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Episode 042: Leveraging Students’ Prior Conceptions in NGSS with Ty Scaletta


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Ty Scaletta, a 6th grade NGSS teacher, shares with us how to plan and teach in response to students prior conceptions and the importance of leveraging those prior conceptions when thinking about equity and engagement in NGSS storylines. He begins by explaining his shift from using the word “misconceptions” to prior conceptions. And ends with talking about his work with OpenSciEd. Lots of NGSS goodies here!

Join our Facebook Group and let us know what  you think of this episode. And remember, you’re phenomenal!


Show Highlights

  • 01:30 - 05:30    Prior conceptions vs misconceptions
  • 05:30 - 09:00    Leveraging prior conceptions
  • 09:30 - 13:00    Planning for prior conceptions
  • 13:30 - 24:00    How leveraging prior conceptions leads to more equity and engagement in the classroom
  • 27:00 - 32:00 ...
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Episode 041: Building Your Science Teacher Identity with Marti Canipe, PhD


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Elementary teachers often do not have a formal background in science, but many are expected to teach science. Now add in the NGSS shift from  the more traditional way science was taught, teachers are now re-creating what it means to be a science teacher. Marti Canipe, PhD is an assistant professor of elementary science education and her PhD dissertation and focus with pre-service teachers is all about building your science teacher identity. Imposter Syndrome is real but Marti Canipe is here with strategies and resources for gaining confidence as a science teacher. 

Join our Facebook Group and let us know what you think of this episode. And remember, you’re phenomenal!


Show Highlights

  • 02:30 - 04:00    Introduction to Marti and her PhD research
  • 04:00 - 22:00   Addressing teachers' anxieties and apprehension about...
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QTT005: Does NGSS Phenomena have to be Phenomenal? 5 Myths of NGSS Phenomena...Busted

ngss phenomena phenomenon Jul 30, 2019

Myth 1: If it’s something fun, flashy, or involves hands-on activities, it’s a phenomenon

No, a phenomenon does not have to be flashy. A hands-on inquiry lesson is not necessarily phenomenon driven. And not every fun science lesson is phenomenon driven either--but that doesn’t mean phenomenon driven lessons can’t be fun. 

Phenomena (smelling pizza in the cafeteria, mold growing on the fruit in your fridge, going down a slide and getting an electric shock)  are specific examples of something in the world that is happening—an event or a specific example of a general process that we can use our science knowledge, practices, and crosscutting concepts to explain or predict.

Engineering involves designing solutions to problems that arise from phenomena, and using explanations of phenomena to design solutions.

A puddle drying on the sidewalk is not flashy but it’s a phenomenon. 

Myth 2: Phenomena are good to bring in after students learn...

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QTT004: Is this REALLY NGSS? 3 Key Tools for Evaluating NGSS Curriculum

Have you  been looking for high-quality instructional materials that support student instruction toward the goals of the NGSS? 

All sorts of products and programs have filled the science instructional materials marketplace, claiming  they support the NGSS, but do they really?

Beware of  buzzwords such as:

 “Students will learn with inquiry-based instruction.” 


“The lessons are based on three-dimensional teaching and learning.”

Look out for association claims like- a product prominently using NGSS colors on promotional materials or with labels proclaiming, “This product helps teachers transition to the NGSS.”

Be skeptical of  statements such as, “Our product is aligned to the NGSS.” or “This program covers all three dimensions.”

 “This product fulfills 100% of the NGSS.”

 “This product meets the NGSS innovations.”

Just because a claim is made, it...

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Episode 040: How to Begin the School Year with NGSS with Nicole Bolduc


Play the whole episode by clicking the play button below or finding on your podcast platform: 


Back in Episode 037 with Victoria Schilling, she told us how her 8th graders came in with solid routines and classroom culture norms conducive to the NGSS style of teaching because her 7th grade teacher colleague taught  and practiced those routines and norms in the previous school year. So, I just had to get that teacher, Nicole Bolduc, on the show to tell us how she does that! And she sure does deliver. Get your notebook out for notes and be prepared to listen a few times. She has everything you need to know to get your school year off on the right track! Thank you Nicole!

Join our Facebook Group to continue the discussion.

And remember, you’re phenomenal!


