Facilitating Discourse and Integration of NGSS in Science Methods Courses with the ASET Toolkit

1. Workshop Focus and Relevance

The Next Generation Alliance for Science Educators Toolkit (Next Gen ASET) was initially an NSF funded project (DRL-1418440, funding period 2014 – 2019) with the goal of creating tools for use by preservice teachers (PSTs) in elementary and secondary science methods courses to unpack and align instruction with the NGSS as they explore how to best teach science. The project has evolved and is now funded as “A-STEP” (DRL-1908900, funding period 2019 – 2023), led by a Networked Improvement Community (NIC) which includes science education faculty from eight universities. The toolkit includes tools to support PSTs’ understanding and integration of each of the Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs) and a “3D Map,” a graphic organizer to help PSTs make connections among the components of NGSS. (The toolkit is available online at www.nextgenaset.org.) As part of this project, long-term faculty participants have continued using the tools in their elementary and secondary science methods courses, and have expanded use into fieldwork experiences, induction support, and inservice teacher professional development. The focus of this workshop will be to introduce elementary and secondary science methods instructors to the ASET Toolkit and to engage them in activities using the tools that have been tested by our NIC participants in their courses for PSTs over the past five years and that they have found to be helpful to facilitate productive discourse to support PSTs’ understanding of NGSS. In addition, A-STEP faculty participants will share their stories of successes and struggles as they have worked to shift their methods courses toward meaningful integration of NGSS for PSTs in multiple contexts. We are willing to present this workshop in person or in a virtual format if needed.

2. ASTE Membership Interest

Those within the ASTE membership who would be most interested in our presentation are secondary and elementary science methods instructors who are working to better help their PSTs to understand and apply NGSS. We will be presenting tools that they can immediately use in their methods courses as well as specific strategies and example activities applying the tools, which have been demonstrated by our faculty participants to be successful in their methods courses. Additionally, a panel discussion during the last part of our session will allow for rich conversation among presenters and participants about effective practices for integrating NGSS into science methods courses and in additional teacher education contexts including fieldwork and professional development.

3. Expertise of Workshop Presenters

Corinne Lardy worked on the NSF-funded ASET project as a postdoctoral researcher, co-leading the toolkit development and testing 2015-2017. Since Fall 2017 she has moved to an Assistant Professor position at California State University, Sacramento (CSUS), where she has continued her involvement with the ASET project as both a researcher and a faculty participant. Dr. Lardy has incorporated the ASET Toolkit to help preservice teachers understand NGSS in both her secondary science methods courses (at CSU East Bay, San Jose State University, and CSUS) and elementary science methods courses (at CSUS) over the past five years. Dr. Lardy leads NGSS-focused professional development activities using the ASET toolkit for the project’s faculty participants and to local inservice teachers transitioning to NGSS.

Donna Ross is an Associate Professor in the School of Teacher Education and the Center for Research in Mathematics and Science Education at San Diego State University. As a faculty participant in the ASET project, she has been incorporating the ASET tools in her secondary science methods courses over the past four years. Dr. Ross has been a secondary and elementary methods course instructor for many years and has been deeply involved in supporting teachers’ transition to NGSS in San Diego and across California.

Meredith Vaughn is an Associate Professor of Science Education at San Diego State University. Dr. Vaughn has integrated the ASET toolkit into her elementary science methods courses for the last five years. As part of the ASTEP project she is supporting university supervisors to use the tools in their observations of secondary science teachers. Dr. Vaughn is a former high school science teacher.

Larry Horvath is an Associate Professor in the Department of Secondary Education at San Francisco State University. As a faculty participant in NextGen ASET and the A-STEP NIC , he has been incorporating the ASET tools in his secondary science methods courses over the past 5 years and is currently expanding the use of the tools into the STEM Teachers as Researchers (STAR) summer RET program. Dr. Horvath is also currently the Associate Director San Francisco State University Center for Science and Math Education (CSME).

Lisa Martin is the Professor and Chairperson of Science Education at California State University, Long Beach. As a faculty participant in NextGen ASET and the A-STEP NIC, she has worked with elementary science methods students and with high school teachers in professional development programs embedding ASET tools into NGSS learning experiences.

Youngjin Song is an adjunct professor in the Department of Science Education at California State University Long Beach (CSULB). Dr. Song has incorporated the ASET Toolkit in her elementary science methods course. As a former high school chemistry teacher, she has taught elementary and secondary science methods courses at University of Northern Colorado and CSULB and provided NGSS-focused professional development to inservice teachers over 12 years.

