NexGen Inquiry Web App

Van Andel Education Institute

NexGen Inquiry empowers teachers to engage students in thinking and acting like scientists by bringing student-centered, inquiry-based science methods into the classroom.

  • Web
  • Mobile
  • Desktop
  • Embedded
VAEI Web Application Development

The NexGen Inquiry web app gives teachers practical tools to improve their science curriculum, with investigation templates and an online journal for each student.

Van Andel Education Institute (VAEI) is revolutionizing science education by training teachers in inquiry-based science. The NexGen Inquiry Teaching and Learning platform brings inquiry-based science into the classroom with a personal online journal for each student.

NexGen Inquiry guides students through scientific investigations using the QPOE2 investigation organizer. It helps them collect and analyze data, create graphs using this data, and share results with other students and their teachers. Teachers can create science investigation templates, assign them to students, and respond to student work.

VAEI Web Application Development
NexGen Inquiry is very intuitive; after just an hour of working with teachers, they have it down. It’s exceeded my expectations, and the teachers using it are really impressed.

Jim Nicolette, Associate Director

NexGen Inquiry Web App Development
NexGen Inquiry Web App Development

Tools to Get More Done

The science journal has a custom-built spreadsheet tool for creating tables, charts, and graphs. It was designed to be accessible to kids as young as kindergarten, with built-in formulas and an easy-to-use interface.

NexGen Inquiry includes a rapidly-growing online teacher community, where teachers can connect to share tips and advice. It also includes a resource library with professional development materials and support documentation in the form of quick-start videos and classroom materials.


  • At the start of the 2016-2017 school year, the system was being used by more than 500 school districts.
  • More than 2,500 teacher accounts and 15,000 student accounts have been created.
  • Teachers have created over 7,000 experiment templates.
The Atomic team took a genuine interest in what VAEI is doing. They took our teacher training, and developed a solid understanding of our instructional model and the vision of what we’re trying to accomplish. They cared about the project, and that came through in their zeal. Jim Nicolette, Associate Director
NexGen Inquiry Web App Development

Atomic provided web application development and visual design for NexGen Inquiry, a tablet-friendly web app with a rich front end built in Ember.js with a PostGRES database. Atomic also created the NexGen Inquiry marketing website in Craft CMS.

Project domain(s)

  • Web
  • Mobile
  • Desktop
  • Embedded

Services provided

  • Software Product Design
  • User Research
  • System Architecture
  • Information Architecture
  • Interaction Design
  • Visual Design
  • Software Development
  • User Testing
  • Exploratory Testing
  • Deployment

Tools used

  • Ember.js
  • Zurb Foundation
  • Postgres
  • Ruby on Rails