Show Highlights

  • 08:30 - 14:00    Introduction to Nicole & how she starts the year with NGSS
  • 14:00 - 21:00    Small group modelling & large group discussions
  • 21:00...
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QTT003: 5 Must Have Essentials in a High Quality NGSS 3D Assessment

Science assessment tasks for the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) can come in many different forms, but what should you look for when choosing an assessment?  Or what should you make sure to include when creating your own assessment?

Fortunately, the Task Annotation Project in Science (TAPS) gives us 5 must-have essentials to include in any high quality NGSS 3D Performance Task Assessment. 

Today, we’re going to take a look at these 5 essentials

1. Be focused on a phenomenon or problem.

 Assessment tasks must focus on addressing a problem or making sense of a phenomenon.

If we want assessments to reflect what students have learned and what they can do, students need to be motivated to engage in tasks. With this, phenomena and problems in an assessment should be compelling and presented so that students clearly understand why what they are figuring out is important or relevant.

This is a must-have essential to assessments, because our goal for student...

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Episode 039: Engaging in Argument from Evidence with Erin Sadler of Sadler Science


Play the whole episode by clicking the play button below or finding on your podcast platform: 


Erin Sadler is a 7th and 8th grade NGSS teacher and shares with us strategies and resources she uses when teaching her students to engage in argument from evidence. She also walks us through the steps she takes when creating an NGSS lesson plan. Check out the shownotes for all the resources Erin Sadler shares.

Continue the discussion in our Facebook Group 

And remember, you’re phenomenal!

Show Highlights

  • 01:00 - 03:00    Erin's background teaching science
  • 03:00 - 05:30    The importance of argumentation & strategies for using argumentation in your classroom
  • 05:30 - 10:30    The CER (Claim, Evidence, Reasoning) model for argumentation
  • 10:30 - 14:00    How Erin constructs an NGSS lesson plan
  • 14:30 - 17:00    Erin's advice for teachers just starting NGSS implementation
  • 17:15 -...
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QTT002: What's the Story with Storylines?

ngss storylines Jul 09, 2019

What’s the Story with Storylines?

If you’ve been in the NGSS world for even just a little bit, chances are you’ve heard the term storylines floating around. 

So, what are storylines? 

To start: Storylines are a tool, not a rule of NGSS. And once you understand the purpose of this tool--you can decide how to best use storylines in your classroom.

The official NGSS definition of Storylines is: Storylines are statements that describe the context and rationale for the Performance Expectations (PEs) in each grade band and section. And that definition is not really all that helpful. However, when you click on the examples you will find examples of narratives that give a useful general idea of the purpose of the PE. I have included the links in the shownotes. This would be a good starting point to get the overall impression of what your sequence of lessons should be about to help students be able to meet the PE.

At NextGenStoryline.org: which is a storyline...

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Episode 038: Meet Your Host: Margaret O’Sullivan


Play the whole episode by clicking the play button below or finding on your podcast platform:



Todd Campbell takes over as host today and your host Margaret O’Sullivan becomes the guest. Find out about her experiences with NGSS as a 6th grade science teacher as well as the inspiration behind starting the NGS Navigators Podcast.

Continue the discussion in our Facebook Group.

And remember, you’re phenomenal!

Show Highlights

  • 04:15 - 08:45    Margaret's background as a 6th grade science teacher
  • 09:00 - 16:00    What led Margaret to leave teaching & start the podcast
  • 20:00 - 27:30    NGSS By Design: PD with NGS Navigators
  • 28:00 - 32:00    Margaret's favorite moments from the first 37 episodes of the podcast & her advice for new-to-NGSS teachers

 Show Quotes 

"One of the best parts of the podcast is really getting to dive deep with science education researchers, and to hear what's going on....

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3 Obstacles Holding You Back From Implementing NGSS

ngss Jul 03, 2019


**Excuse the typos: I'm using speech to text due to shoulder/arm nerve pain.**


 Limited time to process the nuances of NGSS

Limited time for science in the classroom

Solution: Focus on the basics first--The 5 innovations of NGSS

NGSS has five innovations that need to be integrated in each lesson plan and each unit. It's those five innovations put all together that makes your lesson plan or unit plan NGSS aligned. (I’ll include links at the end to a document that dives deeper and gives specific examples of these innovations as well as few earlier podcasts that discuss them further.)

There's lots of other nuances to NGSS that you can add to your lesson plans once you get these basics of the NGSS innovations down such as storylines, consensus modeling, question formulation technique, driving question boards, and other such terminology that you might have heard in conjunction with NGSS. But those are “tools not rules” ...

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