Category Archives: elementary

WA STATE: FREE K-5 OSPI Science At-Home Workshop

OSPI is providing a FREE workshop on the K-5 Science Essential Question Units and Resources. This workshop will provide an overview of the existing science resources that are aligned to NGSS and are modified to support students and teachers in science learning during distance learning. You also get 1.5 to 6 STEM clock hours depending on whether you want to engage students in some of the learning experiences you will experience. Sounds like a great way to learn about some free aligned science resources and get some free STEM clock hours too. Hope to see lots of you on the Zoom on Jan. 12th.

When: Tuesday, January 12th from 4-5:30pm (other asynchronous hours optional)

Where: Zoom workshop

How: Register on PD Enroller HERE

You can preview the elementary science resources below:

WA Green Schools: At-Home Certification

Washington Green Schools is a non-profit organization working to empower students to become environmental leaders by certifying their schools and conserving resources. During the pandemic Washington Green Schools has added the option for students to apply for At-Home Certification.

I would argue that while the usual school certification process is powerful this is one of those instances where the pandemic can lead to interesting modifications to our procedures. Encouraging students and their families to make changes in their home practices is where the real environmental impact can happen.

Teachers and families can download the Washington Green Schools At-Home Certification Kit HERE. The kit provides a menu of projects to choose from (with their family’s permission and support). Students then conduct a home audit and collect data on the change (project) they selected. Families will also get access to the Carbon Calculator tool and multiple other learning resources. I can image this being a powerful at-home STEM learning experience for the winter and/or spring of 2021.

My Top 5 Science Picture Books for 2020

I’m a former elementary teacher- therefore I love picture books. But to be honest I feel like I’ve always loved picture books. I loved them myself as a kid and have so many great memories of reading them to my own two kids. A couple of decades ago in my teacher education program I can remember we had an assignment to read 50 picture books…it didn’t feel like an assignment to me. That was probably my favorite literacy assignment- and then we got to do a read aloud to our class- just the best!

So now as a teacher educator and consultant I love to integrate picture books into my teaching. I read picture books to my college students and my inservice teachers to teach them about engineering design, the science and engineering practices and the crosscutting concepts. We discuss how to use picture books in authentic and engaging science lessons.

As someone who is always on the hunt for a good STEM picture book- here are my personal Top 5 favorite science and STEM-related picture books from 2020 in no particular order. NOTE: Some of these may not have a 2020 publication date- they are books that I became aware of in 2020.

Top 5 Science Picture Books of 2020

A Computer Called Katherine by Suzanne Slade

We’ve seen a few children’s books about the incomparable mathematician Katherine Johnson depicted in the movie Hidden Figures. I think this is my favorite of all of them due to the focus on Mrs. Johnson’s motivation and drive.

Look Up with Me, Neil deGrasse Tyson: A Life Among the Stars by Jennifer Berne

I am always a fan of sharing (with students and teachers) the early lives of people who entered STEM fields. I think it’s important to see the rich experiences that lead young people to pursue STEM careers. This excellent book shares how Neil’s early curiosity about planets and stars led to his love of science.

Nine Months by Miranda Paul

I have a very strong memory of my mom (a nurse) buying me a book about baby development when I was around 7 years old. I was fixated with that book and all of the pictures of the stages of human development. That’s probably where my interest in science- and specifically biology- was solidified. Nine Months reminds me a lot of that book I had in the mid-1970s. Check it out and try to get someone hooked on the life sciences ūüôā

What Miss Mitchell Saw by Hayley Barrett

The true story of Maria Mitchell and her discovery of a comet which led to her becoming the first American female astronomer.

Secret Engineer: How Emily Roebling Built the Brooklyn Bridge by Rachel Dougherty

The true story of Emily Roebling who helped guide the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge when her husband (the lead engineer on the project) fell ill.

Lots of great picture books were left off of this list. What science-related picture books have you fallen in love with recently that deserve a mention here?

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Great Picture Book: Cece Loves Science

Screen Shot 2018-08-05 at 6.59.01 PMOVERVIEW: My daughter Cece is 9 years old and last fall we were walking through a Barnes & Noble (yes they still have those!) and we saw a display for a picture book titled Cece Loves Science. My daughter saw the display and shouted, “I DO love science!”

