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Virtual Conference: NGSS Practices in Action
The NSTA Virtual Conference on the NGSS Practices in Action is taking place on Saturday, November 15th
This topic will be a place where people can ask questions or post their thoughts about the NGSS practices in general or specific points that come up during the virtual conference.
More information about the virtual conference is available at the following link:
As a starting point, I am interested in knowing what do you all hope to learn while attending the virtual conference and what questions do you have?
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I'm going to be doing a lot of training for teachers at the elementary and middle school levels, so I am hoping to gain a lot of information and strategies to help make NGSS less scary for those who are not coming from a strong science background.
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Ted Most of the teachers I talk to about science are afraid that they lack the content knowledge to comfortably teach science. Another common comment I hear is that science should be a hands on experience and most teachers are pressed for time and just don't have the time or patience to setup and break down labs. Another challenge is that many elementary and middle school teachers are stressed and preoccupied about meeting district and state assessment requirements that focus more on reading, math and CCSS ELA/math results and place less emphasis on science test scores--until junior high and high school. I know many of my teacher friends would love to devote more time to science but with all of the accountability pressures it's a major challenge.
In my opinion, giving teachers information that doesn't require them to do their own research and lesson planning development--especially when many districts in our area require teachers to develop their own CCSS ELA/Math curriculum--is a better way to insure that they will use NGSS in their practice.
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I really enjoyed the conference, feel much more knowledgeable about NGSS and found following the online chat particularly addictive. However I'm still left with two questions:
1. What route will most schools take through the standards in middle school? A colleague, from another London based International school suggested the University of MIchigan proposal. I think she got this idea from you? I've looked at this model and don't see NGSS performance expectations at its heart, am I missing something?
2. What will good assessments look like?
thanks for any responses to these two questions.
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I agree with Yoli's assessment that "Most of the teachers I talk to about science are afraid that they lack the content knowledge to comfortably teach science." I've also noticed that many of the teachers that I've worked with, especially those at the elementary level are uncomfortable teaching science because they are not confident in their own science content knowledge. I think there are several ways that we can help these teachers incorporate science content lessons into their teaching routine.
1. Provide elementary teachers with PD opportunities that enable them to explore and experience the science concepts they will be teaching.
2. Provide teachers with "out of the box" lessons that will help promote hands-on science learning in their classrooms.
3. Ensure state and/or district science coordinators are aware of the resources available in the NGSS Hub@NSTA so this information can flow down to classroom teachers.
4. Ensure mentor teachers are modeling effective science instruction for less experienced teachers.
While science has always been a challenging subject to teach at the elementary level, I firmly believe that providing elementary teachers with the tools to help them effectively teach science will help us implement the NGSS nationwide.
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It was a good conference and I like most the topic on modeling, of which I am interested. I am doing a lot of application stuff connecting with the content.
It would be nice if there is a library in NSTA containing most of the resources that teachers can use for the implementation of the NGSS. There is not a lot of free time that we teachers have to work on many of these stuff but if there are already resources in place, then many teachers will go use them and be not scared of teaching science based on the NGSS scheme.
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Great to hear Ann. What do think is the biggest challenge for the teachers you work with?
I think it is a general fear of "doing it wrong" by elementary teachers combined with many teachers who don't understand or enjoy science, so they shy away from teaching it or learning more about it. For the middle school teachers, my sense is that they are mostly strapped for time and the resistance to changing the way they've always done it. So... hoping I can calm some fears and build some excitement for them all as they see how well it meets the kids' needs!
The questions that participants ask are especially important; they will not only guide today's speakers (including the last panel) but will help NSTA craft future web seminars and virtual conferences.
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I want to learn how I can adapt my current curriculum to better fit with the NGSS.
Mary Ellen Aleksza
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Hi Mary Ellen
Can you tell us a bit more about what grade level you teach? If you are working with elementary science NSTA has monthly web seminars are teaching NGSS through the grade levels. Tonight the web seminar is on teaching second grade
Here is the past and future line up of topics. Let us know if this helps and what you need for your curriculum.
September 17, 2014: Kindergarten
In the NGSS, there are four performance expectations bundled together under the topic of weather. We have chosen to address the classroom instruction that is needed to help students meet the performance expectation, Use and share observations of local weather conditions to describe patterns over time, by the time they leave kindergarten. What does everyday instruction around this weather look like?
October 22, 2014: First Grade
Waves are introduced in first grade in the topics of both light and sound. We will highlight the instruction students will need in order to plan and conduct investigations to determine the effect of placing objects made with different materials in the path of a beam of light. We will use videos of actual classrooms to demonstrate that first graders can do very cool science. Using video examples, participants will be able to visualize the first graders in their school doing science around waves.
November 19, 2014: Second Grade
Understanding the concept of matter is foundational to the majority of the science instruction that occurs in later grades. Science instruction in second grade is one of the large building blocks. In this web seminar we will focus on what students need to know and be able to do to construct an argument with evidence that some changes caused by heating and cooling can be reversed and some cannot. What instruction is needed for the students to be successful with this performance expectation by the end of the year? We hope participants will feel more prepared to plan instruction around this concept.
