As new science curricula appear in the market claiming to be designed for the Next Generation Science Standards, more and more teachers are starting to ask what their purpose is in a next generation classroom.Continue reading
Topics: NGSS, Next Generation Science Standards, Next Generation Science, Implementing New Science Standards, NGSS-Designed Curriculum, Next Generation Science Classroom Instruction, STEM Education Policy, Teaching in 3 Dimensions
Now that the majority of states (40, to be specific, plus the District of Columbia) have adopted either the Next Generation Science Standards or very similar science standards, there is a growing focus on how to create assessments that are aligned to the new standards.
The Next Generation Science Standards were developed based on recommendations from the National Research Council’s A Framework for K-12 Science Education.
“Fully meeting the vision set forth by the Framework and Framework-aligned standards requires high-quality and aligned assessments that can provide actionable information to students, teachers, and families,” according to a recent report by the nonprofit Achieve.Continue reading
Across the United States, there isn’t adequate guidance on how much time on learning schools need to dedicate to science instruction.
According to a new report by the nonprofit group Achieve, this needs to change, and the change needs to happen at the state level.
There are 40 states plus the District of Columbia that have now adopted the NGSS or similar next generation standards for science.
Time on Learning in a Next Gen Classroom
An inadequate amount of science time on learning is not news to many teachers who struggle to incorporate science into their already full days. In fact, not enough time on learning for science is one of the most common complaints facing schools implementing the Next Generation Science Standards.Continue reading
The Next Generation Science Standards call for a significant shift in instruction: students need to actually think, to develop and refine their own ideas and the ideas of their peers.
This leads to a basic question that is surprisingly hard to answer: how do we think? When we ask students to think, what should really be going on in their minds?
The book “Making Thinking Visible” tackles these questions head-on, exploring how and why thinking is so important in the classroom.
As part of their research, the authors came up with eight thinking moves, what they call “high-leverage moves that serve understanding well.” These eight thinking moves are “integral to understanding and without which it would be difficult to say we had developed understanding.”Continue reading
When Mahma was a child, he dreamed of being a teacher.
However, poverty made that dream out of reach to Mahma as he grew up. Instead, he became a farmer in Sinjar, a town in northern Iraq.
Then in 2014, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) attacked Sinjar and surrounding villages in what has been internationally recognized as the 74th attempted genocide of the Yazidi people. Tens of thousands of Yazidis, including Mahma, fled to escape ISIS.
Now, almost five years later, hundreds of Yazidi adults and thousands of Yazidi children have found hope in an unexpected place—inside the camps for internally displaced people (IDP) in the Kurdish Region of Iraq (KRI) where they’ve ended up.
This hope has come from an innovative STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) program for K-8 students that has taken root in the U.N. camps and surrounding schools. The STEM program, launched in 2015, is aimed at bringing relevant and lifelong skills to children living in the camps while at the same time helping them build skills to cope with conflict.Continue reading
Fully implementing the Next Generation Science Standards is a growth process. Once you actually have a program that is thoughtful and well developed, it will take three to five years to get to a fully successful and effective implementation.
A quote that resonates when thinking about teaching and learning with the Next Generation Science Standards comes from Angela Duckworth in her book Grit: “Novelty for the beginner comes in one form and novelty for the expert in another. For the beginner, novelty is anything that hasn’t been encountered before. For the expert, novelty is a nuance.”Continue reading
In general, it’s important to have straightforward expectations that you hold students accountable to in each part of a science or engineering lesson.
Students need to understand that they’re being held accountable to these expectations. Straightforward expectations help both parties to engage and provide feedback, and to do so in a way that's meaningful to each other.
Here we’ll walk through a KnowAtom lesson, which has 5 parts that unfold over the course of a week or a week and a half, but these ideas can be applied to any lesson.Continue reading
Socratic dialogue is an important way to get students to begin working with their own ideas and the ideas of others, clarifying what they think and why they think it, and then refining their thoughts as a result of the discussion.Continue reading
Achieve has recently published a new resource aimed at helping educators begin to evaluate common claims made by curriculum providers about how their materials relate to the Next Generation Science Standards.
We asked our curriculum content specialists to review the document, and they came up with 3 key takeaways.Continue reading
A program aimed at providing children living in camps for internally displaced people in the Kurdish Region of Iraq with important skill-building science instruction has established a vital network of people who know STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and who have a desire to learn and to teach other people in one of the most challenging environments on Earth.
The program began in 2015 in an effort to build relevant and lifelong skills for children living in conflict while at the same time helping to take their mind off of the conflict. Since its beginning, KnowAtom has partnered with local aid workers and the precursor to STEM Synergy, a non-profit that partners with community leaders to deliver quality STEM education to communities on the cusp of rapid development.Continue reading
There are 5 steps educators can adopt in their own classrooms to use phenomena most effectively in the classroom.
Step 1: Find a real-world anchor phenomenon.
If you're a KnowAtom user, you don't need to find anything because phenomena are the basis for all of our lessons. If you don't use KnowAtom, that's fine. These are all things you can do in your class.Continue reading
Phenomena are an essential part of teaching the Next Generation Science Standards.
This is because they provide the real-world context for learning. When combined with the science and engineering practices, phenomena are a powerful way to engage students as scientists and engineers in the classroom.
Phenomena are central to a next generation-aligned instructional model because they allow students to develop and use all of the practices in a variety of contexts.Continue reading
The Next Generation Science Standards are all about students being scientists and engineers every day in the classroom. And if a student is going to be a scientist or engineer in the classroom, if that's going to be the mode of learning, there needs to be a purpose.
That’s where phenomena come in.
Phenomena provide the real-world context for learning. For scientists, a phenomenon is an observable event, a complex, real-world context. For engineers, phenomena have to do with a problem that may be solved by extending their knowledge of science.Continue reading
Innovative companies like iRobot face many of the same challenges as teachers and school districts that are adopting and beginning to implement the Next Generation Science Standards.Continue reading
When Paul McCarthy’s son was born without fingers two years ago, McCarthy decided to find a solution on his own. He began to search for an inexpensive, functional prosthetic hand online and came across an internet video for a hand that could be made out of plastic by a three-dimensional printer, along with free instructions for how to print the hand out of plastic.Continue reading