Category Archives: Washington State Science

Sea Star Wasting Syndrome: An Authentic Problem for Students

KCTS 9 in Seattle has an excellent overview of the sea star wasting syndrome that is currently destroying the sea star populations on the west coast of the United States. While the content is sad and disturbing, this case provides a very real and engaging problem for K-12 students to wrestle with.

The KCTS 9 post provides:

– A rich piece of complex informational text for students to read and understand. (Would be perfect for a close reading Common Core ELA lesson).

– Two short video clips that supplement the text and tell the story of the problem and how scientists are zooming in on the cause of the wasting syndrome.

How We Might Use This as Teachers:

  • Connect to science and engineering practices in NGSS
  • Highlight how scientists use evidence to construct claims
  • Draw attention to how authentic science and engineering works vs “The Scientific Method”
  • Highlight the connections between field studies and controlled experiments (How do both ways of “doing science” inform the work?)
  • Create an SBAC-like performance task with a piece of informational text, video, and a writing prompt
  • Engage students in Problem (or project) Based Learning where they learn about the ocean ecosystem and how to solve this (and related) problems

How might you use this information in your classroom?

Click HERE for the entire post.

NGSS Cheat Sheet and Placemat

ImageAs we begin to design and deliver professional development on the Next Generation Science Standards I’m hoping that we will be able to share tools and resources. I’ve accumulated several tools from lots of smart folks and will be posting some in the coming weeks.

A couple of my favorites were developed by the regional science coordinators who work for the Washington State ESDs. These tools are:

– The NGSS “cheat sheet” a 2-sided color key to the 3 dimensions of the NGSS and the abbreviations.

– The NGSS placemat– an 11x 17 colorful sheet for deconstructing a performance expectation of the NGSS during a PD session.

I have used both of these tools with multiple K-12 teachers during initial professional development on the structure of the NGSS


WA Science Page Updated

This is not exactly headline-worthy news… but I’ve finally updated the WA Science page on this site. It had gotten a bit stale to say the least. Click HERE to view the 2014 Science Assessment Updates, NGSS transition plans, and other helpful links.

WA Science Assessment Updates 2014

Hi all,

While we recently adopted the Next Generation Science Standards here in Washington (the state), we will still be operating our science assessment system under our 2009 Science Learning Standards for the next few years. This seems to have caused much confusion for folks. I’ve talked to several district and building leaders who thought that the Science MSPs and Biology EOC were being eliminated after this year.. not the case.

OSPI has recently uploaded the latest science assessment resources HERE. You will find:

Grade 5 Science Update: 2014 – NEW

Grade 8 Science Update: 2014 – NEW

Biology EOC Update: 2014 – NEW

Lessons Learned from Scoring Student Work: 2013 – NEW

Press Release: WA State Adopts NGSS

Here are some links to stories in the news about Washington State adopting the Next Generation Science Standards:

That should be enough to get you started

Washington State Adopts Next Generation Science Standards

Washington State will officially adopt the Next Generation Science Standards on Friday, October 4th 2013. Read a story HERE about how the Institute for Systems Biology has played a key role in the adoption process. 

PS- I”m lucky to have a small role in the Partnership for Science & Engineering Practices mentioned in the article. I’ll be sharing more about the tools and resources developed by this project in the coming months.

NGSS Update July 2013

Hi all,

I apologize for the lack of blog activity recently- I hope to have lots of good things to share in the next few months. For this post I just wanted to update and summarize some resources on the Next Generation Science Standards that might be useful for your independent NGSS summer learning:

  1. If you haven’t visited the NGSS site recently you should take a look. All but one of the appendices are now posted and the standards themselves are now viewable and searchable in your browser (not just the original PDFs). I highly recommend spending some time with the following appendices:
  2. 1 Pager of NGSS Resources– This PDF contains hyperlinks to losts of resources from NSTA to support learning about the Practices of Science and Engineering, Crosscuting Concepts, and Disciplinary Core Ideas
  3. FREE Asynchronous Online workshop for WA K-8 Teachers- From WA Science Standard to the NGSS
  4. NSTA NGSS site– Lots of good stuff here but can be tricky to find on the NSTA site if you don’t know to look for it.
  5. 1 Pager of STEM Practices– this table from STEM Lesson Essentials is very helpful in seeing connections between practices.