Author Archives: Amy Peacock, Jeremy Peacock

Using the Crosscutting Concepts to Scaffold Student Thinking

At the recent NSTA National Conference in Los Angeles, three-dimensional learning was, of course, a major topic of discussion. When those discussions focus on classroom instruction, though, the crosscutting concepts are often the forgotten dimension. Some educators argue that the crosscutting concepts should develop in students’ minds organically, and that it’s enough for a teacher […]

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Digging Deeper: Modeling

At the core of a Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) classroom is the sequence of exposing students to an interesting natural phenomenon, having students generate questions about the phenomenon, investigating student questions, then creating a scientific model to explain the phenomenon. Regardless of the practice defined in the performance expectation, this triad of phenomenon, questioning, […]

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Introducing Crosscutting Concepts in the Elementary Grades

Four years ago, I moved from teaching middle school science to teaching grades 2–5 STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics) labs. One of the biggest challenges I faced was limited lab time in our elementary school. Because we shared instructional time with social studies, I was only able to meet with students for two […]

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Planning Three-Dimensional Instruction

Knowing that content material is most engaging when students can relate to it, I always begin my year with a student survey. The questions are designed to help me design lessons to be as student-focused as possible. Knowing my students’ interests and history also helps me identify phenomena and storylines that will be the most […]

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Digging Deeper: Designing Solutions

This month’s Digging Deeper column for the Next Gen Navigator focuses on the practice of constructing explanations and designing solutions, and specifically the design process that addresses the engineering component of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Its inclusion is relatively new in science education, and for teachers who haven’t had the opportunity to develop […]

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How I Came to Understand the Three Dimensions

When I first started teaching science, I taught the facts. I taught the nine planets (before Pluto got demoted; sorry, Pluto!), the steps of mitosis, and the workings of plate tectonics, for example. I was proud that I had students who could learn the facts and recite them to me. It was always wonderful to […]

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New NAP Publication Helps Teachers Assess 3-Dimensional Learning in the Classroom

It is a truly exciting time in science education. Science educators across the country are adapting to a new vision of how students learn science guided by the Framework for K–12 Science Education. As a result, science instruction is changing to better tap into students’ natural curiosity and deepen their understanding of the world around […]

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Next Gen Navigator Makes Its Debut

NSTA is all about supporting teachers in understanding and implementing three-dimensional instruction in their classrooms. The first edition of the Next Gen Navigator, a new monthly e-newsletter from the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) out this week will help us do just that. It is an ideal name as we think about how we will […]

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On the journey to NGSS, follow the path that works for you

Every teacher of science in a school in which NGSS is being implemented is engaged in a transition to standards that are very different from what they are familiar with. This can spark many emotions, including excitement, fear, inspiration, fear, and more excitement. It is a journey in which things are going well, and then […]

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Permission to stumble on the road to successful implementation of NGSS

So what’s the connection between growth mindset and NGSS? It begins with our own mindsets. We need to know that the implementation of NGSS will be hard work. We will struggle, have a small success, then find ourselves back in the struggle again. For example, you taught a lesson on transfer of energy, and you […]

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