Category Archives: K-12 General Science

NGSS: EQuIP Rubric Videos

As we move forward with implementing the NGSS in multiple partner states, it is more and more likely that we will need to use tools like the EQuIP Rubric to assess our own attempts at designing NGSS lessons and units and those science materials provided by publishing companies. You can find the EQuIP Rubric and a facilitator’s guide at the links below:

The Teaching Channel also recently added a series of four videos to support work with the EQuIP Rubric:

NGSS EQuIP Rubric: Overview  

NGSS EQuIP Rubric: 3-Dimensional Learning 

NGSS EQuIP Rubric: Using Phenomena 

NGSS EQuIP Rubric: Evidence of Student Learning 

If you are interested, you can also view an example of how a publishing company  (Engineering is Elementary) is using the EQuIP Rubric to connect existing instructional materials with NGSS.


NSTA: NGSS Classroom Resources

NSTA has been slowly adding NGSS resources to their NGSS@ NSTA hub. This week they released a more clearly organized “gateway” to these resources. Click HERE to search and browse for NGSS resources. Resources are vetted and curated by the NGSS@NSTA Curators. Each resource starts with an introduction page that describes the resource and how it connects to NGSS. This page also contains connections to specific performance expectations and may say something like… “This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.” Many resources are FREE but I did notice that a few require a fee or a registration.

Washington State to Collaborate on NGSS Assessment Development

I’ve been waiting anxiously to hear whether Washington State would be developing our own NGSS state-wide assessments or if we would partner with others states. Today the word came out that Washington will in fact be working as part of a collaborative group. Below is text from the official announcement from OSPI.

Beginning of development for 2013 (NGSS) Standards

We are happy to announce that Washington has joined a collaborative group of states to begin the development of assessments based on the Next Generation Science Standards (known in Washington as the Washington State 2013 K-12 Science Learning Standards). The group work is being coordinated by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). The first step of the collaboration is to develop item specifications based on the Standards.

Dawn Cope and Cinda Parton will be attending the group meetings this winter and spring. We will keep you posted about the progress, and if there are opportunities for educator reviews of the documents during the development stages we will make sure to let you know.

The first state-wide assessments of these new standards are expected to be administered in spring 2017 or spring 2018

Sea Star Wasting Syndrome: An Authentic Problem for Students

KCTS 9 in Seattle has an excellent overview of the sea star wasting syndrome that is currently destroying the sea star populations on the west coast of the United States. While the content is sad and disturbing, this case provides a very real and engaging problem for K-12 students to wrestle with.

The KCTS 9 post provides:

– A rich piece of complex informational text for students to read and understand. (Would be perfect for a close reading Common Core ELA lesson).

– Two short video clips that supplement the text and tell the story of the problem and how scientists are zooming in on the cause of the wasting syndrome.

How We Might Use This as Teachers:

  • Connect to science and engineering practices in NGSS
  • Highlight how scientists use evidence to construct claims
  • Draw attention to how authentic science and engineering works vs “The Scientific Method”
  • Highlight the connections between field studies and controlled experiments (How do both ways of “doing science” inform the work?)
  • Create an SBAC-like performance task with a piece of informational text, video, and a writing prompt
  • Engage students in Problem (or project) Based Learning where they learn about the ocean ecosystem and how to solve this (and related) problems

How might you use this information in your classroom?

Click HERE for the entire post.

Recorded Webinar on NGSS Assessment Design

Click HERE to access the July 15, 2014 NASBE webinar titled: Designing and Aligning Assessments for the Next Generation Science Standards. This webinar will give you a sense of what an upcoming assessment system of the NGSS may be like. The webinar is also a useful introduction to the FREE report-  Developing Assessments for the Next Generation Science Standards.


New Report: Literacy for Science- Exploring the Intersection of the NGSS and CCSS ELA

The National Academies Press just recently released a new report titled- Literacy for Science: Exploring the Intersection of the Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core for ELA Standards. Like other publications from the National Academies, you can read the report FREE online in your browser or download a PDF for FREE (requires a login with your email). The report contains 5 main sections with topics ranging from The Language of Science Text and Talk to Preparing Teachers to Effectively Interweave Science and Literacy Instruction.

I’m interested to hear your ideas about this report and how you might use this for your own professional development as a teacher of science or as a tool for developing professional development for others. I’ll report back more once I’ve had a chance to dig into it.

You can read the report HERE.


Tinkering Fundamentals: FREE Online Course

Are you looking for some engaging professional learning for the summer? The Exploratorium is offering a FREE 6 week online course titled: Tinkering Fundamentals: A Constructionist Approach to STEM Learning. This course introduces educators to the practices of tinkering and making… which should directly impact our understanding of engineering and STEM concepts.

The course runs June 19th through August 9th. Check it out HERE and see an intro video embedded below.

Selecting and Designing Materials Aligned to NGSS

 Joe Krajcik, Professor of Science Education and Director for the CREATE for STEM Institute at Michigan State University has written a blog post titled-  How to Select and Design Materials that Align to the Next Generation Science Standards

In this post, Joe discusses the recently released EQuIP Rubric for Lessons and Units: Science and describes why such a tool is necessary and how we might use it.

I highly recommend reading this post before digging into the EQuIP Rubric itself. Click HERE to read Joe’s blog post.



Accountable Talk Sourcebook

Screen Shot 2014-04-18 at 8.19.25 PMThe Accountable Talk Sourcebook: For Classroom Conversation that Works is a FREE resource from the Institute for Learning at the University of Pittsburgh. This resource provides tools, strategies, norms, and research to support educators looking to increase the level of productive discourse in any content area. We know that productive student science talk is essential for creating an equitable classroom that focuses on argumentation as a practice to construct explanations and solutions to problems. The sourcebook could be a great starting point for your discourse journey or a spark to supplement the work you’re already doing.

This is the kind of transformational resource that I love to share on this site- If you’ve never stumbled on this, then you are in for a treat. Enjoy!

NGSS Cheat Sheet and Placemat

ImageAs we begin to design and deliver professional development on the Next Generation Science Standards I’m hoping that we will be able to share tools and resources. I’ve accumulated several tools from lots of smart folks and will be posting some in the coming weeks.

A couple of my favorites were developed by the regional science coordinators who work for the Washington State ESDs. These tools are:

– The NGSS “cheat sheet” a 2-sided color key to the 3 dimensions of the NGSS and the abbreviations.

– The NGSS placemat– an 11x 17 colorful sheet for deconstructing a performance expectation of the NGSS during a PD session.

I have used both of these tools with multiple K-12 teachers during initial professional development on the structure of the NGSS