Guy who says dinosaurs were on Noah’s Ark tapped to review Arizona’s evolution standards

Here is a bit of instruction from a guy Superintendent Diane Douglas tapped to help review Arizona’s standards on how to teach evolution in science class:

The earth is just 6,000 years old and dinosaurs were present on Noah’s Ark. But only the young ones. The adult ones were too big to fit, don’t you know.

“Plenty of space on the Ark for dinosaurs – no problem,” Joseph Kezele explained to Phoenix New Times’ Joseph Flaherty.

Flaherty reports that in August, Arizona’s soon-to-be ex-superintendent appointed Kezele to a working group charged with reviewing and editing the state’s proposed new state science standards on evolution.

Click here to read the full opinion piece by Laurie Roberts in the Arizona Republic (September 13, 2018)

Getting The Next Generation Science Standards Into The Classroom

In the Rogers and Hammerstein musical, “Oklahoma”, the returning cowboy sang, “Everything’s up to date in Kansas City”. Similarly, the Los Alamos High School (LAHS) Science Department wanted to keep up to date with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), so Department Chair Liz Bowden turned to the Los Alamos Public Schools (LAPS) Foundation for help.

The NGSS is a multi-state effort to create new education standards that are “rich in content and practice, arranged in a coherent manner across disciplines and grades to provide all students an internationally benchmarked science education”. The standards were developed by a consortium of 26 states and by the National Science Teachers Association and others. The final draft of the standards was released in April 2013, but the New Mexico version was just released last spring.

Click here to read the full story in the Los Alamos Post Daily (August 28, 2018)

Science Refreshed in Elementary Schools This Year

The San Francisco Unified School District began rolling out the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in secondary schools in 2017. This year, they are rolling out new science standards — and the lessons that helps students learn those standards — across all of our elementary schools.  According to the Vincent Matthews, “in today’s world of information overload, it can be difficult to determine fact from fiction. That’s why we’re teaching critical thinking skills and scientific literacy–to prepare students to think like scientists and engineers, from kindergarten on.”

Click here to read the full article in the San Francisco Examiner (August 27, 2018)

Michigan to Withhold Science Test Scores for Two Years

LANSING — State education officials plan to withhold the public release of science scores from the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress for two years because they say the exam is a sample test that does not yet measure student proficiency.

The Michigan Department of Education says it plans next Wednesday to release scores in all other subject areas from the M-STEP — math, English Language Arts and social studies.

But student scores from the science test, taken in April and May by students in grades 5, 8 and 11, are being withheld because state education officials are still developing the new computer-based science assessment through the 2019-20 school year and are continuing to vet test questions and make changes.

Michigan adopted new K-12 science standards in 2016 based on the Next Generation Science Standards, which replaced the standards adopted in 2006 and introduced science and engineering practices, state officials said. In 2017, knowing field tests would be conducted, state education officials moved M-STEP testing in science from grades 4, 7 and 11 to grades 5, 8 and 11.

Click here to read the full story in The Detroit News (Aug 22, 2018)

California Close to Adoption of New Curriculum for NGSS

For the first time in 12 years, the state of California is reviewing its K–8 science course materials for adoption of new resources in time for the spring 2019 semester. Many include a digital component, and not every publisher is going to make the cut. The state’s Department of Education adopted the Next Generation Science Standards for grades K–12 in 2013. Now they’re considering course materials that align with the standards.

A proposal in spring 2018 invited publishers to submit their resources. Nineteen different companies submitted a total of 34 programs, from Accelerate Learning’s STEMscopes CA NGSS 3D to Twig Education’s Twig Science. Agency-designated review panels have gone through the materials. While most received a “recommended for adoption” designation, a few didn’t, primarily because they don’t include content, which is specified in NGSS, and/or because they’re weak in specific categories of standards or lack a well defined sequence of instructional “opportunities” along which all students can become proficient in the grade-level expectations.

