Primary Science, Common Core, and NGSS
Posted: Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014
by Valerie Joyner and Michelle French
With special thanks to the Tulare County of Office of Education and the K-12 Alliance
Spring is here! And with it comes many opportunities for adding science and NGSS to your Common Core Curriculum! As flowers bloom, snails and spittle bugs emerge, and creeks flow, look around your school and home for science opportunities for your students to explore. It might take some digging or turning rocks over (don’t forget to put them back) and you have instant enthusiasm for a new primary science lesson! Remember, the focus for K-2 science is: choose ideas about phenomena that students can directly experience and investigate (adapted from A Framework for K-12 Science Education 2012).
To get started, look through your ELA and math CCSS to see what you still need to cover this year. It might be strengthening your students reading for understanding, engaging in argument, graphing, or descriptive writing. Then identify and highlight any standards or curriculum materials that could be taught through science. Look closely at the texts and/or trade books your students will be working with and determine what local flora or fauna you could use to integrate into your curriculum.
Let’s say for example your students will be reading “Earthworms Underground” by Kevin Beals, “An Earthworm’s Life”, by Himmelman, or “Diary of a Worm” by Doreen Cronin and Harry Bliss. This is the perfect time to allow students to make first hand observations and experiences that they can use to strengthen their reading, writing, listening, and oral language skills.
Material You Will Need:
- Collect or buy earthworms (available at your local bait shops) – 2-3 for each pair of students
- Small 3-4” containers – 1 for each pair of students
- Roll of paper towels
- Water to moisten towels and clean up
Before you begin an earthworm observation ask students to share with each other what they know and wonder about worms. You can use a sentence frame like: “I know that worms are/have _______________________________.” And “I wonder if worms are/have _______________.” Record ideas on chart paper.
Set-up: Place 2-3 worms in a small dish, one for each pair of students. Moisten paper towels for students to place on work areas for observing their worms. Have clean-up materials ready.
Part #1 – Observation
- Start the observation with a discussion about how to safely and responsibly handle earthworms.
- Explain to the students that they will be observing the structures and behaviors of earthworms. Instruct them to record 1-3 things they observe in their science notebook.
- Distribute worms and paper towels and allow time for students to observe and record (or dictate) their observations.
- Ask students to share their observations about the structures and behaviors of their worms. Compare their observations with the “I Know and I Wonder” chart. This is an excellent time to check for misconceptions and to allow students to increase their reading and oral vocabulary. Common Core!
Part #2 – Guided Reading
Using Text Features – identify the vocabulary words from the chart that are words in the Glossary, read the definitions of the words noted on the chart. Next ask students which words from our chart are missing from this glossary? Make notations on chart. Then ask students to think about this question: “If you were the author, what word(s) from the chart would you add to the Glossary? “I would add the word ___________________, because _____________.”
Reading for Understanding – Choral Reading, questions to ask during reading (depending on text).
- What structures do earthworms have that help it live underground?
- What is an adaptation that allows earthworms to survive?
- How do earthworms protect themselves from sunlight?
- What structures do other animals have that live underground?
Engaging in Argument – partners and then whole group
- Discuss with your partner how earthworms protect themselves. “Earthworms protect themselves by ____________________________.”
- Whole group – “From your observations and readings, what new information can we add to the chart?
- Draw a picture of a worm in its underground habitat. Include at least 1 predator that shares its habitat.
- Explain how the earthworm protects itself from these predators. Write in complete sentences.
- Have students share out their pictures and writing (dictation).
Observing – Have students observe other local animals and record their observations.
Comparing – Have students, work with partners to compare and contrast the structures and behaviors of the animals they have observed
Designing (NGSS) – Identify a problem a worm or other animal has, brainstorm possible solutions, make a plan with drawings and materials, create a model and test it, and then discuss what didn’t work and modify and improve your original design. Finally retest and modify.
