July/August 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 8

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.

SAMPLE ACTIVITY

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

ENGAGE

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.

EXPLORE:

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

  1. Start the observation with a discussion about how to safely and responsibly handle earthworms.
  2. 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.
  3. Distribute worms and paper towels and allow time for students to observe and record (or dictate) their observations.
  4. 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?

EXPLAIN:

Notebook entry

  1. Draw a picture of a worm in its underground habitat.  Include at least 1 predator that shares its habitat.
  2. Explain how the earthworm protects itself from these predators.  Write in complete sentences.
  3. Have students share out their pictures and writing (dictation).

EXTEND:

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.

References:

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.

Resources:

 

Written by Valerie Joyner

Valerie Joyner

Valerie Joyner is a retired elementary science educator and is a member of CSTA.

One Response

  1. […] to get started? Here’s a great K-2 observation and critical thinking lesson on earthworms (and the district elementary libraries have lots of books about earthworms you can use […]

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LATEST POST

CTC Seeking Educators for Science Standard Setting Conference

Posted: Wednesday, August 16th, 2017

The Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) and Evaluation Systems group of Pearson are currently seeking California science educators to participate in a Science Standard Setting Conference for the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) program. Each standard setting panel is scheduled to meet for one-day, in Sacramento, California. The fields and dates are listed below:

Multiple Subjects Subtest II (Science), Monday, October 2, 2017
Science Subtest II: Physics, Monday, October 2, 2017
Science Subtest II: Chemistry, Tuesday, October 3, 2017
Science Subtest II: Life Sciences, Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Science Subtest II: Earth and Space Sciences, Thursday, October 5, 2017
Science Subtest I: General Science, Friday, October 6, 2017

The purpose of the conference is for panel members to make recommendations that will be used, in part, by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) in setting the passing standard, for each field, in support of the updated California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET).

Click here to nominate educators. If you are interested in participating yourself, complete an application here for consideration.

Eligibility:

Public school educators who are:

• Certified in California
• Currently practicing (or have practiced within the last school year) in one or more of the fields listed above. 

College faculty who are:

• Teacher preparation personnel (including education faculty and arts and sciences faculty)
• Practicing (or have practiced within the last school year) in one or more of the fields listed above, and
• Preparing teacher candidates in an approved California teacher preparation program.

 Benefits of Participation Include:
• Receive substitute reimbursement for their school (public school educators only),
• Have the opportunity to make a difference in California teacher development and performance,
• Have the opportunity for professional growth and collaboration with educators in their field,
• Be reimbursed for their travel and meal expenses, and
• Be provided with hotel accommodations, if necessary.

For more information, visit their website at www.carecruit.nesinc.com/cset/index.asp

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 Annual Conference Early Bird Rates End July 14

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

Teachers engaged in workshop activity

Teachers engaging in hands-on learning during a workshop at the 2016 CSTA conference.

Don’t miss your chance to register at the early bird rate for the 2017 CSTA Conference – the early-bird rate closes July 14. Need ideas on how to secure funding for your participation? Visit our website for suggestions, a budget planning tool, and downloadable justification letter to share with your admin. Want to take advantage of the early rate – but know your district will pay eventually? Register online today and CSTA will reimburse you when we receive payment from your district/employer. (For more information on how that works contact Zi Stair in the office for details – 916-979-7004 or zi@cascience.org.)

New Information Now Available On-line:

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.

Goodbye Outgoing and Welcome Incoming CSTA Board Members

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Jill Grace

Jill Grace, CSTA President, 2017-2019

On July 1, 2017 five CSTA members concluded their service and four new board members joined the ranks of the CSTA Board of Directors. CSTA is so grateful for all the volunteer board of directors who contribute hours upon hours of time and energy to advance the work of the association. At the June 3 board meeting, CSTA was able to say goodbye to the outgoing board members and welcome the incoming members.

This new year also brings with it a new president for CSTA. As of July 1, 2017 Jill Grace is the president of the California Science Teachers Association. Jill is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach, a former middle school science teacher, and is currently a Regional Director with the K-12 Alliance @ WestEd where she works with California NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative districts and charter networks in the San Diego area.

Outgoing Board Members

  • Laura Henriques (President-Elect: 2011 – 2013, President: 2013 – 2015, Past President: 2015 – 2017)
  • Valerie Joyner (Region 1 Director: 2009 – 2013, Primary Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Mary Whaley (Informal Science Education Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Sue Campbell (Middle School/Jr. High Director: 2015 – 2017)
  • Marcus Tessier (2-Year College Director: 2015 – 2017)

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.

Finding My Student’s Motivation of Learning Through Engineering Tasks

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Huda Ali Gubary and Susheela Nath

It’s 8:02 and the bell rings. My students’ walk in and pick up an entry ticket based on yesterday’s lesson and homework. My countdown starts for students to begin…3, 2, 1. Ten students are on task and diligently completing the work, twenty are off task with behaviors ranging from talking up a storm with their neighbors to silently staring off into space. This was the start of my classes, more often than not. My students rarely showed the enthusiasm for a class that I had eagerly prepared for. I spent so much time searching for ways to get my students excited about the concepts they were learning. I wanted them to feel a connection to the lessons and come into my class motivated about what they were going to learn next. I would ask myself how I could make my class memorable where the kids were in the driver’s seat of learning. Incorporating engineering made this possible. 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.

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Unveils Updated Recommended Literature List

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson unveiled an addition of 285 award-winning titles to the Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list.

“The books our students read help broaden their perspectives, enhance their knowledge, and fire their imaginations,” Torlakson said. “The addition of these award-winning titles represents the state’s continued commitment to the interests and engagement of California’s young readers.”

The Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list is a collection of more than 8,000 titles of recommended reading for children and adolescents. Reflecting contemporary and classic titles, including California authors, this online list provides an exciting range of literature that students should be reading at school and for pleasure. Works include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama to provide for a variety of tastes, interests, and abilities. 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.