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VariQuest Blog

The VariQuest Visual and Kinesthetic Learning Tools Blog contains resources on classroom ideas, lesson plans, industry news, events, and offers throughout education.

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Lessons/Activities/Templates | Career & Technology Education (CTE) | Grade Level: Primary (PK-2) | Featured Topics: Lessons and Activities | Academic Subject: Mathematics

[Lesson Plan] Counting Strategies Activity: Build a Fruit Basket

By: Carman Le
April 12th, 2018

As more and more schools expand their curriculum offerings to include Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs spanning the 16 Career Clusters, the need for resources to help these students has grown along with it. One of these clusters, obviously close to our hearts at VariQuest, is the Education & Training pathway - so along with supporting educators who facilitate this goal with students, we also want to support those students considering a career in the industry! So - do you have an Early Education Program with your secondary students? Or maybe you're a Pre-K or Kindergarten teacher looking for activities to help students learn about numbers and counting? We've got a free lesson plan for you, aligned with Common Core Math Standard K.CC.A.1-5: "Counting Strategies: Build a Fruit Basket!"

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Lessons/Activities/Templates | Common Core | Grade Level: Secondary (7-12) | Grade Level: Intermediate (3-6) | Featured Topics: Classroom Celebrations/Holidays | Featured Topics: Common Core | VariQuest Tools: Cold Laminator 2510 | Featured Topics: Lessons and Activities | Academic Subject: Mathematics | VariQuest Tools: Trifecta 800 3D Printer | 3D Printing

[Lesson Plan] Order of Operations

By: Carman Le
March 15th, 2018

"Class, what is the Order of Operations?" My energetic class of fifth graders shouted out loud, "Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally!" What? Who is Aunt Sally? When students initially learn how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide, they are taught to perform those skills using two numbers and one operation. As they progress to the next levels, they begin to see numerical expressions with more than one operation and word problems that involve multiple steps. Introduce your students to the Order of Operations - and help them memorize the "PEMDAS" or "Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally" acronym as early as third grade. Putting this memory into practice can be more of a challenge - so we've come up with some tips and a fun lesson plan activity for your students to drive the concept home!

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How to Write a Grant eBook

How to Write a Grant eBook

This helpful guide includes an explanation of the grant process, including a checklist (with samples!), and useful links and resources to find funding!

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Lessons/Activities/Templates | Academic Subject: English Language Arts | Featured Topics: Classroom Celebrations/Holidays | Featured Topics: Lessons and Activities | Academic Subject: Mathematics

[Lesson Plan] Celebrate the Chinese New Year!

By: Carman Le
February 1st, 2018

Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, has been celebrated for thousands of years. It is one of the most important holidays widely celebrated in many Asian countries and territories including Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Korea, Thailand. Usually falling between January 21st and February 20th, this year's start of the Chinese New Year will occur on February 16th, and is the Year of the Dog. The celebration lasts for about 15 days. Gung Hay Fat Choy is a common Chinese New Year’s greeting in Chinese Cantonese, which means “wishing you great happiness and prosperity.” On Chinese New Year, the themes of happiness, wealth, longevity, luck and good fortune are celebrated. Some of the traditional celebrations include family gatherings, visiting friends and relatives (baai nin), exchanging “lucky money” contained in red envelopes (lai see), decorating homes with paper decorations and scrolls, lion dances, and fireworks. Chinese New Year is a special holiday to celebrate with your class while teaching them others’ cultures and comparing them to American traditions. I have put together a collection of fun, hands-on and Common Core-aligned lessons and activities, classroom decorations, and craft projects for you to explore and enjoy with your class, and I want to share them with you!

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Academic Subject: STEM | Featured Topics: Student Engagement | Academic Subject: Science | Featured Topics: Lessons and Activities | Academic Subject: Mathematics | VariQuest Tools: Trifecta 800 3D Printer | Trifecta™ 800 3D Printer

Discovery Charter Discovering the Difference with VariQuest

By: Heidi Glasow
March 10th, 2017

"If you build it they will come"- Field of Dreams, 1989. Dan Hurley, Director of Discovery Charter School in Inver Grove Heights, MN had the same dream in 2014, although not for a baseball diamond in his field, but rather a school to embrace a multidisciplinary curriculum with an emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). His vision was to prepare K-8 students for life-long learning, collaboration, critical thinking and problem solving. Just over one year ago his dream became a reality, and now over 200 students are engaged in an environment that values creativity, diversity, and multiculturalism. With Dan's vision a partnership also ensued with VariQuest and Trifecta™ 800 3D Printer, and STEM Fuse, a leader in K12 digital curriculum. Dan knew in order to fulfill his dream he needed to build his 'Dream Team'.

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Academic Subject: STEM | Featured Topics: Industry News and Trends | Academic Subject: Science | Academic Subject: Mathematics

STEM vs. STEAM—Which One is it?

By: Geena Maharaj
January 9th, 2017

16. 17. 25. What do these numbers mean to America? Federal reports show only 16% of high school seniors in the US are interested in pursuing a career in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math). Our students rank 17th in science achievement and 25th in math ability among industrialized nations. Couple that with the fact that “the demand for scientists and engineers is expected to increase at four times the rate for all other occupations,” and it’s no wonder why the topic of STEM is the talk of town. America’s face palm can be heard internationally, but its sting hits close to home, starting with schools. But are four letters enough to encapsulate the issue?

