May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7


Free Resources    Teacher Opportunities    Awards and Competitions for Students         Awards and Grants for Teachers

Free Resources

Lessons Learned from the NGSS Early Implementer Districts – Achieve interviewed nine of the ten districts participating in the California K-8 Early Implementation Initiative and wrote about their experience transitioning to the NGSS in two critical implementation areas: professional learning and instructional materials.

  • Professional Learning for NGSS Lessons Learned addresses the different formats and audiences for professional learning districts used, the content and design of the professional learning for both teachers and administrators, and criteria for selecting or designing professional learning programs.
  • Instructional Materials for NGSS Lessons Learned addresses the different approaches to transitioning instructional materials while implementing the NGSS, criteria for instructional materials, and includes example materials and student work.

Web Seminar: How Do I Select Phenomena to Motivate Student Sense Making? Tricia Shelton and Ted Willard recorded a presentation about three-dimensional teaching and learning and the explanation of phenomena, how to choose phenomena for the classroom, and how to encourage students to actually make sense of them. View a recording of the seminar here.

Web Seminar: How Do I Promote Student Modeling?

Cynthia Passmore and Jennifer Horton recorded a presentation about how three-dimensional teaching and learning features a shift in focus from having students learn about science to figuring out phenomena. See you how to foster modeling in your classroom. View a recording of the seminar here.

CAST Assessment Resources from CDE

The updated flyer “CAST Pilot: New Resources” is now available and includes a hyperlink to the training test and the science tools that are available as a universal tool for students taking the CAST.

Also available is the CAST Accessibility Guidelines Report, which

  • documents the process that the California Department of Education (CDE) and Educational Testing Service used to determine the appropriate supports for students taking a statewide science assessment;
  • provides information on embedded and non-embedded accessibility supports (i.e., universal tools, designated supports, and accommodations) that will be available for the operational CAST in 2019; and
  • provides recommendations for the use of accessibility supports.

NGSS Instructional Materials and Lesson Review Tools

Taken together, these resources and others serve to illustrate some important features of NGSS-aligned instructional materials and highlight some of the common ideas and frequently asked questions that emerge regarding classroom activities.

Professional Development for Science Assessment

To support educators during their development of new, three-dimensional formative assessments aligned to the NGSS, open educational resources (OER) have been developed as part of a new collaboration called the Advancing Coherent and Equitable Systems of Science Education (ACESSE, or “access”) project.

The ACESSE project is a partnership between the Council of State Science Supervisors, Colorado Boulder University, and the University of Washington. The group has created two hour-long, web-based professional development sessions which include:

The partner organizations encourage educators to both share the resources with their networks, including in a smaller professional learning community, and customize the resources to suit individual school or district needs. More information is available on the STEM Teaching Tools website and the OER Commons platform.

NGSS Example Bundles 

The Example Bundles (formerly known as the Model Content Frameworks for Science) will show samples of ways to bundle the NGSS within a school year. “Bundling” is an important strategy for implementing standards, as it brings coherence to instruction and greatly reduces the amount of instructional time necessary.

In June, Achieve released the first set of Example Bundles which featured the following resources:

  • Kindergarten Bundles (Thematic Model and Topics Model)
  • Middle School Course I Models (Phenomenon and Topics Model)
  • High School Course I Models (Conceptual Progressions Model and Domains Model – Chemistry)
  • NGSS Example Bundles Guide

In August, Achieve released the second set of bundles which highlight the following resources:

  • 1st Grade Bundles (Thematic Model and Topics Model)
  • 4th Grade Bundles (Thematic Model and Topics Model)
  • High School Course II Models (Conceptual Progressions Model and Domains Model – Physics)

In October, Achieve released the third set of bundles:

  • 3rd Grade Bundles (Thematic Model and Topics Model)
  • Middle School Course II Models (Phenomenon Model and Topics Model)
  • High School Course III Models (Conceptual Progressions Model and Domains Model-Biology)

All of the currently available NGSS Example Bundle resources can be viewed here.

