Science

​​​​​Science staff at Oakland Schools provides resources, professional development, consulting and strategic support for districts.

The new Michigan Science Standards (=NGSS) present us with enormous opportunity, but also a huge challenge because they prescribe a revolutionary transfo​​rmation in science education. This page provides basic advice on how to begin our transition to new standards. The top section provides a few short video addressing the vision and some early stage challenges. Below are some suggestions on how to proceed.

5 Ways to be connected to what’s happening in Oakland County

  1. Science Council quarterly meetings
  2. Join the Oakland Science Strategy Team
  3. Check out #OS_Science on Twitter. Browse, comment, or contribute!
  4. Join the Oakland County MiPLACE group.
  5. Receive periodic emails from science consultants. Email Lyn Weber to be added to the mailing list.

Video Series - The Michigan Science Standards (aka NGSS)

Learn More about the MSS/NGSS

Getting to know the NRC Framework and MSS (NGSS): Part 1​, (on the NRC Framework), Part 2​​, (group reading protocol) Part 3​ (needs updating because of new NGSS website) 

 I. The best way to understand and access the Michigan Science Standards is as follows:

  1. ​​Use the NRC Framework (free PDF) as your primary source. It best provides the vision of the Michigan Science Standards and establishes the structure, which is based on three strands of science proficiency. 
    • ​​​​Science and Engineering Practices (8 in all)
    • Cross Cutting Concepts (7 in all)
    • Disciplinary Core Ideas (4 broad disciplines: physical science, life science, earth and space science and ​engineering, technology and application of science)
  2. ​​​Study the NRC Framework​ and vision deeply. The vision establishes us profoundly different aims for science education. Rather than the traditional emphasis on content mastery the vision will have us developing student PROFICIENCY in science. Content will be applied as student design ways to generate, analyze and build arguments, explanations and solution with evidence. Here are some recommended strategies:
    • ​​Form a study group and work through the NRC Framework, especially Part II that explains the three dimensions.
    • Utilize the Bozeman Science Website which casts elements of the NRC Framework with interesting videos.  ​​
  3. Access the Michigan Science Standards using the ​ Next Generation of Science Standards website. (http://nextgenscience.org). This is a dynamic website that provides the best way to access and understand the Michigan Science Standards.
  4. Assessing performance expectations will be a new complicated challenge for teachers, districts and the state. The best starting place to understand how to adapt assessment systems and resources are these:

II. Avoid some common mistaken assumption​s. Examples:

  • The Michigan Science Standards are different than the NGSS. Not so, they are the same. Michigan has added some suggested Michigan centered contexts for some topics, mainly in elementary school, but this is not to be assessed.
  • The Performance Expectations posted on the Michigan Department of Education website provide a useful way to access the Michigan Science Standards. Not so. Those documents where created for board approval​, not for instructional planning. The Next Generation Science Standards website associates the Performance Expectations with colored Foundation Boxes that provided the elements from the NRC Framework from which the Performance Expectations were derived. There are other very useful things there such as mouse over interactivity that helps with interpretation.
  • The Performance Expectations (PE) can be handled like our retiring GLCE's and HSCE's. Not so. The NGSS PE’s should be thought of as culminating, high level 3 dimensional performance descriptors that reflect competencies developed over a significant endeavor to understand a science topic through a diverse set of collaborative investigations and effective meaning making experiences.
  • The titles of the elements of the NGSS speak for themselves. Not really. There is much more to the Science and Engineering Practices, Disciplinary Core Ideas and Cross Cutting Concepts that what their brief titles may lead you to presume. It is only through the Framework document that these can be correctly understood. ​
  • Now is the time to fully replace the GLCE's and HSCE's with the Michigan Science Standards (NGSS). Not fully. Now IS the time to infuse the Science and Engineering Practices and Cross Cutting Concepts into instruction, as learning objectives and in close association with content. However, Michigan will be using a 5 year transition plan at the end of which the new Michigan Science Standards will be the target of statewide assessments. 

III. Common Core Standards for ELA
Reading and writing in science education is critical for two reasons: 1) these are proficiencies inherent in the scientific enterprise and 2) they are powerful approaches for conceptual mastery of science concepts, especially when used in conjunction with student investigations. The Common Core Standards for English Language Arts is a valuable asset for science education. It describes task and competencies that support science education.​

Resources for Science Educators

Foundations of the NEW Michigan Science Standards

Protocols/Tools for Collaborative Conversations on Science

Resources 

Online Professional Learning

 

The following online professional development opportunities, developed by Michigan Educators, are offered for SCECH's.  Click on the course title to enter the course and review as a guest, you may also enroll in the course to complete and receive credit. You will be asked to login as a Guest, the login is science

Exploring Cellular Respiration Using Mystery Test TubesDeveloped by Alison Maes, Ferndale Public Schools
In this workshop, participants will follow instructions, view in-class videos and produce a Learning  Log with reflections on topics and questions. Participants can receive 3 SCECHs when completing this course.