I’ve been using science and engineering related picture books for two decades- both with children and adult learners. I look forward to thinking about how I will use¬†Cece Loves Science¬†(by Kimberly Derting and Shelli R. Johannes, illustrated by Vashti Harrison)¬†with the preservice and inservice teachers I support.

The picture book tells the story of a young girl of color, Cece, who loves to ask questions and figure things out. In the story, Cece and her best friend Isaac, are trying to figure out the best way to conduct an investigation involving her dog, Einstein.

This book has been out for over a year and I’m interested to hear how folks have used this picture book with students. I’d love to hear some stories.

PURPOSE: In the last few years we have seen a much-needed increase in the number of STEM-focused picture books with main characters representing populations who have traditionally been marginalized in STEM- females and people of color. Cece Loves Science is another resource to add to our toolbox that highlights the exceptional thinking of young ladies and positions them as the determined problem-solvers  that they are.

AUDIENCE: children, adults, educators, teacher educators, librarians, informal science educators

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Claim, Evidence, & Reasoning (CER) Resources Part 1

supporting grade 5-8For the past several years I have been supporting pre-service and inservice teachers with the use of the Claim, Evidence and Reasoning (CER) framework for scaffolding students’ writing and talking about scientific explanations and arguments. This framework provides a common language for discussing the elements of powerful explanations and arguments. It isn’t a formula to memorize but a framework for support and improvement.

I have used the following books in professional development and also in college courses I’ve taught.¬† I highly recommend these:

whats your evidenceTogether these books provide a very clear and engaging look at how to use a Claim, Evidence, Reasoning (CER) framework to improve student writing and discourse in science. The CER framework can support not only science explanations but also the Common Core State Standards’ focus on using evidence and argumentation in math and English/Language Arts.

Over the years, I’ve developed some tools that could be useful for professional development providers, professional learning communities, and ultimately students who are engaging with a CER framework.

Resources:

1. An activity for writing a scientific explanation of whether soap and fat are the same substance. This is directly from the first book with some added reflective questions for teachers. This could be used as an initial activity with teachers before revealing the CER framework. CER writing an explanation fat and soap

2. A set of 3 Formative Assessment Probes (based on Page Keeley’s work) to uncover student ideas about science explanations- the probes include a DRAFT facilitation guide. Feel free to improve these:

3. A video ‚Äúthink sheet‚ÄĚ for participants to track their thinking while watching the first video clip from the book where a teacher introduces the CER framework to a class of 7th graders-¬†introducing CER framework vid 2.1 think sheet

Please let me know if you have any revisions/changes/improvements to any of these documents. Hope these are helpful… enjoy.

I’ll add a few other resources in an upcoming post. What CER resources have you found most useful in your own work with students?

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

 

Cece Loves Science

Screen Shot 2018-08-05 at 6.59.01 PMOVERVIEW: My daughter Cece is 8 years old and the other day we were walking through a Barnes & Noble (yes they still have those!) and we saw a display for a picture book titled Cece Loves Science. She saw the display and said, “I DO love science!”

I’ve been using science and engineering related picture books for two decades- both with children and adult learners. I look forward to thinking about how I will use¬†Cece Loves Science(by Kimberly Derting and Shelli R. Johannes, illustrated by Vashti Harrison)¬†with the preservice and inservice teachers I support.

The picture book tells the story of young girl of color, Cece. who loves to ask questions and figure things out. In the story, Cece and her best friend, Isaac, are trying to figure out the best way to conduct an investigation involving her dog, Einstein.

PURPOSE: In the last few years we have seen a much-needed increase in the number of STEM-focused picture books with main characters representing populations who have traditionally been marginalized in STEM- females and people of color. Cece Loves Science is another resource to add to our toolbox that highlights the good thinking of young ladies and positions them as the determined problem-solvers  that they are.

AUDIENCE: children, adults, educators, teacher educators, librarians

LINK: https://www.cecelovesscience.com/

 

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 ūüôā