Ed News: 8 Principles To Help You Advance To Flipped Learning 3.0

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This week in education news, Indiana has work to do on preparing students for college-level coursework; flipped learning is evolving; Iowa teachers are spending the summer learning at externships; Florida has a growing shortage of math and science teachers; lessons in spatial learning are not really incorporated into current curriculum; a growing number of organizations are promoting the use of music in the course of STEM education; Education Week wants to know what skills do schools need to teach students to prepare them for jobs of the future; and unions are trying to shut down a proposed LA state-run STEM school.

How Well Are Indiana High Schools Preparing Students For College?

Every year, Indiana high schools graduate thousands of students who aren’t prepared for college-level coursework. In 2015, about one out of every seven Indiana high school graduates who went on to attend one of Indiana’s public colleges or universities — the only students for whom such information is available — was not prepared for college-level coursework. Click here to read the article featured in the Indy Star.

8 Principles To Help You Advance To Flipped Learning 3.0

Flipped learning is evolving because of research, classroom innovation and new technologies. Whereas educators asked about teacher and student satisfaction and achievement in flipped learning 1.0, flipped learning 3.0 focuses its questions on the effect of drawing or questions in flipped videos, the optimal time between individual work and group work, and the impact gamification has on a flipped classroom. Click here to read the article featured in eSchool News.

Iowa Teachers Spend Summer Learning At ‘Externship’

Iowa teachers are learning new lessons as they spend the summer working at state parks, high-tech companies, research labs and other places as part of a program organized by the governor’s STEM Advisory Council. Meghan Reynolds, the externship project coordinator with the council, told the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier that more than 60 teachers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math are participating this year. Click here to read the article written by the Associated Press and featured in Education Week.

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The science event of the year

Even if your location is not in the path of the total solar eclipse, viewing a partial one is an amazing event. If you’re looking for safety tips, a refresher on the science of eclipses, classroom activities on the topic, or professional development, NSTA has many resources to assist.

Download the Observer’s Guide to Viewing the Eclipse

Check out ideas from others in the discussion forum or the Learning Center collection The Total Solar Eclipse of 2017

For young children, see The Early Years Blog Total Solar Eclipse on Monday, August 21, 2017!

Search for the topic Eclipses in SciLinks for grades 5-8 and 9-12

Start your Countdown to the Great American Eclipse with several articles in recent NSTA Journals:

If I were planning August professional development sessions, I would designate August 21 as Eclipse Day and focus on interdisciplinary teacher participation in this historic event. Of course, if your classes are in session then, you have an opportunity to view the eclipse with your students as a learning opportunity.

Photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sashapo/2722924752/

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Focus on STEM at NSTA’s Baltimore Area Conference, October 5-7, 2017

Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) take center stage at NSTA’s 2017 Area Conference on Science Education, in Baltimore, MD, October 5-7.

Freeman A. HrabowskiGeneral session speaker Freeman A. Hrabowski, president of UMBC (University of Maryland, Baltimore County), will kick off the conference with “Holding Fast to Dreams: Creating a Culture of STEMSuccess,” on Thursday, October 5 9:15 AM – 10:30 AM, in the Baltimore Convention Center, Ballroom III/IV. Join Hrabowski as he shares innovative approaches to STEM teaching and learning, STEM teacher preparation, support for the growing population of diverse students who must participate and succeed in these fields, and the importance of partnerships between schools, universities, philanthropy, government agencies, and business.

Below is a sampling of more STEM sessions you’ll experience in Baltimore:

  • Three Teachers…60 Students…One Genuine STEM Unit of Study
  • Producing STEM Equity Through the CCSS Math Practices
  • Let It Rain: A Hands-On Rain Garden Design Lab
  • NSTA Press® Session: Creating a STEM Culture for Teaching and Learning
  • The Perfect Match: Environmental Education and Project-Based Learning!
  • How to Invent the Wheel: Designing a STEM Program from Scratch
  • $TEM: Incorporating Career Connections
  • A Unique Ice Core Investigation That Integrates the Three Dimensions of NGSS and STEM
  • Analysis of Supernova Remnants Using X-Ray Spectroscopy with NASA Data and STEM Tools
  • STEAM It UP: Are You Learning to Read or Reading to Learn Using Literacy with Science?

