May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

Region 3 – Dispelling Myths and Misconceptions Regarding NGSS

Posted: Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

by Dean Gilbert

In order to clarify the ambiguities and misconceptions that may exist regarding the document, Next Generation Science Standards, I have developed this simple chart that lists what the NGSS is and is not.

What We Know NOW NGSS IS …

  • a document that describes the performance expected after instruction is complete.
  • the end summative assessment product for what all students should know and be able to do.
  • a document that lays a foundation for what all students need to know.
  • a state-led effort to develop a new set of science standards, managed by Achieve, Inc. and derived from the National Research Council document, A
  • Framework for K-12 Science Education:  Practices, Crosscutting Concepts and Core Ideas.”
  • a document designed to provide greater emphasis on depth over breadth in studying a subject.
  • a document that presents science as it is–a combination of what we know (disciplinary core ideas and cross cutting concepts) and how we know it (practices).

What We Still Do Not Know NGSS is NOT…

  • a scope and sequence for instruction.
  • a curriculum ready to be taught.
  • a document intended to limit how much science students are to learn.
  • a document that describes how to teach.

The timeline for California is as follows:

  • Public Testimonies:
    • April 30, 2013; 3-5pm- Santa Clara COE (Webinar)
    • April 30, 2013; 3-5pm- Orange County Dept. of Ed (Live onsite webinar)
    • May 2, 2013; 3-5pm- Riverside COE (Live public meeting)
  • State Superintendent of Public Instruction Torlakson- Presentation of new Science Content Standards for California to the State Board of Education (SBE)- July 2013.
  • SBE has until November 2013 to adopt, modify, or reject

If adopted (with or without modification) the next steps:

There is current legislation (SB300- Hancock, for the development of a new Science Framework to begin February 2014 and finalized by December 2015.  If legislation is approved, CDE will solicit writers for a new California Science Curriculum Framework; this is the document that will CLEARLY guide the development of curricula and instructional resources, assessment plans, guidance for professional development programs, in-service, pre-service and teacher licensing standards, and criteria for adoption of instructional materials…our “HOW TO IMPLEMENT” Guide.

As for Instructional Materials, we will not see new instructional materials up for adoption until January 2018 (based on our current timeline.)

There is also pending legislation to suspend API and testing for non-ESEA courses (i.e., Science, History/Social Science) for 2014.  Any ESEA testing (science elementary, middle and high school–or our 5th, 8th and 10th grade science tests) stays until ESEA is re-authorized or goes away.  End of course exams at the high school in science are not part of ESEA, and therefore those go away if the legislation is passed.

So…My advice to you- RELAX, TAKE A BREATH!  The adoption-awareness -transition-implementation-evaluation process will be a long journey.  I truly believe our Science leaders at the state level are firmly grounded and focused on the development of a quality, hands-on K-12 science program for all our children of California.

Some additional web resources:

Superintendent Torlakson’s  Assessment Recommendations regarding science.  AB 484 (Bonilla) http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/postquery?bill_number=ab_484&sess=CUR&house=B&author=bonilla which is still in legislation, and has not been signed into law, addresses most of his recommendations from page 48 in the document, Recommendations for Transitioning California to a Future Assessment System.

SB 300 (Chaptered) – New Science Standards

http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/11-12/bill/sen/sb_0251-0300/sb_300_bill_20111008_chaptered.html

SB 300 Current Session/Proposed legislation

http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/postquery?bill_number=sb_300&sess=CUR&house=B&author=hancock

Written by Dean Gilbert

Dean Gilbert

Dean Gilbert is the science coordinator for the Orange County Department of Education, and a member of 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.