National Research Council (NRC).2012. A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Cross-Cutting Concepts, and Core Ideas. Washington, D.C: National Academies Press
NGSS Lead States. 2013. Next Generation Science Standards: For States, By States. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
- Earthworms Underground, by Kevin Beals (2007) available through the Lawrence Hall of Science at the Discovery Corner Store or Seeds of Science Roots of Reading.
- An Earthworm’s Life, by Himmelman, (2001)
- Wiggling Worms at Work (Let’s-Read-and-Find-out Science 2) by Wendy Pfeffer and Steve Jenkins (2003)
- Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin and Harry Bliss (2003)
- Worms Eat our Garbage: Classroom Activities for a Better Environment, by Applehof and Harris, (1993)
Posted: Saturday, January 14th, 2017
The Council of Math/Science Educators of San Mateo County will be hosting the 41st annual STEM Conference this February 4, 2017 at the San Mateo County Office of Education. This STEM Conference is the place to get lots of new lessons and ideas to use in your classroom. There will be over twenty-five workshops and a variety of exhibitors that provide participants with a wide range of practical and realistic ideas and resources to use in their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs from Pre-K to grade 12. With California’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards, we are dedicated to ensuring that we prepare our teachers to take on these educational policies.
Teachers, administrators and parents are invited to explore the many exciting aspects of STEM education and learn about and discuss the latest news, information and issues. This is also an opportunity to network with colleagues who can assist you in building your programs and meet new friends that share your interests and love of teaching.
Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017
What follows are several opportunities for science teachers to work with the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) on various projects that have direct or indirect implications for the implementation of NGSS in California. Please consider applying to one or more of the following opportunities.
CSET Field Testing Opportunities
Field testing opportunities for future CSET Multiple Subjects and Science tests are available beginning Dec. 5, 2016. Participants will have the choice between a $50 Barnes and Noble eGift Card or a $75 test fee voucher that may be applied to future test registration fees. For more information, including how to register to participate, please visit: http://www.pearsonvue.com/espilot/cset.asp. Learn More…
Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017
Achieve has launched and is facilitating an EQuIP Peer Review Panel for Science–a group of expert reviewers who will evaluate the quality and alignment of lessons and units to the standards–in an effort to identify and shine a spotlight on emerging high-quality lesson and unit plans designed for the NGSS.
If you or your state, district, school, or organization has designed NGSS-aligned instructional materials, please consider submitting these in order to help provide educators across the country with various models and templates of high-quality lesson and unit plans. Learn More…
Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017
An upcoming Perry Outreach Program on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at the Orthopaedic Institute for Children in Los Angeles, CA. The Perry Outreach Program is a free, one-day, hands-on experience for high school and college-aged women who are interested in pursuing careers in medicine and engineering. Students will hear from women leaders in these fields and try it for themselves by performing mock orthopaedic surgeries and biomechanics experiments. Learn More…
Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017
by Jessica Sawko
January 2017 has proven to be a very busy month for science education policy and CA NGSS implementation activities. CSTA has been and will be there every step of the way, seeking and enacting all options to support high-quality science education and the successful implementation of CA NGSS.
California Department of Education/U.S. Department of Education Science Double-Testing Waiver Hearing
The year started with California Department of Education’s (CDE) hearing with the U.S. Department of Education conducted via WebEx on January 6, 2017. This hearing was the final step in California’s efforts to secure a waiver from the federal government in order to discontinue administration of the old CST and suspension of the reporting of student test scores on a science assessment for two years. As reported by EdSource, the U.S. Department of Education representative, Ann Whalen, a senior adviser to U.S. Secretary John King Jr., committed to making her final ruling “very shortly.” Deputy Superintendent Keric Ashley presented on behalf of CDE during the hearing and did an excellent job describing the broad-based support for this waiver in California, the rationale for the waiver, and California’s commitment to the successful implementation of a new high-quality science assessment. As previously reported, California is moving forward with its plans to administer a census pilot assessments this spring. The testing window is set to open on March 20, 2017. For more information visit New CA Science Test: What You Should Know.