Check out more sessions and other events with the Baltimore Session Browser/Personal Scheduler. Follow all our conference tweets using #NSTA17, and if you tweet, please feel free to tag us @NSTA so we see it!

Need help requesting funding or time off from your principal or supervisor? Download this letter of support and bring it with you!

And don’t forget, NSTA members save up to $95 off the price of registration. Not a member? Join here.

The mission of NSTA is to promote excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all.

Future NSTA Conferences

2017 Summer Institute

2017 Area Conferences

2017 Discover the NGSS “Train the Trainer” Workshops

2017 NGSS Administrator Institute

2018 National Conference

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Students’ Self-Assessment and Reflection

Do you have ideas on how to help my middle school students become more thoughtful, independent learners? —J., Michigan

In my experience, self-assessment and reflective activities gave students ownership in their learning.

Self-assessment is more than students “correcting” their own papers. When students self-assess, they reflect on the results of their efforts and their progress toward meeting the learning goals or performance expectations. They examine their work for evidence of quality and decide what to do next.

But if you ask middle school students to “reflect,” you may get puzzled looks or blank stares. Students don’t necessarily have this skill. They may initially think that an assignment or project is good simply because they spent a lot of time on it, they enjoyed it, or they worked very hard on it.

Students may need to be taught strategies for self-assessment through examples and practice. Take a piece of student work (with no name on it) and guide students through the process of comparing the work to the rubric. You may have to do this several times before students feel comfortable critiquing their own work.

Share with students how they could reflect on their own learning with responses to prompts such as: I learned that… I learned how to… I need to learn more about… It’s very powerful if you share your responses to your own work. , too.

In their notebooks, students could reflect on their work with prompts such as From doing this project I learned… To make this project better, I could…or Our study team could have improved our work by

Honest self-assessment and reflection are difficult processes, even for adults. But they are valuable tools for developing lifelong learners.

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Ed News: The Next Generation Science Standards’ Next Big Challenge

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This week in education news, NGSS’ next big challenge…finding curricula; Girl Scouts 23 new STEM badges; school success stops and ends with teachers; new report finds science teachers are often expected to teach beyond their subject matter training; New York school district to send science experiment to space; Trump Administration ask Tech CEOs for STEM policy advice; President Trump donates his second-quarter salary to education department; schools need to do more to equip K-12 students with computational thinking skills; Colorado adopts STEM seals for high school diplomas; and Alabama Governor Kay Ivey unveiled a new education initiative.

The Next Generation Science Standards’ Next Big Challenge: Finding Curricula

As states wrestle with putting the Next Generation Science Standards into action, one question I’m hearing more and more: What to do about curriculum? It’s also a question that’s been on the mind of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, which provided major support to the groups that developed the framework and standards that evolved into the NGSS. Click here to read the article featured in Education Week.

Together, Technology And Teachers Can Revamp Schools

In 1953 B.F. Skinner built his first “teaching machine”, which let children tackle questions at their own pace. By the mid-1960s similar gizmos were being flogged by door-to-door salesmen. Within a few years, though, enthusiasm for them had fizzled out. Since then education technology (edtech) has repeated the cycle of hype and flop, even as computers have reshaped almost every other part of life. One reason is the conservatism of teachers and their unions. But another is that the brain-stretching potential of edtech has remained unproven. Click here to read the article featured in The Economist.

Girl Scouts Adds 23 New Badges To Encourage Girls In Science, Tech

Girl Scouts can now earn badges in designing robots and coding in addition to legacy badges of first-aid and hiking. Is there anything these girls can’t do? The Girl Scouts of the USA announced Tuesday the addition of 23 new badges in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields. The move marks the largest programming rollout in almost a decade. Click here to read the article featured in USA Today.

