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Captivate, Activate, and Invigorate the Student Brain in Science and Math, Grades 6-12

Discover engaging, brain-based science and math strategies that captivate students’ attention, activate prior knowledge, and invigorate interest. Features a ready-to-use framework, content-specific attention grabbers, and more.

Full description

Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12
  • ISBN: 9781452218021
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Year: 2013
  • Page Count: 224
  • Publication date: April 02, 2013

Price: $33.95



Banish boredom once and for all!

If your STEM lessons are falling on disinterested ears, it's time to mix things up. What you need are more engaging, brain-based science and math strategies to captivate your students' attention, activate their prior knowledge, and invigorate their interest.

Blending current research on the student brain with practical methods for teaching science and math, John Almarode and Ann M. Miller identify six essential "ingredients" in a recipe for student success. In their book you'll discover

  • A customizable framework you can use right away
  • Classroom-ready, content-specific attention grabbers
  • Overt and covert strategies to boost behavioral, emotional, and cognitive engagement
  • Techniques for making relevant connections that maximize retention

With this new approach to captivating STEM lessons, you'll energize classroom time and keep your students on task and engaged—every day.

"This book links a wealth of best practices in lesson design to the latest research on how the brain learns new information."
—Edward C. Nolan, PreK-12 Content Specialist, Mathematics
Montgomery County Public Schools, Rockville, MD

"This book is a must-read for teachers of math or science who want to increase student achievement and create meaningful learning experiences!"
—Melissa Miller, Science Instructor
Lynch Middle School, Farmington, AR

Key features

  • Each chapter ends with "engaging strategies" that exemplify the topic discussed in the chapter
  • Strategies address specific math and science content areas (earth science, algebra, physics, etc.)
  • Useful forms and supplements for each strategy are included
  • Space is provided after each strategy for the teacher to brainstorm how they will adapt and implement the strategy. This makes the book useful for independent or group book study.
  • Each chapter has "stop-n-thinks" that ask the reader to pause, take a break from reading, process, and reflect upon the content. This models the importance of reflective practice needed to personalize the strategies discussed in book and provides a chance for readers to make conscious decisions about their own classrooms.
  • A sample lesson plan template is included.
  • A glossary of terms assists readers with brain terminology.


John Taylor Almarode photo

John Taylor Almarode

Dr. John Almarode is a bestselling author and an Associate Professor of Education at James Madison University. He was awarded the inaugural Sarah Miller Luck Endowed Professorship in 2015 and received an Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia in 2021. Before his academic career, John started as a mathematics and science teacher in Augusta County, Virginia. As an author, John has written multiple educational books focusing on science and mathematics, and he has co-created a new framework for developing, implementing, and sustaining professional learning communities called PLC+. Dr. Almarode's work has been presented to the US Congress, the Virginia Senate, and the US Department of Education. One of his recent projects includes developing the Distance Learning Playbook for College and University Instruction in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Continuing his collaborative work with colleagues on what works best in teaching and learning, How Tutoring Works, Visible Learning in Early Childhood, and How Learning Works, all with Corwin Press, were released in 2021.

Ann M. Miller photo

Ann M. Miller

Ann M. Miller has had the privilege of working as an educator and staff developer for many years. She is currently the Coordinator of Elementary Instruction and Professional development K-12 for Waynesboro Public Schools. Ann began her career teaching Special Education for Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES in Cayuga County, New York. She focused her efforts on emotionally disturbed students before making a successful transition to the position of Instructional Specialist. Ann became a member of an elite team of staff development leaders where her enthusiasm, knowledge and approachable style helped to develop strong productive learning communities within nine different school divisions. Her extensive knowledge about teaching, student engagement and how children learn has provided a strong instructional foundation needed to design, facilitate and implement relevant and meaningful learning opportunities for a wide range of audiences. Ann truly loves her career but she would be the first to tell you how truly blessed she is to have a loving and supportive husband, three caring children, and four terrific grandchildren. Everyone should be so lucky

Table of Contents

Table of Contents




About the Authors

1. The Recipe for an Engaged Brain

The Recipe for Student Engagement

Recipes as Frameworks

Using Your Engagement Monitor

Engagement: An Overt and Covert Operation

You Can Lead Students to Class, but Can You Make Them Think?

Chapter 1: 3-2-1 Exit Ticket

Engaging Professional Development Tasks


Engaging Professional Development Tasks

2. Building Background Knowledge

Using Models to Build Background Knowledge

A Road Map of the Brain

The Nuts and Bolts

Engaging the Students With Vocabulary

Pandora's Box

Chapter 2: Concept Development Exit Ticket

Engaging Professional Development Tasks


3. Prime the Brain: Activate Prior Knowledge

The Deafening Sound of Silence

Making Student Brains More Efficient

Getting Better Encoding, Retention, and Recall

Link to the Recipe for Engagement

Chapter 3: "Fist List" Exit Ticket

Engaging Professional Development Tasks


4. Captivate With Novelty

In the Classroom, Novelty Is the Spice of Life

Emotionally Charged Events

Goldilocks and the Three Bears: Novelty in Moderation

Chapter 4: Exit Ticket

Engaging Professional Development Tasks


5. Why Do We Need to Know This? Establishing Relevance

How Is Relevance Good for the Brain? A Mouse Tale

How Can I Make Learning Behaviorally Relevant?

Link to the Recipe for Engagement

Chapter 5: Exit Ticket

Engaging Professional Development Tasks


6. Too Much, Too Fast: Maintaining an Engaging Pace

Input and Quantity Limitations

Press and Release

What to Do Between Chunks?

Too Much, Too Fast

Chapter 6: Exit Ticket

Engaging Professional Development Tasks


7. Make Learning a Long-Lasting, Invigorating Experience

It's as if They Were Never Even in Class

Checking for Understanding


Closure Activities

A Watched Pot Never Boils . . . and This Is a Good Thing

Chapter 7: Exit Ticket

Engaging Professional Development Tasks


8. Building an Engaging Science or Mathematics Lesson and Unit

Using the Recipe to Build an Engaging Lesson

Using the Recipe to Build an Engaging Unit

A Recipe for Diversity

Taste Testing the Recipe

Chapter 8: Exit Ticket

Engaging Professional Development Tasks


Appendix A Unit Instructional Plan

Appendix B Daily Lesson Plan




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