Teaching with the Next Generation
Science Standards

Apr 17, 2016 by Francis Vigeant

Releasing Responsibility for an Effective Student Learning Experience

Students will not start out with the ability to use science and engineering practice skills. That’s why we put so much emphasis on a gradual release of responsibility and on helping students become independent in their use of these ideas.

We do this in the context of other disciplines – English language arts, math, technology – and by introducing students to the science and engineering practices while requiring them to function with increasing levels of independence is key to mastery. 

The tradition of siloed instruction – each subject taught on its own without integration – really has no home with NGSS. NGSS by design treats science as a basic discipline integrated with others, even at a very young age. That’s why you see these students taking on the role of engineers but using their knowledge of science to solve a problem in their own way. 

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Topics: Common Core Standards, ELA, release of reponsibility

Feb 28, 2016 by Francis Vigeant

The Role of Students, Teachers, & Content Under Next Generation Science Standards

The Next Generation Science Standards represent a foundational shift for a lot of educators, because this is not how our schools of education teach science teachers, elementary generalists or others about science. The mode of instruction for science that has been standard in our classrooms – those teaching students and those educating teachers both – follows a traditional model.

The traditional model of science education, in which the teacher hands facts to students, demonstrates phenomena and explains what’s going on. To prove their understanding, students recall these facts, perform the same demonstrations and summarize the phenomena their teachers have explained. This is a performance-recall model of education. 

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Topics: NGSS, Common Core Standards, Leadership

Feb 21, 2016 by Francis Vigeant

Student-Centered Instruction: Central to the Next Generation Science Classroom

The traditional model of instruction has the teacher handing content to students in the form of modeling facts, demonstrating phenomenon and explaining “what’s going on.” The students respond and prove their knowledge by recalling those facts, repeating the demonstrations and summarizing the phenomena they see. 

For generations, our classrooms have run on a simple principle: The teacher knows the material, and the students do not. In a traditional model the teacher will cover material with the students, who will demonstrate their understanding by essentially mirroring or repeating the teacher’s words or actions to show what they have absorbed. 

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Topics: NGSS, teachers, Common Core Standards, Leadership

Feb 14, 2016 by Francis Vigeant

What Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Really Are

The understanding of what science, technology, engineering and math are has shifted quite a bit in the last few years, and too often a definition for them is lacking. If a debate is sparked, it is likely to come from this changing definition; from what the roles of the teacher, student and curriculum actually are; and from the difference between curriculum and standards … a difference that is poorly understood even by many educators.

There are still a few gray areas when it comes to where the Next Generation Science Standards came from and what they’re trying to accomplish, but one thing that isn’t gray is the backing they have from our nation’s preeminent scientists and engineers.

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Topics: NGSS, science and engineering practices, Common Core Standards

Feb 10, 2016 by Francis Vigeant

Overlap with Common Core ELA & Math

The Common Core Standards (CCSS) aren't just about ELA and math time on learning, they come alive in the context of a science, technology, and engineering classroom. Developing proficiency with CCSS in the context of STEM is a win-win that enriches all disciplines and gives students an applied appreciation for technical writing and applied math.

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Topics: NGSS, science and engineering practices, Common Core Standards, ELA

Feb 9, 2016 by Francis Vigeant

Science and Engineering Practices

Science and engineering practices are not merely a set of skills, they are an intentional effort to combine both skills and knowledge in a contextualized classroom that allows students to engage with this material on a level that encourages their higher-order thinking skills. In fact, the goal of the Next Generation Science Standards is to reorder the priorities of thinking in the classroom, in some sense.

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Topics: NGSS, science and engineering practices, Common Core Standards

Feb 3, 2016 by Francis Vigeant

Similarities and Differences Between NGSS and CCSS

While both Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core State Standards offer direction for curriculum design and student learning in the classroom, there are some significant differences both in the manner of their fulfillment in the classroom and in the tone behind their development and rationale.

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Topics: NGSS, Next Generation Science Standards, Common Core Standards, Policy, School Climate and Culture, Leadership

Jan 20, 2016 by Francis Vigeant

Student Readiness: Establishing Background Knowledge

The challenge right now with analyzing curriculum and tasks is that most resources you'll find are a rearticulation of other materials, and aren’t truly aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards.

We've been around for the last ten years developing curriculum and watching this process, and we’ve been going all in on the Next Generation Science Standards by taking the suggestions of various reports as they were coming out in 2010 and 2011, and putting them into practice in the classroom right away. We hope to see more teachers do the same because these standards are great for students and they're great for instruction.

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Topics: NGSS, Next Generation Science Standards, Common Core Standards

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