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Legislative Update: Secretary DeVos and Ivanka Trump Team Up for STEM Ed

On Tuesday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Adviser to the President Ivanka Trump teamed up for a STEM-related reading event at the National Museum of American History and later worked on some STEM-focused projects with the students. Read more here.

The following day, President Trump donated his second quarter salary to the Department of Education to help fund a STEM-focused camp for students. The donation, totaling $100,000, was accepted by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos at the daily White House Press briefing, more here

STEM Education Focus of Congressional Hearing

On Wednesday July 26, STEM Education Coalition Executive Director James Brown testified before the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on Research and Technology at their hearing on “STEM and Computer Science Education:  Preparing the 21st Century Workforce.”

The hearing focused on the importance of STEM and computer science education to meeting a wide range of critical current and future workforce needs. In his written testimony, Brown covered three key issues: how states are incorporating STEM as they work to implement the Every Students Succeeds Act; the changing nature of STEM careers; and the emergence of informal STEM education.  View the hearing and read the testimony here, and learn more about the STEM Education Coalition here. (NSTA chairs the STEM Education Coalition.)

James Brown, Executive Director, STEM Education Coalition; Pat Yongpradit, Chief Academic Officer, Code.org; Representative Barbara Comstock (R-VA), Chair of the Research and Technology Subcommittee; A. Paul Alivisatos, Executive Vice Chancellor & Provost, Vice Chancellor for Research, and Professor of Chemistry and Materials Science & Engineering, University of California, Berkeley; and Dee Mooney, Executive Director, Micron Technology Foundation at the July 26 hearing on STEM Education.

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Total Solar Eclipse on Monday, August 21, 2017!

NASA downloadable map of 2017 solar eclipseIf you haven’t heard about what is known as the Great American Eclipse by now, it is not too late. This August 21, 2017 natural phenomena promises to be well worth “attending” or stepping outdoors for at least a few minutes approaching the moment when most of the Sun is covered by the Moon in your location. A partial solar eclipse can be seen by everyone in North America and parts of South America, Africa, and Europe so even if you are not within the  path of totality you can still experience and view this solar eclipse. If you have children in your care at the time, they will always remember the day the teacher did not follow the Daily Routine but took them outside to experience a darkening of the sunlight in daytime. They will remember the break from the ordinary and your excitement if nothing else.

A note about safety:

Indirect viewing may be the best way for young children to view images of the Sun during the eclipse. See the simple instructions for pinhole viewing from the American Astronomical Society. When talking about the Sun, I always tell children that we don’t look right at it because it will damage our eyes. Some children may be tempted to test their ability to look at the Sun to show how they can withstand pain. I tell children that even if it doesn’t hurt right now, the light will damage some of the insides of our eyes, making it harder to see, especially when we are older, so DON’T DO IT. Some suggest having people face the ground to put on the glasses before looking up at the Sun, to have time to make sure the glasses are on securely. The NASA website says this about safe viewing with special glasses:

Eclipse viewing glasses and handheld solar viewers should meet all the following criteria:

•    Have certification information with a designated ISO 12312-2 international standard

•    Have the manufacturer’s name and address printed somewhere on the product

•    Not be used if they are older than three years, or have scratched or wrinkled lenses

•    Not use homemade filters or be substituted for with ordinary sunglasses — not even very dark ones — because they are not safe for looking directly at the Sun

Our partner the American Astronomical Society has verified that these five manufacturers are making eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers that meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard for such products: American Paper Optics, Baader Planetarium (AstroSolar Silver/Gold film only), Rainbow Symphony, Thousand Oaks Optical, and TSE 17.

Here are government agency and organizations’ links to information that will guide you in viewing safely and understanding the science at developmentally appropriate levels. 

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) 2017 Solar Eclipse website answers the questions, Who? What? Where? When? and How?  and provides information on safety, science information about the players (Sun, Moon, Earth), and resources including downloadable maps, fact sheets and posters.

