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Captivate, Activate, and Invigorate the Student Brain in Science and Math, Grades 6-12 - Book Cover Look Inside

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

By: John Taylor Almarode, Ann Marie Miller

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.

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

Price: $33.95

Price: $33.95
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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 has worked with schools, classrooms, and teachers all over the world on the translation and application of the science of learning to the classroom, school, and home environments, and what works best in teaching and learning. He has done so in Australia, Canada, Egypt, England, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, South Korea, Thailand and all across the United States.

He is an Associate Professor of Education in the College of Education. In 2015, John was awarded the inaugural Sarah Miller Luck Endowed Professorship. In 2021, John was honored with an Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia. At James Madison University, he continues to work with pre-service teachers and graduate students, as well as actively pursues his research interests including the science of learning, the design and measurement of classroom environments that promote student engagement and learning.

The work of John and his colleagues has been presented to the United States Congress, Virginia Senate, at the United States Department of Education as well as the Office of Science and Technology Policy at The White House.

John began his career in Augusta County, Virginia, teaching mathematics and science to a wide-range of students. Since then, John has authored multiple articles, reports, book chapters, and eleven books including Captivate, Activate, and Invigorate the Student Brain in Science and Math, Grades 6 - 12 (Corwin Press, 2013), From Snorkelers to Scuba Divers (Corwin Press, 2018), both with Ann Miller, and Visible Learning for Science, with Doug Fisher, Nancy Frey, and John Hattie (Corwin Press, 2018). He recently finished a book focusing on clarity, Clarity for Learning, with Kara Vandas (Corwin Press, 2019), as well as Teaching Mathematics in the Visible Learning Classroom, Grades 6 - 8, and Teaching Mathematics in the Visible Learning Classroom, Grades 9 - 12 both with Doug Fisher, Joseph Assof, Sara Moore, Nancy Frey, and John Hattie (Corwin, 2019), all with Corwin Press. Teaching Mathematics in the Visible Learning Classroom, Grades K - 2 and Teaching Mathematics in the Visible Learning Classroom, Grades 3 - 5 with the same author team plus Kateri Thunder hit the shelves in March of 2019. He is also the past co-editor of the Teacher Educator’s Journal.

In 2019, John and his colleagues developed a new framework for developing, implementing, and sustaining professional learning communities: PLC+. Focusing on sustained change in teacher practice, the PLC+ framework builds capacity within teacher-led teams to maximize student learning. The books, PLC+ Better Decisions and Greater Impact by Design, The PLC+ Playbook, Grades K - 12, The PLC+ Activator’s Guide will support this work in schools and classrooms.

John and his colleagues have also focused a lot of attention on the process of implementation – taking evidence-based practices and moving them from intention to implementation, potential to impact through a series of on-your-feet-guides around PLCs,Visible Learning, Visible Teaching, and the SOLO Taxonomy. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, John and his colleagues developed the Distance Learning Playbook for College and University Instruction (SAGE). In November of 2020, Student Learning Communities (ASCD) was released, followed by Great Teaching by Design (Corwin Press), The Success Criteria Playbook (Corwin), an educational textbook on teaching science in the inclusive early childhood classroom, Inclusive Teaching in the Early Childhood Science Classroom (Routledge), and A Quick Guide to Simultaneous, Hybrid, & Blended Learning (Corwin).

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 Marie Miller photo

Ann Marie 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