Are you looking for some free professional development that you can attend online this summer? Well, here you go!
The Smithsonian will host the National Education Summit from July 18 to 20. This three-day event offers teachers the chance to explore important topics and connect with others, both online and in person. The summit will cover subjects such as sustainability, STEAM education, the Smithsonian’s “Our Shared Future: Reckoning With Our Racial Past” initiative, and arts education. The event will feature presentations by renowned experts, including 2023 National Teacher of the Year Rebecka Peterson, actor and activist Maulik Pancholy, psychiatrist Dr. Pamela Cantor, and Smithsonian educators.
This is not a science/STEM specific conference but several of the threads relate directly to science and STEM education:
Life on a Sustainable Planet
Reckoning with Our Racial Past
An Integrated Arts Education
The event is free to attend either face-to-face or online. Click HERE to register. I just signed up (for online) and hope to see some of y’all there.
Cleanet.org is a resource for teaching climate and energy science. Their site has a nice set of tools for teaching controversy and developing critical thinking skills related to climate change. You will find educational resources, strategies, and links to recorded webinars for engaging students with controversial topics surrounding climate change- there is a section titled Controversy is not a Bad Thing. Lots of good stuff here.
It’s been awhile since I’ve featured any of the incredible science education resources at Concord Consortium…so let’s remedy that.
The NGSS Assessment Portal is an online platform developed by the Concord Consortium, an educational research and development organization. The primary focus of the website is to provide thoughtfully designed 3 Dimensional Assessment tasks for educators.
On the NGSS Assessment Portal you will find a set of elementary (3-5) assessment tasks plus middle grades (6-8). The tasks are all online (not printable) and teachers can create free accounts to assign tasks, have students engage, and then collect their responses.
These tasks can obviously be used with students but can also be objects of study for professional development, teacher education, or used as exemplars for NGSS curriculum and assessment work.
Below is a recent article from The Hechinger Report titled As Science Denial Grows, Science Museums Fight Back by Teaching Scientific Literacy. The Hechinger Report article discusses how science museums are responding to the growing problem of science denial by focusing on promoting scientific literacy. The article highlights several initiatives taken by science museums to combat misinformation and educate the public about the importance of scientific evidence. These initiatives include providing interactive exhibits, organizing public lectures, collaborating with scientists, and incorporating critical thinking skills into educational programs. By emphasizing scientific literacy, science museums aim to foster a better understanding of scientific concepts and encourage evidence-based thinking among visitors. It’s an interesting and short read.
I recently took an online course that featured this thoughtfully designed interactive article by the Seattle Times on First Foods. The article clearly describes Indigenous “First Foods,” which refers to the traditional and culturally significant foods of Native peoples in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. The website showcases the efforts of Native communities to preserve and revitalize their food traditions, which are deeply intertwined with their cultural heritage and way of life.
The site features stunning visuals, stories, and interviews with Native individuals and communities who are working to protect and restore the availability of First Foods. It highlights the challenges they face due to factors like climate change, habitat loss, and environmental degradation. The website also discusses the importance of these foods not only from a cultural perspective but also for the health and well-being of Indigenous communities.
The article provides insights into the traditional knowledge, practices, and stewardship that Native peoples employ to ensure the sustainability and resilience of First Foods. It explores the collaborative efforts between Native communities, tribal governments, scientists, and conservation organizations to address the threats to these foods and implement conservation strategies. The article ultimately aims to raise awareness about the significance of First Foods and the ongoing efforts to preserve and protect them for future generations.
I was just talking with some science leaders about the fact that the NGSS are a decade old and it still feels like we have lots of good work to do in implementing them in equitable and meaningful ways across our educational systems. We also started wondering- will there be a new set of science standards on the horizon? Or maybe NGSS “the Next Generation” (get it)?
Then today I got an email that The Board on Science Education at the National Academies of Science will be hosting a virtual (and face to face) meeting on June 7th titled Looking Ahead to the Next Decade of Science Standards. This feels like great timing to start to set the vision for the next decade in science education. I’m very interested to see what various speakers and panelists have to say.
I quickly registered and hope that others will be able to join in too. (I’m excited about that 6:00am PST start time.)
Click HERE if you want more information and/or to register. See the agenda HERE.
Focusing on science in students’ lives and cultures engages them
Science supports language development
Science integrates effectively with other core subjects.
The report highlights the challenges and opportunities associated with implementing NGSS. It acknowledges that shifting to NGSS-aligned instruction requires significant changes in teaching practices, curriculum development, and assessment strategies. The report emphasizes the need for teacher support and professional development to ensure successful implementation. It also suggests potential benefits, such as increased student engagement, improved scientific literacy, and better preparation for college and careers in science-related fields. The report concludes by emphasizing the importance of collaboration among educators, policymakers, and other stakeholders to effectively implement NGSS and enhance science education nationwide. This feels like a valuable guide for educators, administrators, and policymakers involved in the implementation and assessment of the NGSS in any context. Check it out.
In March 2023 I personally took two different asynchronous courses by EarthGen. I maintain my teaching certificate so I’m always on the lookout for interesting ways to get clock hours and STEM clock hours. I signed up for both Foundations of Climate Science (3 STEM clock hours) and Climate Change in Every Classroom: Cultivating Agricultural Knowledge (12 STEM Clock Hours). I was VERY impressed with both of the workshops I took via EarthGen. As someone who designs lots of asynchronous learning it was clear to me that these courses were thoughtfully designed with a focus on the organization of the courses and the quality of the learning activities. Another note is that you will spend the listed amount of time learning…there is no rushing through the courses. But you also won’t want to- I found myself sinking into many of the optional resources they provided. I would say that the Cultivating Agricultural Knowledge is one of the best workshops I’ve ever taken- the course is thoughtfully designed and the content is highly engaging. (Because my wife is CEO of our local food bank I also appreciated the intersection of science, climate, and the food system.)
Below you will find descriptions of three workshops that are available.
Registration ends May 30th, 2023 and all courses must be completed by June 7th.
Foundations of Climate Change: (3 STEM Clock Hours) This course will introduce you to climate change and begin interpreting climate science data. You will explore ways to take action with your students and think about how to bring this work back to your classroom. Register here!
Climate Change in Every Classroom Series- Cultivating Agricultural Knowledge (12 STEM Clock Hours) This course will introduce you to the impacts of climate change on agriculture in Washington. You will work through modules about first foods, farmworkers, and water and irrigation. This course will culminate with an opportunity to bring your learning to your classroom. Register here!
Climate Change in Every Classroom Series- Season of Smoke (12 STEM Clock Hours) This course will introduce you to the impacts of climate change on wildfire, heat, and air quality. You will work through modules on air quality, agriculture, and displacement and explore the intersection they have with the Season of Smoke. This course will culminate with an opportunity to bring the learning back to your own classroom. Register here!
The recent article “Exploring Phenomena: Connecting Science Learning” from NSTA’s Connected Science Learning journal dives into the importance of connecting science education to real-world phenomena. The article emphasizes that when students investigate and explore natural phenomena, they develop a deeper understanding of scientific concepts and practices. It highlights the significance of incorporating phenomena-based instruction, where students engage in authentic and meaningful investigations that spark curiosity and foster scientific thinking. A video HERE provides a case study of teachers engaged in phenomenon-based investigation at The Exploratorium. The article provides insights into how educators can design and implement phenomena-based lessons, showcasing examples and success stories from classrooms. The authors underscore the value of connecting science learning to phenomena, as it enhances student engagement, promotes inquiry-based learning, and cultivates a deeper appreciation for the natural world. A great piece to add to your phenomena-based science instruction resources.