Category Archives: NGSS

Next Generation Climate: Middle School NGSS Unit

Screen Shot 2018-02-26 at 2.11.40 PMOVERVIEW: 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


Developing District Plans for NGSS Implementation: Preventing Detours and Finding Express Lanes on the Journey to Implement the New Science Standards

Screen Shot 2018-02-26 at 2.31.26 PMOVERVIEW: WestEd recently published a free report titled- Developing District Plans for NGSS Implementation: Preventing Detours and Finding Express Lanes on the Journey to Implement the New Science StandardsThis report describes how the NGSS Early Implementers project in eight California school districts has supported thoughtful NGSS implementation. The report shares lessons learned and also provides appendices with samples of district NGSS implementation plans. The report also provides tools, processes and recommendations for developing NGSS implementation plans.


PURPOSE: Provide tools, resources, support and stories of authentic NGSS implementation.

AUDIENCE: School District leaders, consultants, teacher leaders, etc


Disruptions in Ecosystems Middle School NGSS Unit

Screen Shot 2018-02-26 at 1.45.15 PMOVERVIEW: 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.

AUDIENCE: middle school teachers, science PD providers, curriculum directors, curriculum writers, etc

LINK: Here is the link on the NGSS site where you can get Disruptions in Ecosystems as a zip file and also see how this unit rated on the EQuIP Rubric.

Here is a video on Teaching Channel where you can see students engaging in constructing arguments using this unit.


Michigan Sample Science Assessment Items

Are you looking for more samples of 2 Dimensional and 3 Dimensional summative assessment items for NGSS? Well, Michigan just recently released online samples of NGSS science assessment items for grades 5, 8, and 11.

Check out the portal HERE. Click on the grade you want and then follow the login instructions. Enjoy!

(WA Only) NGSS Assessment Supports December 2017

Hi all,

If you are a science assessment nerd like me then you’ve been anxiously awaiting the release of several documents to support the new NGSS Science Assessment in WA State or the Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science (WCAS).

We recently got the following items from the science team at OSPI:

A. Online sample items at grades 5, 8, and 11

B. The first set of WCAS Test & Item Specs…more will be arriving in the coming year

Grade 5 Test Design and Item Specifications

Grade 8 Test Design and Item Specifications

High School Test Design and Item Specifications

C. Webinars to support each of these items are also available- see below:

Register for the “How to Work with the WCAS Training Tests” Webinar on January 10

Register for the “Science Test and Item Specifications Release” Webinar on January 24

Click HERE to see the updated science assessment page at OSPI.

Next Generation Storylines Update

OVERVIEW: I first mentioned on this site in the spring of 2016. At that time there was only one elementary and one high school storyline. Those storylines were also not fully developed units of instruction. Well, if you haven’t visited recently, you should really check it out. There are now multiple units at each grade band with more coming soon. Each unit (storyline) features a clear storyline along with a teacher guide and supporting documents.

The storylines are excellent examples of three-dimensional units of instruction that feature anchoring phenomena and problems. There are many design features that might be useful to others who are creating science lessons and units:

  • 3D learning objectives
  • storylines written from the student perspective (what will students be wondering and thinking about now…)
  • How to structure a unit around the evidence that students will need… rather than the activities “I like” or the content “I’m supposed to cover”.

PURPOSE: This site provides exemplars for what intentional 3-Dimensional instruction looks like, It also provides a structure and tools for teachers to design their own units. The tools are structured around the 5 Routines that the design team follows.

AUDIENCE: teachers of science, professional development providers, curriculum writers, school and district administrators, teacher educators, others



NGSS Assessment Task 3D Rating Sheet

To piggyback on my last post about the impact of simple things such as NGSS Cheat Sheets– here is a simple document I created for rating the “3Dness” of assessment tasks. I often use this document with the ACESSE PD Module B on Building Assessment Tasks That Work (if you are not familiar with this PD module you should check it out).

The modification I make to the module is the following. I break the analysis of the task set into a couple of steps.

A. Participants analyze the set of assessment tasks with (blue, orange, & green) highlighters and highlight words and text features that connect with SEPs, CCCs, and DCIs.

B. Then  participants use the 3D Rating Sheet to go through the tasks and score each item for evidence (or lack of evidence) for the given SEP, CCC, and DCI in the assigned PE. This really helps cue participants to parts of assessment tasks and how often the SEPs and CCCs are lacking or missing in most traditional science assessment tasks.

Click HERE to download the 3D Rating Sheet.