California Educator

November / December 2016

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S cience is central to how we understand and make sense of the world around us. e explosion of digital technology, sequencing of the human genome, and changes in the way we view our planet's environmental sustainability and the number of planets in our solar system, are just a few recent examples of how science has changed the way we live. Science education standards have been updated with this new knowledge, and with advances in our understanding of how students learn science best. e new state standards for science are called the California Next Generation Science Standards (CA NGSS). ey were developed by teachers, scientists and science education experts. e CA NGSS require that science and engineering be taught in grades K-12 to build understanding and skills systematically year on year. e CA NGSS embrace a young person's innate curiosity by introducing science at an earlier age, encouraging students to ask lots of questions, and emphasizing hands-on investigation and discovery. Why are the CA NGSS important? Requiring science and engineering to be taught at every grade is especially important for young children whose families and com- munities are unable to provide much access to science learning outside of school. The new standards also hold promise to reduce the opportunity gap for girls and for Latino, African American, low-income and other students who have been historically under- represented in science education and careers. Through these shifts, the CA NGSS will help ensure that all students receive the same high-quality instruction to prepare them for success in college and 21st century careers. How do the CA NGSS work? The CA NGSS are aligned, grade by grade, with California's new standards for mathe- matics and English language arts (Common Core). Blending science, math and language arts together makes learning more rele- vant and fun, while also deepening student learning in all subjects and better preparing students for the real world. What is the timeline? In early November, California became the first state to adopt a Science Framework based on CA NGSS and is now poised to lead the nation in rolling out a rich, updated, 21st century science curriculum. Schools are expected to be fully transitioned to teaching based on the CA NGSS for the 2018-19 school year. Between now and then, the California Department of Education (CDE) will release new guidance to aid educa- tors in developing curriculum and selecting instructional materials. • 2016-17: Science curriculum framework, assessments pilot test. • 2017-18: Assessments field test. • 2018-19: Instructional resources, assess- ments operational. Where do I start? Now is a good time for educators to seek out professional development and to begin experimenting. Take a look at the standards on the CDE website (; search for NGSS) and explore some of the introduc- tory videos ( Talk to your school and district leaders to find out what district plans and resources are available, or try incorporating the new standards into an upcoming lesson. Find more information and instructional resources at Excerpt from CA4NGSS content prepared by CTA, C DE Foundation , Computer S cience Teachers Association, and Children Now. Ready for the New Standards? What you need to know about California's Next Generation Science Standards STEM at Your School: Resources • Next Generation Science Standards Background information, overview, tools and resources, glossary. • Exploratorium Provides K-12 interactives, Web features, activities, programs and events. Saturday and summer professional development work- shops are available through the Teacher Institute. • NASA for Educators foreducators Lesson plans, teacher guides, classroom activities, video clips, games, posters and more for teachers and students in K-12 and higher education. • National STEM Video Game Challenge Middle and high school students as well as educators are invited to design games that incorporate STEM content or STEM themes in innovative and engaging ways. • Master Tools Eight interactive math and science tools and simulations for students in grades 6-12. All simulations and curriculum materials meet the new National Science Education Standards and National Math Education Standards. See more at stem-resources.html. 32

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