VariQuest Blog

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

Blog Feature

Academic Subject: STEM | VariQuest Tools: Perfecta 2400 | VariQuest Tools: Cutout Maker 1800 | Featured Topics: Student Engagement | VariQuest Tools: Trifecta 800 3D Printer

The Power of Experiential Learning

By: Melissa Hughes, Ph.D.
April 18th, 2017

We used to call it hands-on learning.  Before high-tech classrooms, learning labs, and makerspaces, kids would build and create and make things using buttons, bottle caps, popsicle sticks, and glue.  The focus was on exploration, discovery, creativity, and problem-solving.  There was no clear distinction between the arts, engineering, science, and math.  Kids were making things, expressing their creativity, and they were learning how things worked. The current buzzword is experiential learning, but the concept has been around for over 100 years.  Dr. Maria Montessori would be thrilled to see the future of education rooted in her research.  The movement of “making” brings engineering, science, technology, art and design together and overlaps those instructional principles with the natural inclinations of children the power of learning by doing.  

Read More

Share

Blog Feature

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'.

Read More

Share

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!

Blog Feature

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?

Read More

Share

Blog Feature

Education Policy | STEM | Academic Subject: STEM | Featured Topics: Funding | Funding

The Billions Behind STEM

By: Geena Maharaj
August 29th, 2016

"In the coming years, we should build on that progress by...offering every student the hands-on computer science and math classes that make them job-ready on day one." -President Barack Obama, 2016 State of the Union Address It's no secret that there's money in STEM. With related jobs in higher demand than ever before, these fields offer a lucrative career path for interested individuals. But when only 51% of US school districts are cognizant of the $7 billion behind STEM, therein lies the secret that merits promulgation. Billions. That's nine zeros. Before the decimal point. 

Read More

Share

Blog Feature

STEM | Academic Subject: STEM | VariQuest Tools: Trifecta 800 3D Printer | 3D Printing | Trifecta™ 800 3D Printer

What Schools Will Gain from 3D Printing

By: Geena Maharaj
October 19th, 2015

The 80s were revolutionary in a number of ways. Big hair, neon aerobic garb, and the King of Pop made headlines. But in the realm of educational technology, the personal computer stole the show. Today, we’re experiencing a similar revolution. Setting aside the popularity of man buns, boho chic wear, and unfortunately, “Beliebers”, the edtech world is again taken aback by cutting-edge technology. PCs, time to make room for 3D printers. 

Read More

Share

Blog Feature

Academic Subject: STEM | Featured Topics: Industry News and Trends | Featured Topics: Differentiated Instruction | Academic Subject: Career & Technical Education

Maker Movement Gains Traction in the Midwest with NSF Funding

By: Margo Ensz
September 28th, 2015

Earlier this month, two Indiana University researchers received a $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study the successes of the Maker Movement in China and cultivate the movement in the United States Midwest. This grant and new study focuses not only on the academic importance of the movement, but the economic importance as well. So, why the Midwest? 

Read More

Share

Blog Feature

Poster Maker 3600 | Grade Level: Secondary (7-12) | Grade Level: Intermediate (3-6) | Academic Subject: STEM | VariQuest Tools: Poster Maker 3600 | VariQuest Tools: Cutout Maker 1800 | Academic Subject: Science

Understanding the Plant Cell: 3 Engaging Activities

By: Margo Ensz
August 31st, 2015

Engage students in learning the parts of a plant cell with a variety of teaching tools and fun activities using your Cutout Maker and Poster Maker!

Read More

Share

Blog Feature

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!

Read More

Share

Blog Feature

Academic Subject: STEM | Featured Topics: Industry News and Trends | Featured Topics: Differentiated Instruction | Featured Topics: Student Engagement

Makerspaces: High and Low Tech

By: Geena Maharaj
April 9th, 2015

If you've been keeping up on education trends lately, chances are you’re familiar with the recent emphasis on doing, creating, crafting, constructing, designing, building…essentially, making! From using laser cutters to building a house of LEGO® bricks, the goal is to make. The importance of this multidisciplinary hands-on learning has been sweeping the nation, one makerspace at a time.

Read More

Share

Blog Feature

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. 

Read More

Share