The DEN and Discovery Education Friday Favorites

The DEN Online Community is an invaluable resource. One series is the Friday Favorites, a series designed to introduce educators to features of DE that they may not be familiar with.

Here is the latest:

Just a small town girl…. If you have trouble reading that without singing it, or not finishing the lyric, you are a working example of why music and lyrics can be so very powerful in the classroom. Did you Discovery Education has songs covering every content area and grade level? Want a song on teaching students the meaning of sublimate? We have a song for that? Need a new tune for teaching the Bill of Rights? We have a song for that. Teaching the ABC’s? We have the alphabet song! Songs can be found under the Audio filter.

Take a listen and let me know your favorite!

This is from Kristy Vincent a Community Engagement Manager for Discovery Education.

Here is another audio clip that you can hear if you do not have access to DE. This one is the introduction to A Christmas Carol.

Here is another one created by Eve Heaton, an Elementary Science teacher who has come up with a way to use DE material.

DE has a series of Head Rush videos created by the Myth Buster folks. Inside the long video are segments (sadly not easily searchable) that give students some scientific information and then asks a question (see picture). I like to play them as a warm-up in science to get kids engaged and talking. Students have to make a guess or claim and back it with some kind of evidence (be it prior knowledge or experience). They are short and lots of fun.

The problem is that the shows tend to be all over the place content wise so I literally went through all of them segment by segment looking for ones that might be applicable to various science standards in our district. The idea is that I would create these folders of clips and share them with teachers to use. I think I only finished the astronomy folder (it is on my larger to do list to go back and finish this project),

If you are interested in accessing the finished Astronomy folder here is the link – Discovery Education

Her folder looks like this:

The great thing about this Friday Favorite is that it was created by a teacher who found a way to improve the material produced by Discovery Education.

There are over 280 posts in the #Friday Favorite stream. So much great sharing! Certainly one of the highlights of being part of Discovery Education.



Diving into the Discovery Education Science Techbook

It is time to dive into the wonderful resources included in the Discovery Education Techbook series. Today, I am starting with the Science Techbook. I am most familiar with this one because we had it in our school and I have done some editing work on the latest revision of the Science Techbook.

The video above is a good introduction to how the Science Techbook is set up. The whole structure of the Techbook is based on the 5E Instructional Model. The model has five steps – Engage, Explore, Explain, Extend (or Elaborate), and Evaluate.

This is really complex material, so it is best to use the Step by Step Guide in the Personal Learning Center to take you through the steps on how to become more familiar with the Techbook. If you are responsible for introducing the Techbook to your staff, my suggestion would be to start with the Step by Step Guide – each of the Techbooks has its own guide. The opening page looks like this.

So far, we have only looked at the Model of instruction. Now we will take a quick look at the Model Lesson – one of these is included for each concept in the Science Techbook.

First, here is a good two-minute Youtube video that goes over the Model Lesson.

The Model Lesson is only one part of what is included for each Concept in the Science Techbook. Under the Five Es, you will find a variety of reading passages, hands-on activities, digital content all wrapped up in the Core Interactive Text (CIT).

The Science Techbook is an evolving resource. Recently, changes have been made to the Techbook to provide educators with assessment tools that are more challenging and that rely on Technologically Enhanced Items (TEIs) to assess what the students have learned. TEIs are really interesting and interactive ways to assess student learning and you will find them throughout the Techbook series. For some concepts, materials are now available for different reading levels. Also, all video material has been reviewed and updated to include the most recent material available.

We are just scratching the surface here, there is so much more to explore in this terrific series. More to come!

Discovery Education and 3M: The Top Young Scientist Challenge

This is something that I have wanted to learn about for a long time. The Young Scientist Challenge is another product coming out of Discovery Education partnerships, this one with 3M. In 2017, 11-year-old Gitanjali Rao from Lone Tree, Colo., was the winner of the 2017 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge. Gitanjali won for developing Tethys, a sensor-based device that can detect lead in water faster than other current techniques.

