Backflip your Classroom

Posted by Science Explored on June 10, 2013

Somersaults in school?  No, this isn’t PE, but in education circles there is a lot of talk about "flipping the classroom."  The concept is simple: before a class begins, students watch a video to preview material that will be taught.  This opens up classroom time to focus on practice and refinement of the skill outlined in the pre-work.  Although this pedagogical model has gained a lot of traction, it is not without its problems. 

Front-loaded instruction requires self-discipline among students.  Granted, high expectations should be maintained for students, but it is unreasonable to assume student interest in material that is not engaging.  The flipped classroom is therefore especially challenging for early elementary students, English language learners, and students who have gaps in prerequisite knowledge and skills.  The problem is exacerbated if a teacher relies exclusively on this model to deliver direct instruction; students who began a school year behind grade level can possibly fall further behind.  Perhaps the biggest issue is that the flipped classroom offers little to no opportunity for students to clarify misconceptions, interact, and learn socially, and many students yearn for the opportunity to learn "hands-on" in a traditional classroom setting.  

The Content Connections Videos (CCVs) available in STEMscopes™ 2.0 seek to improve on the flipped classroom model by "backflipping the classroom."  CCVs are intended for use in the classroom after a student has touched, experienced, and explored science by doing science, giving meaning and context to what is watched in the video.  Through digital animations, real-world examples, and virtual field trips, the CCVs reinforce, rather than introduce, the concepts students learn in hands-on investigations.  Throughout the videos, teachers and students are presented with numerous opportunities to pause and engage in discussions that relate to a previously done hands-on investigation.  Curious? Take a look for yourself:

Content Connections Videos are a new element for STEMscopes 2.0 scopes, and are constantly being developed and added to our 2.0 preview site.  To view more examples visit