Click here to read the full story in T.H.E. Journal

Teachers Get a Feel of Next-Gen Science Standards

Groups had approximately 15 minutes to conduct the experiment: read the lesson plan, drop the Life Savers candy into a cup of water to determine how long it would dissolve, and then take a minute to provide an analysis.

Some crushed the Life Savers to factor in size, some used hot water – some cold – and others stirred it in rapid movement.

Instead of primary school students conducting the experiment, it was the teachers. They were getting a firsthand account of what next-generation science standards will be like as Sierra Sands Unified School District begins the implementation this year for its K-5 grades.

Click here to read the full story in The Ridgecrest Daily Independent (August 9, 2018)

Will new standards improve elementary science education?

Science could be considered the perfect elementary school subject. It provides real life applications for reading and math and develops critical thinking skills that help students solve problems in other subjects. Plus, it’s interesting. It helps answer all those “why” questions — Why is the sun hot? Why do fish swim? Why are some people tall and other people short? — that 5- to 8-year-old children are so famous for asking.

Young children are “super curious,” said Matt Krehbiel, director of science for Achieve, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping students graduate high school ready to start college or to pursue a career. “We want them to be able to harness that curiosity to help them make sense of the world around them.”

But science has long been given short shrift in the first few years of school. Most elementary school teachers have little scientific background and many say they feel unprepared to teach the subject well, according to a national survey of science and mathematics education conducted by a North Carolina research firm in 2012. Just 44 percent of K-2 teachers felt they were “well prepared” to teach science, according to the survey, compared to 86 percent who felt well prepared to teach reading.

Click here to read the full story in the Hechinger Report (July 11, 2018)

Bridging the STEM Skills Gap Involves Both Education and Industry Commitments

Rebecca Ellis, a staff writer for STEM Education Works, explores how the workforce of tomorrow requires a strong STEM foundation today. She showcases the work in the automotive industry stating, “robots have become common, performing risky or repetitive tasks and improving the production line. By 2019, there will be approximately 2.6 million industrial robots in use worldwide, according to a 2016 report by the International Federation of Robotics. However, while the increased use of industrial robots has enhanced the precision and efficiency of manufacturing, it has also fueled a skills gap in the field.”

She goes on to recommend that schools and industries  need to bridge this gap and find ways to best prepare students for workforce requirements – one in which science, technology, engineering and mathematics play a major part.

Click here to read the full story in U.S. News and World Report  (July 9, 2018)

Colorado adopts new science standards that focus on inquiry, not memorization

New science standards adopted by a divided Colorado State Board of Education call on students to learn by puzzling through problems in the natural world rather than by listening to facts from a teacher.

The Next Generation Science Standards, already in use in 38 states, represent the most significant change to what Colorado students will be expected to know in this round of revisions to state standards.

The process concluded Wednesday with the adoption of standards in comprehensive health and physical education, reading, writing and communicating, and science. The board had previously adopted new standards in social studies, math, world languages, arts, and computer science, among others. Most of those changes were considered relatively minor.

The Next Generation standards, which were developed based on years of research into how people learn science, are considered a major change. They focus more on using scientific methods of inquiry than on memorization. In a time when we can look up literally any fact on our phones – and when scientific knowledge continues to evolve – supporters of the approach say it’s more important for students to understand how scientists reach conclusions and how to assess information for themselves than it is for them to know the periodic table by heart.

Click here to read the full story in Chalkbeat (June 14, 2018)

Click here to read a story by the National Center for Science Education  (June 14, 2018)

Educators Scramble for Texts to Match Science Standards

Five years after the NGSS rolled out, districts are sorting through a nascent, untested curriculum landscape that’s full of murky claims—leaving both students and teachers in a tough spot as they try to put standards into action.

The challenge is accelerating, even as two developments promise to shake up the marketplace this fall. California, an influential bellwether, will adopt science curricula, and EdReports, a nonprofit that releases Consumer Reports-style curriculum reviews, will unveil its first look at science series.

Until then, though, many districts’ main decision on science curricula comes down to this: Buy now, or wait?

Click here to read the full story by Stephen Sawchuk in Ed Week (June 5, 2018)