The Transition to teaching with the Next Generation Science Standards NGSS

As a science teacher, I am so excited to see the transformation of our state and national science standards. These standards where developed through the collaboration of 100’s maybe even thousands of experts in science and education and truly represent the major shifts in science and society since our first attempts to establish standards for science education. They map our a transformation in how we teach and learn science.

As an educator who builds and implements lesson plans, I am challenged. Now I am balancing Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI) (content??), with Science and Engineering Practices (SEP) and Crosscutting Concepts (CC). Did someone mention phenomena and storylines? Oh my! How do you I fit this into my district lesson plan template now?

So I have been putting on my design and engineering cap and asking myself, “what does an NGSS lesson look like?” What does an NGSS science classroom look like?

If I look at our traditional resources. That would be a text book. While many text book company’s have “aligned” their content to the NGSS. Most have done so as an after thought and not a redesign of their strategies and teaching. The have aligned their traditional books to the DCI’s and inserted ideas for doing Science and Engineering and CrossCutting Concepts as labs that follow a traditional course outline. But if you try to line these up with the NGSS Performance Standards it’s a bit awkward and a stretch to say “aligned”

As I started looking deeper into the resources on the Next Generation Science standard website and the National Science Teachers Association. I started to notice that there is a new breed of science curriculum emerging. One that starts with A Phenomena and tells a story. I have found some resources that are helping to transform my teaching, especially Argument Driven Inquiry. As I begin my implementation of these new resources, I am connecting with my students at a deeper scientific level and it is invigorating and exciting.

But as a rural science teacher its’ often tough. If you are the only science teacher in your building, how do you stay connected and grow?

#1 Become a National Science Teacher Association Member –
A great way to stay connected when you work in rural Alaska is to join the National Science Teachers Association. Once you are a member you can join a listserv for every science content are you teach. Yeah, that could be all of them, LOL. One of the best perks is the ability to browse their old journal issues which are full of excellent lesson plans.

#2 Become a member of the Alaska Science Teachers Association
This group sponsors $500 mini-grants for professional development and classroom supplies. All thoughtful proposals get serious consideration

#3 Check out these lesson plans and resources. They are not all NGSS formatted, but each one has elements that help build a storyline. I will be adding to this list as I collect new resources throughout the year. Feel free to email me with more ?

Alaska Resources

National Links


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