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Why Was the NGSS Science Framework Developed?

Oct 4, 2021 by Nicole Lanoue

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) were released in 2013. They are research-based K–12 science content standards that aim to improve science education for all students. These Next Generation learning standards are a critical component in many STEM curriculums.

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Topics: NGSS, Next Generation Science Standards, STEM

What is the NGSS Three Dimensional Learning Approach?

Sep 23, 2021 by Francis Vigeant

Want to understand the Next Generation Science Standards? In three words: three dimensional learning. Figuring out exactly what those words mean and how they make NGSS different from existing standards will get you much closer to understanding exactly what is expected in the next generation of science education.

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Topics: NGSS

In the Know: Why NGSS Science and Engineering Practices Matter

Sep 1, 2021 by Sara Goodman

Now that the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are upon us, there has been a lot of talk about the NGSS three dimensions. One of the most significant shifts under the NGSS learning standards comes in the integration of the eight science and engineering practices with the disciplinary core ideas and crosscutting concepts.

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Topics: NGSS

The NGSS 3 Dimensions of Science Learning: Understanding Why They Are Key

Sep 1, 2021 by Francis Vigeant

The STEM cycle of innovation is about relationships between the core STEM components – science, technology, engineering and math.

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Topics: NGSS

CER Science with Thinking Moves: Using Claim Evidence Reasoning

Aug 31, 2021 by Judy Higgins

What is CER? CER stands for Claim, Evidence, Reasoning. It is essentially a framework that educators use to teach the scientific method. Simplified, it looks like:

Claim (answer to a question) + Evidence (student’s data) + Reasoning (scientific principle or rule)

When we ask students to support scientific claims using CER and we model thinking moves in the process, we help spark their own curiosity about the world around them. When teachers introduce KnowAtom’s hands-on engineering labs and science experiments, they are bringing real world phenomena into the classroom. And when students make a scientific claim and back it up, they are taking charge of their own learning process.

Learning about thinking moves was one of the most transformative steps in my 20-year teaching career. One of my favorite quotes is from an American writer, Elbert Hubbard, who said, “The object of teaching a child is to enable him to get along without a teacher.” Thinking moves provide a structured approach to better understanding how we think. For teachers, it’s also a well-tested strategy to help propel students towards learning connected to their own natural curiosity and cognitive abilities. When students take the reins in the classroom, studies overwhelmingly show that engagement levels rise, and learning outcomes do too.

Thinking Moves in the Classroom, CER, and NGSS

Whether you are an educator, parent, guardian, or principal – you can learn from teachers who incorporate thinking moves into their classrooms. Thinking moves help students develop a much deeper level of understanding of the topic at hand. Here’s a list of thinking moves developed by the authors of Making Things Visible (2011):

1. Observing closely and describing what’s there
2. Building explanations and interpretations
3. Reasoning with evidence
4. Making connections
5. Considering different viewpoints and perspectives
6. Capturing the heart and forming conclusions
7. Wondering and asking questions
8. Uncovering complexity and going below the surface of things

You’ve probably already noticed how well these go along with next generation science skills (NGSS). For those teaching science and engineering practices in the classroom – here’s how thinking moves align directly with STEM:

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Topics: NGSS, STEAM, Scientific Method, Thinking Moves, Frame Model, Discourse Frames

Schools Show Success in Improving Student Learning, Engagement and Behavior with a Combination of KnowAtom’s Research-Based Instructional Practices and Professional Development

Jun 14, 2021 by Samantha Ozgood

Implementing a Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)-based curriculum transforms educators from transmitters of information to facilitators of learning. KnowAtom’s innovative approach to teaching science helps transform classrooms into collaborative teaching laboratories – where students take the lead in their own learning process. That’s just what Northeastern University researcher Dr. Tracy L. Waters found when evaluating fourth and fifth grade science teachers implementing KnowAtom – measurable improvements in student learning, as well as changes in teaching methods, as educators began to give students more responsibility in the learning process.

