Category Archives: Next Generation Science Standards

Stay informed about progress in formulating and implementing the new science education standards. Click on a headline to read the entire post.

First-Graders Modeling Day and Night: Making Sense of a Phenomenon

As a first-grade teacher in Detroit with predominantly Latinx students and English language learners, I worked for several weeks at the end of last school year with a doctoral candidate in science education and former elementary teacher, Christa Haverly, and by extension, an associate professor in science education and expert in scientific modeling, Christina Schwarz […]

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What Is Your Model For?

Recently, my colleagues and I had an exchange with some teachers in one of our professional development programs. One teacher said, “I think I do a lot of modeling in my class. I have my kids draw pictures of the science ideas they are learning all the time.” This description of modeling is common. When […]

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Modeling in Science Instruction

With the shift toward three-dimensional teaching and learning that the Next Generation Science Standards requires, the Crosscutting Concept of Modeling has become a major focus of my instruction.  I use a process that involves revisiting the same model at least three times in a unit to support students’ growth in this area. Each unit starts […]

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What Does 3-Dimensional Space Look Like

When transitioning my classroom instruction to three dimensional learning, I decided to start with one or two areas in each unit or lesson set where I felt the most need. I was already purposeful in selecting activities that I carefully sequenced to support student learning of concepts and big ideas, but I expected students to […]

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Global Thinking Inside and Outside the Classroom

Dynamic Equilibrium. These two words represent what is essential in teaching Earth science: the idea that forces are constantly working against one another, but often do so in ways that nearly counteract one another. In a river, deposition and erosion, as central concepts, can be used to explain a range of phenomena, such as meandering […]

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Cereal to Stream Tables: Putting Stability and Change in Students’ Hands

Stability and Change is one of the seven Crosscutting Concepts (CCs) that can be difficult to convey in a lesson. Other CCs like Patterns, Cause and Effect, and Systems and System Models can be easily incorporated in the structure of a lesson. With a little planning, Stability and Change can be frequently demonstrated in a […]

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Kindergarten Citizen Scientists: Taking Action to Save the Earth

My kindergarten students recently became citizen scientists as they investigated their big questions about the natural world around them. The snow finally melted, the critters have made their appearance, and the plants are beginning to bloom. It’s early May, and Spring has finally arrived—not a moment too soon. Our class has been out walking on […]

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Making NGSS Storylines Work

I had eagerly anticipated a session at the NSTA National Conference in Atlanta called How Do We Make NGSS Storylines Work by Pushing Students to Go Deeper?—presented by Michael Novak and Brian Reiser—and I was not alone: Attendees filled the room to overflowing. I was fortunate to have worked with Novak and Reiser when I […]

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Scaffolding the Crosscutting Concepts: Graphic Organizers in Action in the Middle School Classroom

The crosscutting concepts have great potential to help students connect their learning across grade levels and science disciplines, but they can easily become the forgotten “third dimension.” Last May, we wrote about developing a set of graphic organizers that help make the crosscutting concepts explicit for students and scaffold their thinking as students apply the […]

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Using Primary Sources as Anchoring Phenomena

I think the best part of attending NSTA’s national conferences is having the opportunity to learn so much from every person you meet. The sheer number of so many likeminded educators in one place can seem overwhelming, but the opportunity to learn from them all is one that can’t be missed. After leaving the 2017 […]

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