I don’t talk about it much on this site but I’m not only a huge science education nerd, I’m also a huge everyday nerd. I read and collect graphic novels and comic books. I watch anything Marvel, DC or Star Wars related and I definitely enjoy playing video games.
So when I recently stumbled on a STEM-focused comic book that was authored by a young person- I was intrigued and knew that I had to share it here.
Thirteen year-old DeJuan Strickland also enjoys video games and comics. He noticed that there were only a few superheroes that looked like him. He noticed that there weren’t many comics that explicitly connected to STEM…so he created his own superhero comic and character- Tech Boy!
You can hear DeJuan talk about his vision and his project in the news clip embedded below. You can order your own copy (or even a classroom set) of Tech Boy HERE. It also sounds like DeJuan has been hard at work and has another comic coming soon…so keep your eyes open for more from DeJuan.
This is a short post to help publicize this FREE middle school science professional development opportunity for teachers in Washington State sponsored by ClimeTime and the WA ESD Science Coordinators. OpenSciEd are FREE OER science instructional materials that were specifically designed for engaging students in the Next Generation Science Standards. Even if you already have other new middle school science instructional materials it can be very helpful to learn about the OpenSciEd units as you will deepen your understanding of best practices and equitable strategies in science instruction.
There are workshop on 3 different units being offered this winter. Click on the unit topic below to register for the professional development.
OpenSciEd just launched a new web presence and will be releasing the first set of FREE middle school science instructional materials designed specifically for NGSS and 3D instruction. The upcoming units are:
OVERVIEW: Climate Generation has a variety of climate resources for teachers including a middle school NGSS climate unit titled Next Generation Climate. The unit is FREE via a simple registration process and includes several graphs for students to use in examining and evaluating evidence of a changing climate. The unit contains 6 lessons each built around a question such as:
Lesson 1: What evidence is there to show there is a rise in global temperatures?
Lesson 2: What factors have caused the rise in global temperature over the last century?
PURPOSE: Next Generation Climate provides a resource that some middle school teachers and systems might find helpful.
AUDIENCE: middle school science teachers, curriculum directors, professional development providers, administrators, pre-service teachers, etc
OVERVIEW: We are at an exciting spot in the implementation of NGSS where we are seeing some high-quality three dimensional instructional materials being released. The American Museum of Natural History (and other partners) has developed a unit titled Disruptions in Ecosystems that provides five chapters to immerse students into understanding life science and human activity MS performance expectations in NGSS. Each chapter provides a phenomenon for students to investigate.
PURPOSE: This unit obviously has potential as being helpful for any middle school science teacher/system that is looking for a well-designed NGSS ecosystems unit. However, this unit also provides a model for what good NGSS instructional materials might look like.
OVERVIEW:Tom Hathorn, K-12 Science Specialist for the Bethel School District in Washington State, has worked with his science team to create a spectacular set of grade 6-12 science formative assessment tasks for understanding the Next Generation Science Standards. These assessments are designed to be “objects of study” as we all continue to learn about 2 Dimensional and 3 Dimensional assessment. The assessment tasks meet the following criteria:
Items are based on a stimulus with an anchoring phenomena
Each item assesses at least 2 of the 3 Dimensions of NGSS
Tasks are based on bundles of NGSS performance expectations
Individual items are connected to specific evidence statements
There are currently 17 assessment tasks and I can just about guarantee that any grade 6-12 teacher of science will find at least one task that matches NGSS Performance Expectations in your course/grade. You will find tasks targeting life science, physical science, Earth/Space science and Engineering Design.
PURPOSE: These NGSS assessment tasks are intended to be used as professional learning objects so that we can all move forward in our understanding of how 3 Dimensional Assessment will be different than typical classroom assessments. In Bethel, they have created modified lessons and units that match these assessment tasks. Here is how Tom describes the use of these assessment tasks with his teachers:
Purpose & Expectations: Become More Proficient at 3-D Learning & Assessment
Primary Purpose: These lessons and assessments afford teachers the chance to understand, implement, and discuss “3-dimensional” lessons and assessments.
All teachers should:
Use the NGSS lesson modifications.
Give the NGSS assessment.
Use the assessment as fodder for student-student conversation.
Discuss their lesson observations & student work with colleagues.
The results will be used to “optimize” the lesson plans.
AUDIENCE: K-12 teachers of science, district leaders, Curriculum and Assessment Directors, PD providers, pre-service teachers, building administrators, parents, others
LINK: Tom has built a shared Google Folder at the link HERE. You will find several supporting documents. You will want to go to the folder titled Bethel NGSAs- For 3D Planning… Inside this folder you will find labeled folders with documents for each of the assessment tasks. Each folder contains the Stimulus and the Items as separate documents. There is purposefully No Answer Key or Rubric for these.
Here is a note from Tom on the use of these assessments:
About these NGSAs (Next Generation Science Assessments)
You’ll see presentation materials as well as the assessments themselves.
Caveat – These represent our first efforts…we’re getting better at it:
We are learning a lot about 3D assessment and instruction (happily…that’s the point). A few lessons-learned:
Doing the NGSAs, studying the evidence statements, and tweaking the items is very good learning for teachers.
The new Task Formats document is a great tool for assessment & instructional tasks; the slides from AIR’s presentation about item types is also very helpful to teachers who want to do NGSA work.
In our 2nd round of NGSA work I left more room for improving the items/cluster, which engaged the teachers in considering the different selected-response item types. With one group I wrote all items as constructed-response, then had them decide which ones to revise into selected-response…this seemed to work very well.
These NGSAs are time-consuming, and so we’re getting better at using selected-response items and writing fewer items that target important-but-not-every evidence statement.
Teachers are using the NGSAs in alternate ways, not always single-sitting (choosing only some items, using as homework, spreading them out over time).
We are emphasizing that these are intended as formative assessments, so consider which items to discuss, and what kind of discourse to use (see Page Keeley’s Formative Assessment in Science vol.1 & vol.2, which have been revised to focus on NGSS Practices & Crosscutting Concepts). These student conversations are nice opportunities to engage students in the 3 dimensions.
Engaging administrators with a few items from NGSAs has helped them to understand NGSS, what’s reasonable (or not) to expect from teachers at this point, and how to support teachers & teacher leaders.
The main page of the project is HERE at http://nextgenscienceassessment.org/
This is were you will find information about the project and the process used to develop the tasks.
In order to access the tasks (task portal) you need to go HERE at http://ngss-assessment.portal.concord.org/
At the task portal (run by Concord Consortium) you are able to set up a teacher account, create classes, assign specific tasks, and get reports of student progress. You can also preview the tasks without setting up an account.
AUDIENCE: Middle School Science teachers, science teachers, teacher leaders, professional development providers, administrators, curriculum directors
PURPOSE: Provide the field with technology-enhanced NGSS-aligned assessment tasks for middle school physical science and life science core ideas
Achieve has been promising a set of NGSS/CCSS Classroom Assessment Tasks for quite some time… and the first batch has finally arrived! There are currently middle school and high school assessment tasks with elementary on the way.
Click HERE to access the Front Matter for the assessment tasks.
Click HERE to access the assessment tasks as either pdf or Microsoft Word docs.
There are currently 4 middle school sample tasks and 5 high school sample tasks. I’m interested to hear how everyone plans on using these sample tasks.
EarthEcho is an international non-profit environmental education organization led by Philippe Cousteau Jr. The EarthEcho website is a hub for short video clips and educational resources. Check out one of the EarthEcho video clips embedded below- What Happens When We Flush? The site has resources for educators which can be accessed with a free online registration.