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Building a Curriculum
I am creating my own elementary science curriculum for grades K through 4. I would like to align it with the Next Generation Science Standards while including some unique themes and topics that aren't necessarily addressed in the standards. I am interested in purchasing a curriculum such as FOSS, etc., but only as a supplemental aide and not to follow verbatim. Does anybody have any experience with FOSS and feel that this is a good choice? Is there another curriculum that you would recommend? What are some other free or inexpensive resources that you have used when building your own curriculum materials?
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I would not consider FOSS to be "free" or inexpensive, but the kits are used by lots of school districts throughout the country, and I introduce them to my science methods preservice teachers.
How wonderful that you are in a position to create your own curriculum from scratch. You might find some of the resources in the NSTA Learning Center helpful to you. For example there is a free book chapter from a newer book on how to teach science with the NGSS:
5E(z) Guidelines for Designing Research- Informed Science Lesson Sequences
The link to the product is: http://www.nsta.org/store/product_detail.aspx?id=10.2505/9781936959266
If you are looking for free curricular resources, you might check to see if you have a regional science center through your state board of education. In Illinois our regional centers have several "brands" of science kits available for check out. Also, Chicago public school teachers can check out kits at the Museum of Science and Industry. These may be possibilities in your home state as well.
I hope this helps,
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A big part of the Next Generation Science Standards is engineering. We highly recommend looking into the Engineering is Elementary kits and materials that are available from the Boston Science Museum.
Get Caught Engineering
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Thanks Wendy! Those look like some great resources that you shared.
You may want to check the FOSS website, http://www.fossweb.com. We've used FOSS kits, which has been aligned to the MD State Standards, for years in grades K-5. My first year using the kits I spent hours learning the investigations and organizing the materials. As we transition to NextGen, I'm not sure how FOSS will be used. I do believe we can use components. As a side note, the kids LOVE the kits because they are highly engaging and all hands-on. They spark great discussions too. I hope that helps~
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Thank you, all, for your extremely helpful insights!
Thank you Wendy for the resources!
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Thanks for the link for Boston Science Museum Wendy. It looks great!
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Thanks for the get caught engineering reource site.
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I too teach K-5th grade science and generally create my own curriculum based off NY State Standards. We have FOSS kits as well. In my experience, I've found that the lessons are lacking support for my population, lack visuals, and generally don't allow for students to develop their own investigations. I now use the kits materials and only use the program lessons as a base.
I'm eager to start aligning what I do to what I need to do for NGSS. What I've done so far is crate a year long curriculum map that aligns similar units among the grades. Then, I read the summaries of the NGSS units for each grade. At this point, I'm going to see what I have and supplement when needed. National Geographic offers nice lesson as well. Beyond that, I'm accepting that this year will be a trail and error experiment into the new standards while we wait for official implementation.
It's definitely an exciting time! Here we go 2013-2014!!!
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I see your original post is from a while ago, but has been rediscovered. This might be a little too late, but hopefully someone will benefit!
I built my school's science curriculum from the ground up PreK-6th grade. I began that 7 years ago and continue to tweak it as we go. I work at an independent school, so I am not required to follow NGSS, but I did choose to plan my curriculum using the Framework for K-12 Science which basically gave birth to NGSS. There are so many great resources out there. I have not used Foss kits. I find that each year my classes have different needs, therefore a kit doesn't always work. I don't have a good way to share my entire curriculum, but I can offer some of the resources I have found useful.
NSTA's Picture Perfect Science Series
NSTA's "The Truth About Science"
NASA S'COOL program http://science-edu.larc.nasa.gov/SCOOL/
The Flame Challenge http://flamechallenge.org/
Sallie Ride Science: EarthKam https://earthkam.ucsd.edu/
I am transitioning from my teaching job to focus more on curriculum and science writing. I have recently found the following that I think is a great resource: http://www.howtosmile.org/
I am also blogging about science news and I include teaching resources, many that I have found are tried and true: http://shareitscience.com
If you have particular topics that you need resources for, I'd be happy to give specifics, just too much to answer in one post!!
Good luck! It is a challenging, yet fulfilling labor of love you are embarking on!
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