Category Archives: elementary

WA Science Assessment Updates 2014

Hi all,

While we recently adopted the Next Generation Science Standards here in Washington (the state), we will still be operating our science assessment system under our 2009 Science Learning Standards for the next few years. This seems to have caused much confusion for folks. I’ve talked to several district and building leaders who thought that the Science MSPs and Biology EOC were being eliminated after this year.. not the case.

OSPI has recently uploaded the latest science assessment resources HERE. You will find:

Grade 5 Science Update: 2014 – NEW

Grade 8 Science Update: 2014 – NEW

Biology EOC Update: 2014 – NEW

Lessons Learned from Scoring Student Work: 2013 – NEW

Science and Children October 2013 Issue: Engineering

The October 2013 issue of Science & Children (NSTA Elementary Science journal) is completely focused on engineering design. With the ongoing adoption and implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards there is a K-12 focus on engineering concepts. This issue has several interesting articles and activities to help us envision how engineering design in the NGSS is more than having student “build stuff”.

Check out two FREE articles from the issue below:

The Case for Early Education about STEM Careers

The Case for Early Education about STEM Careers (10 Science Facts & Fictions) was shared with me today at a meeting. This short document summarizes some interesting research on our knowledge and beliefs about scientists and science careers. This could be a useful piece for advocating for elementary science instruction or for use in science education professional development. Enjoy!

Thinking about Engineering Education

For the last 3 years I have been dabbling in Engineering Education. Most of the work has been at the awareness level- giving K-8 teachers (inservice and preservice) an introduction to the Engineering Design Process and helping them to think about how to identify and/or add some engineering tasks to their science instruction. With the release of the Next Generation Science Standards, we now have a strong driving force for intentional K-12 engineering education.

I have multiple projects in the 2013-14 school year that involve engineering education, so I am hoping to build up my own expertise on engineering in terms of engineering content, pedagogy, and professional development practices. Moving to a K-12 focus on engineering will be new for most of us. Below I have listed just a few of my favorite engineering resources (most of them FREE and perhaps lesser known) and have organized them by category. I’ll be posting on more individual resources in the coming weeks.

Overview of Engineering Education

Appendix I of NGSS– This is the cyclical 3 part Engineering Process we should be considering

Core Ideas of Engineering and Technology” by Cary Sneider NSTA Article

Engineering Education K-12– a 2009 report

2009 Issue of the Bridge– Linking engineering and society (has some good articles about teaching and learning engineering)

Resources on Engineering PD

Elementary Teacher Professional Development in Engineering: Lessons Learned from Engineering is Elementary

Engineering Efforts and Opportunities in the National Science Foundation’s Math and Science Partnerships (MSP) Program

Learning and Teaching Science Through Engineering Design: Insights and Implications for Professional Development

Engineering Advocacy

Engineering Messaging– Provides statements and tools for making the case for engineering education

Resources for teaching about Engineering

K-5 Application (Design) Handbook

Those Darn Squirrels (Teaching Engineering with a Picture Book)

A World in Motion– Sources of FREE K-12 Design Challenges

PBS Design Squad

More to come 🙂


Planet Nutshell Climate Science Videos

Screen Shot 2013-07-26 at 1.06.59 PMThe Next Generation Science Standards contain a strong K-12 focus on climate science and this focus may be missing in some of our instructional materials. Planet Nutshell contains several short well produced educational video clips and they have a series of 11 videos on climate science. See What is Climate? embedded below. These could provide a useful supplement.

NSTA July 2013 Journals: A Focus on Argumentation

The July 2013 issues of NSTA‘s journals all feature a focus on argumentation and explanation. Explanation and Argumentation are both Practices of Science & Engineering in the new Next Generation Science Standards. These two practices connect nicely with the Common Core Math and ELA Standards and are typically not well understood or implemented in K-12 classrooms.

These journal articles might supply a much needed focus on explanation and argumentation while also providing some tools and resources for our own professional development. I happen to be working on multiple projects this coming year related to explanation and argumentation so I hope to have much to share as the year progresses.

As usual, NSTA provides a few articles for FREE.. see below:

Science & Children (elementary science)

Science Scope (middle school)

The Science Teacher (high school)


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