Tag Archives: NGSS

Did You Get My Message?

Curiosity and non-conformity are two traits that have served science educator and eBooks+ Kids author Martha Harney very well throughout her professional life. Harney, an elementary science specialist for the Northeast Elementary School in Waltham, Mass., grew up among people who instilled in her a lifelong love for learning new things. “For me, the curiosity […]

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Using Discourse With High School Science Students

High school students love to talk. Covering topics from music to memes, the hallway conversations are always lively. But when students enter the classroom, they suddenly have nothing to say. I believe it’s because students don’t know how to talk science. Recently, I have analyzed productive discourse among students, and what I have found confirms […]

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Science Class: A Place Where Children Should Be Seen and Heard

I recently observed a lesson about how shadows change throughout the day, and I was fascinated by the amount of time the teacher and the class took to listen to and watch one another as they discussed the data. The careful structuring of time for analyzing data in small- and whole-group discussions gave students confidence […]

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Shoes! Beaks! They’re All About Structure and Function  

As we watch students arrive for class, we notice that Alejandra hangs her jacket on a coat hook, while Calder reaches for scissors to make a fringe on his picture. Tessa replaces her rain boots with the sneakers from her cubby, and Nick searches for a spoon to eat his cereal. These daily scenes illustrate […]

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Exploring Structure and Function in Insects

As an entomologist, one of my greatest challenges is trying to overcome my students’ feelings of fear and disgust regarding insects. Insects often have negative images in society. Walk through any toy store, and you will likely find plastic insects with the words “gross” or “creepy” written on their colorful packaging. One of our main […]

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Using Toxic Algal Blooms to Teach Structure and Function

Young children often experience a developmental stage in which they question everything. Why aren’t there dinosaurs anymore? Why do cats purr? Why are some potato chips green? They go from simply observing their surroundings to analyzing, experimenting, and wanting to make sense of their world. As a high school teacher of ninth-grade biology and AP […]

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Enhanced Ebook “magic act” engages students in fun science lessons about sound and light

When Rebecca Olien set out to write Sound All Around, The Amazing Light Show, an NSTA Enhanced EBook+, she knew a thing (or 20) about elementary schoolchildren, the book’s target audience. Olien was a classroom teacher for 20 years and understood that science education, for younger children, works best when it’s taught through fun and […]

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First Graders Become Corn Experts: Using Questions to Drive Instruction

First graders love when fall comes to Kansas. It’s a magical time when lots of events are occurring in their environment, and I take full advantage of their natural curiosity. We begin the school year with a mini science unit featuring corn and agriculture. Every year in May, my class plants a few corn kernels […]

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Scaffolding the Practice of Asking Questions and Defining Problems

With the adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), teachers are wondering how to teach their students to do the science and engineering practices (SEPs). Some SEPs, such as carrying out investigations and analyzing data, are a natural flow from the old science standards. Many, however, are new for both students and teachers. For […]

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Summer PD for Teachers in National Parks

“I [couldn’t] believe I was getting paid for this,” says Eric Riemer, fourth- and fifth-grade science teacher at Park City Elementary School in Park City, Kentucky, of his experience this past summer as a National Park Service (NPS) Teacher Ranger Teacher (TRT). 

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