Teachers can best use Koantum as a supplement to a K–5 science curriculum. The site offers teacher and student dashboards, making it easy to incorporate lessons into a unit. Use the Engage section of lessons to introduce topics. Once kids have learned more about the topics through classroom instruction, complete other parts of the lessons as you complete the unit; the digital activities are excellent opportunities for kids to explore independently. There are direct links to YouTube videos, so teachers need to keep an eye on students' access to potentially iffy content.Continue reading Show less
Koantum covers elementary school science using the 5E model of instruction: Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, Evaluate. Teachers have access to a dashboard, which they can use to add students, track progress, and access lesson plans and printable worksheets. The lesson plans are very thorough and are scripted in some places to help guide teachers through the instruction.
Students also have access to a dashboard so they can sign in on their own and choose a lesson. Most lessons are aligned with a Next Generation Science Standard, but not all standards are covered, and some existing coverage is weak. In fact, there is a noticeable lack of engineering coverage.
Students can explore content in a variety of ways, which makes Koantum a good resource for differentiated instruction. The 5E model can be a very effective instructional strategy that enhances traditional curricula; as kids step through each "E" section of a lesson, they gain a deeper understanding of the content. Most of the 5E sections are very well done, but the Evaluate section could be improved with the addition of some constructed response questions that require higher-order thinking.
Kids will feel empowered to learn since they can log on and access lessons on their own. Hints and detailed feedback for incorrect answers are not given, so teachers will need to provide support for struggling learners. Hopefully lessons that cover engineering standards will be added some time in the future; with the addition of some engineering lessons and more challenging assessments, this site could be a home run as a supplementary science resource.
Key Standards Supported
Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats.
Earth and Human Activity
Use a model to represent the relationship between the needs of different plants or animals (including humans) and the places they live.
Earth’s Place in the Universe
Use observations of the sun, moon, and stars to describe patterns that can be predicted.
Make observations at different times of year to relate the amount of daylight to the time of year.
Use and share observations of local weather conditions to describe patterns over time.
Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment.
Make observations to provide evidence that energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents.
From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive.
Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits
Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence that plants and animals have traits inherited from parents and that variation of these traits exists in a group of similar organisms.
Matter and Its Interactions
Plan and conduct an investigation to describe and classify different kinds of materials by their observable properties.
Make observations to construct an evidence-based account of how an object made of a small set of pieces can be disassembled and made into a new object.
Construct an argument with evidence that some changes caused by heating or cooling can be reversed and some cannot.
Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
Plan and conduct an investigation to compare the effects of different strengths or different directions of pushes and pulls on the motion of an object.
Analyze data to determine if a design solution works as intended to change the speed or direction of an object with a push or a pull.
Waves and Their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer
Plan and conduct investigations to provide evidence that vibrating materials can make sound and that sound can make materials vibrate.
Make observations to construct an evidence-based account that objects can be seen only when illuminated.
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