Next Generation Science Standards

Developing Awareness of NGSS

Wed Oct 02, 2013 10:45 PM

As NGSS is adopted by more states, the journey to implementation is beginning. I think it is a good idea to go slowly or as a dear colleague of mine says,"Have the courage to go slow".

My state has adopted the Next Generation Science Standards and we are calling the 2013-2014 school year the year of NGSS Awareness. To begin sharing awareness, meetings are being held with administrators around the state. It is important superintendents,principals and curriculum leaders understand NGSS and the changes in science instruction that need to occur.

Then in the spring we will provide 5 regional meetings for teacher leaders and teachers,again,stressing awareness.

I am wondering what questions you might hsve for someone providing that awareness.

What might be important for a principal to know and/or ask about?

What might be important for a teacher to know or ask about?


Kathy Renfrew
Kathy Renfrew
33360 Activity Points

Tue Oct 08, 2013 10:19 AM

[i]I am wondering what questions you might have for someone providing that awareness.

What might be important for a principal to know and/or ask about?

What might be important for a teacher to know or ask about?[/i]

Hi Kathy,

I have been attending several of the NGSS web seminars NSTA. The Sept 10th NGSS Core Idea on Matter and Its Interactions overview could be used as a framework of questions for both principals and teachers
•What is a disciplinary core idea?
•Relationship of core ideas to science and engineering practices
.The Framework and NGSS
•Importance of building core ideas across time
•Supporting students in argumentation
•Examples of the value of core ideas

Just a thought but I found this web seminar very helpful especially the importance of building core ideas across time


Arlene Jurewicz-Leighton
Arlene Jurewicz Leighton
41755 Activity Points

Wed Nov 06, 2013 8:54 PM

Kathy, I always love your thought provoking questions and wisdom for the ages.

I am trying to follow your colleagues advice and trying to have the courage to go slow. It seems to me part of the battle is trying to convince colleagues that we have to move forward at some pace, but many are wanting to stay status quo.

I had the opportunity at the Portland conference to spend some time in Sue Whitsett’s session on the Practices of Science. What an eye opener. In reality we are going to continue doing what we do, but in a different way. We really need to think about the depth and opportunities we provide our students. Gone are the days of doing favorite labs and reading articles, books and resources just because we’ve always done that. Many of us are having to align our Science in terms of the Common Core Math and Writing elements. I am not advocating that is a bad thing, but I am fearful of losing the hands-on part of Science in favor of doing more work with text.

The questions you pose are excellent, and I guess my initial response is where do I start? How do I begin slowly? What is the impact going to be on students? Will the state/national tests be aligned to the new standards? By what date?

I think it would be important for a principal to know and understand the commitment they are going to have to make in terms of providing a quality Science education experience. Equipment identification and finding funding to provide both the consumable materials as well as the basic equipment along with the advanced technology to provide our students with the opportunity to become “players in the science careers.”

As a teacher, I would want to know what are the expectations for me? How much time do you anticipate the transition time to be from the old standards to the new? Are there areas we should focus on first? Are some of the units and big ideas more important than others? How can I transition what I am already doing to what needs to be changed? What topics are no longer in the new standards? We spent a good chunk of time looking for microlife only to discover it’s not there. What has been renamed, refashioned or just plain eliminated? What new strategies can I implement to get the best bang for the buck in the amount of time I have available?

I find as I get further and further into the NGSS, the more questions I have. I am thankful for this forum of folks that I can put questions out to. It sure makes this transition time a whole lot easier.

Sandy Gady
Sandy Gady
42980 Activity Points

Mon Jan 20, 2014 8:16 PM

As the year progresses, and more states adopt NGSS, what is happening around awareness of the Next Generation Science Standards?


Kathy Renfrew
Kathy Renfrew
33360 Activity Points

Mon Jan 27, 2014 2:26 PM

I think the big question teachers have when they first confront the Standards is "How is this different from what I'm doing?"
Other questions:
"What do I have to change?"
"What will I have to learn?"
"How will my district support me?"
"Why should I be in favor of this?"
"What challenges do I face during implementation?"

Heather Brinkshroeder
Heather Brinkshroeder
1390 Activity Points

Tue Jan 28, 2014 7:36 PM


Have you begun to answer any of these questions? How would you?

What do I have to change? The answer to this question is dependent on what your curriculum says and the grade level.
What will I have to learn? This is a huge ??. For me, there i always the need for new learning and I enjoy it.
How will my district support me? That is a question many are asking. Right now the focus and the resources seem to be on the Common Core. How can we get some of those resources
for NGSS?
Why should I be in favor of them? The NGSS provide opportunities for ALL students. I think science will improve for students once NGSS are realized.

There it is. My attempt at answering those questions. I am not sure if any of them work for you and your colleagues.


Kathy Renfrew
Kathy Renfrew
33360 Activity Points

Wed Jan 29, 2014 4:18 PM


I have begun to answer these questions, and your simple question about how I would answer them really got me thinking. I’m not a teacher trainer, but this is what I would want to see if I didn’t know anything about the NGSS.

Make the scope and purpose of each meeting clear before you get there, so you don't have leaders who have been following the NGSS all along attending a basic-information meeting. I hate spending half the day at something only to find I learned nothing by the end.

Start with gathering conceptions and engaging the teacher leaders. Before you go in, be familiar with current standards. (As I’m sure you are.) Have teachers talk frankly about what has been most challenging while implementing their current standards, and use this in your talk. Learn your audience’s conceptions about the NGSS. There is a lot of misinformation out there. Correct misconceptions using evidence. Share reasons the NGSS were developed and adopted. Outline the timing of various phases of implementation.

There will be challenges implementing the NGSS. Address these in the beginning. It might give the complainers some fuel, but most teacher leaders will be reassured that you are aware of the issues. Name specific ways the state and other support will diminish these challenges for bonus points. Have reasonable suggestions for ways districts can reduce the challenges teachers will face.

I would answer the remaining questions with additional workshops. Workshop titles might include “How to Read the Standards”, “Comparing (old science standards) to the NGSS”, "Using the NGSS with the Core Curriculum", and “Professional Development Self-Assessment”. I have some ideas about how those might go, but they’re not appropriate for a first meeting for leaders who don’t know much if anything about the standards. At this phase, assure your attendees that such opportunities are forthcoming.

Sorry if this is simplistic, but it isn't my background. These ideas are based on my experience in education and in public speaking. I think including these ideas would help you make great progress toward raising awareness and increasing buy-in for NGSS.

Heather B.

Heather Brinkshroeder
Heather Brinkshroeder
1390 Activity Points

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