Still have some questions? This page may answer your question. However, if you’re wondering about something that hasn’t been covered, just reach out to nvantassel@iexplorescience.com.

What does the Spark Subscription include?

With the Spark Subscription, you will get access to a new Curiosity Spark bundle each month. Each Curiosity Spark includes

  • an Anchor Experience (1-3 lessons designed to engage your students with a phenomenon, spark questions, and activate prior knowledge)
  • a Pathways Map and Educator Guide (suggested routes to guide your students’ learning journey)
  • 2-3 weeks of supplemental grab-and-go lessons (3D explorations and activities that support discovery and mastery of the targeted standards)
  • three dimensional assessments (1-2 project-based or performance task assessments that tie cohesively to your developing storyline)
  • resources for your own professional development and growth as a teacher (on-demand workshops, articles, reflections, and printables to help you become the amazing teacher you are destined to be!!)
  • access to bonus activities and explorations for a variety of topics

Do you get access to previous Curiosity Sparks?

Yes! When you join, you get access to the current month’s Curiosity Spark as well as every month that has come before (and all the bonus stuff)! Oodles of three dimensional lesson plans built from phenomena at your fingertips!

How is this different than a typical “lesson plan bank”?

The Spark Subscription is designed to help you build a cohesive, student-driven storyline. Traditional lesson plan banks often focus on only the content ideas — these activities are not typically three-dimensional, nor are they tied to a specific phenomenon. We know science isn’t about the content ideas — it’s about uncovering what’s happening in the natural world – so phenomena are key.

Spark Subscription activities always provide a way to tie back to the Anchor Experience, the launching point for your unit. This allows you to create a cohesive experience for your students. Additionally, by starting with the Anchor Experience, you can truly co-construct a storyline with your students instead of “running them through” a one-size-fits-all curriculum.

Is it aligned to the standards?

Curiosity Sparks are built around phenomena, but that doesn’t mean I’ve abandoned the standards! Each Curiosity Spark bundle is designed to target specific Disciplinary Core Ideas and Performance Expectations through both learning activities throughout the unit and the provided assessments. This information is communicated to Spark teachers through the Educator Guides and Storyline Pathways Map. Additionally, every activity provided is three-dimensional in nature, engaging your students in Science and Engineering Practices and the Crosscutting Concepts while developing your students understanding of the Disciplinary Core Ideas.

So yes, Spark resources are aligned.

What if I have a specific scope and sequence I have to follow?

Ideally, Spark teachers can embrace the Curiosity Sparks as they are unveiled, building their responsive storylines from each month’s “starter pack.” That said, sometimes, the resources released in any given month may not match what you are assigned to teach.

If this is the case, you can first, keep the Curiosity Spark “in your back pocket” for later in the year when you will need it. And in the meantime, you can utilize the bonus activities that do align to your current unit, as well as take advantage of the learning opportunities in the Teaching Tidbits and Spark Collection Workshops. Finally, you can speak up and help me tailor Spark to its membership by sharing with me what standards you have coming up and what you’d like to see!

We can build this program together.

What is the commitment? Can I cancel my subscription?

There is no commitment. You have total control of your membership. (You don’t even have to talk to anyone! πŸ˜…) If you join Spark and find it’s not what you need, you can cancel at any time. You will have access to the resources and membership benefits until your current payment period expires.

What is the cost?

The Spark Subscription is $97/quarter or $367/year. If you find this amount is not within your current budget but would like to be a part of Spark, we highly recommend you ask your school or district to fund your membership. If you aren’t sure how to talk to your school decision-makers, check out this guide. Then, contact nvantassel@iexplorescience.com for an estimate or invoice to provide your administrators.

Is the Spark Subscription right for me?

Well, it depends.

  • if you want science units built from relevant, real world phenomena, then yes. πŸ™ŒπŸ»
  • if you want to engage your students in 3D exploration and discovery, then yes. 🀩
  • if you like the idea of more responsive, student-driven learning (but are afraid you don’t have the time to put it all together), then yes. πŸ‘­
  • if you want high-quality, ready-to-go lessons that engage students in science practices and tie back to your anchor, then yes. πŸ‘πŸ»
  • if your content and standards align to the middle school NGSS grade-band, then yes. πŸ“š
  • if you have some flexibility in your curriculum and pacing, then yes. βœ…

However,

  • if you’re dead-set on sticking to your textbooks, chapter-by-chapter, PowerPoint approach to teaching, then no no no. 😬
  • if you’re not teaching content/standards that align to the middle school grade band, then sorry, no. πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ
  • if you have no flexibility in your pacing, scope, and sequence, then probably not. πŸ˜“