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“Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.. ” -Robert Frost. STEM Innovations through Blended Learning: Awesome Animals. Clermont County Gifted Program Heather Frost-Hauck, Gifted Intervention Specialist

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“Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence..”

-Robert Frost

STEM Innovations throughBlended Learning: Awesome Animals

Clermont County Gifted Program

Heather Frost-Hauck, Gifted Intervention Specialist

Bethel-Tate and Williamsburg Local School District in Partnership with the Clermont Co. ESC

E. Renee King, Gifted Intervention Specialist

How our program evolved…

Our Mission

  • To develop a program that blended virtual learning with face-to-face lessons

2008-2010 Jumping in!

  • Moodle – It’s free!

    • Discussion threads, blogs, WIKIs, on-line assignments

    • Piloted a course with students from two districts and then expanded to other districts

  • Began with what we knew worked

  • ESC received two grants to purchase computers and materials

2010-2013 Building our Program!

  • Moodle plus It’s Learning for online courses

  • Establishment of STEM Center for face-to-face interaction

  • Multiple districts participating, and currently expanding

  • Grades 3-8

  • Field trips and culminating events help enrich our students’ learning experiences

Two halves to our program:

STEM Center –

Face-to-Face Lessons

Moodle and It’s Learning –

Our Virtual Platforms

What the research says…

Lander Center for Educational Research (Touro College)

Online Learning…

  • Is personalized and adaptive to meetindividual needs.

  • Supports high levels of cognitive engagement in meeting learning objectives.

  • Balances computer- or teacher-led guidance with learner control.

  • “The distinctive advantage of online learning is that it gives control of time, place, and pace to the learner. Online instruction holds great promise for achieving high-level learning outcomes when it is designed according to research-based principles and utilizes adaptive technologies to meet individual learning needs.” - Marcella Bullmaster-Day, Ed. D. , study author

iLearn Project:

Highlights benefits of blended learning that are in addition to those normally found in on-line courses:

  • Differentiated Learning

  • Multiple Learning Modalities

  • Student Ownership

  • Physical Location

  • Data-Driven Teacher Attention

  • 21st Century Preparation

  • Potential Cost Savings

  • Student-Focused

U.S. Department of Education’s Meta-Analysis:

“Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning”

  • Results lean in favor of blended and online learning producing greater student gains than traditional methods alone.

  • Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education, regarding this study: “This new report reinforces that effective teachers need to incorporate digital content into everyday classes…”

What components make up a blended learning unit?

Engaging and Challenging Face-to-Face Lessons

Course Home Page

Online Lessons

Online Resources and Uploaded Files

Online Assignments

Quizzes and Tests

Discussion Forums




Online Messaging

A Sample Blended Learning Unit…

Chemistry 101 – 5th and 6th Grade

Online Informational Text

Background Information on Mixtures

Discussion Thread


by Brooke - Thursday, 19 February 2009, 11:10 AM

A tossed salad is a mixture because you mix all the vegtables together.

A chocolate cake is not a mixture it is chemical change , you have to cook it.

A pitcher of kool aid is not a mixture because  the powder disolves and becomes as water.

salt water is  mixure because when you boil the water you get back salt!!

An omlet is not a mixture because the egg was once liguid and then when you cook it it is now a solid

Go Brooke! Great Job!

Student Responses

I agree, if you cook it, it’s probably a chemical change. Excellent job!

Awesome work!


    By Katie, Friday, 20 Feb. 20, 2009 12:54 pm

    That’s a really good answer Brooke. I think you got a 100%. Well, I’m not grading it BUT, if I was you would get a 100% definitly.

    P.S. I need a review if you would please respond that would be great.

    Thanks, Katie

Teacher Reply


by Renee King - Friday, 20 February 2009, 2:17 PM

Let's look at the pitcher of Kool-Aid again. Yes, the powder dissolves, but doesn't that happen in a mixture/solution? Could the same process work with Kool-Aid as it did with salt water (evaporate the water)? Is there any indication of a chemical change present in mixing Kool-Aid and water?


That’s a really good point. Thanks sorry.


Don’t be sorry! This is a great time to talk about misconceptions in science. Many students think that since Kool-aid changes color of the water, it is automatically a chemical change. Think about it on a molecular level and the particles. Do you still just have Kool-aid and water? Or is a new substance formed?


Im not sure when you boil it if you get the powder. Can I try it?


