Category Archives: NGSS

Invitations to Inquiry (Free Secondary Science Supplements) Video Blog

Invitations to Inquiry by BSCS is a set of nicely-designed mini-units that provide thoughtful ways for secondary students to engage in the practice of analyzing and interpreting data. Below is a screencast where I provide a quick overview of the materials.

Other Links and Resources:

Have You Seen the Latest STEM Teaching Tools?

If you are someone who follows this blog then you most likely are already a fan of the brilliant STEM Teaching Tools site. If it’s been awhile since you’ve visited stemteachingtools.org then I highly recommend heading there now. The last several Practice Briefs are powerful (not that the previous ones were not) and tackle some important topics in equity-focused science instruction. Here are a few of my favorites to get you started:

BSCS: Limited Time FREE Access to Videoverse

As an educator of preservice teachers and a consultant working with inservice teachers I’m always on the lookout for FREE quality videos of science instruction. There are some entities that have great videos but they are now behind a subscription wall (I’m looking at you Teaching Channel). So when I saw that BSCS was offering FREE subscriptions for their BSCS Videoverse platform I quickly jumped on it.

Now, I will admit that I have only signed up today so I haven’t had time to give the videos a thorough review but I’m encouraged by the mix of videos at multiple grade bands. Videos are organized by different practices and instructional moves such as Revealing Student Ideas and Using Models and Representations. There are also places where multiple short clips from the same lesson have been collated together for viewing.

To sign up click HERE and then you’ll be directed to enter your name, email and make a password. If you enter the code FREEACCESS you will not need to enter any credit card information.

NSTA Sensemaking Toolkit

The National Science Teacher’s Association (NSTA) has a collection of sensemaking resources called the Sensemaking Toolkit. You will find resources on “what is sensemaking?” along with tips and links to multiple resources on phenomena, student ideas, science ideas, and science and engineering practices.

One of my favorite tools here is the Single-Point Rubric for Sensemaking Lessons. View HERE as a Google Doc. This rubric can help us evaluate our sensemaking lessons to make them more powerful experiences for students.

NGSS in the Classroom: What Early Implementer Science Instruction Looks Like

WestEd recently released a report on the NGSS Early Implementers Initiative in California. The report provides a call for NGSS teaching, features of high-quality NGSS instruction, and multiple snapshots of NGSS instructional sequences.

The report highlights 4 NGSS features:

  • 3D Learning
  • Phenomenon-based instruction
  • Engineering
  • Student Agency

I think my favorite part of the document is a comparison of two 8th grade science lessons at the same school. This comparison really helps illustrate the shifts we need to see in NGSS instruction.

I’ll be using parts of this support with my pre-service teachers and also with districts I support.

You can find the report HERE.

List of Online Tools for Distance Science Learning (OpenSciEd & Inquiry Hub)

Teachers using OpenSciEd & Inquiry Hub materials have assembled a Google Sheet with a variety of online tools and how those tools might be used by science teachers during distance learning. There will most likely be several tools you have heard of but it’s possible that there may be ways of using the tools that you haven’t implemented. I’m assuming that even teachers who don’t use the OpenSciEd and Inquiry Hub materials will find some useful nuggets here…and perhaps will want to learn more about the root materials.

NOTE: This is NOT a list of science content materials (videos, simulations, etc). This is a list of digital tools with recommendations for how to use those tools with students engaging in rich NGSS-designed science learning.

You can access the Google Sheet HERE.

Resources for Supporting Science Learning During School Closures

Our friends at STEM Teaching ToolsScreen Shot 2020-03-23 at 3.52.54 PM have organized some resources from Council of School Science Supervisors (CSSS) to support families with science learning while practicing social distancing at home. Some of these could be great for use in school districts as reminders of best practices and others contain ready-made resources that are available in English, Spanish and Arabic.

The Sample Learning Menu is a particular favorite.

Click HERE to get to these thoughtfully designed resources.

A Framework to Evaluate Cognitive Complexity in Science Assessments by Achieve

Achieve just released A Framework to Evaluate Cognitive Complexity in Science Assessments. This short document features a rubric for rating scenarios and the 3 Dimensions in assessment items and item sets. The focus is on cognitive complexity that supports students sense-making during the assessment.

Below is a table showing the “3000 ft” view of the rubric. A more detailed version of the tool is also available.

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Here are the 3 principles of this framework:

  1. Each item receives separate judgments for each of the four indicators.
  2. No value judgments are attached to complexity levels.
  3. Designed based on A Framework for K-12 Science Education, the framework is designed to work flexibly with all new three-dimensional science standards.

I know that several school districts, schools and teachers are working on designing, adapting or simply shopping for quality science assessment items. This looks like another tool to support your work. Enjoy.

WA NGSS WCAS Test & Item Specs Released

Many of us science assessment nerds have been anxiously awaiting for the NGSS Test & Item Specifications for the Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science (WCAS). The anticipated arrival of these document reminds me of an iconic clip from Steve Martin’s movie The Jerk (see below).

These documents are organized into the following grade bands:

I’m assuming that these documents might be useful to science educators outside of Washington. You will see that there is support for each NGSS Performance Expectation from Grade 3 through High School and there are some pretty cool features such as:

  • information on items types and assessment design
  • a variety of 2 Dimensional versions of each PE
  • details and clarification that provide greater specificity to the original PE for not only assessment but also instruction

See the screen shot below for 5-PS1-1 to get a sense of some of the extra information provided by the item specs.

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OpenSciEd Save the Date: Aug. 15, 2019

Screen Shot 2019-08-09 at 10.13.22 AMOpenSciEd 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:

I’m excited for these resources to launch- stay tuned. Here is an e-announcement with more details.