Category Archives: design/engineering

NGSS Update July 2013

Hi all,

I apologize for the lack of blog activity recently- I hope to have lots of good things to share in the next few months. For this post I just wanted to update and summarize some resources on the Next Generation Science Standards that might be useful for your independent NGSS summer learning:

  1. If you haven’t visited the NGSS site recently you should take a look. All but one of the appendices are now posted and the standards themselves are now viewable and searchable in your browser (not just the original PDFs). I highly recommend spending some time with the following appendices:
  2. 1 Pager of NGSS Resources– This PDF contains hyperlinks to losts of resources from NSTA to support learning about the Practices of Science and Engineering, Crosscuting Concepts, and Disciplinary Core Ideas
  3. FREE Asynchronous Online workshop for WA K-8 Teachers- From WA Science Standard to the NGSS
  4. NSTA NGSS site– Lots of good stuff here but can be tricky to find on the NSTA site if you don’t know to look for it.
  5. 1 Pager of STEM Practices– this table from STEM Lesson Essentials is very helpful in seeing connections between practices.

STEM Practices

Screen Shot 2013-06-11 at 11.10.24 AMYesterday I recommended the book STEM Lesson Essentials Grades 3-8 as a wonderful resource for any K-8 teacher looking to dig deeper into understanding STEM education. One of my favorite parts of the book is a simple (yet powerful) page that organizes the Practices of Science, Engineering, Technology, and Mathematics in a way that helps us to make connections between these practices. I’ve adapted it into a one page document with some hyperlinks to source documents. This might be a useful resource of those of you who are building leaders, professional development providers, or teachers looking to design integrated STEM lessons. Enjoy!

STEM Practices 1 pager


Design, Make, Play: Growing the Next Generation of STEM Innovators

Screen Shot 2013-03-25 at 7.23.22 PMMy copy of Design, Make, Play: Growing the Next Generation of STEM Innovators by Margaret Honey and David E. Kanter just arrived today. I’ve given it a good skim and started to read the first few chapters. So far, my impression is that any leader, curriculum director, teacher, professional development provider, policymaker, etc looking to better understand the design process (think engineering) will find this to be a useful read. This is not a book of activities or design challenges but a compilation of chapters and case studies from experts in STEM education. There is a chapter by Dale Dougherty discussing Make Magazine and the Maker Faire movement. Then Phil Bell and Helen Quinn (of Framework for K-12 Science Education fame) contribute a chapter on how designing, making, and playing relate to the upcoming Next Generation Science Standards.

Click there link HERE to preview a copy of Design, Make, Play on Google Books.

One aspect of the book I’m very interested in is the focus on designing, making, and playing versus a focus on “engineering”. Nothing against engineering per se, but engineering may conjure a very specific role/image/career path for many of us. Whereas the idea of designing, making, and playing seems applicable to all learners.

Let me know if you pick up a copy and want to do a “virtual book study” or just share some learnings. Enjoy.

NASA Johnson Style

Just for fun… hope you enjoy NASA Johnson Style (Gangnam Style parody)

STEM-IT: Elementary STEM Resources

Screen Shot 2012-12-05 at 7.42.45 PMSTEM-IT is a math science partnership project in Washington state involving ESD 123, ESD 189, and multiple partners. A requirement of the grant is to provide developed resources online. The STEM-IT site currently contains resources for K-5 STEM education that connect STEM literacy, science standards, English/Language Arts standards, and Design Challenges with some common elementary science instructional materials.


The site contains tools for providing professional development on the STEM-IT resources.

The Design Challenges include:

Design Process Graphic 2011 Link to Design Process Graphic
Saving Gaveo City from Flash Flooding Link to STEM It 2012 Land and Water Design Challenge
Electric Circuits STEM Enhancement Link to Electric Circuits STEM Enhancement
Ecosystems STEM Design Challenge Link to Ecosystems STEM Design Challenge
Vandalism at _________Elementary Link to Rocks and Minerals STEM Enhancement

Another great set of STEM materials to add to your bookmarks.

Clarifying What Engineering Education Means for K-12

The Opportunity Equationrecently posted a series of essays/discussions regarding engineering titled- The “E” in STEM: Clarifying What Engineering Education Means for K-12. This post provides a useful overview of the importance of teaching and learning engineering concepts in K-12 and describes some projects that have had success.

This article could be useful in a session of professional development on K-12 engineering or by a district team, school, grade level team looking to develop a deeper understanding of engineering.

Wired Science: Panorama of Every Mars Landing

Wired Science just posted an amateur-created panorama that shows the history of all six successful probe landings on Mars- from the Soviet Mars 3 probe in 1971 to the Viking probes in 1976 up to the more recent rovers. With the current excitement about Curiosity, I think it is important for students to understand the history of these other missions to the red planet.