May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

187 Stakeholders Dive Deep into NGSS

Posted: Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

by Lisa Hegdahl

The first of a series of statewide professional learning symposia to explore the philosophy, design, and initial implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) took place at the San Joaquin County Office of Education on April 28th and 29th.  The Symposium was a collaborative effort of the San Joaquin County Office of Education, Stanislaus County Office of Education, Sacramento County Office of Education, K-12 Alliance/West Ed, California Science Project, California Science Teachers Association, Curriculum and Instruction Steering Committee, and the California Department of Education.  

Timothy Slattery and Charalee Cunningham display their ‘bundles’ of the 7th Grade Performance Expectations at the NGSS Rollout Symposium on April 29th  – photos by Lisa Hegdahl

Timothy Slattery and Charalee Cunningham display their ‘bundles’ of the 7th Grade Performance Expectations at the NGSS Rollout Symposium on April 29th – photos by Lisa Hegdahl

Awareness was the goal of the first Rollout Symposium. Whether new to the Next Generation of Science Standards or familiar with them since the first draft, the Rollout Symposium had something to offer all NGSS stakeholders. Workshops were offered suited for those with NGSS experience, NGSS novices, middle school teachers, district and school administrators, to name a few.

Newcomers to the Next Generation of Science Standards attended NGSS 101, which was designed to explain the National Research Councils A Framework for Science Education and the development, intent, and design of the NGSS. NGSS 102 was tailored towards attendees who were already knowledgeable about the new science standards. Participants delved deeper into the NGSS appendices and instructional shifts, and reflected on how to move forward with planning for instructional changes. The Middle School Progressions session explained the history behind the development of the California Preferred Integrated Model for Middle Schools and provided participants time to ‘bundle’ the Performance Expectations for 7th grade into possible courses of study.   Supporting the implementation of the NGSS at school sites and in the districts was the purpose of an Administrator workshop. Additional sessions provided plans for how to develop an NGSS unit of instruction with a conceptual flow, how to use the Science Literacy Professional Learning Module as a resource to help K-12 teachers better understand how literacy deepens student understanding of science, and a sample lesson that demonstrated the NGSS shift with examples at primary, upper elementary, and secondary grades.

In addition to the workshops, participants in the NGSS Rollout Symposium had the opportunity to network with other teachers, administrators, county personal, and science education leaders from the around the area and across the state.

What participants had to say:

“A far better understanding of what NGSS is.”

“Great Performance Expectation session.  Learned how to read the standards and how they cross-cut!”

“Loved the Lesson Implications session.  Was a very helpful PD that I can take back to my colleagues and classroom.”

“I realized this whole shift is going to take some time and patience.  We, as teachers, are going to need more opportunities like this to collaborate and get used to the new standards.  Listening to others who are also struggling and working through ideas together was very helpful.”

Six additional Rollout Symposia are scheduled throughout California between now and the end of October. The dates and locations are:

Long Beach Hilton/Long Beach May 22 & 23 (Sold Out)

Crafton Hills College/Yucaipa May 27 & 28 (registration available online)

Fresno, CA Oct 13–14, 2014

San Diego, CA – September – Date TBA

Oakland, CA – Date TBA

Red Bluff, CA October 23–24, 2014

For more information about the Symposium being offered in your area, go to:

https://live.iplanevents.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=reg.info&event_id=2530

Don’t miss these opportunities to learn more about the Next Generation of Science Standards and their implementation.

 

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Written by Lisa Hegdahl

Lisa Hegdahl

Lisa Hegdahl is an 8th grade science teacher at McCaffrey Middle School in Galt, CA and is President for CSTA.

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Participate in Chemistry Education Research Study, Earn $500-800 Dollars!

Posted: Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

WestEd, a non-profit educational research agency, has been funded by the US Department of Education to test a new molecular modeling kit, Happy Atoms. Happy Atoms is an interactive chemistry learning experience that consists of a set of physical atoms that connect magnetically to form molecules, and an app that uses image recognition to identify the molecules that you create with the set. WestEd is conducting a study around the effectiveness of using Happy Atoms in the classroom, and we are looking for high school chemistry teachers in California to participate.

As part of the study, teachers will be randomly assigned to either the treatment group (who uses Happy Atoms) or the control group (who uses Happy Atoms at a later date). Teachers in the treatment group will be asked to use the Happy Atoms set in their classrooms for 5 lessons over the course of the fall 2017 semester. Students will complete pre- and post-assessments and surveys around their chemistry content knowledge and beliefs about learning chemistry. WestEd will provide access to all teacher materials, teacher training, and student materials needed to participate.