Search the National Science Teachers Association’s store for “eclipse” to find new (and older) resources about eclipses, including a free article, “Total Eclipse” by Dennis Schatz and Andrew Fraknoi in the March 2017 issue of Science Teacher. Their book, When The Sun Goes Dark, features a family re-creating eclipses in their living room and exploring safe ways to view a solar eclipse. A free viewing guide is available as part of these authors’ book on solar science for middle school, Solar Science: Exploring Sunspots, Seasons, Eclipses, and More. 

American Astronomical Society has a useful glossary of eclipse related vocabulary among many other resources and information.

Webpage of the Astronomical Society of the PacificAstronomical Society of the Pacific also has information and resources.

GreatAmericanEclipse.com, published by Michael Zeiler and Polly White, is a fun site for eclipse maps and science facts.

I’m planning on making a special day of it with my family since I won’t be in school. Thanks to all the scientific community for making it possible for everyone to learn how to view the 2017 solar eclipse!

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How NGSS and CCSS for ELA/Literacy Address Argument

In the summer of 2015, I observed an elementary science teacher from an NGSS-adopted state who made a presentation to her cohort of close to 100 K–12 science teacher leaders and administrators from schools, districts, and the state. After presenting her instruction on a physical science unit with 2nd-grade students, she gave her students the following assignment: “Write your opinion on . . . (the science topic).”

As a science educator, I was struck by the presenter’s use of “opinion” in science instruction. In an effort to unpack my misgivings, I decided to take a quick look at what the new science standards had to say about “opinion” in relation to argument. First, I consulted the Framework (NRC 2012), which states, “[y]oung students can begin by constructing an argument” and “begin to distinguish evidence from opinion” (p. 73). For example, the performance expectation K-ESS2-2 in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) states: Construct an argument supported by evidence for how plants and animals (including humans) can change the environment to meet their needs.

I then turned my attention to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for ELA/literacy. To my surprise, I discovered that “evidence” is introduced for the first time and used only once in grade 3, while “claim” is introduced for the first time and used only once in grade 5. In addition, “reasons” is used throughout K–5 and “reasoning” is introduced for the first time in grade 6. Finally, in grades 6–12, “argument” is used along with evidence, claim, and reasons or reasoning. The CCSS Appendix A (NGA Center and CCSSO 2010), which provides the research base for the CCSS, states, “Although young children are not able to produce fully developed logical arguments . . . In grades K–5, the term ‘opinion’ is used to refer to this developing form of argument” (p. 23).

A key instructional shift in the CCSS for ELA/literacy and the NGSS involves making connections across subject areas, which more accurately represent the reality of teachers and students who are trying to make meaning of multiple subject areas that have traditionally been treated in silos. One disciplinary practice that is emphasized consistently across the CCSS for ELA/literacy and mathematics and the NGSS is argument. But to what extent do subject area educators have a common understanding of argument?

In preparing a recent research article for publication (Lee 2017), I attempted to address this question more systematically. As both the CCSS for ELA/literacy and the NGSS claim to be research-based, reviewers of the journal encouraged me to look into relevant literature in ELA/literacy and science education with the aim of identifying conceptual sources of convergences and discrepancies between these two sets of standards. Eventually, my analysis of the two bodies of research literature and the two sets of standards in ELA/literacy and science education focused on (1) what counts as argument (i.e., disciplinary norms) and (2) when children are capable of engaging in argument (i.e., developmental progressions). Key findings are summarized as follows:

  • Although the CCSS for ELA/literacy include many purposes of arguments, including persuasive arguments, they emphasize logical arguments in relation to college and career readiness.
  • The description of argument in science that appears in the CCSS for ELA/literacy is comparable to how the Framework (NRC 2012) and the NGSS describe argument.
  • The two sets of standards and relevant bodies of literature in ELA/literacy and science education acknowledge that what counts as argument or evidence differs across disciplines, but none offer explicit guidance on what these differences entail.
  • The two sets of standards and relevant bodies of literature in ELA/literacy and science education present differing perspectives on K-5 students’ ability to engage in argument, as described above.

