January/February 2018 – Vol. 31 No. 2

Finding My Way Down the NGSS Path – One Step at a Time

Posted: Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

by Lisa Hegdahl

I want to preface this article by saying that I am a proud member of the CSTA Board Directors. I am also an 8th grade science teacher and have been for the past 23 years. While I am excited about the changes coming with the Next Generation of Science Standards, I am also asking many of the same questions as other middle school teachers: What will NGSS look like in my classroom when it is fully implemented? How do I prepare for the NGSS Performance Expectations I have not taught before? What will the assessment look like? And, just like other middle school teachers, I don’t have all the answers to all the questions, but I do know that there is a great deal of support available as we implement the new standards together. CSTA will continue to be an irreplaceable source of information as implementation continues, as will all the organizations with which CSTA works. Teachers will not have to figure out how to implement the NGSS alone.

After my school’s science department chose the preferred NGSS Integrated Learning Progression Model for middle grades, I had to answer the question – Where do I start? The only reasonable answer for any of us is – I started where I was. I was currently teaching the old California Science Content Standard for 8th Grade on Forces – specifically, friction. I wanted to begin turning from the path of my former teaching practices onto the new NGSS path.

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Small steps I took to steer me towards NGSS:

1. Let the students make their own “aha!” moments – Rich Hedman, Director of the Center for Mathematics and Science Education and Co-Director of the Sacramento Area Science Project, gave me this good advice.

2. Adjust the lesson so the students base their conclusions on collected data.

3. Allow students to create their own investigation.

4. Provide students time to collaborate with each other.

5. Give yourself permission to make mistakes while learning to implement the NGSS. Every time we incorporate a piece of the NGSS, we will learn something in the process.

The Old Lab

In the old friction lab, students groups of two have a folder that contains three surfaces – a piece of cloth, a sheet of coarse sandpaper, and crinkled construction paper. The fourth surface is their desktop. The lab sheet’s procedure explains how students will use a spring scale to drag a mass across each surface at a constant speed of approximately two inches per second. Students record the data in a table and answer the follow up questions in the conclusion section. Ultimately, they write a few sentences explaining their understanding about how surfaces affect the amount of force required to move an object.

The New Lab

Students are told that they work for a Fortune 500 company that has been hired to make a recommendation on the best flooring for a company. Before a recommendation can be made, students need to design and carry out an investigation that will generate data to assist them in making the recommendation. The flooring should be safe for people to walk on and still be suitable for pulling massive containers across it on a regular basis. Their final report should be written to the CEO of the company and include:

      • A description of the steps used to conduct the investigation
      • Data displayed in a table, graph, or chart
      • Interpretation of the data
      • The recommendation of which flooring the company should use
      • The reason behind the recommendation

Collaborative groups of four conduct the investigation and have access to the materials and their colleagues for 30 minutes. At the end of that time, they return to their ‘office cubicle’ where they finish their individual report. The time limit is to ensure students are efficient when working with their teammates.

The best part of the new lab was the conversations I heard among students. They discussed the most appropriate techniques for testing the surfaces, deliberated what the data indicated, and argued about how to compose a comprehensible letter to the CEO. Participating in a task that had a clear purpose kept the students engaged from beginning to end.

If I do this lab again, I will have student groups share the data they collect with the entire class and look for patterns. The class will use the patterns to predict the amount of force needed to move an object across an unfamiliar surface. While this year the students used the materials from the old lab, I will invest in real flooring materials or seek out donations for them.

In the end, I met all of my goals for my first attempt at transitioning to NGSS. My students came to their own “aha!” moments about the relationship between surfaces and the force required to move objects across them; their acquired knowledge was based on data they gathered; they designed and carried out their own investigation; they collaborated to come up with the best way to accomplish the task; I allowed myself to try the lab, and even though it was not perfect, I noted areas in need of improvement and I will carry those insights into the next activity.

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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 Past-President of CSTA.

2 Responses

  1. This is a very clear example of how science education is changing. You entry has helped to to understand the change in perspective and emphasis. Thanks. I teach Science for Grades 1-6, let me know if you can connect me with others with great ideas.

  2. Janette,
    I encourage you to consider joining our Facebook group for elementary science educators: https://www.facebook.com/groups/515472468554988/. The group just started a month ago and already has 30+ members.

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LATEST POST

California Science Test Academy for Educators

Posted: Thursday, February 15th, 2018

California Science Test Academy for Educators

To support implementation of the California Science Test (CAST), the California Department of Education is partnering with Educational Testing Service and WestEd to offer a one-day CAST Academy for local educational agency (LEA) science educators, to be presented at three locations in California from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. As an alternative to traveling, LEA teams can participate virtually via WebEx on one of the dates listed below.

The dates and locations for the CAST Academy are as follows:

  • Monday, April 23, 2018—Sacramento
  • Wednesday, April 25, 2018—Fresno
  • Thursday, April 26, 2018—Irvine

The CAST Academy will help participants develop a deeper understanding of the assessment design and expectations of the CAST. The academy also will provide information and activities designed to assist educators in their implementation of the California Next Generation Science Standards and three-dimensional learning to help them gain an understanding of how these new science assessment item types can inform teaching and learning. The CAST Academy dates above are intended for school and district science instructional leaders, including teacher leaders, teacher trainers, and instructional coaches. Additional trainings will be offered at a later date specifically for county staff. In addition, curriculum, professional development, and assessment leaders would benefit from this training.