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Topics: NGSS, Next Generation Science Standards, Professional Development, STEAM Curriculum

Do teachers have a new role in the NGSS classroom?

Aug 22, 2019 by Sara Goodman

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.

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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

New Resource Helps Teachers Make 3-Dimensional Science Assessments

Aug 5, 2019 by Sara Goodman

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.

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Topics: NGSS, Next Generation Science Standards, NGSS Assessments, Three dimensions, Implementing New Science Standards, Next Generation Assessments, STEM Education Policy, Teaching in 3 Dimensions

New Report Focuses on Science Time on Learning

Jul 30, 2019 by Sara Goodman

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.

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Topics: NGSS, Next Generation Science Standards, Time on Learning, State-Specific Science Standards, STEM Education Policy, science education, engineering education

The “Art of Teaching NGSS”: How Phenomena and a Culture of Learning Impact Student Engagement

Jun 11, 2019 by Francis Vigeant

Not too long ago a reader of this blog posed the following question:

My question is how do you get kids to want to even ask questions? I teach high school and the only way most of my students learn anything is by my forcing it down their throats, because they aren't even curious about phenomena. This new model is awesome for kids who WANT to learn, but for the vast majority, school is where their parents want them to go so they aren't home all day. Any thoughts?

It got me thinking because it strikes at the very heart of teaching and learning: What is the value-add of time on learning today?

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Topics: NGSS, Next Generation Science Standards, Time on Learning, Next Generation Science Classroom Instruction, Phenomena-Based Learning, Teaching in 3 Dimensions

Iraqi Teachers Adopt KnowAtom to Create a Next Generation Science Experience for IDP Students K-8

Feb 17, 2019 by Sara Goodman

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.

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Topics: NGSS, Next Generation Science Standards, international, Innovation, Inquiry Based Learning, STEM Education Policy, science education, engineering education, KRI

How Does Professional Development Shape Culture?

Dec 12, 2018 by Francis Vigeant

In our third post exploring how to develop a culture of success with the Next Generation Science Standards, we turn our attention to the role of professional development .

It is essential to have a professional development plan that positively shapes culture. This is because if you’re going to do something new, then you need to understand what’s involved in that new thing. This is true for any task, including implementing the Next Generation Science Standards.

Teachers teach the students. But who teaches the teachers and the administrators? That’s key because

 if you buy a program that you don’t understand, or somebody buys a program for you that you don’t understand, then how can you implement the program as it’s designed to be used?

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Topics: NGSS, Professional Development, Implementing New Science Standards, Next Generation Leadership, Teaching in 3 Dimensions

Why is Alignment More Difficult with Next Generation Science Standards?

Nov 30, 2017 by Francis Vigeant

With the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) at or near the classroom implementation stage in most states, principals and teachers have come together to discuss their interpretations. Everyone involved is doing their best to understand where they need to be in September.

The problem facing all educators, early elementary through high school, is that few classrooms have ever taught science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) effectively. While "science classes" have been taught PK-12 for decades, many educators are now questioning if they've ever really taught students science, and if not, what effective STEM instruction is and what it looks like.

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Topics: NGSS

Where do NGSS and ELA Standards Intersect?

Nov 16, 2017 by Maryellen deLacy

The Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy are the next generation of K–12 literacy standards.

In grades 6-12, Common Core State Standards require teachers of history/social studies, science, and technical subjects to use their content area expertise to help students and ELA teachers meet the particular challenges of reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language in their respective fields.

For this reason, there are a number of crossovers between the Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core ELA standards.

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Topics: NGSS, Next Generation Science Standards

How to Avoid a One-Size-Fits-All Approach to Professional Development

Nov 13, 2017 by Nicole Lanoue

To implement the Next Generation Science Standards well, prepare yourself for the major shifts in teaching and learning that are involved in your classroom, your building, and your district.

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Topics: NGSS, Professional Development, Implementing New Science Standards

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