A few weeks ago, EdReports released its first middle school science reviews. It took us more than a year to get these reports out the door, but our educator reviewers invested that time because we know how important a high quality, standards-aligned curriculum is for our students and their futures.
As an EdReports content specialist, and science educator for two decades, I recognize that the Next Generation Science Standards are a big shift for the field. Our reports are designed to empower educators with information and evidence to guide their practice—but diving into a report can feel daunting at first.
We want to help. Check out this short guide made to accompany our science reports. In it we highlight three ways to identify if you’re using high-quality science materials in your classroom.
We know that instructional materials are not the silver bullet. But we also know that materials can make a difference in what and how students learn. We hope you’ll share these tips with your colleagues and join the #materialsmatter conversation on Twitter or Facebook.
We look forward to hearing from you!
EdReports Science Content Specialist
One of the major shifts--and common buzzwords--for science assessments is "phenomena." When we asked teachers and researchers to dive into tasks and identify what characteristics in assessments set students up to demonstrate three-dimensional performances, we heard loud and clear that phenomena are one of the most critical features of three-dimensional assessments. What is the role of phenomena in assessments, and why does this matter?
Here's what our experts found:
The Achieve Team
Wonder Science launches streaming channel for Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV
Mobile App available for iOS
Also on YouTube and wonderscience.com
Wonder Science® launches a streaming channel, website and mobile app with a mission is to stimulate fresh interest in science among viewers who typically steer clear of educational programming.
During its initial release, early adopters can download Wonder Science for free across all platforms.
The channel is targeted to audiences looking to relax and unwind by introducing a new form of science media—a way to zone out to science. Episodes run from 6-minutes to 6-hours, employing a simple formula that blends mesmerizing visuals with music. The combined effect transports viewers into an alternate reality—filled with brilliant gems, industrious ants, bizarre microorganisms, and psychedelic sound waves.
Wonder Science shows frequently present a microscopic perspective on nature and technology, uncovering worlds within worlds that are all around us but normally unseen. The use of optical, confocal and electron microscopes draws attention to the huge import of small things.
"Wonder Science is like an educational lava lamp," says Danielle Parsons, Wonder Science Founder and CEO. "We keep experts off-screen, because we want to encourage each viewer to form their own direct, unmediated connection with science. By not imposing information, we create enough space to allow people's natural curiosity to kick in."
When that curiosity inevitably sparks, viewers can choose to watch narrated versions of shows and dig deeper into topics on the website. Programs exploring biology, chemistry, physics, and geology have already been incorporated for use in college classrooms. But if viewers want to use Wonder Science as a sleep aid, or as a backdrop at a party, that works too.
Music is fundamental to the experience of Wonder Science. The company collaborates with electronic, synth, and indie artists to create the original soundtracks accompanying many programs. Contributing musicians include Ariel Pink, KRON, Stuart Price, El Tigr3, and Füxa.
The channel takes inspiration in part from the growing Slow Movement, which now permeates almost every area of life—from cooking to fashion to cinema—advocating a cultural shift toward slowing down. Wonder Science episodes unfurl patiently through long shots of video and animation. Instead of a 10-second clip of a microbe, viewers can observe the creature's behavior over 10-minutes.
Content is produced in-house and sourced from scientists worldwide. On original productions, Wonder Science joins forces with prestigious universities like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Caltech, UCLA, and institutions abroad. Though its website, Wonder Science invites academic, industry and citizen scientists, as well as science artists, to contribute edited and raw footage for potential inclusion on the channel.
"We're thrilled to enable academics to reach new audiences with groundbreaking science," says Parsons. "Over the long term, we are focused on building a unique repository of rare and amazing science visuals from around the world."
Today's News from Achieve
Do you remember your science tests growing up? For so many of us, they were disconnected from the things that were important to our lives as students. When assessments don't matter to students, students don't put their best thinking forward. The whole point of science assessments is to provide feedback that can help students meet their science learning goals and we can't do that if we don't provide students with the opportunity to show what they know and can do in compelling, positive ways.