I support the CCSS for ELA/literacy and the NGSS in their efforts to make connections across subject areas and to highlight synergy and shared responsibilities among subject area educators. While capitalizing on convergences, it is equally important to reconcile discrepancies between different sets of standards and between different bodies of research literature. As new content standards are being implemented, the education community should attend to discrepancies between and across subject areas and commit to addressing such discrepancies. As a point of departure, a convening of stakeholders to discuss and resolve the discrepancies involving argument is one possible step to take, which could lead to further research and policy initiatives.

With the adoption of the CCSS and the NGSS across states, the responsibility of implementing these new standards falls primarily on classroom teachers. They are faced with limited information about what counts as argument across ELA/literacy and science education. Furthermore, they must contend with discrepant information about when children are able to engage in argument. As the NGSS are aligned closely with the grade-by-grade standards in the CCSS, such discrepancies have practical implications for classroom instruction and assessment. I was relieved and delighted when two leaders involved in writing the CCSS for ELA/literacy deferred to “research in science indicating young children could form arguments” and suggested that “as states are revising standards, they should take into consideration new research that’s out there” (Zubrzycki, 2017). In a similar manner, teachers and school districts should expect K-5 students to engage in argument from evidence consistently across subject areas, including ELA/literacy.

References

Lee, O. 2017. Common Core State Standards for ELA/literacy and Next Generation Science Standards: Convergences and discrepancies using argument as an example. Educational Researcher, 46(2), 90-102.

National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). 2010. Common Core State Standards for English language arts and literacy in history/social studies, science, and technical subjects. Appendix A: Research supporting key elements of the standards, glossary of key terms. Retrieved from http://www.corestandards.org/assets/Appendix_A.pdf

National Research Council (NRC). 2012. A framework for K-12 science education: Practices, crosscutting concepts, and core ideas. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.

Zubrzycki, J. 2017. In elementary school science, what’s at stake when we call an ‘argument’ an ‘opinion’? Education Week, http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2017/04/science_standards_common_core.html

 


Okhee Lee

Okhee Lee is a professor in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University. She was a member of the NGSS writing team and served as leader for the NGSS Diversity and Equity Team. She is currently developing NGSS-aligned instructional materials for students, especially English learners, in fifth grade.

 

 

The mission of NSTA is to promote excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all.

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Using Claim, Evidence, and Reasoning (CER) Strategy to Improve Student Learning

This past school year, I used claim, evidence, reasoning (CER) statements to show three-dimensional learning in my classroom. Several tools are available for doing this, but the one my students like is the CER Graphic Organizer and Transition Words List developed by Sandra Yellenberg.

My students like how this graphic organizer helped them organize their thoughts before writing their CER paragraphs. The first few times, we went through the process together to co-develop CER paragraphs. Sometimes we would develop a whole paragraph or a sentence to help explain a phenomenon. Co-developing the statements helped students feel more comfortable using the tool later on.

As students continued to use the tool, their statements gained complexity. Anytime students were asked to explain what they found out, they always used this tool and accompanying transition word bank. In several biology activities, we used the organizer to defend claims based on genetic analysis. In chemistry, we used the organizer to explain what the best way for organizing elements on the periodic table was. In physical science, we used a modified version of the organizer to develop correlations among kinetic and potential energy, speed, and friction using PhET’s Skate Park basics simulation. I also used the organizer in environmental science after having students do the activity Earth’s Dynamically Changing Climate, to explain how the eight pieces of evidence they examine help justify the claim that Earth’s climate is changing.

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You Teach What? I’m So Sorry! Building a Better Body and Building Better Argumentation

I am always amazed at the looks on people’s faces when I tell them I teach middle school. They seem to pity me for having a position I chose and love! They inform me that middle school “tween-agers” are argumentative, stubborn, and at times, adamant about whatever they set their minds to. But I smile because I have the best job in the world!

