Category Archives: teaching

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



NSTA Journals March 2016

If you are a teacher of science and you are not a member of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) then I would highly recommend joining- lots of good resources. However, even if you are not a member you will still be able to access lots of articles, blog posts, lessons, and more for free.

One great way to check for FREE NSTA resources is through the NSTA Blog. Every month the NSTA Blog lists all of the articles from each of the 4 NSTA journals.. and a few of these are made available FREE.

An example of this is an excellent FREE article from the March 2016 issue of Science Scope (middle school journal) titled What We Call Misconceptions May Be Necessary Stepping-Stones Toward Making Sense of the World

Click HERE to check out the March 2016 NSTA Journals.

Helping Administrators Understand the NGSS

It is critically important that building and district administrators in K-12 education have a solid understanding of the Next Generation Science Standards. If administrators have a limited understanding of NGSS then they are more likely to design NGSS implementation plans via professional development, curriculum adoption, assessment writing, etc in a shallow way.

Here are some key resources for guiding administrators to understand the vision behind and shifts required by NGSS:

  1. A powerful Practice Brief (What school building administrators should know about the new vision for K-12 science education)
    from designed specifically for administrators. This is a “slick” 2 sided pdf with intentional hyperlinks to key resources.
  2. Document on the overlaps between NGSS and Common Core Math and ELA
  3. New Vision for Science Education Document (A 1-pager of shifts)
  4. Key resources on the NSTA NGSS site for NGSS Professional Learning
  5. Video: A New Vision for Science Education
  6. All Standards, All Students Case Studies from NGSS (These provide a snapshot of what NGSS instruction looks like with a focus on Equity)
  7. Guide to Implementing NGSS (This is a must read for anyone who is guiding NGSS implementation work… lots of great guidance here. Even skimming the Table of Contents will give you lots to consider…)
  8. Designing Professional Development for Teachers of Science and Mathematics 3rd Edition (This is the “Bible” for designing thoughtful science professional development)
  9. The Logan Center for Education at the Institute for Systems Biology has a great series of 3 Case Studies with a facilitation guide that tell the story of how science education has shifted over the last few decades of reform.

What other resources might be useful for building and district administrators who are just starting to learn about NGSS? What might be the important entry points for working with administrators who are juggling multiple initiatives with limited resources?

CA Science Curriculum Framework DRAFT (NGSS)

California recently released the first DRAFT of their Science Curriculum Framework. There is currently a 60 day public review process where stakeholders can give feedback.

I think this document (It’s a large piece of text with multiple sections!) will be helpful to other states, districts, and schools who are continuing to implement the Next Generation Science Standards.

I have only skimmed the document but am finding it to be very helpful especially with designing instructional modules and learning sequences. I know many districts will also be interested in the two different course models for High School science.

You can access the DRAFT CA Science Curriculum Framework HERE.

You can view a November 17th, 2015 webinar on the framework HERE.



Veritasium: This Will Revolutionize Education

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a Veritasium video so when I saw the new video titled This Will Revolutionize Education– I felt like I needed to share. Lots of good stuff for us to think about in education reform and educational technology. Also some very wise words about teaching and learning.

High Quality Science Instruction: Building Conceptual Understanding and Language Skills for English Learners

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 4.22.53 PMWestEd recently published a FREE report titled- High Quality Science Instruction: Building Conceptual Understanding and Language Skills for English Learners.

The report describes a backwards planning method for designing science lessons that helps students build conceptual understanding of science ideas AND supports language learning. This seems like an applicable article for most K-12 science teachers. Click HERE for the article.

ChemCollective: Resources for Chemistry Teachers

Screen Shot 2013-07-23 at 2.21.12 PMChemCollective is a project in the National Science Digital Library (NSDL) that is supported by NSF and Carnegie Melon University. ChemCollective provides resources designed to support teachers of chemistry in designing engaging and interactive online activities for students. ChemCollective has been around for several years but they recently redesigned their web presence so you may want to check it out. Some of the chemistry teaching and learning tools will find on the site include: