NSTA 2013

san antonio gardenHmmm, somewhere in the country it’s actually sunny and warm! Make that San Antonio, Texas, host of this year’s National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) convention, which I attended last week. (I took a stroll through the city’s historic King William district one evening, with its gorgeous nineteenth-century homes and blooming gardens just like in this photo. Such a great break from snow in the Midwest!)

The focus of this year’s convention was the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), just released last Tuesday. Lots of great sessions helped unwrap the standards. The key principle of the new standards is practices, which basically means a hands-on approach to learning. Activities and experimentation are the name of the game, and paired with nonfiction writing, you’re off to the races.

Below are some great suggestions from the conference for basic reading and links to become more familiar with the new standards and related issues:


“Common Science Standards Make Formal Debut”this is a concise overview of the new standards from Education Week


Council of State Science Supervisors (CSSS)–among other goals, the organization is devoted to providing quality science curriculum, teaching strategies, and assessment tools on a state level. Check the link to find out who your state science supervisor team is.

Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas this NRC publication focuses on the three foundational principles of NGSS

High Performance in High Poverty Schools: 90/90/90 and Beyondby Douglas Reeves, this study, though a few years old, was referred to more than once in discussions of improved performance in high poverty schools; it shows that developing nonfiction writing skills works, especially with underachieving boys

NASA Wavelength Digital Library–this online library offers digital resources for Earth and space science education at all levels, K-college. Earth and space science are key areas of growth in NGSS.

NGSS–Next Generation Science Standards home page

NGSS–electronic version of the standards (note that certain key elements of the standards are still to come; mostly this includes appendices, publisher guidelines, and assessment tools)


NGSS–print edition (via National Academies Press, under $50)

The Science Teacher–the January and March 2013 issues of this NSTA publication are geared toward helping teachers make sense of NGSS and to start thinking about how to align curriculum with the new standards

Let us know what you think about the new standards, and don’t forget to check in again for more from TFCB in two weeks!