Last week, a group of 24 San Diego Science Project (SDSP) teachers came together for one final workshop before the release of the final draft of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) next week. In the past year, over 120 teachers have joined in these workshops as part of a targeted SDSP initiative that is raising regional awareness about the upcoming national shift to new science standards. Administrators, university faculty, and museum educators have also attended these workshops in anticipation of the NGSS.
The NGSS are based on more than a decade of a research on how students actually learn science — and what the process of science really is. These new standards shift from an emphasis on students simply knowing facts. Instead, they are based on science & engineering practices, cross cutting concepts, and disciplinary core ideas. New performance expectations re. these standards ask students to build models, craft arguments, and use evidence to demonstrate proficiency. The NGSS also call for hands-on science lessons beginning in kindergarten, and an incorporation of engineering K-12.
The SDSP will continue to provide professional development throughout its network as California transitions to the NGSS. This spring, the San Diego Science Project was selected to participate in the National Science Foundation-funded Next Generation Science Exemplar-Based Professional Learning System, which will also provide new opportunities this year for San Diego elementary teachers to learn more about teaching NGSS.