Education Resources Blog

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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VariQuest Super Schools | Academic Subject: STEM | STEM | Project-based Learning | VariQuest Tools: Trifecta 800 3D Printer | Trifecta™ 800 3D Printer | Student Engagement

How 3D Printing is Benefiting Education at Holly Grove Elementary

By: VariQuest Visual & Kinesthetic Learning Tools
January 18th, 2018

3D Printing is a relatively new concept in education curriculum - but it engages all kinds of learners, and instills real-world critical thinking and innovative problem-solving 21st century skills. Seems to be a no-brainer for an educator looking to breathe new life into a STEM curriculum. At Holly Grove Elementary School in Holly Springs, North Carolina, Ms. Jennifer Starkey, a technology teacher, has been thrilled to watch her students design, create, and learn when the VariQuest Trifecta™ 800 3D Printer brings their ideas to life - which has made her classroom the most popular in the school. With over 1,100 students in grades K-6, including some Pre-K and special education students, Ms. Starkey needed a solution to engage every learner. Starting with her 2nd, 4th, and 5th graders, who are fully immersed in the 3D printing hands-on learning tasks, the classroom has turned out some pretty amazing projects as they Ask, Imagine, Plan, Create, Improve, and Share (The Engingeering Design Cycle). It's easy to see how 3D Printing is benefiting education at Holly Grove...

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Career & Technology Education (CTE) | Grade Level: Secondary (7-12) | Student Engagement | student achievement

[Playbook] Building a Career and Technical Education Program for the 21st Century

By: VariQuest Visual & Kinesthetic Learning Tools
November 30th, 2017

20, 15, even 10 years ago - when you thought about Career and Technical Education (CTE), you would picture a wood shop or auto mechanics class at a high school. But things have changed, and CTE isn't your dad's trade training anymore. Career & Technical Education Programs built for the 21st Century look drastically different - with schools building skill-development for many real-world jobs such as engineering, graphic design, teaching, business management, and so much more. The goal is achieving what schools have always worked towards - preparing students for college or careers - but this broader spectrum is geared towards a new kind of learner.

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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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Career & Technology Education (CTE) | Grade Level: Secondary (7-12) | Student Engagement | student achievement

[Checklist] 6 Steps Toward a 21st Century Learning Environment

By: VariQuest Visual & Kinesthetic Learning Tools
November 16th, 2017

Despite being 18 years into the new millennium, we hear a lot about "21st Century Learning Environments" these days, as schools are struggling to adapt to meet the needs of a new kind of learner - one who is constantly immersed in technology, and thus needs engaging, hands-on activities to feel connected to the real-life, real-world. With this in mind, we've created a 6-step checklist to help you assess building new, or enhancing your current CTE program, based on tactics our customers have implemented, as proof these techniques really work. For example... 

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Student Engagement | Differentiated Instruction | Featured Topics: Lessons and Activities | Academic Subject: Social Studies and History | Featured Topics: Templates for FREE download | Grade Level: Intermediate (3-6) | Grade Level: Primary (PK-2) | Lessons/Activities/Templates

"Explore Your World" Lesson Plan Unit

By: VariQuest Visual & Kinesthetic Learning Tools
August 17th, 2017

It's back-to-school time, you're crazy busy, and your brain is being stretched in a million different directions. We want to help! In partnership with The Curriculum Corner, VariQuest® presents a cross-curricular free lesson plan unit for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade students titled, "Explore Your World."

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Student Engagement | VariQuest Tools: Perfecta 2400 | VariQuest Tools: Cutout Maker 1800 | student achievement

Promoting Meaningful Dialogue in Classroom Discussions

By: Melissa Hughes, Ph.D.
January 20th, 2017

Think about the discussions that happen in your classroom.  Are they frequent? Do all students participate or are they monopolized by a handful of students?  Do you use discussion to merely check understanding or do you engage students into purposeful conversations to develop thinking? 

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Student Engagement | Project-based Learning | Differentiated Instruction | student achievement | Featured Topics: Lessons and Activities

VariQuest Opinion Writing Unit for Intermediate Classrooms

By: Geena Maharaj
August 2nd, 2016

We're at it again, and just in time for the start of the 2016-17 school year! In partnership with The Curriculum Corner, VariQuest® brings you the Opinion Writing Unit for Intermediate Classrooms.

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Maker Movement | Student Engagement | Professional Development | Featured Topics: Professional Development | STEM | Perfecta | Poster Maker 3600

What Happens in the Brain When Students Collaborate?

By: Melissa Hughes, Ph.D.
July 22nd, 2016

This post has been republished with permission from Dr. Melissa Hughes, a curriculum and instruction expert. In partnership with Dr. Hughes, VariQuest delivers professional development webinars to valued educators. To learn more about this offer, visit our professional development page. The Maker Movement, as it’s called, is finding its way to more and more classrooms today.  STEM and STEAM initiatives have promoted a learning culture that flips the priority from the consumption of information to the production of innovative and creative meaning. According to some educational experts, the Maker Movement could actually be the impetus for the next industrial revolution.

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Student Engagement | student achievement | Project-based Learning | Featured Topics: Templates for FREE download | Lessons/Activities/Templates

Get Hands-On in VariQuest's Punctuation Writing Resource

By: Geena Maharaj
July 10th, 2016

    Q: What do you get when you cross a writing-intensive workshop with visual and kinesthetic learning? A: VariQuest's & The Curriculum Corner's Punctuation Writing Unit     In conjunction with The Curriculum Corner, VariQuest Visual & Kinesthetic Learning Tools has developed a punctuation unit of study focused on primary classrooms. Punctuation is a unit that should be taught within the context of real writing, and can be very effective when presented within the framework of a workshop model. However, more hands-on activities that accompany direct instruction can certainly help to increase student engagement and retention for young learners.

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VariQuest Super Schools | Student Engagement | Parental Involvement | VariQuest Tools: Cutout Maker 1800 | student achievement

School Captivates Students with Transformed Classrooms

By: Heidi Glasow
February 24th, 2016

As students enter the corridors of Dolgeville Elementary School (and their classrooms) it's easy for them to become enthralled with the colorful displays that adorn nearly every wall of their building thanks to their creative staff and the VariQuest Cutout Maker. When Dreams Come True In spring of 2014, Susan Butler's (Principal at Dolgeville) dream came true when their Parent Teacher Organization purchased the Cutout Maker for their teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week. This gesture of gratitude is typical of their PTO, but usually the gift is around $500-$600. In 2014 however, after Susan saw the Cutout Maker at a trade show, she was able to talk them into a larger purchase turning her dream into a reality.

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Education Policy | Student Engagement | student achievement

Good Teaching Isn't Enough. Be Great!

By: Melissa Hughes, Ph.D.
January 20th, 2016

  At the root of just about every educational reform initiative, debate, or discussion is how to quantify learning and measure academic success. Legislators will argue that in order to effectively “fix education” and fairly and accurately compare apples to apples, all students must have equal access to learning experiences so that we can assess teaching and learning with the same standards and measures. Critics abound with a long list of flaws in the system that cast a dark shadow over the things that are working.   

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