Common Core Testing vs the ISAT – What do the Math questions look like?

A quick look at some of the changes to the Math questions that students in Idaho will see this year.  After taking the sample tests I feel the new Smarter Balance consortium testing will have a bit of a game feel to it.  I’ve included links below the video where you can take the sample tests also.  I suggest doing so as you will see that while one of the main talking points has been that “students will have to explain their answers” it appears that they will not have to explain every answer.   Those questions that do require an explanation will be graded by Idaho teachers at a later date while the questions that the computer can figure out will help determine the difficulty level of the next question the student is asked to answer during the test.

ISAT Math 5
SBAC Math 5

More ISAT questions  –

More Smarter Balanced Math questions (no grade level given)-

This video is from teacher training put on by the  Idaho Leads Project and discusses the differences between ISAT vs Common Core (Smarter Balance) testing.  The questions I’ve pulled out of the sample above are some of the ones discussed in this video.




Computer Science Education – #CS10K NSF course outlines, resources, and teacher community

If you have been tasked to create a high school Computer Education course or perhaps an Intro to Programming course you may not know where to start and that can be overwhelming. A teacher community that is sponsored by the National Science Foundation and is part of the US Dept of Education’s Connected Educators initiative may be the place to begin your search and to bookmark for ongoing reference.

The web site is and they have two main course they are working on: Exploring Computer Science & Computer Science Principles. Each course is divided into Units and various resources are available for each unit including links to YouTube videos, PDFs, PowerPoint slides, lab outlines, project descriptions, and even some videos with clicker questions embedded in them. Members of the community can add links to other resources and comment on them while the website software links the new resources to each associated unit by using tags and filters.

From the main “resource book” a lesson plan for final day of presentation of projects created by programming in Scratch might look like this

The unit on Robots gives us this link to prototyping – be sure to check the slideshow

Classroom Volunteers can use this site too especially if a classroom is following the course outlines as it will help guide them to appropriate resources

The site itself has just been up a year and participation seems to be varied but hopefully it will continue to grow and provide additional resources.

January Calendar of Idaho STEM Events

We’ve been working on our calendar this month and there are lots of events coming up.  Many of the LEGO robot leagues (there are several age levels) have competitions this month and the Idaho Legislature goes into session this month.  A link to more information about the event is included in most cases if you go to our calendar page.

 Here are some of the events occurring in the next 45 days.  Keep checking back to the calendar as we will continue to add events as they come in.


Saturday, January 4

Robot Lab – Reuseum

Monday, January 6

ID Legislature Starts

Friday, January 10


Saturday, January 11

HS First Robotics Kickoff – IDF

North Idaho FIRST LEGO League Championship Tournament


Tuesday, January 14

Great Ideas for Teaching and Learning Symposium

Saturday, January 18

Robot Lab – Reuseum

Tuesday, January 21

Boise Code Club for Teens – Open House

Saturday, January 25

Future City Competition – BSU

School Garden Workshop – Boise


South Idaho FIRST LEGO League Championship Tournament

Saturday, February 1

HS Science Competition Day – BSU

STEM Exploration Day – BSU

Robot Lab – Reuseum

Monday, February 3

 Idaho Education Technology Association – Conference

Tuesday, February 4

Idaho Education Technology Association – Conference

Wednesday, February 5

Idaho Education Technology Association – Conference

Saturday, February 8

Middle School National Science Bowl – BSU

Deconstruction Lab – Reuseum

Friday, February 14

Teams (Technology Sudent Assoc) Competition – BSU

Saturday, February 15

Idaho FIRST Tech Challenge Championship Tournament

Robot Lab – Reuseum