When student assessments shift toward performances that value the ideas students bring to the table, we learn more about student learning. During the task annotation process, we paid close attention to how assessments support the diverse students who may be responding to the task--and how that impacts what we can conclude about student progress. As it turns out, many of the same features that promote equity and fairness also ensure that assessments can elicit useful information from students including:
The Achieve Team
Share the suite of task resources and join our conversation on Twitter!
Tell us what it looks like when assessments support all students--and how does that change what you learn about students in your classrooms? Tag us in your response!
Learn More »
"Know the Bear Facts" education seminars are free of charge and available to municipalities, schools, homeowner associations, civic and environmental organizations and a variety of other audiences.
Program attendees learn all about the history and biology of the Garden State's largest land mammal, black bear research, and get common-sense tips on how to react if a black bear is encountered. The seminar also provides simple precautions that residents should take to discourage bears from entering a property, and how to react if a black bear is encountered.
The Division also offers educational publications about New Jersey’s black bears and for educators, the “Understanding Black Bears" K-8 Classroom Curriculum, all free of charge.
To inquire about scheduling a bear education seminar, or to receive bear publications, please contact Michelle Smith at (609) 259-6961 or Michelle.Smith@dep.nj.gov
For more information about black bears, visit www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/bearfacts.htm
NEON is releasing two new films that may be of interest to NJ Science Teachers
APOLLO 11 the cinematic event 50 years in the making is exclusively in IMAX for one week only, starting Friday, March 1. Crafted from a newly discovered trove of 65mm footage, and more than 11,000 hours of uncatalogued audio recordings, Apollo 11 takes us straight to the heart of NASA’s most celebrated mission—the one that first put men on the moon, and forever made Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin into household names. Immersed in the perspectives of the astronauts, the team in Mission Control, and the millions of spectators on the ground, we vividly experience those momentous days and hours in 1969 when humankind took a giant leap into the future. Don't miss seeing this spectacular movie on the biggest screen possible.
Educator Curricula and two classroom activities available for download here.
WATCH THE TRAILER
The Biggest Little Farm, John and Molly Chester’s inspirational tale of leaving the big city to as they attempt to build a farm completely in harmony with nature – planting 10,000 orchard trees and over 200 different crops, and bringing in animals of every kind– including an unforgettable pig named Emma and her best friend, Greasy the rooster, will open in theaters across the country on May 10th. But schools and community groups will have a chance to see the film early in theaters at advance preview screenings taking place at participating theaters starting in April. Thanks to a generous donation by student and community groups with limited resources have the opportunity to apply for FREE TICKETS to attend these special advance screenings.
Learn more about the Education Program and how you can inspire conversation and hands-on engagement around the themes in the film including, reconnection with nature, soil, and food and regenerative sustainable farming with your students. Find more information about the program and sign-up on our website here: https://www.biggestlittlefarmmovie.com/education-program/
WATCH THE TRAILER
Travel to Mars, discover mysterious small worlds in space and decipher the science of astrobiology – learn and explore together with Infiniscope, NASA and Kahoot!
Finding Your Roots—The Seedlings
A new curriculum based on Henry Louis Gates' popular PBS genealogy series Finding Your Roots was inspired by the enthusiasm and creativity of students who attended the first Finding Your Roots Genetics and Genealogy Camps. The new curriculum supports the Next Generation Science Standards.
The Teacher-Friendly Guide to Climate Change
Published by the Paleontological Research Institution, this 294-page book for high school Earth and environmental science educators addresses basic climate change science and offers perspective on teaching a subject that has become socially and politically polarized.
Learning Problem Solving and Growth Mindset in a Makerspace
This video features elementary learners working in a makerspace, along with teacher commentary and a discussion of the benefits of project-based learning from leading education researchers.
Find more resources on NSTA's Freebies for Science Teachers web page.
NGSS@NSTA Classroom Resources
Check out these NGSS@NSTA Classroom Resources vetted by NSTA teacher curators. This week's focus is engineering.
Introduce the STEM teachers in your district to an innovative NGSS-aligned program for grades 5-12 that uses the results of highway safety research to give students a hands-on understanding of core STEM concepts.