This is one of the wonderful things about Discovery education and its partners – they empower people to achieve great things. When you look at the 2017 finalists for the Young Scientist Competition, you will find an incredible array of creative projects including a research project to conduct tests and identify one lead molecule from Apigenin, a compound found in fruits and vegetables, that could potentially be used to treat Alzheimer’s disease and a Lawn Bot, a water management robot designed to help individuals reduce the amount of fresh water wasted during home lawn care. You can find all the finalists’ projects here.

There is a great deal to discover here. 3M and Discovery education have also created a Young Scientist Blog which features more work by young scientists. All this collection of material comes from the website called the Young Scientist Lab and it also includes a wealth of free lesson plans and interactives up to grade 8. There are also two pages of family science activities – again all free and easily accessible.

Like many of the Discovery Education partnership projects, there is a Virtual Field Trip section. The next one will be taking place in December.

How Nature Inspires 3M Science

What do gecko’s feet, spider legs, goose feathers and fireflies have in common? They are all features designed by nature that have inspired 3M innovations in science! Join us on December 14th at 1 PM EST as we take your students on a scientific journey to explore how 3M scientists are using biomimicry to improve and invent new products for everything from healthcare to food science to adhesives.

All the Virtual Field Trips are archived and available for free here.

It’s the first ever Young Scientist Virtual Field Trip broadcasted from 3M’s World of Innovation! Join special co-hosts Hannah Herbst and Kyle Hill as they get hands-on with 3M Scientists doing experiments you can only see at 3M World Headquarters. You’ll hear from 3M’s leading scientific experts about just a few of the countless 3M innovations that are improving lives worldwide. From the batteries that power your smartphone to the non-reactive fluid that keeps supercomputers cool and operational, you will get an in-depth look at how 3M science improves your daily life!

There is lots more to look at here and today, we haven’t even gone into the Discovery Education site! If we did, we could supplement this material by searching through the Content Collection or even better, we could take a look at the Science Techbook – something we still need to look at soon.

Making Healthy Choices with Discovery Education

  1. Remind students that they will be working together to plant and tend their own garden. Their goal will be to plant foods they would like to eat – and that can grow in their growing zone – in order to create a meal that includes those foods.


  1. Help students create a “wish list” of plants they would like to grow. If necessary, prompt student thinking with questions, such as the following:
    • What are your favorite fruits and vegetables?
    • What are herbs and why might we want to include them in our garden?
    • Do you or your family have any favorite recipes that include these as ingredients?


  1. Tell students it’s time for a reality check! Going through the list, discuss whether each option is practical for a school garden or possible in their growing zone. For example, they might have oranges on their wish list, but orange trees take a long time to grow and bear fruit, and may not grow in their climate. Students will also have to consider potential space limitations.

Today, I went on to the Discovery Education twitter feed to see what is current. I found this new material produced by another partnership, this one with Novo Nordisk. I have copied one of the slides from a presentation that has been made available free for all educators. The slides come with teacher notes, also copied above. The entire slide deck is available here.

The program is called Super Health, Super You and is an educational program designed to initiate healthy lifestyle conversations in upper elementary classes and school communities.

The program offers lesson plans, activities and digital presentation (see above) and a contest for students to identify a health issue in their school. The contest winner will receive a $10,000 grant for their school – something I would certainly consider!

Just to see how one would supplement this material using Discovery Education, I did a search using ‘Healthy You’ on my main page.

My search resulted in over 23,000 items in My Content.

If I limit my search to grades 3-5 and Life Science then Nutrition I am still looking at 179 items. I searched further limiting myself to audio segments and I came up with this great piece for a quick exercise song for younger students. The Smart Woman Merengue

I continue to find new material every day. Most of this material is accessible for free, but you can really create rich activities for your classroom if you are able to access the Content Collection available within Discovery Education.

Tomorrow, I will go back to DE’s Twitter feed to see what is coming up next for educators and students.


The DEN as your PLN Flipgrid #DENlove

I think this recent Flipgrid speaks for itself. One of the great things about Discovery Education are the people. This Flipgrid illustrates why teachers love working with DE.

I can add to this. I do love the technology, the creativity, and access to great learning materials, but I have to say for me what is most important are the people and the ability to connect and contribute to a wide-ranging community of educators.

