The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) currently has a FREE chapter from the book Helping Student Make Sense of the World using Next Generation Science & Engineering Practices. This book is a compilation of chapters from multiple authors. The FREE chapter is Toward More Equitable Learning in Science by Megan Bang, Bryan Brown, Angela Calabrese Barton, Ann Rosebery, and Beth Warren.
The chapter lays out 3 Principles for expanding meaningful learning opportunities in science:
Principle 1: Notice sense-making repertoires. Attend to, listen to, and think about students’ diverse sense-making as connecting to science practices.
Principle 2: Support sense-making. Actively support students in using their sense-making repertoires and experiences as critical tools in engaging with science practices.
Principle 3: Engage diverse sense-making. Engage students in understanding how scientific practices and knowledge are always developing and how their own community histories, values, and practices have contributed to scientific understanding and problem solving and will continue to do so.
I think that some of us as science teachers might look at these principles and say, “Yes- I think I do that.” OR “I’m not sure what this means exactly.”
This chapter uses three vignettes to clarify these three principles that are crying out for examples.
Not sure how long this chapter will stay on the NSTA site as a FREE download so grab it now.
I know that a lot of educators are digging into books on equity and diversity this summer. Here are a few resources that have been key in my personal journey as a white male looking to become more culturally aware, equity-focused, and anti-racist. I will keep adding to this list. I’m aware that many excellent resources are currently not included here. I’m not trying to make an exhaustive list on this first post- but instead providing a ‘playlist’ of the resources that I’ve used personally and that feel like good starting places for others.
|Culturally Responsive Teaching & The Brain
||THE book on culturally responsive teaching. Provides tools and strategies to dig into CRT. Clear discussion of how a lack of CRT affects students.
|Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People
||Describes the Project Implicit implicit association tests. Discusses how we all have unconscious biases (even ones we don’t want) and how these may affect us. Makes the case that we must confront and think about these “mindbugs”.
||Mahzarin R. BanajiAnthony Greenwald
|For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood…and the Rest of Y’all Too
||Provides stories, a framework, and strategies for effectively teaching urban students of color. Lots of wisdom here.
The Phenomenal Assessment site features three assessment tasks created for the Climate Science Proviso which has provided climate science education funding in Washington state. You will find an elementary task, a middle school task and a high school task.
Elementary: Comparing & Critiquing Energy Sources grade 4
Middle School: Analyzing Patterns in Wildfire Data
High School: Climate Impacts after 1492
These assessment tasks are not intended to be solely used as summative assessments. Think about how you might use these as objects of study for your own professional learning and how these might be used as assessments WHILE learning. This site provides examples of ways that these tasks might be used in equitable and rigorous ways. See below:
Reflect on Argumentation
The STEM Teaching Tools team/site recently hosted a Zoom professional development session titled- ClimeTime Professional Learning Session: How to Support Home-Based Science Learning During School Closures…it’s a catchy title to be sure.
Click the link HERE to see the presenters, goals, and resources. The video is embedded below. Enjoy!
My colleague, Tom Hathorn, and I are facilitating a workshop series on Climate Science for High School Science Teachers in the Puget Sound Region of Washington State. The series starts October 23rd and we still have a few seats left- so register soon at the link below if you’re interested in joining us.
Who: HS Science teachers in King & Pierce Counties
Where: Sumner School District Office (1202 Wood Ave, Sumner, WA 98390)
When: Face to Face- Oct. 23, Jan. 15, Mar. 24 (8am-3pm)
When: Online- Nov. 20, Dec. 11, Feb. 12, Mar. 4 (4-5:30pm)
What you get: Learning, collaboration, sub coverage, STEM clock hours, Stipend pay for after-school online meetings
- Inspire all students to participate in understanding and challenging climate science problems, especially mitigating environmental injustice where they live.
- Use student voice tools as inputs for shaping climate science learning and developing student leadership.
- Join a regional group of high school teachers who are knowledgeable about using the NGSS innovations to integrate Climate Science (ESS2 & ESS3) with other sciences.
- Develop Climate Science curriculum objects (learning/assessment tasks, lesson activities, activity sequences) to use in HS science courses.
- Participate in a public Climate Forum, sharing student and teacher projects.
Click HERE for the flyer with more information
The state of Nebraska is on a journey to develop a comprehensive state science assessment system that not only includes a state-wide summative assessment system (grades 5, 8, & 11) for science but also:
- Curriculum Embedded Science Tasks (K-12)
- Science Task Library (K-12)
- Monitoring Tasks (Grades 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10)
If you’d like to know more about this work, check out the overview from Achieve HERE.
