|Click here to subscribe to our newsletter|
|Click here for other editions|
Tremendous Success with Reflex
Second and third graders at a Title I elementary school in Bryant School District 25, Arkansas have been using Reflex with great success in their classrooms to learn addition and subtraction facts.
Before using Reflex, the typical student was fluent in about one-quarter of his or her addition and subtraction facts. In just 30 days of usage, the typical student gained fluency in over three-quarters of his or her math facts!
While there is still more work to be done, these students are making amazing progress in learning their math facts.
Mary Armstrong is the Math Instructional Facilitator at the school. Here's what she has to say about Reflex:
"The growth has been unbelievable…
As a Math Instructional Facilitator, it is part of my job to give a math screener to every student referred for Response to Intervention. Part of the screener is a math fact fluency piece. The kids have performed much better on this part this year. When a child knows a tough fact, I usually ask why they know that fact. The answer every time this year is 'I learned it on Reflex'…
Thanks for the wonderful product."
We've been crunching more numbers and have found great results like this everywhere Reflex is being used. If you haven't tried Reflex yet, be sure to take a free trial and see what it can do for your students.
Expert Corner: Equilibria everywhere
Kurt Rosenkrantz is a science curriculum writer and Gizmo designer for ExploreLearning. Kurt holds a Master of Science in Geology from the University of Cincinnati, and a bachelor's degree in Earth Science from Harvard. He taught high school and middle school science for eight years before joining ExploreLearning in 2005.
In much of life we seek to balance opposing forces: money earned vs. money spent, weight gained vs. weight lost, heat vs. cold. When opposing forces are perfectly balanced, the system is said to be in equilibrium and no overall change is observed. For example, if you spend exactly as much as you earn, your total amount of wealth won't change.
The concept of equilibrium plays a prominent role in every field of science: from the delicate balance of Earth's climate to the forces that keep a satellite in orbit. A simple example of equilibrium occurs when an object is hung from a spring, as shown in the Determining a Spring Constant Gizmo. The force of the spring pulling upward increases as the spring is stretched, while the pull of gravity on the object is constant. Eventually the spring is stretched enough that the spring force is exactly equal to the weight of the object. At this point the spring force and gravitational force are in equilibrium and the object remains in place.
When a system in equilibrium is perturbed, the system will often oscillate, or swing back and forth from one state to another. Oscillations can be seen when you pull down a spring or release a pendulum, as illustrated in the Simple Harmonic Motion Gizmo.
A similar oscillation can occur in the populations of predators and prey in isolated environments, such as the classic case of the wolves and moose of Isle Royale, shown at left. As predator populations rise, prey populations are depleted until the predator population crashes. With fewer predators, prey populations recover and the cycle begins again. These oscillations are illustrated beautifully in the Food Chain Gizmo.
Recently we published two new Gizmos which directly address the topic in the field of chemistry: Equilibrium and Concentration and Equilibrium and Pressure. Both Gizmos explore reversible chemical reactions. In a reversible reaction, the rates of the forward and reverse reactions depend on the concentrations of reactants and products. As the forward reaction proceeds, the concentration of products increases. This causes the rate of the reverse reaction to increase as the forward reaction slows. In the Gizmos, you can measure the rate of each reaction by observing the blue flashes (representing the forward reaction) and red flashes (representing the reverse reaction) over time. As equilibrium is approached, the rates of each reaction become approximately equal.
See how many examples of equilibrium you can find in your class!
ExploreLearning Educator of the Month
For the past seven years, Graham Whisen has been teaching at Fletcher's Meadow Secondary School in Ontario. He has taught grades 9 through 12 and specializes in Physics education. Graham is passionate about science, educational technology, and inspiring a love of learning.
That passion is evident in his teaching style. When he introduces a new lesson, sometimes he starts by having his students launch a Gizmo and explore its features. He doesn't provide any structure, instead just allowing them to have fun playing with the Gizmo and seeing what it can do. Then he introduces the lesson, and revisits the Gizmo later when he wants to use it to delve deeper.
As an example of a lesson where Gizmos are particularly helpful, he points to the concept of projectile motion. Students often have trouble grasping the idea that horizontal and vertical motion are independent. But the Golf Range Gizmo clears that up, both because it depicts motion and vectors visually, and because students can manipulate variables and see the results.
Graham presents a series of Gizmo-based challenges to help draw out the main ideas in this lesson. He asks which angles launch the ball highest and farthest, how the initial height affects the range, what the impact of air resistance is, and what golf would be like on the moon. These questions work for students of all ability levels, enabling them to interact with the Gizmo and derive meaning at their own pace. Meanwhile, he can circulate the room and reinforce or extend as appropriate.
"Gizmos are designed for inquiry and this is what makes them so useful. Any one Gizmo can be used to connect to many different concepts, so teachers are able to use them in creative ways. I always love hearing about how other teachers use Gizmos in their classes because the methods are always innovative and expand my own teaching practice."
You can see more of what's on Graham's mind by visiting his blog.
Reflex: Student Experience Now in Spanish Too
Last month we mentioned that we were working on a Spanish student experience for Reflex… and we delivered! Now any student can be switched between English and Spanish, and all games, coaching, assessment, and student views of reports will change to that language.
Stay in Touch
And as always, if you have a question or comment about Gizmos or Reflex, don't hesitate to contact our Customer Support team using the support form for either Gizmos or Reflex. We would love to hear from you.