more effective. We have three new series of online resources — Building Blocks of Science 3D @HOME, Smithsonian Science for the Classroom @HOME, and STCMS @HOME – that provide teachers with online tools and resources to carry on the excellent instruction they are doing in the classroom. Our new @HOME remote learning features include lesson guides, videos, teacher demonstrations, interactive activities, assessments and much more, organized so that it’s easy to implement. We want to help them be successful in the coming challenging year.”
“Carolina’s new @HOME programs support school districts struggling to prevent students from falling too far behind in science,” said Kristen Evanishyn, Marketing Manager at Carolina. “Our Building Blocks of Science 3D and Smithsonian curriculum content was created based on NGSS, so it already supports those standards. We did the time-consuming legwork and adapted it with fast and easy instructions for teachers to use in a remote learning environment, so they won’t have to spend time on it. Everything is ready to teach and there is built-in support for teachers with a digital library of bite-sized three or four-minute introduction and how-to videos if they are unsure about anything!”
Building Blocks of Science 3D
Building Blocks of Science 3D is designed to support teachers and engage all students. The program is a hands-on, phenomena-based science program for grades K–5 that can make science class the best part of a student’s day. Teachers benefit from all-inclusive phenomena-based learning for students, 3-dimensional learning in 30-minute lessons, and powerful teacher support.
Building Blocks of Science 3D@HOME adapts the hands-on and phenomena-based investigations for a remote teaching and learning setting. To fully grasp the new standards and NGSS phenomena, students need to actively engage with investigations and concepts through multiple channels. This is provided in Building Blocks of Science 3D through active, phenomena-based investigations blended with powerful literacy, digital, and interactive content—including videos and simulations that provide additional avenues for students to explore concepts.
Smithsonian Science for the Classroom was created by the Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC) as a new high-quality core science curriculum specifically to meet the NGSS. The program includes Smithsonian Science Stories, which is available as eBooks in English or Spanish, above or below grade. The grades K- 5 curriculum engages, inspires, and connects students firsthand to the world around them. Easy for teachers to implement, the program captures real-world content for young students. Developers at the SSEC leveraged their incredible curiosity about the amazing things the researchers and curators are investigating at the Smithsonian, and wove that into a grades K-5 science curriculum. So the students who use the program aren’t just getting an incredibly cohesive, engaging, NGSS-aligned curriculum, they are getting a chance to “visit” the Smithsonian and peek behind the scenes.
STCMS includes 12 units for middle school from the Smithsonian. The Smithsonian grades 6-8 curriculum is built to meet the NGSS. Three-dimensional learning construction is in every lesson and every unit. Lessons apply science concepts to NGSS engineering design. Hands-on investigations challenge students to build explanations for real-world phenomena and design solutions.
The Smithsonian’s new @HOME features extend each module’s storyline from the classroom to home. A virtual classroom teaching plan includes investigation videos, instructions on using simulations and other digital resources to keep the scientific thinking and learning going while students cannot be in the classroom. If they are working individually in the school due to social distancing guidelines or at home, students can safely perform hands-on NGSS investigations.
Teachers can learn the ins and outs of any of Carolina’s science programs on their own schedule using Get Ready! Professional Learning online videos, webinars, and chats with Carolina’s consultants and educational trainers. Get started with implementation in three simple steps with these easy-to-access videos and on-demand webinars. First is Tell Me About It! teacher tips, a continually growing digital library to help teachers get started with any module at any grade level. Next, the Get Informed! digital library provides in-depth, unit-specific and topic-specific webinars and videos to give a better understanding of the programs and pedagogy. Carolina’s educational consultants model investigations and instruction from the units and provide valuable instructional insights to help teachers quickly feel comfortable with the program content. Finally, I’ve Been Wondering! customized webinars and conference calls allow teachers to schedule time to get questions answered to help ensure fidelity of implementation.
The @HOME programs include setting up parent letters about using Carolina Science Online to access digital components of all programs. There are tutorial videos for parents to make sure they are comfortable. A digital reader is posted online, so parents can do reading independently with their child. The programs engage everyone in the student’s household with quick take-home science activities. These activities always have a letter attached for parents.
Each @HOME program for remote teaching and learning is included in Carolina’s science programs and is available now. Building Blocks of Science 3D hands-on investigation kits are available now, for each grade K-5. They include @HOME digital resources, a print-format Teacher Guide, one big book (K), a set of 24 (grades 1-2) or 30 (grades 3-5) Building Blocks of Science 3D Literacy Series™ student books, a class kit of hands-on materials for students, and digital access.