A $100 registration fee will be charged for each person attending the in-person training. Each virtual team participating via WebEx will be charged $100 for up to 10 participants through one access point. Each workshop will have the capacity to accommodate a maximum of 50 virtual teams. Each virtual team will need to designate a lead, who is responsible for organizing the group locally. Registration and payment must be completed online at http://www.cvent.com/d/6tqg8k.

For more information regarding the CAST Academy, please contact Elizabeth Dilke, Program Coordinator, Educational Testing Service, by phone at 916-403-2407 or by e‑mail at caasppworkshops@ets.org.

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.

Accelerating into NGSS – A Statewide Rollout Series Now Accepting Registrations

Posted: Friday, January 19th, 2018

Are you feeling behind on the implementation of NGSS? Then Accelerating into NGSS – the Statewide Rollout event – is right for you!

WHO SHOULD ATTEND
If you have not experienced Phases 1-4 of the Statewide Rollout, or are feeling behind with the implementation of NGSS, the Accelerating Into NGSS Statewide Rollout will provide you with the greatest hits from Phases 1-4!

OVERVIEW
Accelerating Into NGSS Statewide Rollout is a two-day training geared toward grade K-12 academic coaches, administrators, curriculum leads, and teacher leaders. Check-in for the two-day rollout begins at 7:30 a.m., followed by a continental breakfast. Sessions run from 8:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. on Day One and from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Day Two.

Cost of training is $250 per attendee. Fee includes all materials, continental breakfast, and lunch on both days. It is recommended that districts send teams of four to six, which include at least one administrator. Payment can be made by check or credit card. If paying by check, registration is NOT complete until payment has been received. All payments must be received prior to the Rollout location date you are attending. Paying by credit card secures your seat at time of registration. No purchase orders accepted. No participant cancellation refunds.

For questions or more information, please contact Amy Kennedy at akennedy@sjcoe.net or (209) 468-9027.

REGISTER

http://bit.ly/ACCELERATINGINTONGSS

DATES & LOCATIONS
MARCH 28-29, 2018
Host: San Mateo County Office of Education
Location: San Mateo County Office of Education, Redwood City

APRIL 10-11, 2018
Host: Orange County Office of Education
Location: Brandman University, Irvine

MAY 1-2, 2018
Host: Tulare County Office of Education
Location: Tulare County Office of Education, Visalia

MAY 3-4, 2018
Host: San Bernardino Superintendent of Schools
Location: West End Educational Service Center, Rancho Cucamonga

MAY 7-8, 2018
Host: Sacramento County Office of Education
Location: Sacramento County Office of Education Conference Center and David P. Meaney Education Center, Mather

JUNE 14-15, 2018
Host: Imperial County Office of Education
Location: Imperial Valley College, Imperial

Presented by the California Department of Education, California County Superintendents Educational Services Association/County Offices of Education, K-12 Alliance @WestEd, California Science Project, and the California Science Teachers Association.

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.

The Teaching and Learning Collaborative, Reflections from an Administrator

Posted: Friday, January 19th, 2018

by Kelly Patchen

My name is Mrs. Kelly Patchen, and I am proud to be an elementary assistant principal working in the Tracy Unified School District (TUSD) at Louis Bohn and McKinley Elementary Schools. Each of the schools I support are Title I K-5 schools with about 450 students, a diverse student population, a high percentage of English Language Learners, and students living in poverty. We’re also lucky to be part of the CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative with the K-12 Alliance. 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 California NGSS k-8 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.

2018 CSTA Conference Call for Proposals

Posted: Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

CSTA is pleased to announce that we are now accepting proposals for 90-minute workshops and three- and six-hour short courses for the 2018 California Science Education Conference. Workshops and short courses make up the bulk of the content and professional learning opportunities available at the conference. In recognition of their contribution, members who present a workshop or short course receive 50% off of their registration fees. Click for more information regarding proposals, or submit one today by following the links below.

Short Course Proposal

Workshop Proposal 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.

CSTA’s New Administrator Facebook Group Page

Posted: Monday, January 15th, 2018

by Holly Steele

The California Science Teachers Association’s mission is to promote high-quality science education, and one of the best practice’s we use to fulfill that mission is through the use of our Facebook group pages. CSTA hosts several closed and moderated Facebook group pages for specific grade levels, (Elementary, Middle, and High School), pages for district coaches and science education faculty, and the official CSTA Facebook page. These pages serve as an online resource for teachers and coaches to exchange teaching methods, materials, staying update on science events in California and asking questions. CSTA is happy to announce the creation of a 6th group page called, California Administrators Supporting Science. Learn More…

Written by Guest Contributor

From time to time CSTA receives contributions from guest contributors. The opinions and views expressed by these contributors are not necessarily those of CSTA. By publishing these articles CSTA does not make any endorsements or statements of support of the author or their contribution, either explicit or implicit. All links to outside sources are subject to CSTA’s Disclaimer Policy: http://www.classroomscience.org/disclaimer.