Category Archives: Next Generation Science Standards

Using Toxic Algal Blooms to Teach Structure and Function

Young children often experience a developmental stage in which they question everything. Why aren’t there dinosaurs anymore? Why do cats purr? Why are some potato chips green? They go from simply observing their surroundings to analyzing, experimenting, and wanting to … Continue reading

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Balloon Racers

Anyone who teaches middle school students knows they have a lot of energy, and a lot of hot air. Why not put it to use? In this activity, students will be challenged to modify a simple plastic balloon racer to … Continue reading

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First Graders Become Corn Experts: Using Questions to Drive Instruction

First graders love when fall comes to Kansas. It’s a magical time when lots of events are occurring in their environment, and I take full advantage of their natural curiosity. We begin the school year with a mini science unit … Continue reading

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Scaffolding the Practice of Asking Questions and Defining Problems

With the adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), teachers are wondering how to teach their students to do the science and engineering practices (SEPs). Some SEPs, such as carrying out investigations and analyzing data, are a natural flow … Continue reading

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First-Graders Modeling Day and Night: Making Sense of a Phenomenon

As a first-grade teacher in Detroit with predominantly Latinx students and English language learners, I worked for several weeks at the end of last school year with a doctoral candidate in science education and former elementary teacher, Christa Haverly, and … Continue reading

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What Is Your Model For?

Recently, my colleagues and I had an exchange with some teachers in one of our professional development programs. One teacher said, “I think I do a lot of modeling in my class. I have my kids draw pictures of the … Continue reading

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Modeling in Science Instruction

With the shift toward three-dimensional teaching and learning that the Next Generation Science Standards requires, the Crosscutting Concept of Modeling has become a major focus of my instruction.  I use a process that involves revisiting the same model at least … Continue reading

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What Does 3-Dimensional Space Look Like

When transitioning my classroom instruction to three dimensional learning, I decided to start with one or two areas in each unit or lesson set where I felt the most need. I was already purposeful in selecting activities that I carefully … Continue reading

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Global Thinking Inside and Outside the Classroom

Dynamic Equilibrium. These two words represent what is essential in teaching Earth science: the idea that forces are constantly working against one another, but often do so in ways that nearly counteract one another. In a river, deposition and erosion, … Continue reading

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Cereal to Stream Tables: Putting Stability and Change in Students’ Hands

Stability and Change is one of the seven Crosscutting Concepts (CCs) that can be difficult to convey in a lesson. Other CCs like Patterns, Cause and Effect, and Systems and System Models can be easily incorporated in the structure of … Continue reading

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