January/February 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 4

Back to School with NGSS

Posted: Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

by Peter A’Hearn

Collecting data on mealworm habitat preference.

Collecting data on mealworm habitat preference.

This month the theme for California Classroom Science is  “Back to School.” But what about the standards you are teaching as you return to your classroom this fall?  We are still responsible for the 1998 California Science Standards, while we are also expected to start addressing the Common Core in English and Math and many of us are already anticipating the Next Generation Science Standards  (NGSS) and the changes in science learning that they will create.


 

Modeling erosion with a stream table.

Modeling erosion with a stream table.

Looking back at what I have written about the NGSS over the past year and a half, there are plenty of ways to start your school year with more NGSS in mind while still meeting the demands of the current standards and preparing kids for the CSTs (whichever ones may or may not be given). Here are some ideas to get you started:

Comparing the model to the real thing on a field trip.

Comparing the model to the real thing on a field trip.

    • Read the NGSS for your grade level and subject and the Framework for K-12 Science Education on which they are based. Understand how core ideas, practices, and crosscutting concepts are related.
    • Think carefully about which content you can cut so that you can provide more depth and focus on science practices while addressing the content that your students will be tested on.
    • Include career readiness in your units – who uses this science in the work place? Who needs to be able to use these science practices? Bring in guest speakers or Skype with them.
Engineering wind turbines.

Engineering wind turbines.

    • Use science fair as an opportunity to dive deep into the science practices and the Common Core. If you teach primary, consider doing a whole class project- there is lots of opportunity for reading expository text and writing based on evidence.
A proposed solution for a water filter.

A proposed solution for a water filter.

    • Look closely at the practices, especially those that are new compared to the current standards. Use multiple kinds of models to help understand concepts (physical, conceptual, scale, mathematical) and help your students be critical of their strengths and weaknesses. Compare your models to the real thing!
    • Engage in argument from evidence.  Read and write like a scientist and use multiple sources instead of just your text.
    • Get started with engineering where it connects to your content.
    • Start to think about which crosscutting concepts fit your unit best and about how to include them in your teaching. Go to http://crosscutsymbols.weebly.com/ for ideas.
  • Get outside and collect data!
Collecting insect population data with pit traps and transects.

Collecting insect population data with pit traps and transects.

Enjoy the new school year and the adventures in science it will bring!

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the K-12 science specialist in the Palm Springs Unified School District and is Region 4 Director for CSTA.

One Response

  1. Great advice Pete!
    Thank you for including the links.

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STEM Conference Hosted by CMSESMC

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. Register online today!

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.

Submit Your NGSS Lessons and Units Today!

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

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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…

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.

Opportunity for High School Students – Los Angeles County

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…

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.

Science Education Policy Update

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.

Learn More…

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.

NSTA Los Angeles Conference Features Many CA Science Leaders

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.