I think it would be worth trying. Just put a small amount of Kool-Aid and water in a saucer and let it set out for a couple of days. Let us know what you discover.


Ok I will get back to you.


Mrs. King? What would happen if you boil powder? I don’t need to know now because Brooke hasn’t done it yet and I don’t want to runie the surprise.

I know I spelled ruine wrong and I don’t know how to spell it, but I tried.


Well…lets think about it…can you boil a powder? No, most likely the heat will eventually burn the powder on the bottom of the pan. However, if you put water and powder together you could boil off some of the water, until all that is left is the powder. Of course, you would want to do all of this with adult supervision.


So you said the powder would stay at the bottom of the pan if you boiled water and powder, so would the powder by dry like the beginning or would it be clumped together? Like it got wet?


Mrs. King, if you boiled plain powder would the powder become hard like a cookie?


That’s a good question… The act of boiling requires a liquid. My guess would be that the powder would burn or melt. It would depend on the chemical properties of the powder you are working with. Why don’t we explore what happens when we heat substances at our next face-to-face meeting?

Oh, Rats! 5th and 6th Grades

Author Info.



My Kind of Research

Poetry and Art III

Creating a Blended Unit…

Creating a Blended Learning Unit:

  • Select an existing unit you have developed.

  • Decide which activities could be transitioned to the virtual platform, keeping the unit standards in mind.

  • Coordinate the timeline for face-to-face and virtual activities. If possible, give more time than you think you will need to allow for flexibility.

  • Build the virtual portion of the unit, keeping activities as interactive as possible.

  • You are ready to teach your blended unit, stepping into the role of facilitator with the online activities!

Unit Template

Unit Skeleton

Other ways to use blended learning…

The One-Day Lab

Ongoing Anchor Activities

Online Activities with a Face to Face Culmination

Communicating with Parents

Improving with Age

First Generation - Just the Basics

- Web-sites

- Discussions

- Assignments

Second Generation - Bells and Whistles

- Better Higher Level Activities

- More Types of Activities

Third Generation - Integration of Content

Immigration Example

“ This week we have been learning why different groups of immigrants came to America. Today we are investigating why the Chinese came.”

Generation One: Traditional

  • Read pages 134 - 137 in your textbook. In your journal, record the “pushes and pulls” for that group. Be ready to discuss your findings in class.

Generation Two: Transitioning From Traditional to Interactive

  • Here are three web-sites to explore today. After completing your research, post your findings on the forums focusing on the “pushes and pulls”. Be ready to debate whether or not the “Chinese Exclusion Act” was needed.

Generation Three: Utilizing the Virtual Environment to Build21st Century Skills

  • We have received a copy of a letter written around 1852 from an immigrant named Yong Chang sent to his family back in his village in China. Utilize your detective skills and the clues in the letter to investigate the conditions of that time period. Analyze the letter to find the “pushes and pulls” for the Chinese immigrants. Using the provided websites, find evidence to support your ideas and post your findings. Be ready to debate whether or not the “Chinese Exclusion Act” was needed.

A Generation Three Unit… Stranded!

Benefits of Blended Learning:

  • Students are engaged in meaningful activities

  • Makes appropriate use of rich online resources now available

  • Improves students’ technology and keyboarding skills

  • Prepares students for the online testing environment

  • Collaboration between schools and districts becomes possible

  • Increased quality of student performance

  • Challenging activities geared to the learning styles and needs of diverse learners

  • Tasks can be differentiated to match passions, talents, and ability levels

  • As the years progress, so to does the curriculum we will be able to offer because units can be reused

  • Parents can view any and all assignments

  • 24/7 availability and support

  • Affordable and Sustainable

Potential Challenges:

  • Ensuring that time and technology are available to students for online tasks

  • Allocating teacher time for unit development and facilitation

  • Educating students about online etiquette

  • Remember… Baby steps are necessary at first!

“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.”-John Dewey

Thank you for your time!

  • Contact Information for Teachers:

    • Heather Frost-Hauck, Gifted Intervention Specialist:

    • E. Renee King, Gifted Intervention Specialist:

  • Contact Information for Administrators or Professional Development Requests:

    • Curriculum Engineers, Inc.

      4688 State Route 132

      Batavia, OH 45130

      Developing Units for Virtual Learning Environments For Gifted and Talented Students through Pieces of Learning

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