The IIHS in the Classroom website is designed to help students explore the science behind what happens in a car crash — both to the car and to those inside it — and discover why some vehicles are safer than others.
Developed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) together with award-winning science educator Griff Jones, Ph.D., the website features engaging, interactive resources to enhance lessons on key STEM concepts and practices.
Learn more: https://classroom.iihs.org/
Comments or questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
from NSTA | Endangered Species!
Engage your students in a captivating journey into a world of never-before-seen images of artists and activist's intent on exposing issues of endangered species, climate change, and the next mass extinction on the planet. Based on the eco-thriller and award-winning documentary film Racing Extinction, from Academy Award-winning director, Louie Psihoyos, and his team at OPS (Oceanic Preservation Society).
Download FREE Educational Curriculum here.
Mark Francek from Central Michigan University regularly shares interesting science sites, especially earth science sites. He has put together a "best of" list.
You can download the Word document now.
Contact Mark directly in you want to be added to his distribution list.
On December 4 the White House issued a five year strategic plan for STEM education based on the vision that "all Americans have lifelong access to high-quality STEM education and the U.S. will be the global leader in STEM literacy, innovation, and employment."
To achieve this vision the report presents three goals that stakeholders should follow:
Goal 1: Build Strong Foundations for STEM Literacy
Goal 2: Increase Diversity and Inclusion Through Broader Access to STEM
Goal 3: Prepare the STEM Workforce for the Future.
The report includes a strategy for how federal agencies should plan, coordinate, and scale up their programs for STEM over the next five years and includes solid recommendations that STEM stakeholders in states and districts nationwide can follow and emulate. Read the report here.
FREE STEM Teaching Tools Just a Click Away
Looking for highly-usable Open Education Resources (OER) that will support STEM teaching? The STEM Teaching Tools website—funded by the National Science Foundation--is a research and development initiative of the University of Washington Institute for Science+Math Education.
From The MIT Press
Picturing Science and Engineering
More about the book: mitpress.mit.edu/books/picturing-science-and-engineering
Photographer's website: www.felicefrankel.com/
It’s Not Easy Seeing Green: The Complexities of Color Blindness | Bryan Kett | TEDxPasadena
NJSTA received this from the speaker: We hope you find it of interest and useful.
My name is Bryan, and I am a former science educator from Chicago. Over the past year, I had the privilege of writing (and rewriting and rewriting) a TEDx talk on the complexities of colorblindness. In it, I delve into the genetics behind the condition as well as the social and philosophical implications of perspective--a valuable insight for students and staff alike.
This talk embodies my years as an educator and serves as a valuable tool for any science educator to use in their classroom, and I wanted to share it with the NJSTA. You can see the talk here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdNN5GrD5cM
If you're at all interested, please feel free to disseminate the talk however you see fit. I'd be happy to talk more and help facilitate anything however I can.
Thank you for all you do. It matters a great deal.
Hope you’re having a wonderful day! I’m reaching out on behalf of National Geographic’s inspiring documentary SCIENCE FAIR. We would love to connect with New Jersey Science Teachers Association to share this inspiring film directly with teachers and community members for free during our November screening tour!
Hailed by critics as “immensely likeable,” “brilliant and quirky” and an “ode to the teenage science geeks on who our future depends,” SCIENCE FAIR follows nine high school students from around the globe as they navigate rivalries, setbacks and, of course, hormones, on their journey to compete at The International Science and Engineering Fair. Watch the trailer here.
If you’re interested in free DVDs and educational materials, please fill out this Google Form and we’ll get back to you shortly: http://bit.ly/ScienceFairScreening. Feel free to pass along our email to other colleagues nationwide - we’re really excited to share this opportunity. Also, if you’d like a preview link of the film, please let me know and we’re happy to coordinate.
From Arizona State University:
I wanted to share a project from Arizona State University and the National Science Foundation that may be of interest to you and your readers, especially around the season for Halloween and “spooky science.”
In honor of the bicentennial anniversary of Frankenstein, we created Frankenstein200, a free, interactive blended learning experience that uses Mary Shelley’s classic tale of monsters and mayhem as a way to engage the public around STEM topics and the ethical challenges of emerging technology.
