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NGSS in the Classroom: What Early Implementer Science Instruction Looks Like

By Katherine Nilsen, Ashley Iveland, Burr Tyler, Ted Britton, Kimberly Nguyen, Elizabeth Arnett


This 13th report in WestEd’s evaluation of the K-8 Early Implementers Initiative for the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) provides an extensive response to the following question: What does NGSS science teaching look like in the classroom?

The report first discusses Initiative teachers’ experiences with four instructional practices that promote equitable instruction, an explicit feature of the NGSS. The report then illustrates how Early Implementer teachers enacted three additional features of NGSS instruction:

  • Integrating the three dimensions of the NGSS,
  • Using real-world scientific phenomena and/or engineering problems to launch and drive instructional lessons and units, and
  • Having students do investigations in ways that give them the responsibility and opportunity for learning.

Each vignette is followed by commentary explaining how key features of the NGSS were incorporated into the lesson, with the intention of describing the NGSS teaching in enough detail to help administrators and policymakers recognize when they are seeing NGSS-based instruction and when they aren’t.

The report also briefly relates specific ways that Initiative teachers have advanced in their NGSS science teaching over the years of the Initiative, and how the Initiative prepared teachers for such teaching. The report concludes with recommendations for how administrators can support teachers in implementing NGSS teaching.

Read the Executive Summary.

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Copyright: 2020
Format: PDF
Pages: 42
Publisher: WestEd