Category Archives: Uncategorized

Engineering Design Anchor Lessons using Picture Books

In my work with elementary students and elementary teachers (inservice and preservice) I love to use children’s literature to introduce the engineering design process in NGSS. Learning about engineering design can feel overwhelming for some folks (I’m mostly talking about adults here) and I find that using picture books provides a welcoming, engaging and positive experience that hopefully can launch fruitful engineering experiences in the classroom with K-5 students.

Below is a list of picture books that I’ve used with a variety of audiences to teach kids and adults about engineering design. The links will connect you to the books themselves (most of these are common in school libraries) and also to free lesson guides for each book. Each resource has been assigned to specific grade levels and aligned to specific CCSS & NGSS standards but the books could be used at any grade level. Let me know if you use (or have used) any of these books- I’d love to hear how these books and lessons work with learners.

NOTE: Just reading these books to students (or adults) does not constitute a complete engineering design learning experience. These books and guides are designed as anchor lessons that can help launch full engineering lessons and units.

Grade Picture Books (Amazon Links) Teacher Guide Link
Pre- K Stuck by Oliver Jeffers Stuck TG
K Monkey with a Tool Belt and the Noisy Problem by Chris Monroe Monkey TG
1 If I Built a Car by Chris Van Dusen If I Built a Car TG
2 If I Built a House by Chris Van Dusen If I Built a House TG
3 Those Darn Squirrels by Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri Those Darn Squirrels TG
4 Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty Rosie Revere Eng TG
5 Papa’s Mechanical Fish by Candace Fleming Papa’s Mechanical Fish TG
ALL Girls Think of Everything by Catherine Thimmesh and Melissa Sweet Many of the above guides refer to readings from this informational text- an excellent book.
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How We Teach Science: What’s Changed and Why It Matters by John L. Rudolph

how we teach science

Click HERE to order

I was thinking about leading an online summer science book study during July & August- but I think I may just join one instead. TJ McKenna (@tjscience) will be co-leading a Twitter-based book study of How We Teach Science: What’s Changed and Why it Matters with the author John L. Rudolph. John is a former secondary science teacher and a current professor of science education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This book looks like a fantastic resource and should be added to your reading list even if you are unable to join the Twitter book study via #HowWeTeachScience

The Amazon preview provides a nice overview of the book. Chapters include:

Chapter 1: From Textbook to Laboratory

Chapter 2: The Laboratory in Practice

Chapter 3: Student Interest in the New Movement

Chapter 4: The Scientific Method

Chapter 5: Problems and Projects

Chapter 6: The War on Method

Chapter 7: Origins of Inquiry

Chapter 8: Scientists in the Classroom

Chapter 9: Project 2061 and the Nature of Science

Chapter 10: Science in the Standards Era

I’m intrigued by the chapter titles and what I’ve seen on the “Look Inside” preview. I just ordered my copy and hope to join the learning online.

What other science education books will y’all be digging into this summer?

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Stanford NGSS Assessment Project

Screen Shot 2019-06-04 at 1.36.00 PMAs we continue to implement the vision of A Framework for K-12 Science Education and the Next Generation Science Standards many of us are still seeking examples and models of effective three-dimensional assessment tasks. The Stanford NGSS Assessment Project (aka SNAP) is a great site that provides some of those models and examples. You will find:

You will find assessment bits at multiple grade levels and domains. You will even find assessment tasks for K-4…an area where there is definitely a dearth of examples.

HERE is an instructionally-embedded Kindergarten assessment for PE: Construct an argument supported by evidence for how plants and animals (including humans) can change the environment to meet their needs. (K-ESS2-2) You will find an overview, teacher guide, student task cards, handouts, rubrics and student work samples.

Helen Quinn discussing the project in the embedded video below.

I definitely recommend poking around to find some assessment tasks that might support your work.

 

Clime Time: Climate Science Resources

Screen Shot 2019-05-24 at 5.09.00 PMHere in Washington (the state)- we’ve been digging into the teaching and learning of climate science. Our state budget provided a chunk of money to be used by educational groups around the state to develop tools and deliver professional development for K-12 teachers. To highlight the work from this funding a site called Clime Time has been launched. You will find several resources here and keep checking back because you can expect more to come soon. You will also find links to several Community Based Organizations (CBOs) that have been partners in this work.

HERE is a document with links to LOADS of climate-related educational resources that was curated by friends at the University of Washington Institute for Math & Science Education.

English Learners in STEM Subjects

english learners stem subjects coverOverview: The National Academies just released a new consensus study report titled English Learners in STEM Subjects: Transforming Classrooms, Schools and LivesLike other reports from The National Academies this report is free as a pdf or to read in your browser.

Purpose: This report provides a wealth of background and resources from an asset-oriented view of English Learners. Just skimming the table of contents makes it clear that this is a valuable resource for any science educator. You will find research, recommendations and strategies plus much more.

Here is a quote from the press release.

With appropriate curricular and instructional support, ELs can participate, contribute, and succeed in STEM classrooms. The report provides guidance on ways in which to obtain, strengthen, and maintain these capabilities to achieve development within the education system. The committee that wrote the report views this capacity building as more than the allocation of resources and engagement in improvement efforts; it also requires the re-evaluation of broader policies and practices and concerted efforts to shift them when necessary.

Audience: science teachers, PD providers, teacher educators, curriculum directors, etc.

Link: https://www.nap.edu/catalog/25182/english-learners-in-stem-subjects-transforming-classrooms-schools-and-lives

 

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!

FREE Professional Development Resources on Equitable 3 Dimensional Formative Assessment in Science

OVERVIEW: The Advancing Coherent and Equitable Systems of Science Education (ACESSE, or “access”) project recently released an Open Educational Resource (OER) module for professional learning on equitable 3Dimensional formative assessment tasks in science.

AUDIENCE: science professional development providers, teacher leaders, school district leaders, teacher educators, etc

PURPOSE: The module provides all the resources needed to provide a 60-90 minute session of professional learning on Equitable 3D Formative Assessment. You will find slides, facilitation notes, and embedded resources. Lots of good stuff here… I’m looking forward to more impactful resources from this project.

LINK: Click HERE to learn more about this resource and to find all of the materials.