NextLesson – Engaging. Relevant. Real World

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NextLesson is a great site that is focused on performance tasks, problem based learning, critical thinking and rank and reason activities.  The lessons are hands on, engaging and prepare students for 21st century problems. Check out NextLesson at https://www.nextlesson.org/

Fig 1: Browse by 21st Century Skill

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The site is simple to search by grade, subject and common core standard.  Being from Toronto, Canada, I found many of the lessons fit in nicely to the Ministry of Ontario’s Curriculum as well.  There is a lot of free content and premium content at affordable prices that can be downloaded, modified and shared online.  The lesson tool bar allows for many options for your lessons from ranking and discussion to printing and adding your own content.  You can even duplicate a lesson and add challenges for those students in one class or change the overall lesson for another class.

Screen Shot 2014-10-28 at 10.23.53 PMFig 2: Lesson Tool Bar: 

The lessons are loaded with docs, PDFs, downloads, embedded videos, and links to online content.  What I really like is the ability to copy the lesson and edit and add as much or as little to it as I want.  The problem I often encounter when using other people’s lessons is that I can’t just use them as is.  I need to change things to suit my classroom and students’ needs. With NextLesson you can have that customization and add your personal flare to the lesson.  You can then make notes and share this lesson with students so they have all the notes. The lessons also implement technology such as Minecraft, QR codes, coding,  simulations and many other technologies.

Fig 3: Ease of Sharing With Class Codes

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Fig 4: QR Codes with Cell Structures

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After exploring and testing the lessons in my class, the students were engaged and saw the practical applications.  Students had to use a variety of skills that they don’t normally think belong in science.  In high school especially, we often compartmentalized subjects and students often take off their math hat and pop on their science hat once they enter to the next class.

Fig 5: Building a Lunar Lander Lesson

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One lesson I liked that fit into the Space unit for grade 9 science in the Ontario Curriculum was the Build a Lunar Lander.  The lesson comes packed with instructions, handouts, and video clips of the moon landing.  I like the ease at which all the materials is found in one place.  To do this lesson without NextLesson, would take a lot of prep work by finding and organizing the content.  I was able to quickly access what was in the database and then add my own things found on the internet.  The students liked exploring the additional content that I added as well.  I was able to add the Google Maps Moon site to the lesson for my students to explore.

Check out NextLesson at https://www.nextlesson.org/

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