For the past several years I have been supporting pre-service and inservice teachers with the use of the Claim, Evidence and Reasoning (CER) framework for scaffolding students’ writing and talking about scientific explanations and arguments. This framework provides a common language for discussing the elements of powerful explanations and arguments. It isn’t a formula to memorize but a framework for support and improvement.
I have used the following books in professional development and also in college courses I’ve taught. I highly recommend these:
Together these books provide a very clear and engaging look at how to use a Claim, Evidence, Reasoning (CER) framework to improve student writing and discourse in science. The CER framework can support not only science explanations but also the Common Core State Standards’ focus on using evidence and argumentation in math and English/Language Arts.
Over the years, I’ve developed some tools that could be useful for professional development providers, professional learning communities, and ultimately students who are engaging with a CER framework.
1. An activity for writing a scientific explanation of whether soap and fat are the same substance. This is directly from the first book with some added reflective questions for teachers. This could be used as an initial activity with teachers before revealing the CER framework. CER writing an explanation fat and soap
2. A set of 3 Formative Assessment Probes (based on Page Keeley’s work) to uncover student ideas about science explanations- the probes include a DRAFT facilitation guide. Feel free to improve these:
3. A video “think sheet” for participants to track their thinking while watching the first video clip from the book where a teacher introduces the CER framework to a class of 7th graders- introducing CER framework vid 2.1 think sheet
Please let me know if you have any revisions/changes/improvements to any of these documents. Hope these are helpful… enjoy.
I’ll add a few other resources in an upcoming post. What CER resources have you found most useful in your own work with students?
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This is the time of the year when a new group of science TOSAs (teachers on special assignment) tend to enter the realm of school district office science support. Now you may have a different term than TOSA in your neck of the woods- but basically this is a position where a classroom teacher continues to be paid a teacher salary (with perhaps a few extra hours thrown in) but does district office administrative level work to support science implementation.
Over the last 10 years I have worked with and supported many people in these Science TOSA positions and I’ve noticed that many school districts do not adequately support those who take on these positions. The skillset of a successful classroom science teacher is often not the same skillset necessary to be a successful science education leader. I’ve also noticed that there are a huge variety of roles that these Science TOSAs might be expected to take on- here are a few that come to mind:
- Science Curriculum and Assessment expert K-5, MS, HS or all 3
- Mentor teacher
- Instructional coach
- Professional Development Designer and Provider
- Meeting coordinator and facilitator
- Science Materials Manager
- Science Curriculum Review Committee Leader
- and so much more
Some skills that Science TOSAs may need (that may differ from classroom teaching):
- advocating for science instruction within your own district
- working in uncertain and ever-changing environments
- working with mostly adults (vs mostly kids)
- navigating school district politics
- managing a budget
While the following is not an exhaustive list- here are a few books that I highly recommend for the beginning Science TOSA. By the way- most of these are not science education specific. I’ll post a Part 2 in the future with some of my favorite science ed resources for new TOSAs.
Designing Professional Development for Teachers of Math and Science (3rd edition) This is an oldie but a goody- the framework for developing and planning PD is just as effective and useful today.
Leading Every Day: 124 Actions for Effective Leadership A set of short snippets that can be used personally or with small groups to focus on leadership.
Cognitive Coaching: A Foundation for Renaissance Schools Another oldie- but this book provides an excellent framework for coaching and working with adults.
Choreography of Presenting A short and readable guide on effectively presenting to adults.
Evaluating Professional Development So you’re delivering PD…but how are you evaluating the effectiveness of that PD? This is the book to get you started.
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Horizon Research, Inc recently released their findings from the 2018 National Survey of Science and Mathematics Education (NSSME+). The plus sign signifies the inclusion of some computer science in the survey. This project surveyed over 7k teachers of science, math, and computer science across the US.
This report provides some excellent evidence for future research, district implementation, teacher education, professional development, curriculum development and much more. The survey itself might be of interest to many and provides a strong model for developing surveys.
Click HERE to visit the NSSME+ site
Click HERE to download the report
Overview: Achieve recently released two tools for screening and reviewing science assessment tasks- the Science Task Prescreen and the Science Task Screener. These tools will be necessary additions to your toolbox of NGSS assessment resources.
Purpose: The Science Task Prescreen (my personal favorite) is a 1-pager with 8 questions that an individual or group can use to quickly review an assessment task and make some decisions about how and if it requires modification to meet the expectations of NGSS assessment shifts. The Science Task Screener is a more substantial tool that could be used for more in-depth review and modification of assessment tasks.
Audience: Teachers, curriculum developers, assessment writers, PD providers, teacher educators, others