This is the main reason I am writing daily on this blog. I want more teachers to benefit from being part of the Discovery Education Community.

But why not listen to other educators below on this Flipbrid – another wonderful piece of technology that Discovery education uses and promotes in order to enhance everyone’s learning environment.

I hope to see some of you up there promoting the DEN soon!


Discovery Education Digital Media Reading Passages

Today I have gone back to 100 ways in 100 days, the series where 100 DE members write about something in Discovery Education that they use in their classes. The 100 Ways series is a very useful because you are bound to learn something new almost every day on how one educator has used DE to assist in their teaching.

This one focuses on digital media and specifically reading passages, something I haven’t explored before.

To find out more, I simply typed reading passage into the search bar on my Discovery Education page. Immediately, a whole collection of material came up.

If you look at the lower right-hand corner, you will also notice that there is a live chat button where you can get immediate support if you are having any difficulty.

I selected a two-minute video that features reading passages.

This is a segment from a larger instructional video put together by Jannita Damien from Discovery Education. This video is interesting as it incorporates Wordle to decode words used in the reading passage. Again, I think it is great how DE is willing to go outside its platform to incorporate other great digital learning tools.

Here is an actual reading passage for grades 6-8 The Kind Barber and His Street Cats. The passage also has a docreader so the piece can be highlighted and read to the student. This is another really useful feature of many of Discovery Education’s text passages.

There is much more to explore regarding text passages including a variety of SOS strategies on reading comprehension. All this is available simply by using your search function inside DE.

Discovery Education and Generation Beyond

Not any platform can do everything. That is why Discovery Education partnerships are so important and also one of the many reasons why I value Discovery Education as a great learning resource for educators and students. Today, I am focussing on the DE partnership with Lockheed Martin.

The project I am investigating today is called Generation Beyond. By partnering with organizations like Lockheed Martin, students can access specialized knowledge in a whole variety of fields. In the past few blogs, we have looked at trips to the Arctic, a visit to Facebook and a behind the scenes view of the US Tennis Open. These trips have all taken place in the last two weeks! With Lockheed, we are looking at trips to Mars, Jupiter and distant asteroids and the engineering challenges that will go along with this trips.

I am including a longer video today on Generation Beyond. As a student, I was always fascinated with space exploration. Getting an inside look into the nuts and bolts of current space exploration is amazing. What a great opportunity for students and teachers.


The video I am including has been archived on the Discovery Education site and it is 40 minutes long. It has also been broken up into segments so your class does not need to watch the whole thing.

Most videos on DE are edited this way so you can choose short segments to adapt to your learning plans.

a screenshot of how the 40-minute Virtual Field Trip has been broken up into shorter segments

Each of these smaller videos can be assigned to students, added to your content or added to a Board Builder, just like all other content in DE.

What is also great about the VFT experience is that the live versions often allow time for student questions. This is really exciting for a class, especially if your questions get answered live!

This VFT also offers a video challenge for students. The challenge was to design a habitation module that can dock with the Orion spacecraft. This competition is now over, but what a great project this must have been!

Generation Beyond is again being promoted by Discovery Education on their Facebook Page so there is a new video challenge out there along with lots of resources for educators including digital lesson plans and family activities. You can even figure out how old you would be in Martian years!

I hope you take a look at some of these great resources. Partnerships are definitely the way to go in order to bring dynamic learning into your classroom.

Discovery Education – Hot Topics Literacy

Inside the Discovery Education Professional Learning Center (PLC) there is a really interesting area called Hot Topics. This is a collection of material on a variety of areas that will certainly be of interest to educators. The topics include addiction, literacy, STEM, professional learning networks, tolerance, inquiry learning and diverse learners.

I am looking at Literacy today to see what resources are collected here.

This section starts off by looking at teaching strategies that can be effective techniques for developing literacy. The first one is called Collage and you can download this here. As with all SOS material, there is a short video that outlines how to use this strategy. All strategies are narrated by the educator who suggested the SOS.

