Embrace the New Standards in Science Education

In 2013, Kansas became the third state to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). In a letter to The Topeka-Capital Journal online, Brian Cole, a science teacher and president of the Kansas Association of Teachers of Science,  talks about the new standards as a way to “greatly improve science education for our kids and all students in Kansas.”

“For too long our science standards have been focused on terminology and factual knowledge of science. Current research informs us how the students of today learn best. Students in Kansas classrooms need to be engaged in science. Students need to “do” science, to explore and use the practices and thinking of scientists and engineers while applying and exploring science concepts. That’s when science learning truly happens and students really come to understand and retain content.”

Click here to read the letter in The Topeka-Capital Journal online (cjonline.com, January 19, 2015)

The science of change: How Delaware is transitioning to new science standards

Newsworks reporter  Avi Wolfman-Arent looks at the adoption and implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in Delaware. He answers many questions about the NGSS, including what they are, what makes them different, and what Delaware’s plan is for implementing them. An accompanying video of teacher Jacqui Kisiel from Rehoboth Elementary School in Delaware showcases the shifts in teaching.

Click here to read the Newsworks article and view the video (January 11, 2016)

California grapples with timeline to implement science standards

Two years after it adopted a new set of science standards, the California State Board of Education is trying to allow enough time to best phase them in so it avoids some of the pitfalls it faced in implementing the Common Core State Standards in math and English language arts.

The Next Generation Science Standards have in many ways been overshadowed by the Common Core, which the state adopted in 2010 and is now being implemented in school districts across California. By contrast, the science standards, adotped in 2013, are being introduced more slowly across the state.

At its November meeting in Sacramento, the State Board of Education voted to extend the timeline for finalizing a new science curriculum “framework” from its original projected date of January 2016 to September or November 2016.

Click here to read the article in Ed Source (December 13, 2015)

Bristol (CT) educators readied for new science standards

The state of Connecticut adopted the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in November 2015. As the standards are introduced in classrooms over the next few years, the Bristol Press reports that students will be doing more hands-on science.

“It’s an exciting time for science teachers,” said Richard Gagliardi, the Bristol school district’s director of technology.

NGSS is designed to engage students more in learning scientific and engineering principles and connecting that learning to real world applications, he said.

Click here to read the article in the Bristol press (December 14, 2015)

Why teachers embrace Kentucky science standards

Tricia Shelton, a science teacher and teacher leader with 20 years’ experience, writes about the widespread support for science standards in Kentucky. Tricia is a 2014 NSTA Distinguished Teaching Award winner for her contributions to and demonstrated excellence in science teaching.

“As a science educator for more than 20 years, I have seen countless new initiatives come and go. Some of these efforts, while well-intentioned, weren’t very effective in supporting student learning and igniting students’ innate curiosity.  But the Kentucky Academic Standards for Science (Science KAS) – which are based on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) – have the potential to do both, and science teachers across our state have embraced them.”

Click here to read the article in the Kentucky Courier-Journal (Nov. 18, 2015)

Congratulations to CT and MI for Adopting the NGSS

Connecticut and Michigan are the most recent states to officially adopt the Next Generation Science Standards, joining AR, CA, DE, IA, IL, KS, KY, MD, NJ, NV, OR, RI, VT, WA and the District of Columbia. The Connecticut vote occured on Nov. 5 and the Michigan vote came on Nov. 10.

Click here to read a press release issued by Dianna Wentzell, Connecticut State Commissioner of Education.

Click here for background information on the Michigan standards.



Schools with Advanced Science Students Get Accelerated Pathways Advice

The NGSS Accelerated Pathways document released by Achieve, Inc., guides schools seeking to compress the timeframe in which science courses are taught. The intent is to serve high-achieving students seeking to tackle more advanced content earlier in their middle or high school careers.

“The “NGSS Accelerated Pathways” document doesn’t offer curriculum. It focuses on three exemplar course maps that outline how a school might reorganize NGSS performance expectations into fewer courses without omitting any.”

Thee resource also addresses how NGSS and Advanced Placement (AP) courses are conceptually similar.

Click here to read the article in T.H.E. Journal (Nov. 3, 2015)

How NGSS Transforms Science Class with Hands-on Learning

eSchool News recently published a piece by Colorado science teacher, Pat Dickerson, on the Next Generation Science Standards. The piece is reposted from the Graphite.org blog.

“Imagine 30 sixth-graders racing to your classroom every day, so excited about learning that they are willing to think critically and problem-solve for the next 49 minutes. This is my world every day. I’ve been teaching for more than 30 years, and this is the most excited I’ve ever seen students. What’s changed? Simply put: We integrated the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) into our curriculum.

My students and I are now so engaged in learning and actively participating in science that we often end up rushing to clean up at the bell. Parents tell me their dinnertime conversations are about science and what their kids are doing and learning. When we have our STEM Fair each year, parents are amazed by what they see and hear from the students. “Doing science” makes for a messy, noisy classroom –- but the students are engaged and thinking critically, guided by the NGSS.”

Click here to read the article in eSchool News (10/29/15)

STEM and the Next Generation Science Standards in Warren

In New Jersey, educators and policymakers agree about the need for an increased focus on STEM education. The state is among 14 others, including the District of Columbia, that have adopted the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The state is planning to implement the new standards in grades 6-12 for the 2016-17 school year and for grades K-5 the following year.

In this article written by Mary Ann McGann from Warren Township Public Schools, in preparation for the new standards, the Warren Township School District continues to provide professional development opportunities in STEM and NGSS to its science educators.

Click here to read the article in Mycentraljersey.com. (10/29/15)

Opinion from Vermont: Science Standards Boost Learning

Jennifer Stainton, the Science Department chairwoman, integrated environmental science teacher, and chemistry teacher at Woodstock Union High School, in Woodstock, VT, published an opinion piece in the Burlington Free Press  hailing the adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards in Vermont as a way to boost science learning.

“When the Vermont State Board of Education adopted the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in 2013, it delivered a clear message to every science teacher in Vermont: engage all students with the core, interconnected ideas of science by allowing them to practice the skills of scientists and engineers. Teachers across the state have embraced this message by taking steps to change their daily teaching practice so their students can meet the new standards.”

“Teachers also appreciate that the Vermont Agency of Education does not prescribe a one-size-fits-all implementation of these standards. Instead, each district and school has the ability to make decisions about the local changes needed to support an NGSS-rich science education and as a result, I’ve seen teachers developing new science lessons that engage students by asking them to embrace failure (a word normally scorned in school settings) as they design solutions to local problems.”

Click here to read the article in the Burlington Free Press (Oct 21, 2015)