The experience features an episodic online story game paired with fun, hands-on science activities related to robotics, genetic engineering, and electricity. By teaching a robot how to draw, experimenting with simple machines, or even bringing their own “creature” to life, learners can encounter the same questions Mary Shelley experienced when writing her most famous novel, while developing important 21st century skills of their own related to exploration, discovery, and critical thinking.
These materials are adaptable to home, in class, or after-school activities and can be scaled to individual, small group, or full classroom-based lessons. We were very excited to have Frankenstein200 featured in School Library Journal and Science Friday and hope you will find these resources useful for your community of students and educators.
In celebration of National Chemistry Week (NCW) AACT is sharing a collection of cross-disciplinary resources that make connections between chemistry and this year's NCW theme, Chemistry is Out of this World.
Activity: Aliens Activity
Activity: Planet P-10
Activity: Electromagnetic Spectrum Book
Demo: Emission Spectrum from a Candle Flame
Lab: Mystical Fire Investigation
Demo: Flame Test (Rainbow Demo)
Activity: Chemistry is Out of This World
Activity: The Universe of Elements
Lab: Mass of a Gas
Lab: Build a Spectroscope
Lab: Spectral Detective
Lesson Plan: Alien Invasion
Lab: Rocket Challenge
Lab: Alka Seltzer Rockets
National STEM Competition Looking For Teachers Like You to Join #eCYBER19!
NSTA is proud to administer eCYBERMISSION, a web-based STEM competition for students in grades 6-9. Guess what? No registration fee! As a community-based STEM program students are encouraged to explore how STEM positively impacts the world around them. We are looking for teachers, like you, to participate as Team Advisors. eCYBERMISSION fits well into classroom curriculum and meets state science standards. Don't miss our early registration deadline on November 21. All students registered to a team by this date receive a FREE STEM Kit. Registration closes in December and projects are due in February. All students who submit a project are recognized for their accomplishment and compete for state, regional and national awards.
eCYBERMISSION is sponsored by the U.S. Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP) and administered by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA).
Registration is easy. Please visit eCYBERMISSION.com today! Please direct registration questions to email@example.com or call 1-866-GO-CYBER (462-9237).
Students help Fred (a gummy worm) reach a life preserver (a gummy candy shaped like a life preserver) inside his capsized boat (an upside-down clear plastic cup) without falling off, using only four paper clips, and no hands!
FunScienceDemos—and Support Pages
These short science demos depict core science ideas students need to know before high school and support the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). A companion site—FunScience Support—offers resources to help teachers extend learning and deepen students' science understandings.
The Science of Baking
This infographic offers simplified explanations of the science of how and why common baking ingredients transform into cookies, cakes, and other baked goods. Teachers can use this visual guide to help students understand what happens during the baking process.
Find more free resources on NSTA's Freebies for Science Teachers page.
As the science education community focuses on how to assess student learning under new science standards, the question of how to determine the quality of potential assessment tasks arises time and again. Today, Achieve is excited to release two new tools intended to assist educators in evaluating science assessment tasks to determine whether they are designed for three-dimensional science standards based on the Framework for K-12 Science Education, such as the Next Generation Science Standards.
The Science Task Prescreen is used to conduct a quick review of assessment tasks to identify any "red flags" - challenges commonly found in science assessment tasks - and determine whether a task is worth a more rigorous evaluation.
The Science Task Screener is used to take a deeper dive into evaluating science assessment tasks. The Screener is organized around four key criteria, each with a set of indicators to help reviewers determine whether the criteria are met and a set of response forms for gathering and analyzing evidence, providing suggestions for improvement, and rating the task. The Screener builds off the criteria in the EQuIP Rubric for Science by more clearly specifying features for the assessment tasks embedded in lessons and units.
If you have questions or are interested in professional development opportunities related to evaluating science assessment tasks, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also learn more about the broader science professional learning services that Achieve offers, including support for science tasks, here.
The team at UW and CU Boulder is pleased to announce the publishing of a new ACESSE resource to support the process of selecting phenomena that can anchor units of instruction or be used in a scenario as part of a 3D assessment.