The remaining sets of example bundles will be released in coming months and will ultimately cover all grade levels. This rollout will help ensure that curriculum developers for science, including educators and commercial publishers, have a broad set of examples to consider in preparation for the 2016-17 school year.

CREEC Network Newsletters
CREEC publishes a Statewide e-Newsletter (10 issues per year), and local regional Newsletters (4 issues, Quarterly). You may choose from Statewide and/or Local Newsletters, sent directly to your inbox!  CREEC will, on occasion, send you email announcements regarding time-sensitive opportunities (no more than once per week).  Archives and a newsletter sign-up form are available online.

CSTA Facebook Pages
These groups are active and exclusive to educators that meet those descriptors. Ask questions, share resources, get answers – join today!

To join a group, please submit a request on that page:

NGSS Rollouts 1 & 2 Presentation Materials
You can find all the materials from the first and second phases of the NGSS Rollouts on the CA NGSS My Digital Chalkboard reference page. These materials are intended to be used for further local training and development. Educators are strongly encouraged to attend a Rollout training before using the posted materials to develop instructional activities or deliver training.

NGSS Classroom Sample Tasks
The Classroom Sample Tasks blend content, practices, and concepts from both the NGSS and the Common Core State Standards. Teachers across the disciplines have collaborated to write sample tasks, which are the result of a vision of integrating science, engineering, and mathematics for classroom use.

Currently, nine draft middle and high school tasks are available below. Additional tasks, including those for elementary grade levels, will be added as they become available. Educators are encouraged to modify these tasks for their needs and to let us know how they can be improved (via the website contact form).  It important to note that these tasks are drafts and that they will be revised as we receive feedback from users.

NGSS Frequently Asked Questions by CDE
CDE has compiled a comprehensive FAQ site around the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for California.

Digital Chalkboard
The Digital Chalkboard replaces the Brokers of Expertise Web site. The portal now has more than 400,000 digital resources, including training modules and videos, model lesson plans, and researched-based data. Teachers can also use the Web site to join discussion groups where they can share success stories and help each other improve their teaching. It is faster and easier to navigate and provides more assistance to teachers.

Check out the California Common Core State Standards: Professional Learning Modules: Literacy in Science. Not only is the content great, the module features many CSTA members!

Teacher Opportunities

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

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:

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

PD for Middle and High School Science Educators @ UC Davis

FREE summer workshop on the UC Davis campus – Arctic Plant Phenology, Learning through Engaged Science – APPLES will run June 26 – June 29, 2017. $500 stipend to participating teachers. Application deadline has been extended to May 15, 2017. You can find more info here as well as the application process  and here you can easily download our flyer

Teachers will have the opportunity to engage and collaborate with leading polar research scientists and science educators. You will spend 4 days at the University of California, Davis learning about the study of phenology – the seasonal dynamics of plants and animals ‐ in the Arctic to understand ecological impacts of climate change. Focusing on the 3‐dimensions of NGSS, you will engage in inquiry‐based activities that replicate approaches used by scientists in investigating key environmental processes linked to species survival. With support from the APPLES team, you will develop a research project to implement with your students in the 2017‐2018 academic year. The classroom research project will incorporate concepts from the workshop, arctic data collected by Dr. Eric Post and students, and methodology and equipment (experimental warming chamber, plant phenology camera ) used by researchers.

The Forestry Institute for Teachers is professional development that provides cross-curriculum (Math, Language Arts, Science, History, etc.) training that emphasizes and models Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards while examining current forestry issues. Applications for participation are now being accepted for June 11 – 17, Plumas County; June 18 – 24, Tuolumne County; July 2 – 8, Shasta County; and July 9 – 15, Humboldt County. Visit for more information.