Participating teachers will receive a stipend of $500-800. You can read more information about the study here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HappyAtoms

Please contact Rosanne Luu at rluu@wested.org or 650.381.6432 if you are interested in participating in this opportunity, or if you have any questions!

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

2018 Science Instructional Materials Adoption Reviewer Application

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

The California Department of Education and State Board of Education are now accepting applications for reviewers for the 2018 Science Instructional Materials Adoption. The application deadline is 3:00 pm, July 21, 2017. The application is comprehensive, so don’t wait until the last minute to apply.

On Tuesday, May 9, 2017, State Superintendent Tom Torlakson forwarded this recruitment letter to county and district superintendents and charter school administrators.

Review panel members will evaluate instructional materials for use in kindergarten through grade eight, inclusive, that are aligned with the California Next Generation Science Content Standards for California Public Schools (CA NGSS). Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Lessons Learned from the NGSS Early Implementer Districts

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

On March 31, 2017, Achieve released two documents examining some lessons learned from the California K-8 Early Implementation Initiative. The initiative began in August 2014 and was developed by the K-12 Alliance at WestEd, with close collaborative input on its design and objectives from the State Board of Education, the California Department of Education, and Achieve.

Eight (8) traditional school districts and two (2) charter management organizations were selected to participate in the initiative, becoming the first districts in California to implement the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Those districts included Galt Joint Union Elementary, Kings Canyon Joint Unified, Lakeside Union, Oakland Unified, Palm Springs Unified, San Diego Unified, Tracy Joint Unified, Vista Unified, Aspire, and High Tech High.

To more closely examine some of the early successes and challenges experienced by the Early Implementer LEAs, Achieve interviewed nine of the ten participating districts and compiled that information into two resources, focusing primarily on professional learning and instructional materials. Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Using Online Simulations to Support the NGSS in Middle School Classrooms

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

by Lesley Gates, Loren Nikkel, and Kambria Eastham

Middle school teachers in Kings Canyon Unified School District (KCUSD), a CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative district, have been diligently working on transitioning to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) integrated model for middle school. This year, the teachers focused on building their own knowledge of the Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs). They have been gathering and sharing ideas at monthly collaborative meetings as to how to make sure their students are not just learning about science but that they are actually doing science in their classrooms. Students should be planning and carrying out investigations to gather data for analysis in order to construct explanations. This is best done through hands-on lab experiments. Experimental work is such an important part of the learning of science and education research shows that students learn better and retain more when they are active through inquiry, investigation, and application. A Framework for K-12 Science Education (2011) notes, “…learning about science and engineering involves integration of the knowledge of scientific explanations (i.e., content knowledge) and the practices needed to engage in scientific inquiry and engineering design. Thus the framework seeks to illustrate how knowledge and practice must be intertwined in designing learning experiences in K-12 Science Education” (pg. 11).

Many middle school teachers in KCUSD are facing challenges as they begin implementing these student-driven, inquiry-based NGSS science experiences in their classrooms. First, many of the middle school classrooms at our K-8 school sites are not designed as science labs. Learn More…

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Written by NGSS Early Implementer

NGSS Early Implementer

In 2015 CSTA began to publish a series of articles written by teachers participating in the NGSS Early Implementation Initiative. This article was written by an educator(s) participating in the initiative. CSTA thanks them for their contributions and for sharing their experience with the science teaching community.

Celestial Highlights: May – July 2017

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

May Through July 2017 with Web Resources for the Solar Eclipse of August 21, 2017

by Robert C. Victor. Twilight sky maps by Robert D. Miller. Graphs of planet rising and setting times by Jeffrey L. Hunt.

In spring and summer 2017, Jupiter is the most prominent “star” in the evening sky, and Venus, even brighter, rules the morning. By mid-June, Saturn rises at a convenient evening hour, allowing both giant planets to be viewed well in early evening until Jupiter sinks low in late September. The Moon is always a crescent in its monthly encounters with Venus, but is full whenever it appears near Jupiter or Saturn in the eastern evening sky opposite the Sun. (In 2017, Full Moon is near Jupiter in April, Saturn in June.) At intervals of 27-28 days thereafter, the Moon appears at a progressively earlier phase at each pairing with the outer planet until its final conjunction, with Moon a thin crescent, low in the west at dusk. You’ll see many beautiful events by just following the Moon’s wanderings at dusk and dawn in the three months leading up to the solar eclipse. Learn More…

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Written by Robert Victor

Robert Victor

Robert C. Victor was Staff Astronomer at Abrams Planetarium, Michigan State University. He is now retired and enjoys providing skywatching opportunities for school children in and around Palm Springs, CA. Robert is a member of CSTA.