Two other SOS strategies are also available here, Can You Guess My 1-2-4 and The Envelope Please.

The Literacy section also includes a course for teachers on Literacy Strategies and a breakdown of the material available in the Content Collection on Literacy.

The section finished off with a link to the Discovery Educators Network chat – DEN Friends where you can find a new discussion on Literacy in Learning.

The first post refers to a 20-minute presentation that took place a few weeks ago at the 2017 Virtcon – a full-day video conference featuring a variety of DE learning tools.

Posted 08-30-2017 01:37 PM


Discovery Education features a wide variety of literacy supports. How do you use digital resources to foster literacy in your classroom?  Share by commenting below.

Here are some ideas to get you started:
>Incorporate our Hot Topic Literacy collection, where we’ve curated our top 5 ways Discovery Education supports literacy.  literacy resources and strategies to help your students build and strengthen these foundational reading, writing, and communication skills.
>Watch our VirtCon Hot Topic: Literacy session where community members share how they foster literacy.How can Discovery Education support your students as they develop their literacy skills? Please add to the #VirtCon conversation.

Jannita Demian
Director, Learning Communities and Instructional Content for Discovery Education

You can see that this is a discussion starter to get members of the teacher community involved in sharing ideas and resources on literacy.
The presentation referred to in the opening thread can be viewed below. It is a really good summary of all the materials in Discovery Education that focus on Literacy.



Digital Media – Podcasts with Discovery Education

Today I went looking for content in the 100 Ways 100 Days series that you can access on Discovery Education’s Twitter feed

Discovery Education uses Twitter really well and you can go there any day and find out what is going on with DE. You don’t need an account to access the feed, but you may need an account to access some of the material they are highlighting. Lately, Discovery has been focusing on its Virtual Field Trips. Since all these experiences involve another partner, you can access the field trips from the partner’s website if you do not yet have a Discovery Education Account.

Here, Discovery has paired up with Careers Beyond the Court to deliver a VFT on careers linked to the US Tennis Open.

Now back to podcasting on DE.

What I discovered this morning is that the popular podcast Stuff You Missed in History Class is available on DE in its Audio Content section.

Once you enter the Content Collection, here you can add what you find to your content, assign it to a class or add it to a Board Builder.

You can listen to the podcast I found here or if you have access to DE, you can locate this podcast in the Content Collection. I simply selected audio, then podcasts and this particular one showed up.

I did a second search for material in Life Sciences grades 6-8 and came up with 56 titles. These came from another podcast – Stuff You Should Know. For these podcasts you can share them with a unique DE link, assign this to a class, assign to Board Builder or add to your own content collection.

a screenshot of the Content Collection in Discovery Education

Again, this collection is the result of another partnership with a group outside of Discovery Education. Their ability to collaborate with so many partners really makes for a unique learning resource.

Tomorrow, we will continue our learning journey with Discovery Education. I am not sure where we will be going, but it will be interesting and I hope, useful!

Discovery Education and STEM


Discovery Education puts a big emphasis on STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Here is a sampling of the current projects and activities involving STEM on the Discovery Education website.

Find and Engage Students Around their Passions

  • Our students are excited and passionate about things happening in the real world. Whether it is helping hurricane-devastated areas, providing support to local homeless shelters, or becoming shark week activists; connecting their passion to a project-based learning unit or providing the opportunity for students to become advocates can help develop STEM skills for the future. Check out the video below to learn about Sean Lesniak and how he became a Finbassador for Shark Week.

Develop an Innovation as part of the 3M Young Scientist Challenge

  • Students, grades 5-8, are invited to create a video describing a new, innovating solution that could solve an everyday problem. Finalists are chosen for their passion for science, a spirit of innovation and ingenuity, and effective communication skills.

  • Teachers can dig into lessons on how innovations are changing the world.Students can learn about this year’s finalists and see how student-developed local solutions can have global impacts! Click here to view Young Scientist Lab resources.
  • Watch the finals on October 17th at 3pm EST – Your students can see people who are their peers sharing ideas to make the world a better place. If these kids can do it, why not your students? Click here to register for the LIVE event!

Collaborative Projects