The secret about my argumentative middle schoolers is that middle school is a prime time to teach students what argumentation really is and how it is used every day in decision-making processes. Middle schoolers make claims all the time, and if we can harness their passion to make statements, then we have implemented a very powerful tool indeed. When and how did I implement argumentation as an NGSS Science and Engineering Practice (SEP) in my classroom? I started slowly and used the progression of the SEPs to construct “articles of argumentation” to help guide our learning processes.

Article 1: Engage With Evidence, Embrace the Phenomena

The first unit I aligned with NGSS was formerly known as my Human Body unit. I struggled with how to teach body systems as an interconnected system without first having students examine each system individually. I did what many a teacher in my position would do: I googled MS-LS1-3  and started vetting the pages I found. I became inspired by a lesson from betterlesson.com, Human Body 2.0, from Mariana Garcia Serrato. I used her project as my template and centered my storyline around this guiding question: What if we could build a better body?

Gathering Evidence

To form a better body, or body system, students need to examine a perceived weakness in our current model/body. As students brainstormed all the ways our bodies could become better, they quickly realized they needed to investigate the current human body system to engineer a better one. To enhance their understandings, students were given several dissection opportunities, lecture videos, mini-labs that could be checked out, textbook pages and web resources. They had two weeks to construct written models (blogs using their G Suite for Education Glogster accounts) summarizing their understandings. Students then commented on one another’s blogs, asking questions about where they saw limitations. In their comments, students were tasked with evaluating understandings independent of their personal biases and practiced making qualitative/quantitative observations. This gave them an initial opportunity to practice strengthening statements by making them empirical.

Article 2: Stating Supported Claims

When students evaluated one another’s comments, they expressed interest in a specific body system, so I had them choose the body system they thought most needed improvements. Students were placed into body system groups of their choice (they ranked their interest in each body system and were assigned to groups based on ranking and availability), then they revised initial models and constructed a physical model for their “Human Body 2.0.” Students spent an additional week preparing prototypes to be shared with the class. On presentation day, students had to evaluate their models and argue effectiveness and feasibility. (See System Evaluation Sheet.)

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Article 3: Pairing the SEP and the CCC

One CCC (Crosscutting Concept) for this particular DCI (Disciplinary Core Idea) is systems and system models. Because the NGSS are interconnected, students are sense making through the combination of content, practices, and overarching crosscutting concepts. Encouraging students to make and revise their models as part of argumentation ensures that they not only understand the benefits of their system, but also its limitations. Argumentation is strengthened through modeling, as it uses a natural feedback loop and allows students to see that argumentation is not a “fight,” but a network of understanding based on evidence. It illustrates that the argumentation process is not linear, and keeps conversations, investigations, and—most importantly to me—wonder ongoing.

Ways I hope to improve this unit in the future

  • Implement an anchoring phenomenon before the guiding question;
  • Continue to become more familiar with NGSS Screener Tools and rubrics; and
  • Increase connectedness. I find students create a better model and argument when they know others will evaluate their model. (If you are interested in having our students evaluate your student’s blogs or vise versa, tweet me at @frizzlerichard.)

So when I am asked on the street, at the pool, or anywhere about my argumentative middle schoolers, I smile. My students know how to argue correctly, and as their science teacher, I couldn’t be more proud!


Meg Richard

Meg Richard is a seventh-grade science teacher at California Trail Middle School in Olathe, Kansas. She has been teaching science since 2010 and is a graduate of Central Methodist University and the University of Central Missouri. In addition to her teaching duties, Meg is excited to be a member of Teaching Channel’s Tch Next Gen Science Squad and to work with the Kansas Department of Education as a Science Trainer. She’s passionate about providing authentic, hands-on science experiences for her students, and she often can’t believe how lucky she is to get to do the best job in the world: Teach! Connect with Richard on Twitter: @frizzlerichard.

Visit NSTA’s NGSS@NSTA Hub for hundreds of vetted classroom resourcesprofessional learning opportunities, publicationsebooks and more; connect with your teacher colleagues on the NGSS listservs (members can sign up here); and join us for discussions around NGSS at an upcoming conference.

The mission of NSTA is to promote excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all.

Future NSTA Conferences

2017 Fall Conferences

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