December 17, 2014: Third Grade
Students need the opportunity to explore inheritance and variation and by the end of the third grade, be able to analyze and interpret data to provide evidence plants and animals have traits inherited from parents and that variation of these traits exists in a group of similar organisms. What learning experiences can we provide to students to move them towards this goal? How can we help students build this understanding? What might you do? By joining us in this web seminar, participants will get the answers to some of these questions.
January 21, 2015: Fourth Grade
Students will come into fourth grade with many different ideas and understandings about energy. We will focus on energy transfer and transformation. By the end of fourth grade, students need to make observations to provide evidence that energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents. In this web seminar we will share examples of what it might look like in the classroom. We will answer questions we have heard from many teachers about teaching this concept and address questions from webinar participants.
February 18, 2015: Fifth Grade
In this web seminar we will look at what needs to happen in the classroom during this unit so that students are able to understand Matter and Energy in Organisms and Ecosystems the way that it was envisioned in the NGSS. By the end of the year, the students are expected to develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment. How might students meet this expectation using their own environment? We will help participants explore the interdependent relationships and how they can lead to greater student understanding.
Arlene Jurewicz Leighton
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I am currently involved in two STEM/ Teacher Leadership programs. Not exactly sure where these will be taking me/ our district in terms of curriculum, STEM, student activities, my role in our district. I am looking to increase my 'expertise' in STEM and integration of NGSS.
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I'm a new secondary science specialist, working with junior high (7-9) teachers in a district that does not yet have a deep understanding of the NGSS and does a lot of traditional science teaching. I'm hoping to find more ways to engage teachers in professional development that helps them move toward NGSS aligned instructional practices.
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Examplar student models from an 11th grade class in a high needs school (they did an initial model at start of unit, revised it throughout unit, and then this is their final model).
Salt_final_model_A.pdf (0.08 Mb)
Salt_final_model_B.pdf (0.08 Mb)
I'm wondering how teachers in middle school that have become comfortable with their subject area in very descriptive ways can start expanding their understanding of the "whys" and "hows" in their subjects say Life Science as well as the connections to other science areas like Physical Science.
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Question for classroom teachers:
I'm a science museum educator, specializing in ages 5-11. If a science museum were to offer something to help you make the transition to NGSS, what would that "something" look like?
This set of standards/curricula dovetails beautifully with the types of programming and activities that science museums provide. It sounds like we could be of some help here. :)
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I'd love to see something around kids actually experiencing a phenomenon at the museum. For a traditional science museum, there would be lots of options that are not practical in a science classroom. For a natural history museum, maybe taking observations and measurements of actual artifacts?
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Nicole, that's a wonderful thought. We love to do things that are just out of reach for teachers in terms of messiness, expense, or complexity.
Do you feel that offering this in a field trip model be helpful?
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I think the field trip model is best, since it is most useful if it's something that's impractical in the science classroom. Often, that's space and safety tools. But, if it's just materials as a limiting factor, an in-classroom event could work, too.
Response to Ann Pearson about Elementary Science Teaching -
Hi Ann -
I also work with professional development for teachers and understand the challenges you articulated for successfully implementing NGSS in Elementary schools (K-5).
There are so many demands on elementary teachers and the K-5 instructional time with CCSS that science teaching can get set-aside in favor of math and reading teaching and student practice.
There is a wonderful web seminar series this year on NGSS and Elementary Teaching (one per grade band K - 5)
See this link for the schedule of upcoming and archived sessions:
You may also find these books to be helpful resources for Elementary Teachers:
Science for the Next Generation
The NSTA Quick Reference Guide to NGSS: Elementary
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NSTA just presented on its policy for early childhood at NAEYC and the presentation was filled with great videos of actual practice. I am going to see if we can get that presentation online and available for all of you.
Wonderful Juliana ! Love to see it
Julianne, I will look forward to seeing that! Sounds terrific!
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Are you an elementary school teacher who teaches science? NSTA is hosting a web seminar Wednesday, December 17, 2014 called Teaching NGSS in Elementary School. The 3rd grade web seminar on Inheritance and Variation of Traits.
The specific performance expectation : Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence that plants and animals have traits inherited from parents and that variation of these traits exists in a group of similar organisms. 3-LS3-1
Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary.
We will have a special guest, Kimber Hershberger, the teacher in the video and the co-author of "What's Your Evidence? Engaging K-5 Students in Constructing Explanations in Science.
Hope to see you then.
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It sounds like we all have similar issues. I plan to attend the 4th and 5th grade sessions for NGSS. I will go back and view the ones I missed. I agree with the prior posts that many teachers simply don't have the background content info. Personally, the more I learn............ the more I realize what I DONT know! I guess that is what learning is all about. Somehow we should be sure our students realize it is OKAY not to know everything!
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We will never stop learning! That is a good thing!
Wondering what you thought about the 4th and 5th grade web seminars? I would love some feedback. What needs to happen next? What resources could we work together on? Lots of questions.
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I use that as my answer to lack of content knowledge. We DON'T know everything in science - never will, so it shouldn't be a bad thing to admit this. Where else will science go next? Somewhere that we already know about?
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