January/February 2018 – Vol. 31 No. 2

Tools for Creating NGSS Standards Based Lessons

Posted: Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

by Elizabeth Cooke

Think back on your own experiences with learning science in school. Were you required to memorize disjointed facts without understanding the concepts?

Science Education Background

In the past, science education focused on rote memorization and learning disjointed ideas. Elementary and secondary students in today’s science classes are fortunate now that science instruction has shifted from students demonstrating what they know to students demonstrating how they are able to apply their knowledge. Science education that reflects the Next Generation Science Standards challenges students to conduct investigations. As students explore phenomena and discrepant events they engage in academic discourse guided by focus questions from their teachers or student generated questions of that arise from analyzing data and creating and revising models that explain natural phenomena.

Science education now emphasizes three-dimensional instruction consisting of Crosscutting Concepts, Science and Engineering Practices, and Disciplinary Core Ideas. Many districts, including my own, are in the process of adopting curriculum materials from publishers that are specifically aligned to the NGSS Standards. Before this happens, teachers have to creatively adapt existing materials or craft lessons that reflect the Science Engineering Practices and Cross Cutting Concepts.

Our district has focused on the Science and Engineering Practices and Crosscutting Concepts and examined Disciplinary Core Ideas within a grade band until NGSS aligned curriculum is adopted. There are three tools that I have acquired as an NGSS Early Implementer that are invaluable in crafting robust lessons.

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Organizing Science Lessons: Conceptual Flow

As an NGSS Early Implementer, I have learned how to organize ideas under an overarching concept using a conceptual flow map. My lesson study team (Kate Gallegher, Roberta Parker, Kim Plagenza, Juli Ward) and I relied on the following conceptual flow that we created after reviewing the Science Engineering Practices and Cross Cutting Concepts for our lesson on air pressure. Although the Disciplinary Core Ideas are specifically for second-grade physical sciences domain, they reflect California FOSS (Full Option Science System) Module for first grade, that our district has been using.

Instead of disparate facts, the map orders common properties and behavior of air under three main ideas. Air is matter, we breathe oxygen, and the wind is moving air. After mapping the essential ideas, we examined the Cross Cutting Concepts and decided that Cause and Effect and Systems and Models best reflected our lesson. We used to post it notes to order the ideas and CCC and then transferred the notes to an electronic copy. We used the notes to formulate a guiding focus question, “How does the amount of compressed air affect the distance of the balloon rocket?”

5E Lesson Format

After identifying the focus question, we discussed the learning and language objectives and determined how to deliver the lesson and how the students complete the learning tasks. This can be seen in our 5 E lesson Study Template. The 5 E lesson plan is a means of organizing learning tasks into stages which are Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate/Extend, Evaluate. The Engage portion is the hook that catches the students’ attention perhaps with a discrepant event or activity that links past and present learning and experiences to the lesson. The engage serves to focus the students’ attention for the upcoming learning tasks. Students investigate phenomena and use academic language in context during the Explore section. Students then make claims about phenomena using evidence from their observations and information from readings during the Explanation part. The Elaborate/Extend portion allows students to apply their knowledge, investigate their own related questions, and deepen their understanding of the concepts. Teachers assess the students’ learning during the Evaluation stage. The stages of the 5E Lesson format can be used within a single lesson or distributed throughout a unit.

As part of the lesson study format, we presented instruction to two first grade classes. Each time we debriefed, shared observations of the academic discussions and sought ways to improve the lesson.

Reflective Assessment Protocol

Another invaluable tool is the Reflective Assessment Protocol. This tool allows teachers to determine which students met the objective and understood the concepts and which students needed additional support in just 10 minutes. A tally mark indicates the number of students who met the objective while the names of students are placed next to the key concepts to determine next steps. In determining next steps the students’ misconceptions and reasons for the misconceptions are discussed as well as possible intervention. Here’s an example of the RAP Protocol.

These three tools, Conceptual Flow, 5E Lesson plans, and Reflective Assessment Protocol together can assist teachers in preparing for the beginning of the semester. The Conceptual Flow can be revisited throughout a unit.

Elizabeth Cooke is a Science Prep Teacher at Markham Elementary School in Vacaville, California and is a member of CSTA. 

Written by Elizabeth Cooke

Elizabeth Cooke

Elizabeth Cooke teaches TK-5 science at Markham Elementary in the Oakland Unified School District, is an NGSS Early Implementer, and is CSTA’s Secretary.

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Accelerating into NGSS – A Statewide Rollout Series Now Accepting Registrations

Posted: Friday, January 19th, 2018

Are you feeling behind on the implementation of NGSS? Then Accelerating into NGSS – the Statewide Rollout event – is right for you!

WHO SHOULD ATTEND
If you have not experienced Phases 1-4 of the Statewide Rollout, or are feeling behind with the implementation of NGSS, the Accelerating Into NGSS Statewide Rollout will provide you with the greatest hits from Phases 1-4!

