Category Archives: Uncategorized

Teachers Try Science: NGSS Lessons

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 4.42.58 PMOVERVIEW: Teachers Try Science is a website with free science instructional resources for teachers of science. The site also has a page of NGSS EQuIP rubric reviewed lessons. These lessons (unlike lessons found on some sites) appear to be good examples of instructional chunks that meet the expectations of A Framework for K-12 Science Instruction and the NGSS. It appears that there was a vetting and review process that each of these lessons went through (that’s a good thing). These are not complete units and there is currently only a limited set of NGSS reviewed lessons- but it is definitely worth your time to add this site to your NGSS Lessons bookmarks.

AUDIENCE: K-12 teachers of science looking for a few examples of NGSS-style lessons.

PURPOSE: Provide samples of NGSS aligned lessons to the field.


Science Professional Learning Standards

OVERVIEW: The Council of State Science Supervisors (CSSS) has created a draft document of Science Professional Learning Standards. These standards are divided into three categories

Attributes of High Quality Professional Learning Opportunities
Implementing and Sustaining a Professional Development Infrastructure
Evaluating Professional Learning Opportunities

Here is an example of a standard

TARGET AUDIENCE: Administrators, teacher education programs, K-12 teachers, Professional development providers, teacher leaders, curriculum directors, curriculum developers, and other science educators

PURPOSE: The purpose of these standards is to provide science professional development providers with clear targets for professional learning and to give teachers specific criteria for what they should be expecting from PD opportunities


5 Tools for Developing NGSS Units: AMNH

imageOVERVIEW: The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) has developed a set of tools for planning units to address the NGSS. AMNH has created 5 tools that have been developed and tested for supporting groups of teachers in developing quality NGSS units of instruction. Each of the 5 tools is very robust and the tools are intended to be used very intentionally during multiple days of guided professional development.

The five tools do the following:
Tool One: Using the 3 Dimensions of a Performance Expectation to create a unit
Tool Two: Planning assessment and evidence of learning
Tool Three: Using the 5E model to develop a conceptual flow
Tool Four: Using the 5E model to develop learning sequences
Tool Five: Using evidence of learning specifications to develop performance tasks

Embedded below is a video overview of the 5 Tools.

The website for this project is nicely designed and user friendly. Each page of the site presents one of the 5 Tools and contains:
a video overview
a text overview
a facilitation guide
participant handouts
PowerPoints slides
templates for participants
TARGET AUDIENCE: Professional development providers, teacher leaders, curriculum directors , curriculum developers, and other science educators

PURPOSE: Develop a deeper understanding of the NGSS and design of effective 3 dimensional learning sequences and assessments. Guide thoughtful and rigorous development of NGSS lessons, units, and assessments.



NSTA Conference 2016

imageI’m attending the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) conference in Nashville this week. It’s four days of over 1000 total sessions on a variety of science education topics. I’m always on the lookout for tools and strategies on NGSS and best practices that I can use in my professional development work with science teachers and instruction with pre-service teachers.

So far, I’m not disappointed- there is lots of good stuff. We are at a point in the development of support for NGSS implementation where several teachers and entities have quality tools to share. But that is also a problem in our field right now. We have lots of great tools and resources on effective science instruction and the NGSS, however, these tools tend not to be widely known by many practitioners (teachers and administrators).

One of the missions of this site has long been to help keep folks “in the know” about tools, websites, and resources on K-12 science education. In the coming days I hope to highlight a few of my favorites from the 2016 NSTA conference. I’m also planning to build a document to organize and curate some of the best FREE resources for NGSS implementation.

If you were unable to attend the NSTA conference, there are still ways that you can engage with the sessions

  • You can peruse the sessions HERE and access ppt slides, handouts, etc for sessions that look interesting
  • You can follow the hashtag #NSTA16 on Twitter to find what people are sharing
  • You can follow a specific science educator on Twitter to see what they are sharing
  • You can read my blog and I’ll highlight a few key resources.

What Makes a Good Anchoring Phenomenon?

Screen Shot 2016-03-25 at 1.11.27 PMThe Next Generation Science Standards and best practices in science instruction tell us that science instructional sequences are more meaningful to students and more coherent when based on interesting phenomena. The Research + Practice Collaboratory has released a new tool for helping to define the qualities of an effective anchoring phenomenon as a driver for an instructional sequence. This 1-pager is available HERE. This document could be a great supplement/cheat sheet to be used during teacher planning and/or professional development.

A Guide for Teaching Field Investigations: NGSS Edition

Screen Shot 2016-03-14 at 5.08.50 PMPacific Education Institute recently revised and updated their “Field Investigation Guide” (not the official title- but I’ve always dubbed it this). The Field Investigation Guide has been a powerful resource for helping K-12 teachers to get students outside in their schoolyard doing science. This newest version makes intentional connections to the Three Dimensions of the Next Generation Science Standards and has the new subtitle: Using Outdoor Environments to Foster Student Learning of Scientific Practices.

The new NGSS edition contains:

  • An updated Chapter 1 with clear connections between field investigations and the Next Generation Science Standards
  • Question stems for considering the Crosscutting Concepts
  • Scaffolds for engaging in the Science and Engineering Practices outdoors (based on the NGSS evidence statements)
  • Connections to the Claim, Evidence, Reasoning (CER) framework for supporting students’ explanations and arguments
  • Example lessons with connections to the 3 Dimensions of NGSS
  • Much more!

You can download this latest version of the Field Investigation Guide for free HERE. To be transparent- I was one of the revision authors. Special thanks to Pacific Education Institute for including me in this work.

Integrating Science and Engineering Practices into Assessments

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 7.48.47 PMThe Research & Practice Collaboratory (yes, I guess that’s a real word), recently released a tool to help teachers, schools, and districts to develop science assessment tasks that integrate the science & engineering practices. Click HERE to download Integrating Science Practices into Assessment Tasks.

In the document you will find:

  • Task formats for each of the Science & Engineering Practices
  • Example 3D Assessment Task- A High School life science example

Seems like another helpful NGSS Assessment tool to add to our toolbox- the formats for each practice are particularly useful.