Discussion Prompts for Science and Social Studies Guided by Current Events and News

App of the Week

SyncBlasts offers reading and writing assignments that present engaging, inquiry-based instruction in science and social studies through connection with current news and events relevant to students’ lives. Through a variety of rich reading and writing lessons and prompts with multimedia resources––including a news show, previews, and explainer videos––the online offering acts as a curriculum companion and is designed to intellectually engage students and foster academic inquiry and conversation. 

Science SyncBlasts delve deep into scientific research and discoveries—all through a contemporary lens while Social Studies SyncBlasts use a driving question to encourage students to consider the implications of their modern-day perspectives and opinions through a discussion centered around history and other social studies disciplines. The writing prompts are aligned to standards and offer reading comprehension, a student QuikPoll, and compelling discussion questions to support student inquiry. 

New SyncBlasts, presenting a variety of voices and perspectives with age-appropriate, compelling research links are published each school day at three Lexile®-levels. A selection of SyncBlasts lessons is available in Spanish. 

Formats/platforms are used? 

SyncBlasts is accessible through an online platform with a familiar and easy-to-use social media-like format that engages students.

Primary website’s URL:

https://www.studysync.com/products/syncBlast 

Problem solved:

SyncBlasts give students a controlled environment for constructive peer review and collaborative topic discussion, enabling students to thrive through social learning. Students are challenged to build important research, critical thinking, and writing skills while expressing their opinions succinctly and participating in thoughtful discussion. 

SyncBlasts also help students build a connection between important science and social studies topics they’re learning in class and current events highlighted by the program.

Grade/age range:

SyncBlasts includes hundreds of articles and videos that are aligned to social studies and science content standards and appropriate and relevant for middle school and high school students.

 

 

Core or supplemental:

SyncBlasts supports inquiry and cross-curricular connection through a supplemental platform designed for flexible use, whether everyday or occasional. Students create important connections and gain insight through every SyncBlast they complete, and they are able to reach a level of deeper learning through the multimedia resources paired with each SyncBlast.

Subject/topic:

Teachers can assign SyncBlasts from social studies content channels such as U.S. history, American democracy, economics, and the modern world or from science content channels such as Earth, space, engineering, chemistry, biology, and physical science. 

SyncBlasts help students build important ELA skills including critical reading, writing, and peer discussion while supporting science and social studies instruction. Plus, SyncBlasts are connected to engaging real-world and current events topics, helping students build an understanding of the world around them and how it connects to their classroom curriculum. 

Lesson time needed:

SyncBlasts is a flexible curriculum companion, designed to work with different teaching styles and variable class lengths.

Pricing models:

For pricing models, I’d say that SyncBlasts Social Studies and SyncBlasts Science are sold as online subscriptions for teachers and students. One year or multi-year subscriptions are available. The products are also sold alongside of MHE’s core social studies & science programs. In that instance, the products are integrated so it’s a single sign on for teachers and students. Here is the link for pricing:

https://www.mheducation.com/search.html?searchQuery=syncblasts&page=1&sortby=relevance&order=desc&bu=seg

Additional services needed:
StudySync offers SyncBlasts teachers training videos, webinar support, and a dedicated team of implementation specialists to offer best practices and answer questions. 

What makes SyncBlasts unique? 

SyncBlasts connects science and social studies content to the everyday lives of students, illuminating clear connections between content standards and the current events happening in the world. Students build a deeper understanding of the world around them through their schoolwork and become better citizens of the world. They also gain important insights and understanding about their peers’ opinions and perspectives on a range of topics relating to their everyday lives. A news literacy component is also embedded in both social studies and science SyncBlasts products to aid students in understanding the validity of news sources and data.

SyncBlasts also offers a unique social media-like format for students to interact and discuss prompts in a safe, teacher-mediated environment. Students stay engaged with the familiar social format and benefit from peer review, discussion and social learning.

Characteristics:

SyncBlasts’s content is developed based on the C3 Framework and NCSS themes for SyncBlasts Social Studies, and the NGSS for SyncBlasts Science, plus states' academic standards and other pertinent academic benchmarks, such as AP. SyncBlasts programs are packed with video, imagery, and interactive content created to sustain student interest. SyncBlasts offers a range of accommodation and modification features to help teachers plan effectively for all students. The Blast feature contains assignments at a full range of Lexile-levels that allow students to work on grade level appropriate content at higher or lower text complexity.
 

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