Resource E: Selecting Anchoring Phenomena for Equitable Teaching
This pair of workshops is designed to introduce you to the process of selecting phenomena that can anchor an entire unit that supports students’ 3D science learning or that can serve as a basis for a multi-component assessment task. This resource can also be used by individuals wanting to refine their teaching practice around phenomena based instruction. You may have heard a lot about phenomena, but you may also be wondering what exactly they are, and whether using phenomena is any different from how teachers teach today already.
This learning experience will help you:
With respect to the assessment process, this resource supports the task of clarifying learning goals and eliciting evidence of student learning. Specifically, analyzing standards helps to clarify learning goals. In assessment, scenarios present phenomena to students, and then specific prompts are designed to elicit student understanding of core ideas, practices and crosscutting concepts. Once written as a scenario for an assessment, teachers can use the resources introduced in ACESSE Resource B to design specific prompts for their assessments (SEP Task Formats Tool, CCC Prompts Tool). This resource complements Resource C, in that it provides some ways to integrate tools to connect science instruction meaningfully to students’ everyday lives and cultural practices. This workshop has multiple segments, and it is broken into two sessions that last roughly three hours each, which can be organized as a full-day session or across multiple days.
For those of you new to CSSS, ACESSE is a partnership between researchers at the University of Washington and the University of Colorado Boulder and the Council of State Science Supervisors. We are developing and testing resources to help create more coherent and equitable systems of state science education. The resources center on supporting equitable assessment practice and on development of state teams. There’s a link from the CSSS website, and all resources we have developed can be found here. You can follow us on Twitter at @ACESSE_Project.
All of the resources are Creative Commons licensed and can be adapted and used by anyone to support the vision of equitable teaching and learning articulated in A Framework for K-12 Science Education.
NJDOE Science Coordinator, Michael Heinz, created parent information pages about the science standards. Schools are welcome to use them as they are or even rebrand them as their own.
Washington, DC — On Augist 19,, 2018, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) announced it is opening registration for the 2019 Aviation Design Challenge, an annual competition GAMA hosts to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education in U.S. high schools through aviation curriculum and a virtual fly-off.
“This will be our seventh consecutive year hosting this life-changing competition, and it will be our biggest one yet with our expansion of the school registration cap to 150 slots,” said GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce. “This program is a valuable tool for us to not only help educate the nation’s students about the science of flight and airplane design, but also tell them about all the exciting career options that lie ahead for them in the general aviation industry.”
GAMA will provide registered schools complimentary “Fly to Learn” curriculum that is developed in alignment with national STEM standards, along with free X-Plane software, which is the world’s most comprehensive and powerful flight simulator for personal computers. Teachers will guide students through the principles of the science and engineering of flight and airplane design, completing the curricula in approximately six weeks in the classroom or in four weeks through an accelerated program. The teams will then apply that knowledge to modify an airplane design and complete a mission in a virtual fly-off using the software, which GAMA judges will score based on application of what the team learned, and performance parameters. The winning team will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to experience general aviation manufacturing firsthand during the summer of 2019.
The nationwide competition has attracted growing interest each year since its inception in 2013. In 2018, 130 schools across 39 states registered for the competition — a 37 percent increase in participation from 2017. Because of the competition, several past winners and entrants are now pursuing careers in aviation.
To learn more about the competition or to register, please visit the GAMA Aviation Design Challenge webpage.
For additional information, please contact Sarah McCann, GAMA Director of Communications, at +1 (315) 796-1560 or email@example.com.
June 27, 2018 - A new brief out today from Achieve explores the challenges states face as they begin to think about transforming their science assessments to accompany new three-dimensional science standards.
Since 2013, 40 states have adopted the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) or similar standards, signaling a commitment to high-quality and rigorous science education for all students. Any time state content standards undergo such a significant shift, states must develop new assessments to measure student progress toward meeting the new standards. This need presents a number of challenges for state leaders.
Achieve's new brief explores these and other challenges and presents a set of recommendations for states to consider in tackling them.