Presidential Awards for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching Call for Reviewers

The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) are the highest honors bestowed by the United States Government specifically for K-12 mathematics and science teaching. Awardees serve as models for their colleagues, inspiration to their communities, and leaders in the improvement of mathematics and science education. Since 1983, more than 4,700 teachers have been recognized for their contributions in the classroom, to their profession, and to mathematics and science education.

Presidential Awardees receive a citation signed by the President of the United States, a trip for two to Washington, D.C. to attend a series of recognition events and professional development opportunities and a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation.

The California Department of Education is now seeking reviewers!

– Science educators from Institutions of Higher Education
– County Administrators with a background in Science
– District Administrators with a background in Science
– Past PAEMST Science Awardees
– Past PAEMST Science Finalists

– Engage in unique Professional Learning
– Expand your network of science educators
– Recognize fellow Science educators
– Join meetings and complete reviews online
– Complete reviews in less than one month (May 2017)

If you are interested in becoming a reviewer, email


Bring Kennedy Space Center into any classroom with Kennedy Online Outreach & Learning (KOOL) Science. A distance learning studio with state-of-the-art multimedia technology, KOOL Science brings live video conferencing to the classroom with an expert educator. Each hands-on lesson addresses National Standards in science, technology and mathematics and specifically relates to NASA missions. Geared toward students in grades 5-8, lessons can be modified for students in grades 3-9. Inspire students with a pre-recorded presentation by an astronaut that can be added on to any lesson.

Topics include:

  • Let It Glo! Parts 1 and 2 explores photoluminescence, electroluminescence, chemiluminescence and bioluminescence.
  • Get Moving Parts 1 and 2 explores Newton’s Laws of Motion.
  • Survivor: SPACE investigates three challenges that astronauts face when living in a microgravity environment such as the International Space Station.
  • It’s Only a Phase introduces students to the relationships of the Earth, moon and sun.
  • Meet a Smee programs give students and teachers an opportunity to talk with a subject matter expert (SME) in space-related fields.
  • Virtual Visit takes students on a guided tour of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, using video clips and chroma-key technology to bring the visitor complex into the classroom.

Lessons also contain a teacher’s guide with material lists, objectives, evaluation tools, extension activities and more.

To learn more, call 1.855.433.4210 daily 8 am – 6 pm EST.

Opportunities to Participate in the Redevelopment of the Commission’s Teaching Performance Assessment (CalTPA)

The Commission is seeking current California teachers, practicing TK-12 school administrators, educators who help prepare and/or mentor beginning teachers, and teacher preparation program faculty to participate in the upcoming pilot testing, field testing, scoring, and standard setting study for the Commission’s model Teaching Performance Assessment (CalTPA) currently under redevelopment. It is anticipated that pilot testing will take place during 2016-17, with field testing and the standard setting study taking place during 2017-18. Scoring opportunities will be available both years. The Commission’s Executive Director recently appointed 20 members to a California Design Team to work with Commission staff and its technical contractor, Evaluation Systems group of Pearson, to redevelop the CalTPA. The continuing involvement of California educators as the CalTPA is redeveloped will help ensure that candidates have the appropriate knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to perform the job of a beginning California teacher. If you are interested in finding out more about participating in the pilot test, field test, scoring, and/or standard setting activities for the CalTPA, please contact Evaluation Systems at

Apply to Participate in CA NGSS Assessment Development
Educational Testing Services (ETS) is soliciting applications for content reviewers for the new CA NGSS assessment and alternate assessment. Apply today:

Association of American Educators Foundation Classroom Grant Application
Classroom grants can be used for a variety of projects and materials, including but not limited to books, software, calculators, math manipulatives, art supplies, audio-visual equipment, and lab materials. The number of classroom grants awarded will depend on the total number of applicants. Grants are available for up to $500. Funds must be used within one year of the application deadline. Due: October 1st and March 1st each year.





An abundance of additional resources can be found on the CSTA website at