Using the Next Gen ASET Toolkit to Facilitate Discourse and Integration of NGSS in Science Methods Courses

1. State the focus of the workshop and its relevance to the science teacher education.

The Next Generation Alliance for Science Educators Toolkit (Next Gen ASET) project is an NSF-funded project 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 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 As part of this project, faculty participants at six universities have been using the tools in their elementary and secondary science methods courses over the past two years. 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 faculty participants in their methods courses over the past two years and that they have found to be helpful to facilitate productive discourse to support PSTs’ understanding of NGSS. In addition, ASET 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.

2. Explain who within the ASTE membership would be most interested in your presentation (e.g., methods instructors, educational researchers, curriculum developers, etc.) and why.

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.

3. Describe the expertise/experience of the workshop presenters to present in the topic area.

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, 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 and San Jose State University) and elementary science methods courses (at CSU Sacramento) over the past three 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.

Michelle Sinapuelas has been a postdoctoral researcher on the NSF-funded ASET project, co-leading the toolkit development and testing for the past three years. She leads the ASET Networked Improvement Community faculty group as they integrate use of the ASET Tools in their science methods courses. Dr. Sinapuelas is a former high school science teacher and has taught elementary and science methods courses at CSU Bakersfield and UC Berkeley.

Jenna Porter is an Associate Professor in the Department of Teaching Credentials at CSU Sacramento. As a faculty participant in the ASET project, she has been incorporating the ASET tools in her elementary science methods courses over the past two years. She has been an elementary science methods instructor for seven years. Dr. Porter also supervises student teachers and leads NGSS-focused professional development for local inservice elementary teachers.

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 two 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.

Larry Horvath is an Associate Professor in the Department of Secondary Education at San Francisco State University. As a faculty participant in the ASET project, he has been incorporating the ASET tools in his secondary science methods courses over the past two years. Dr. Horvath is currently the lead science faculty member at the San Francisco State University Center for Science and Math Education (CSME).

4. List the learning objectives of the workshop and how you will assess whether participants met those 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 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. Provide a description of the workshop activities/ instructional strategies you will be using to meet the objectives.

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 (our network of science methods faculty who have been involved with the project over the past two years). We will also show the participants the ASET website and give them an introduction to the structure of the toolkit.

Application and Use of the Tools in the Context of an Exemplar Activity (1 hour, 15 min):

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 a few 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.

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 SEP 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.

ASET Faculty Panel Discussion (30 min):

For the final 30 minutes of the workshop, those of us who have used the ASET tools in our courses over the last two 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. We will also use this time for participants to ask 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. Describe how you will make yourself available/offer support to the participants for continuing their learning and collaboration after they return to their home institutions.

Participants will have continuing access to the full ASET Toolkit on the project website ( 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. Our hope is that this workshop begins a dialogue among participants to learn from each other as they incorporate NGSS into their methods courses. We are also currently pursuing additional funding to expand our Networked Improvement Community of methods instructors working together to improve their practice; participants who are interested in being a part of this group will be invited to join, including participation in our monthly videoconferences.