4. Learning Objectives

By the end of the workshop, the participants will be able to:
• Describe what the ASET Tools are and how to access them online.
• Use the ASET SEP Tools to describe how the different components of a specific SEP are incorporated in an example lesson.
• Use the ASET 3D Map to explain the different components of NGSS that are demonstrated in a sample lesson as well as how those components connect to each other.
• Describe activities that have been used in elementary and secondary science methods courses incorporating the ASET tools and how they might use activities like these in their own methods courses.

We will assess these objectives through participation in the workshop activities and discussion. We will also have participants fill out a form to give us feedback at the end of the workshop.

5. Workshop Activities/Instructional Strategies

Following is an overview of the activities we have planned as well as a projected timeline for the workshop.

Introduction (15 minutes):
We will begin the workshop by providing a brief overview of the Next Gen ASET project, including the project’s history, goals, and the Networked Improvement Community (NIC) — our network of science methods faculty who have been involved with the project over the past five years. We will also preview the ASET website for an introduction to the structure of the toolkit.

Application and Use of the Tools in the Context of an Exemplar Activity (1 hour):
For the bulk of the workshop, we will engage participants in a sample NGSS-aligned three-dimensional lesson that we have used in our methods courses (both secondary and elementary), in order to give our participants an experience to engage with the toolkit as our preservice teachers do. In this sample lesson, situated within an instructional segment about climate change, participants collect evidence from different models representing the thermal expansion of water: 1) an investigation of water in a bottle heated by a heat lamp; 2) a computer simulation; and 3) a physical model where participants act as parts of the system to model thermal expansion. During this process, participants will create and modify their own models for the thermal expansion of water on large chart paper, as they collaborate in small groups. Following this process, participants will be challenged to explain how the models that they have developed can be used to explain the phenomenon of sea level rise. If virtual, the activity will be modified where participants are moved into small groups to collect evidence through observation and participate in a digital gallery walk of their models.

After walking through the activities of the lesson, participants will work together in small groups (as our PSTs do) to unpack and reflect on components of NGSS demonstrated in the lesson using sample ASET tools, the Science and Engineering Practices Tool for Developing and Using Models and the 3D Map. We will provide participants with a partially filled out 3D Map, leaving the boxes for “phenomenon and essential questions,” “assessments,” “Science and Engineering Practice(s),” and the three connection boxes at the bottom blank. Participants will use their completed SEP tools to fill in the SEP box on the 3D Map. As part of this reflection process, we will use a large poster-size version of the 3D Map, as we do in our courses, and have participant groups contribute ideas to the large map using post-it notes. If virtual, a shared digital version will be used.

ASET Faculty Panel Discussion (45 min):

For the final 45 minutes of the workshop, we will break into smaller groups (elementary or secondary) where those of us who have used the ASET tools in our courses and other teacher education contexts over the last five years (representatives from elementary and secondary methods) will share our experiences of how we have used the tools in multiple ways in our courses. We will provide participants with sample 3D Maps completed by our PSTs so that they can see examples of what real students in methods courses have produced using the tools. Additionally, we will discuss the ways that we have adapted the use of the tools into expanding contexts such as fieldwork and, most recently, in online instruction. We will reconvene in a large group for participants to ask additional questions and open it up for a whole-group discussion. At the conclusion of the workshop, we will give participants a form for them to provide feedback as well as their contact information so that we can follow-up.

6. Continuing Support

Participants will have continuing access to the full ASET Toolkit on the project website (www.nextgenaset.org) and we will give them our email addresses if they wish to contact us directly for support. In addition, in the feedback form given at the end of the workshop, participants will be invited to share their email addresses. We will use these to send a follow-up email to participants inviting those who are interested to be involved in future activities with our network of science methods faculty and so that they will have each other’s contact information. Participants will be invited to a Google Drive folder that will include all additional resources from the workshop and will be a place to share resources. Our hope is that this workshop begins a dialogue among participants to learn from each other as they incorporate NGSS into their own science teacher education context. Participants who are interested in engaging more deeply with our NIC will be invited to join our monthly videoconferences.

7. Diversity and Equity

The ASET toolkit was created in order to facilitate dialogue across diverse perspectives as novice teachers grapple with understanding and applying NGSS to their teaching. A focus of this dialogue is situating science instruction around phenomena that are culturally relevant to their students. This workshop brings together perspectives of faculty from multiple diverse campuses who serve a diverse student population in California, and who have used the toolkit in a variety of ways to meet the diverse needs of their students.