Category Archives: K-12 General Science

Science Educator Survey (WA Only)

The Washington State Regional Science Coordinators are conducting a survey to collect data about the state’s knowledge, perceptions and concerns of the Next Generation Science Standards (Washington State Science Standards 2013) so that professional development can better meet the needs of teachers in the region. The information collected in this survey will be used in designing future professional learning opportunities for teachers and teacher leaders around the state.

This survey should take less than 5 minutes to complete.  Please forward this to as many K-12 teachers and administrators within your school district so that we can maximize survey participation.  If you are a district science leader and would like access to the responses from your region/district, please contact your local RSC.  We are happy to share the data as it becomes available.

Please note: This round of data collection will be open from May 9 – June 10.  

Here is a link to the surveyhttp://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/2704243/Needs-Assessment-for-Science-PD

Thank you for your time and participation!

Georgia Boatman, ESD 123

Mike Brown, ESD 105

Vickei Hrdina, ESD 112

Scott Killough, ESD 113

Kat Laxton, ESD 121

Michelle LeLanne, ESD 171

Brian MacNevin, ESD 189

Jeff Ryan, ESD 114

Tammie Schrader, ESD 101

Incorporating Student Talk into Modeling Activities

OVERVIEW: The Institute for Science + Math Education at UW has a flowchart that provides strategies for scaffolding student talk based on where students are in the unit and in their modeling revisions. This tools suggests that student talk might have a different focus depending on the intellectual work the students are engaged in and how well their models are explaining a phenomenon.

AUDIENCE: K-12 teachers of science, professional development providers, other

PURPOSE: Guide modeling unit development and provide intentional strategies to support student talk.

LINK: http://sciencemathpartnerships.org/2016/05/22/modeling_student_talk/

 

Teachers Try Science: NGSS Lessons

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 4.42.58 PMOVERVIEW: Teachers Try Science is a website with free science instructional resources for teachers of science. The site also has a page of NGSS EQuIP rubric reviewed lessons. These lessons (unlike lessons found on some sites) appear to be good examples of instructional chunks that meet the expectations of A Framework for K-12 Science Instruction and the NGSS. It appears that there was a vetting and review process that each of these lessons went through (that’s a good thing). These are not complete units and there is currently only a limited set of NGSS reviewed lessons- but it is definitely worth your time to add this site to your NGSS Lessons bookmarks.

AUDIENCE: K-12 teachers of science looking for a few examples of NGSS-style lessons.

PURPOSE: Provide samples of NGSS aligned lessons to the field.

LINK: http://www.teacherstryscience.org/

Equity & Diversity in NGSS: Framework Ch. 11

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are explicitly designed with equity and diversity in mind. I fear, however, that in places where NGSS implementation is being rushed (Let’s just “plug in” our new standards) that the critical focus on equity and diversity might get lost. A Framework for K-12 Science Education and the NGSS call out equity as a pivotal issue in K-12 science education that we must wrestle with. But what do we mean by equity? Skim the text box below from the Framework and see how many different definitions you can find for equity.

A Framework for K-12 Science Education (The foundational document of NGSS) states:

WHAT IS EQUITY? (BOX 11-1)

The term “equity” has been used in different ways by different communities of researchers and educators. Equity as an expression of socially enlightened self-interest is reflected in calls to invest in the science and engineering education of underrepresented groups simply because American labor needs can no longer be met by recruiting among the traditional populations. Equity as an expression of social justice is manifested in calls to remedy the injustices visited on entire groups of American society that in the past have been underserved by their schools and have thereby suffered severely limited prospects of high-prestige careers in science and engineering. Other notions of equity are expressed throughout the education literature; all are based on the commonsense idea of fairness—what is inequitable is unfair. Fairness is sometimes considered to mean offering equal opportunity to all. The most commonly used definition of equity, as influenced by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education (1954, 1955) and Lau v. Nichols (1974), frames equity in terms of equal treatment of all.

