Using the Five Tools and Processes with Preservice Teachers to Design NGSS-aligned Unit Plans

1. The Next Generation Science Standards [NGSS] suggest a new vision for science teaching and learning in states that have adopted or been influenced by the new standards. This vision necessitates a “radical departure” from current science teaching and learning in classrooms (Reiser et al., 2017, p.280). Based on the National Research Council’s [NRC] Framework for K-12 Science Education (2012) and Achieve, Inc.’s NGSS, the new science standards are built on science education research and research on how students learn. As states throughout the country are in various stages of adopting and/or adapting and implementing the NGSS, there is a pressing need to develop experiences for inservice teachers, preservice teachers, and professional development providers, as well as to design and produce aligned curricula and resources. Banilower and colleagues (2014) state that professional learning for teachers “should also be embedded in the work of teaching: built on actual instruction and curriculum materials that can be used with students and that support NGSS with fidelity” (p.3).

The roles teacher preparation programs will play and types of support they will provide (Windschitl & Stroupe, 2017) as well as many more questions have yet to be addressed. While professional curriculum developers are engaged in writing and revising instructional materials and resources to align with the NGSS, teachers may also need to adopt this role in order to help them conceptualize the shift in teaching practice that the vision in the Framework (NRC, 2012) calls for and begin the process of unpacking the new standards (ARLOSOUL, Bybee, & Chopyak, 2017).

The American Museum of Natural History [AMNH], with support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, developed, piloted, and field tested “Five Tools and Processes for Translating the NGSS into Instruction and Classroom Assessment,” a professional development [PD] curriculum designed to support teachers in implementing the NGSS in the classroom (AMNH, BSCS, & WestEd, n.d.). The purpose of this workshop is to share how the Five Tools and Processes were used in a graduate-level, preservice science content course to develop preservice teachers’ ability to construct NGSS-aligned units. This course is one of twelve courses that are part of the AMNH’s Master of Arts in Teaching [AMNH MAT] Program in New York City [NYC], a 15-month, residency-based, graduate-level program that prepares secondary science teachers (AMNH, n.d.). In 2017, the AMNH MAT Program leveraged this PD curriculum in their SCI 675 course, Weather, Climate, and Climate Change, a content and methods course designed to assist preservice teachers in exploring the components of weather and climate, factors of climate change, and the history of Earth’s climate. This workshop will introduce participants to the Five Tool model and discuss how it was adapted to meet the unit planning needs of preservice teachers.

2. Those within the ASTE membership who would be the most interested in our workshop are those involved in teacher preparation at both the graduate and undergraduate levels such as teacher educators, methods instructors, and curriculum instructors, as well as those who develop curricula such as inservice teachers and curriculum developers. Additionally, the workshop will interest professional development providers and school leaders who support inservice teachers with curricular implementation and/or development. This workshop will give these key stakeholders an opportunity to explore tools and methods that can be used to support teachers in understanding and adapting their instruction to meet the new demands of the NGSS.

3. This workshop will be conducted by Dr. David Randle, Senior Manager of Professional Development, and Dr. Julie Contino, Senior Specialist in Science and Teacher Education. Both are faculty in the AMNH MAT Program at the Richard Gilder Graduate School, a graduate-level, residency-based program that prepares science teachers. Dr. Randle, a former NYC middle and high school science teacher, works to support teachers through online and in person workshops. He was part of the team at AMNH that piloted The Five Tools and Processes with teachers and instructional leaders in NYC and he adapted the processes for use with preservice teachers for a culminating unit planning project in a course within the AMNH MAT program. Dr. Contino has led workshops at ASTE for the last four years, is a former high school science teacher, and teaches methods and content courses in the AMNH MAT program.

4. After attending this workshop, participants will be able to:
1. Construct and analyze a Unit Blueprint (Tool 1).
2. Examine a Storyline and Conceptual Flow (Tool 3).
3. Describe how they might apply this experience to their own context.
We will assess if participants are able to construct and analyze a Unit Blueprint (objective 1) when they organize cards into a series of columns that indicate the conceptual flow of a unit on weather and/or climate. During this time, we will check in with groups to answer questions, discuss what they are finding, and check for understanding. Additionally, objective one is assessed when the participants engage in discussion comparing the work they did with the cards to work done by preservice teachers. Objective 2 (Examine a Storyline and Conceptual Flow) will be assessed when participants chart the flow of lesson sequences by two teachers to analyze elements of the the 5E instructional model. Again, we will check in with groups to answer questions, discuss findings, and ask questions. Lastly, participants will be assessed on their ability to describe how they might apply this experience to their own context (objective 3) during a discussion on how the resources presented during this workshop can be adapted and used at their institutions. We will encourage participants to share how they might support preservice teachers in using the Five Tools. The level of participation in the discussion will help us to assess this objective.

5. The following is an outline of the workshop that shows the sequence and duration of the activities:
1. Introduction to AMNH MAT Program and the Five Tools (15 min)
2. Engage in Unit Blueprint construction and analysis (Tool 1) (40 min)
3. Introduction to Evidence of Learning Specifications (Tool 2) (5 min)
4. Examine a 5E Storyline and Conceptual Flow (Tool 3) (30 min)
5. Discuss additional tools (Tool 4 – 5E Learning Sequence Outline, Tool 5 – Assessment), adaptations, and resources (15 min)
6. Brainstorm application to home institution (15 min)
The entire duration of this workshop is 120 minutes. Through this workshop, participants will be briefly introduced to the AMNH MAT Program and the Five Tools. After, they will work in groups of 4-5 to gain an understanding of how to construct a Unit Blueprint (Tool 1) using an NGSS card deck. They will then analyze an example developed by preservice teachers in a graduate-level Weather, Climate, and Climate Change course. Next, we will introduce participants to Evidence of Learning Specifications (Tool 2) followed by examining a 5E Storyline and Conceptual Flow (Tool 3). Participants will analyze descriptions of two different lesson sequences to develop an understanding of the 5E instructional model. This will lead to a whole group discussion using examples of completed Tools 3 and 4 (5E Learning Sequence Outline), which are designed to facilitate the use of the Blueprint in lesson planning. Additional resources including Tool 5 (Assessment), the Five Tools website, available card decks, and a middle school unit developed using this process will be shared and discussed as a whole group as well as how this process was adapted from an extended professional development experience to a preservice course. Lastly, participants will engage in a think-pair-share to discuss how to support teachers with NGSS-aligned curricula development and how this experience might apply to their own contexts at their home institutions as well as ask questions and share thoughts.

6. The presenters will obtain and share the email addresses of the participants so that they might continue to assist each other in supporting teachers with NGSS curricula development following the workshop. The Five Tools materials are available for free on the AMNH website including all participant and facilitator materials such as slides, handouts, and facilitator guides. AMNH is currently working on an online version of the Five Tools PD that is scheduled to role out in Spring of 2019. Updates on this as well as other opportunities will be shared via email with participants.