Next Generation Science Standards

NGSS Lessons....Where to even start??

Hello friends and colleagues! 

Another undergraduate sci ed student here.  One of my biggest frustrations with this topic is that there are all these GREAT ideas but I have NO CLUE how to implement them.  I am a future Wisconsin Public Schools teacher and the NGSS, Cross-Cutting Concepts, and Sci/Engineering Practices have me SO overwhelmed I can't even begin working on a unit assignment I have for my methods class.  Help??  I want so badly to be a great teacher and to help my students learn as much as possible but I'm struggling to put ALL these pieces together and to efficiently create lessons.  Right now, I can't even create lessons because I feel so overwhelmed by the sheer amount of structure I feel like I my lessons must have (and structure that I subsequently don't understand).  Any words of advice from you veteran teachers?? :( 

Hannah Lauer
Hannah Lauer
1415 Activity Points

First, don't worry, Hannah! The NGSS seems complex with its 3 strands but it's not really that scary - If you have your students *apply* their knowledge, not just memorize facts & repeat them, you got the hardest part down. Second, the practices & the cross-cutting concepts are in *every* field. I had to sit in for a history teacher & the posters on her walls asked the same questions as the practices! (I especially stress arguing from evidence, since I work with teenagers.) & patterns are what makes poetry, for example. We use these things all the time without thinking about them, but NGSS kind of forces us to be reflective teachers. :-) Third, what grade are you aiming at? I would start small & see what previous grades do. For instance, elementary kids investigate pushes & pulls (so, what happens when I push this object vs that object, with basic data collection & conclusion making) while high school kids measures forces & calculate velocity, etc. Fourth, NSTA has a nice collection of NGSS-style lesson plans. (I can't include the link because I'm on my phone.) Go browse around there for ideas. You'll get better at developing 3-dimensional lessons over time but you'll also get better if you study some good examples. Fifth, don't panic! NGSS isn't the way I was taught science in school 30-somes years ago but it *is* the way I *did* science in the workforce (wildlife research at a nature center) for 20 years. The system really does make sense. You'll do fine. Your students will do fine. Good luck, & remember to breathe! :-)

Torrey Wenger
Torrey Wenger
133 Activity Points

Hannah, you have some great expert advice here! I'd like to add that I use and share this site: https://ngss.nsta.org/

with other teachers. Go to classroom resources, narrow your search by the strand of science you need and then further define your search by grade level and specific topic. The description details which parts of 3D learning are addressed in the lesson and let's you know which components are lacking. Once you look through that, click on the resource in the top right corner. If you don't like the lesson, choose another. 

It took me some time to become familiar with the components and put them together in a meaningful lesson.

Pamela Dupre
Pamela Dupre
87554 Activity Points

Hannah, you have some great expert advice here! I'd like to add that I use and share this site: https://ngss.nsta.org/

with other teachers. Go to classroom resources, narrow your search by the strand of science you need and then further define your search by grade level and specific topic. The description details which parts of 3D learning are addressed in the lesson and let's you know which components are lacking. Once you look through that, click on the resource in the top right corner. If you don't like the lesson, choose another. 

It took me some time to become familiar with the components and put them together in a meaningful lesson.

Pamela Dupre
Pamela Dupre
87554 Activity Points

Hi Hannah --

As Torrey said, don't panic! Even veteran teachers can be overwhelmed with new strategies and programs. Reflecting on the lessons I have taught, I can see now how I would update them (and some I would just toss with fond memories!). Most did incoporate NGSS practices (asking questions, interpreting data, using models, communicating, etc.) as well as NGSS crosscutting concepts (patterns, cause and effect, etc.)  I would now add these to the plan purposefully and be more explicit in helping students recognize the concepts and incorporate the practices. 

There is no rule in the profession about having to create every lesson yourself. It's ok to borrow or adapt lessons that others have written, and looking at existing lessons can be helpful when you do have to create one.

You didn't mention what grade level you're working on, but every issue of the NSTA K-12 journals (Science & Children, Science Scope, The Science Teacher) has articles with lesson ideas and a chart at the end of each  showing its NGSS alignment. For example, take a look at Seeds of Practice in S&C. This article also describes how an existing lesson can be updated to incorporate NGSS concepts and practices. 

As I would tell my students, it's OK to be frustrated, confused, and/or concerned. It shows that you care about what you're doing. The Forum is a good place to ask questions, find ideas, or look for advice about a lesson.

Mary B.

 

Mary Bigelow
Mary Bigelow
8235 Activity Points

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