I highly recommend that everyone reads chapter 11 from the Framework on Equity and Diversity in Science Education. It is imperative that every student in the United States understands the core ideas of science, engages in the critical thinking of real scientists and engineers and uses the intellectual tools of the crosscutting concepts to make sense of the natural world.

I’ll be sharing some of my favorite tools on Equity and Diversity in the coming weeks but you may want to peruse this resource from STEM Teaching Tools– a brief titled- How can we promote equity in science education?

NSTA Article: Addressing Student Diversity & Equity

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 1.26.47 PM.pngOVERVIEW: In the April 2016 issues of all of the NSTA journals there is a FREE article titled: Addressing Student Diversity and Equity. The article describes 4 aspects of NGSS that are particularly relevant to diversity and equity issues:

  1. 3Dimensional performance expectations that focus on explaining phenomena and solving problems- When the phenomena and problems are nested in home and community contexts, students are able to leverage their everyday experiences and language to engage with the learning
  2. Inclusion of engineering- solving problems in local contexts makes science relevant and improves interest in STEM fields
  3. Science & Engineering Practices- promote rich discourse and practice in the talk of science and allow students to share thinking using “less than perfect English”
  4. Crosscutting Concepts- enable students to make connections among multiple science ideas

The article then goes on to discuss NGSS Appendix D and the 7 Diversity and Equity Case Studies (PS- these are now much more difficult to find with the nextgenscience.org reorganization) These resources need to be as foundational in teacher professional development as understanding the 3 Dimensions and the anatomy of a standard.

AUDIENCE: K-12 teachers, administrators, parents, curriculum directors, PD providers, community members, etc

PURPOSE: Provides an overview of Equity & Diversity resources in NGSS. Makes a case for the importance of an Equity & Diversity focus during NGSS implementation.

LINK: http://www.nsta.org/publications/article.aspx?id=ZE4vdy8iCsA=

Steps to Designing a 3-Dimensional Assessment

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 8.55.33 AMOVERVIEW: The Research + Practice Collaboratory continues to provide short, powerful, and easy-to-use tools for the field. The latest resource from this group is PD Tool: Steps to Designing a 3-Dimensional Assessment.

The 5 steps in the process are:

  • Step 1: Define what you will assess by analyzing relevant sections of A Framework for K-12 Science Education and crafting learning claims.
  • Step 2: Brainstorm Possible Scenarios for Eliciting Student Understanding.
  • Step 3: Use Task Formats to Build Questions to Engage Students with the Scenario.
  • Step 4: Imagine the Range of Possible Student Responses to the Questions.
  • Step 5: Share, Review, and Revise.

This tool is intended to be a companion to two other great tools:

AUDIENCE: Teachers, teacher leaders, PD providers, curriculum directors, administrators, others

PURPOSE: This specific tool allows teachers to design Three-dimensional FORMATIVE assessment tasks that allow teachers to make inferences about what students’ are understanding about the disciplinary core ideas, science and engineering practices, and crosscutting concepts.

LINK: http://researchandpractice.org/resources/

Puget Sound Renewable Educator Leadership Institute: WA ONLY

Hi all,

Here is an opportunity for teacher leaders in selected Pierce, King, and Snohomish County school districts to receive:

  • Weeklong summer institute on energy (purported to be NGSS aligned)
  • $3500 in curriculum materials
  • FREE clock hours

Location and Date

July 18 – 22, 2016

University of Washington – Bothell

~ 8:30 am – 3:30 pm Daily

Applications are due May 15, 2016. You can find the RFP HERE and visit the site HERE.

Below I have copied text from the groups own description:

The Renewable Educator Leadership Institute is an innovative teacher professional development opportunity for Pierce, Snohomish, and King County K-12 educators who seek to meaningfully engage students in preparation for STEM careers. The weeklong summer institute leverages two major change elements of our society – the emergence of the new energy economy and the changing power grid – as demonstrations of real-world systems that can facilitate impactful, interactive learning experiences for students. The Leadership Institute is provided by BEF Solar 4R Schools, and is sponsored by Boeing Foundation, with additional support from M.J.Murdock Charitable Trust and the Bonneville Power Administration.