OVERVIEW
Accelerating Into NGSS Statewide Rollout is a two-day training geared toward grade K-12 academic coaches, administrators, curriculum leads, and teacher leaders. Check-in for the two-day rollout begins at 7:30 a.m., followed by a continental breakfast. Sessions run from 8:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. on Day One and from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Day Two.

Cost of training is $250 per attendee. Fee includes all materials, continental breakfast, and lunch on both days. It is recommended that districts send teams of four to six, which include at least one administrator. Payment can be made by check or credit card. If paying by check, registration is NOT complete until payment has been received. All payments must be received prior to the Rollout location date you are attending. Paying by credit card secures your seat at time of registration. No purchase orders accepted. No participant cancellation refunds.

For questions or more information, please contact Amy Kennedy at akennedy@sjcoe.net or (209) 468-9027.

REGISTER

http://bit.ly/ACCELERATINGINTONGSS

DATES & LOCATIONS
MARCH 28-29, 2018
Host: San Mateo County Office of Education
Location: San Mateo County Office of Education, Redwood City

APRIL 10-11, 2018
Host: Orange County Office of Education
Location: Brandman University, Irvine

MAY 1-2, 2018
Host: Tulare County Office of Education
Location: Tulare County Office of Education, Visalia

MAY 3-4, 2018
Host: San Bernardino Superintendent of Schools
Location: West End Educational Service Center, Rancho Cucamonga

MAY 7-8, 2018
Host: Sacramento County Office of Education
Location: Sacramento County Office of Education Conference Center and David P. Meaney Education Center, Mather

JUNE 14-15, 2018
Host: Imperial County Office of Education
Location: Imperial Valley College, Imperial

Presented by the California Department of Education, California County Superintendents Educational Services Association/County Offices of Education, K-12 Alliance @WestEd, California Science Project, and the California Science Teachers Association.

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.

The Teaching and Learning Collaborative, Reflections from an Administrator

Posted: Friday, January 19th, 2018

by Kelly Patchen

My name is Mrs. Kelly Patchen, and I am proud to be an elementary assistant principal working in the Tracy Unified School District (TUSD) at Louis Bohn and McKinley Elementary Schools. Each of the schools I support are Title I K-5 schools with about 450 students, a diverse student population, a high percentage of English Language Learners, and students living in poverty. We’re also lucky to be part of the CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative with the K-12 Alliance. 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.

2018 CSTA Conference Call for Proposals

Posted: Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

CSTA is pleased to announce that we are now accepting proposals for 90-minute workshops and three- and six-hour short courses for the 2018 California Science Education Conference. Workshops and short courses make up the bulk of the content and professional learning opportunities available at the conference. In recognition of their contribution, members who present a workshop or short course receive 50% off of their registration fees. Click for more information regarding proposals, or submit one today by following the links below.

Short Course Proposal

Workshop Proposal 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.

CSTA’s New Administrator Facebook Group Page

Posted: Monday, January 15th, 2018

by Holly Steele

The California Science Teachers Association’s mission is to promote high-quality science education, and one of the best practice’s we use to fulfill that mission is through the use of our Facebook group pages. CSTA hosts several closed and moderated Facebook group pages for specific grade levels, (Elementary, Middle, and High School), pages for district coaches and science education faculty, and the official CSTA Facebook page. These pages serve as an online resource for teachers and coaches to exchange teaching methods, materials, staying update on science events in California and asking questions. CSTA is happy to announce the creation of a 6th group page called, California Administrators Supporting Science. 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.

Find Your Reason to Engage

Posted: Monday, January 15th, 2018

by Jill Grace

I was recently reflecting on events in the news and remembered that several years ago, National Public Radio had a story about a man named Stéphane Hessel, a World War II French resistance fighter, Nazi concentration camp survivor, and contributor to the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The story focused on a book he had published, Time for Outrage (2010).

In it, Hessel makes the argument that the worst attitude is indifference:

“Who is in charge; who are the decision makers? It’s not always easy to discern. We’re not dealing with a small elite anymore, whose actions we can clearly identify. We are dealing with a vast, interdependent world that is interconnected in unprecedented ways. But there are unbearable things all around us. You have to look for them; search carefully. Open your eyes and you will see. This is what I tell young people: If you spend a little time searching, you will find your reasons to engage. The worst attitude is indifference. ‘There’s nothing I can do; I get by’ – adopting this mindset will deprive you of one of the fundamental qualities of being human: outrage.  Our capacity for protest is indispensable, as is our freedom to engage.”

His words make me take pause when I think of the status of science in the United States. A general “mistrust” of science is increasingly pervasive, as outlined in a New Yorker article from the summer of 2016. Learn More…

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Written by Jill Grace

Jill Grace

Jill Grace is a Regional Director for the K-12 Alliance and is President of CSTA.