Science, The Next “New” Thing

By PCY Assistant Principal, Carrie Hetzel

NGSS Project - PCY

NGSS Project - PCY

LCUSD Spring Newsletter (Tree has been replaced with flower in district's logo)

LCUSD Spring Newsletter (Tree has been replaced with flower in district's logo)

NGSS is the newest acronym that you will be hearing about in the educational world these days.  The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are out, and many people are wondering what they are and how they differ from the old standards?  Three key words that we will be looking for as we embark on this new science era are the words “will be able.”  We will be looking for what students can do rather than what students are expected to know.  The new standards might say something like, “students will be able to construct a model that explains student discovered irregularities in the world around them and is able to design and conduct inquiries and investigations into the phenomenon.”

Many parents are wondering how the new instructional materials will look?  While publishers are still working on materials for the new standards, many are stating that “hands-on” components will be incorporated. Experts say, “When you take a look at your child's materials you're not going to see a chapter that begins with a list of vocabulary words and a paragraph that tells you the facts.  What you will see is a program where the teacher is presenting your child with a phenomenon, it could be a simple thing that you see every day, or something amazing that the students are excited to discover.  The lessons will begin with students asking questions.” (ngss.nsta.org)

What is happening at PCY regarding Science?  This year the teachers have been engaged in training sponsored by the District which focuses on the new standards and on the instructional shifts in the way Science is taught to students, as well as introducing or continuing with Science journals, and the concept of phenomenon.  Many teachers have already moved these shift into their practice and are enthusiastic about the new standards.  In October, PCY received a Science Lab Aide, Kristine Babish, and she has been invaluable in helping the teachers prepare, teach, and support their Science lessons.  Click here to take a look at the hands-on Science labs the PCY students have been doing so far this year.  

Every time I have the opportunity to see the PCY students involved in a hands-on Science experiment I am delighted to see students excited about Science.   They are involved, making connections, investigating, and explaining.  We see more and more opportunities materializing on campus every day, such as:  STEM and STEAM, Makerspaces, Robotics, and Science nights, just to name a few.   For more details on the  LCUSD’s five-year implementation plan click here.  It will take you through year by year of this process and keep up to date on this new exciting time for our students.

Click here to see more information on NGSS.