Initial Publication Date: May 8, 2014

In the Trenches - April 2014

Volume 4, Number 2

In This Issue

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Next Generation Science Standards Present Unprecedented Opportunities (and Challenges) for K-12 Education

Michael Wysession, Washington University

How often have you lamented students' lack of awareness about Earth and space sciences? Or wished that all high school students were required to take a rigorous course in Earth and space science? The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) [Achieve, Inc., 2013] may signal an end to such lamenting. These standards are a progressive set of K-12 practice-based performance expectations that put Earth and space science on an equal footing with life and physical sciences, even to the point of requiring a year of Earth and space education in high school. The NGSS, released in 2013, were a states-led initiative motivated by a National Research Council report, A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas, and written in collaboration with 26 participating states [NRC, 2011]. As of April 2014, 12 states and the District of Columbia had formally adopted these new science standards, and dozens more were in the process of doing so.

Supporting K-12 NGSS with Deliberate 2YC, 4YC Efforts

Wendi J. W. Williams, NorthWest Community College and University of Arkansas, Little Rock; Susan M. Buhr Sullivan, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado; and Anne E. Egger, Central Washington University

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) describe what students should know and be able to do in the sciences at all levels in the K-12 setting (NRC, 2013). The standards have relevance for everyone involved in geoscience education because the scope and scale of the geosciences in the NGSS is far greater than in previous science standards. This opportunity will pass us by if we do not get involved now. The NGSS present a vision of science learning grounded in research on how children learn and in progressions of skills and content knowledge. Supporting the implementation of the NGSS is in the best interests of NAGT members at all levels. Specifically, the geosciences community will need to engage and support educators at state and local pre-college levels and examine ways in which we may move our own practices closer to the vision outlined by NGSS. Members in all educational sectors have resources and knowledge to support that movement. Those who are not K-12 faculty need to think about what this really means. How do you promote learning in a way that will help pre-service teacher candidates later implement the vision of the NGSS with their own students? You are very important in this process.

Getting Proactive for NGSS and the Common Core

Michael J. Passow, Dwight Morrow High School and Earth2Class Workshops, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University

Developing effective middle and high school classroom materials that address the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and Common Core Standards for English Language Arts and Math (National Governers Association 2010) will require innovative, cross-curricular approaches. Lesson plans must also address demands to help students succeed on state-mandated tests, such as the New York State "Physical Setting/Earth Science" ("Regents Earth Science") exam (NYSED 2014).

LEARNING BY DOING: Visualizing Atmospheric Pressure

Bruce Albrecht, University of Miami

Atmospheric pressure is a basic physical concept taught in meteorology classes. On a large scale, spatial differences in pressure create wind, but locally the effects of pressure are not easily noticed or experienced. The exercises described here provide a mechanism for inquiry-based instruction at all levels, elementary through postgraduate.

ANNOUNCEMENTS: Forthcoming in the Journal of Geoscience Education in May: Teaching Geoscience in the Context of Culture and Place (Part 2)


The Ghost Forests of Cascadia: How Evaluating Geological Inquiry Puts Practice Into Place

Curriculum, Instruction, Research Articles

COSEE-AK Ocean Science Fairs: A Science Fair Model That Grounds Student Projects in Both Western Science and Traditional Native Knowledge

Place in the City: Place-Based Learning in a Large Urban Undergraduate Geoscience Program

Indigenous Knowledge and Geoscience on the Flathead Indian Reservation, Northwest Montana: Implications for Place-Based and Culturally Congruent Education Placing Ourselves on a Digital Earth: Sense of Place Geoscience Education in Crow Country

Kahua A‛o—A Learning Foundation: Using Hawaiian Language Newspaper Articles for Earth Science Professional Development

NSF-OEDG Manoomin Science Camp Project: A Model for Engaging American Indian Students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

Developing Scientific Literacy in Introductory Laboratory Courses: A Model for Course Design and Assessment

Undergraduates Discovering Folds in "Flat" Strata: An Unusual Undergraduate Geology Field Methods Course

Analysis of Spatial Concepts, Spatial Skills and Spatial Representations in New York State Regents Earth Science Examinations

Diving into the Trenches: Achieving Balance

Richard Yuretich, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and convener of NAGT's Cutting Edge Early Career Workshop

I have heard a lot from faculty members recently about the need to establish a "work-life" balance. This is a problematical phrase in itself—because it implies that the work we do is not part of life! I don't think this is what we mean: We enjoy our work much of the time. But we want to do it more efficiently so that we can devote time to the other aspects of life that make us whole persons. Here are a few ideas that I have found to be effective in reducing work-related stress and anxiety.

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Web Features

NAGT, its members, and its sponsored projects have produced a number of resources related to the topics addressed in this issue.

NAGT: Next Generation Science Standards »

NAGT took part in the development of the Next Generation Science Standards. Learn more about how and why in the Educational Advocacy section of the NAGT website.

SERC's K12 Portal »

This portal provides a wealth of teaching materials and resources developed by projects being hosted by SERC. There are hundreds of classroom activities organized by grade level and topic as well as guidance on effective teaching. Many of these resources were expressly developed with a K-12 audience in mind. Others can be adapted to K-12 classrooms even though they were originally developed with a college audience in mind.

Teacher Education Division (TED) »

The new Teacher Education Division of NAGT (or TED) is just starting up and electing their first set of officers. If you are interested in the issues surrounding K12 geoscience education and the preparation of Earth science teachers, consider joining the discussion in this new division.

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