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Grade Level: Primary (PK-2) | VariQuest Tools: Perfecta 2400 | VariQuest Tools: Poster Maker 3600 | Featured Topics: Lessons and Activities | Academic Subject: Mathematics | Featured Topics: Templates for FREE download

Menu Math: Lesson Plan for Grades 1-3

By: Geena Maharaj
May 22nd, 2015

The following lesson plan is part of our partnership with two creative educators from The Curriculum Corner, bringing you free Common Core aligned lesson ideas, teacher resources, and templates you can easily print with your VariQuest™ Perfecta™ 2400 or your VariQuest™ Poster Maker 3600 - just be sure you have the latest VariQuest Software v4.0!

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Grade Level: Intermediate (3-6) | Academic Subject: STEM | Featured Topics: Lessons and Activities | Academic Subject: Mathematics | Featured Topics: Templates for FREE download

Menu Math: Lesson Plan for Grades 4-8

By: Geena Maharaj
May 22nd, 2015

This lesson plan is part of our partnership with two creative educators from The Curriculum Corner, bringing you free Common Core aligned lesson ideas, teacher resources, and templates you can easily print with your VariQuest™ Perfecta™ 2400 or your VariQuest™ Poster Maker 3600 - just be sure you have the latest VariQuest Software v4.0!

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Grade Level: Primary (PK-2) | Grade Level: Intermediate (3-6) | Academic Subject: STEM | VariQuest Tools: Design Center Software | VariQuest Tools: Perfecta 2400 | VariQuest Tools: Poster Maker 3600 | Featured Topics: Lessons and Activities | Academic Subject: Mathematics

K-5: Math is Everywhere!

By: Margo Ensz
March 31st, 2015

April is Mathematics Awareness Month! This year's theme is "Math Drives Careers." Math can be an engaging and intuitive subject for some students, but often it is a dry subject for others. These students ask, "When will I use this in real life?" One way to answer that question and engage learners is to demonstrate that math is all around us. 

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Grade Level: Primary (PK-2) | Featured Topics: Lessons and Activities | Academic Subject: Mathematics | Featured Topics: Templates for FREE download

Math Problem Solving Strategies (Primary) - Lesson Plan & Templates

By: Margo Ensz
April 30th, 2014

This lesson plan is part of our partnership with two super creative educators from The Curriculum Corner, bringing you free Common Core aligned lesson ideas, teacher resources, and templates you can easily print with your VariQuest Perfecta 2400 or VariQuest Poster Maker - just be sure you have the latest VariQuest Software v4.0!  Lesson: Introduction to Problem Solving Strategies (Two-Day Lesson)  Level: Primary Objectives & CCSS Alignment: Students will increase independence in using various strategies to solve different types of word problems. *Note: CCSS has problem solving strategies spread throughout the domains for math.  This lesson focuses on giving them a review of each of the various strategies.  It is suggested that teachers follow up this review with a more in-depth lesson in each of the strategies as they fit naturally into the curriculum or as there is student need.  Materials & Visuals:  Anchor Chart – Problem Solving Strategies My Math Notes for Problem Solving Click on each image to download the PDF and print to a poster using your VariQuest Software v4.0!      Preparation: Think through a sample problem for each of the strategies listed on the anchor chart.  These will be shown to the students as examples. Prepare “Problem Solving” anchor chart for mini-lesson. Copy the “My Math Notes for Problem Solving” page for each child in the classroom.  You may choose to three-hole-punch this page for use in a Math Notes binder/folder to be kept by students and referred to throughout the year.  Mini-Lesson:  Ask students what a “strategy” is.  Accept several answers and then lead the class to the conclusion that a strategy is a plan to reach a goal.  In math a strategy would be a plan to reach a final answer. Display the anchor chart titled “Problem Solving Strategies” for the students.  Tell them that these are some ways that they can use to solve all kinds of different math problems. Pass out “My Math Notes for Problem Solving” to each student and explain that this page is a place for them to write down some notes that will help them to remember what each strategy is and how to use it.  They will keep this in their math binder/folder and can pull it out as a reminder when needed. *Note: The boxes of this resource have been left blank so that the teacher can decide the level of support needed to fill it out.  Students may need to draw or write exactly what the teacher shares for each strategy or they may be allowed to draw or write whatever they feel will help them to remember the strategy. Briefly explain a few of the eight strategies and guide students as to how you would like for them to take their notes (copying the teacher notes or creating their own depending on grade or skill level).  Introduce however many strategies that time allows for in this first lesson, and then complete the note-taking for the final strategies the following day. Have students place their Math Notes into an organized binder or folder that will be kept and used throughout the year. Did you like this lesson? Leave a comment and let us know what topics you would like us to cover in future posts and we will work on delivering free resources to help you prepare for your lessons!

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Grade Level: Intermediate (3-6) | Academic Subject: STEM | VariQuest Tools: Design Center Software | VariQuest Tools: Perfecta 2400 | VariQuest Tools: Poster Maker 3600 | Featured Topics: Common Core | Featured Topics: Lessons and Activities | Academic Subject: Mathematics | Featured Topics: Templates for FREE download

Math Problem Solving Strategies (Intermediate) - Lesson Plan & Templates

By: Margo Ensz
April 21st, 2014

We are excited to announce our partnership with two super creative educators from The Curriculum Corner! You can expect to see more blog posts containing free Common Core aligned lesson ideas, teacher resources and templates you can easily print with your VariQuest Perfecta 2400 or VariQuest Poster Maker - just be sure you have the latest VariQuest Software v4.0!  Lesson: Introduction to Problem Solving Strategies (Two-Day Lesson) 

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