Science Teachers’ Learning: Enhancing Opportunities, Creating Supportive Contexts

science teachers learning coverThe National Academies Press (NAP) recently released a new report titled Science Teachers’ Learning: Enhancing Opportunities, Creating Supportive Contexts. 

This report provides a rich, detailed, and research-based account of how school systems should move forward with professional learning for science teachers. This will be especially useful to school systems working to implement the Next Generation Science Standards.

The report includes thoughtful recommendations and conclusions to guide school systems  as they try to improve science outcomes for students. Here are some examples of conclusions in the report:

Conclusion 1: An evolving understanding of how best to teach science, including the NGSS, represents a significant transition in the way science is currently taught in most classrooms and will require most science teachers to alter the way they teach.

Conclusion 2: The available evidence suggests that many science teachers have not had sufficiently rich experiences with the content relevant to the science courses they currently teach, let alone a substantially redesigned science curriculum. Very few teachers have experience with the science and engineering practices described in the NGSS. This situation is especially pronounced both for elementary school teachers and in schools that serve high percentages of low-income students, where teachers are often newer and less qualified.

Conclusion 3: Typically, the selection of and participation in professional learning opportunities is up to individual teachers. There is often little attention to developing collective capacity for science teaching at the build- ing and district levels or to offering teachers learning opportunities tailored to their specific needs and offered in ways that support cumulative learning over time.

If you are a leader responsible for shaping and designing science learning for teachers, then I HIGHLY recommend you check out this report. Click HERE to read a short NSTA blog post about the report as an entry point.

You can download this report for FREE or read it online in your browser HERE.

Elementary Science Support Moodle

OSPI has developed a Moodle site for supporting K-5 implementation of the Next Generation Science standards here in Washington state. You will need to set up a free account and join the “class” in order to access the materials. Lots of good NGSS stuff here organized by grade levels K-5. Any elementary teacher or leader who supports elementary teachers should know about this resource.

Click HERE to access the Elementary Science Support Moodle.

NGSS 101: FREE Online PD Modules

Last year I collaborated with the South Sound LASER Alliance- with funding from Washington State LASER– to build a series of easily accessible online professional development modules on the Next Generation Science Standards.

These NGSS 101 modules now live on a page titled NGSS 101, here at the Science for All blog. I’ve also embedded them here in this blog post for convenience in sharing.

There are 4 modules:

  • NGSS 101 Part 1- Overview
  • NGSS 101 Part 2- Science & Engineering Practices
  • NGSS 101 Part 3- Crosscutting Concepts
  • NGSS 101 Part 4- Engineering Design

Below you will find the video modules embedded in the page. Each video module asks you to engage with a variety of documents, external video clips and links. You will find the documents and links for each module directly underneath the video module.

NOTE: These modules were originally created in another online platform called Brainshark- so you may hear some references to the original platform that are no longer relevant.

NGSS 101 Part 1- NGSS Overview

NGSS 101 Part 1 Links and Documents

NGSS 101 Part 2- Science & Engineering Practices

NGSS 101 Part 2 Links and Documents

NGSS 101 Part 3- Crosscutting Concepts

NGSS 101 Part 3 Links and Documents

NGSS 101 Part 4- Engineering Design

NGSS 101 Part 4 Links and Documents

NGSS: Item Cluster Prototypes Grade 5 and HS

The Science Assessment Item Collaborative (SAIC) in partnership with WestEd and CCSSO recently released two sample item clusters for assessment of the Next Generation Science Standards. Here is the description of the Grade 5 Item Cluster Prototype…

The Grade 5 Item Cluster Prototype was designed to follow the principles and recommendations set forth in the SAIC Assessment Framework and Item Specifications Guidelines for an NGSS-aligned large-scale summative assessment item cluster. The prototype serves as an initial model for measuring the three-dimensional science learning called for in the NGSS and should promote ongoing dialogue about the vision for a truly next-generation science assessment.

Click the links below to access the Item Cluster Prototypes:

Embedded below you will also find a recorded webinar on the Grade 5 Item Cluster Prototype.


NGSS: EQuIP Rubric Videos

As we move forward with implementing the NGSS in multiple partner states, it is more and more likely that we will need to use tools like the EQuIP Rubric to assess our own attempts at designing NGSS lessons and units and those science materials provided by publishing companies. You can find the EQuIP Rubric and a facilitator’s guide at the links below:

The Teaching Channel also recently added a series of four videos to support work with the EQuIP Rubric:

NGSS EQuIP Rubric: Overview  

NGSS EQuIP Rubric: 3-Dimensional Learning 

NGSS EQuIP Rubric: Using Phenomena 

NGSS EQuIP Rubric: Evidence of Student Learning 

If you are interested, you can also view an example of how a publishing company  (Engineering is Elementary) is using the EQuIP Rubric to connect existing instructional materials with NGSS.


NGSS Classroom Posters

NGSS-posters_grayAn important step toward the implementation of the three dimensions of the Next Generation Science Standards is to be intentional about teaching the 3 Dimensions of the NGSS:

  • The Science & Engineering Practices
  • The Crosscutting Concepts
  • The Disciplinary Core Ideas

Sometimes as teachers and students we need a public reminder of what we are trying to implement. Project Neuron at the University of Illinois has a nicely formatted set of small posters on the 3 Dimensions of the NGSS that can be printed off and used in the classroom. There are 2 versions of the posters- sets with subtitles and sets with just the names of the SEPs, CCCs and DCIs. Click HERE to see the posters.


NGSS Now Newsletter December 2015

The NGSS NOW Newsletter for December 2015 has some helpful information for those of us moving forward with implementing NGSS. The main article discusses an upcoming series of videos developed through a collaboration between Achieve and the Teaching Channel. Sounds like something to keep an eye out for in mid December- video cases of instruction guided by the NGSS will be very helpful to the field. Click HERE to see some other NGSS videos on Teaching Channel.

If you would like to subscribe to the monthly NGSS Newsletter- click HERE