Skip to main content

New Science Standards: It's not WHY or WHEN, but "HOW"


Last week 1,800 excited teachers descended on Palm Springs for the 2013 CSTA science conference. Every session focused on the Next Generation Science Standards was packed! 

I learned volumes listening as teachers shared questions and ideas. I heard very few "why" questions - everyone understands why NGSS is being implemented.  Most of the questions I heard were "how".  Conference attendees wanted practical tools to launch NGSS in their classrooms. During he RAFT session, I was honored to present to a standing-room-only crowd. Amazingly, the eager audience built four RAFT kits in under one hour. In addition to asking questions, teachers shared solutions of their own. They described creative ways to apply RAFT-style learning in their classrooms. Project-based learning, inquiry-based instruction, and design challenge thinking are at the forefront now.  The teachers were answering the "how" question for themselves!


At the conference, it was also interesting to learn about new technologies that have wonderful ties to RAFT. For example, one teacher assigns his students to write "TEDitorials" (personal commentaries on TED video presentations).  This simple assignment has driven student interest in science. It is motivating young people to use science practices, think critically, do research, make cogent arguments and apply other 21st century skills.  In a different session, teachers learned to use "Scratch" - a programming tool that is ideal for designing simple games.  RAFT already has a Scratch version of one kit, and we would like to have many more! (Let me know if you are interested in Scratch.)

As a RAFT member, you are well on your way to answering the HOW question for yourself.  We are here to help, and also to be inspired by you!


Greg Brown, RAFT Senior Director

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Are you ready for Pi?

Time to get ready fer Pi Day at RAFT me hearties!  Set yer compasses an’ sails fer FREE Pi Day activities on March 8thbetween 3:30 to 5:30 on th’ main poop deck (aye-aye in th’ “Kit Area”) at SJ RAFT!
RAFT’s very own notorious wench, Jeanne Lazzarini (RAFT Math Master Educator), prepared a boatload of Pi Day activities to share with yer classes fer Pi Day (celebrated on March 14th every year)! Pi, (also written as π; th’ ratio of th’ circumference of a circle to its diameter) be an irrational number that goes on forever without any repeating digits, starting with 3.14159… π is illustriously celebrated over land an’ high seas March 14th (get it? On 3.14…!).    Discover great “make-an’-take” Pi day activities that prepare ye fer real Pi day!  Here’s a RAFT idea sheet fer Pi Day you can use now: Pi Day Pin. Make sure X marks th’ spot on ye calendars this March 8th, or walk th’ plank me scallywags!   Shiver me timbers an’ yo-ho-ho!  ‘Tis a RAFTy life fer me, Bucko!!!  Arrrgggghhhhh!

CUSD Shares Possible STEAM Projects by Grade

Twelve STEAM Innovation Leaders from the Campbell Unified School District (CUSD) came to RAFT earlier this month to create new motivational activities for the start of the school year!  They met in grade-level teams with our RAFT Education staff to generate new ideas using RAFT materials that will motivate, challenge, and inspire their students. Each team was given a RAFT Makerspace-in-a-Box containing a wide variety of upcycled materials. They were asked to create a Design Challenge that directed students to solve the instructor’s challenge with the materials from the box. The Design Challenges addressed an engineering standard appropriate for each grade level and could include standards from other subjects. Here are some of their exciting back-to-school ideas:
************************************************************************************* Grades TK – 2 Engineering Standard: K-2-ETS1-1:  Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to chan…

¡Olé! Celebrate Cinco de Mayo

¡Olémis amigos! Holy Guacamole! It’s once again time to celebrate Cinco De Mayo—the 5th of May! Instead of all the controversy around Mexico in the past year, this may be an excellent opportunity to educate your students and allow them to ask questions about what they hear on the news. Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day from Spain (which is September 16th)! “¡Ay, caramba!”as Bart Simpson would say….

This is “la verdad” (the truth): when the French invaded Mexico in 1862, Mexican General Ignacio Zaragoza’s force of 4,000 soldiers defeated 8,000 French soldiers in the Battle of Puebla on May 5th. The Mexicans’ courage inspired Mexican Americans (Chicanos) to celebrate the victory even though the French occupation continued four more years. Later in the 1960’s and 70’s, Chicanos involved in the civil rights movement associated Cinco de Mayo with their quest for respect in the U.S. They identified with the Native Mexican and Mestizo (people of mixed Native Mexican and European de…