Participants will:

  1. Be able to implement a biology lesson "Mystery Test Tubes" which is designed to be a model for the Next Generation Science Standards.
  2. Understand cellular respiration and fermentation as methods that living organisms use to transform energy.
  3. Be able to enhance student proficiency with the NGSS practices related to investigation design, data analysis and scientific argumentation.
  4. Understand and be able to support students in their use of the claims, evidence and reasoning format in scientific writing.

Teaching Discovering Plate Boundaries, Developed by Michael Gallagher, Oakland Schools
In this workshop, participants will follow instructions and view in-class videos through four parts and produce a Learning  Log with reflections on topics and questions. Participants can receive 4 SCECHs when completing this course.

The participant will understand

  1. How the activity “Discovering Plate Boundaries” fits into the Oakland Schools Scope curriculum and the role it can play in a unit learning cycle that addresses the topic of Plate Tectonics.
  2. The evidence that lead geophysicist to develop the plate tectonic theory.
  3. How to resource and implement the activity “Discovering Plate Boundaries” in the classes.
  4. The critical role of teacher facilitation of student discourse in this activity.

Teaching Every Pebble Tells a StoryDeveloped by Michael Gallagher, Oakland Schools

In this workshop, participants will follow instructions, view in-class videos and produce a Learning Log with reflections on topics and questions. Participants can receive 3 SCECHs when completing this course.

The participants will understand:

  1. How the activity “Every Pebble Tells a Story” fits into the Oakland Schools Scope curriculum and the role it can play in a unit learning cycle that addresses the topic of Plate Tectonics and Earth History.?
  2. The evidence that lead geophysicist to develop the plate tectonic theory.?
  3. How to resource and implement the activity “Every Pebble Tells a Story” in the classes.?
  4. The critical role of teacher facilitation of student discourse in this activity.

Teaching the 400 Acre Wood Cost Benefit Analysis, Developed by Jennifer Coury, Lake Orion School District
The participant will follow instructions view in-classroom videos and produce a Learning Log with reflections on topics and questions. Participants can receive 3 SCECHs when completing this course.

In this workshop, participants will

  1. Understand the roll the  “400 Acre Wood Cost Benefit Analysis” can play in a science unit.
  2. Be able to implement a biology lesson, “400 – Acre Wood” (a Project Learning Tree lesson) which serves as a model for how to integrate the practices in the Next Generation Science Standards.
  3. Understand how science investigates optimization using cost-benefit analysis..
  4. Understand how to help students’ structure writing into a claims-evidence-reasoning format in support of Common Core English Language Arts (ELA) Standards for science.

Teaching Understanding Light Science, Developed by Monica Harvey, Rochester Community Schools
The participant will follow instructions, view in-classroom videos, and produce a Learning Log with reflections on topics and questions. Participants can receive 3 SCECHs when completing this course..

Participants will understand how to:

  1. Use "What is Light?" as an Engage activity that fits into the Oakland Schools Scope curriculum and the role it can play in a unit learning cycle that address the topic of Electromagnetic Waves.
  2. Use a discrepant event to create dialogue in a classroom and how to use class discussion to guide "next step" activities that will allow for student Exploration.
  3. Use scientific interactive  notebooks to encourage student reflection, and identify misconceptions.
  4. Help students to design an experiment that limits variables and to record process that can be replicated.
  5. Encourage students to elaborate on an understanding of UV radiation in the Electromagnetic Spectrum.

Using the Planting Science Website to Establish Student Experiments, Developed by Jennifer Coury, Lake Orion School District
Participants will follow instructions through three parts and produce a learning log with reflections on topics and questions. Participants can receive 3 SCECHs when completing this course.

In this workshop, participants will:

  1. Be introduced to PlantingScience, a learning community where scientists provide online mentorship to student teams as they design and think through their own inquiry projects.
  2. See the Scientific Practice Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information from the 3 Next Generation Science Standards in action in PlantingScience.
  3. Review student work and become familiar with a rubric to help with the practice Constructing Explanations from the Next Generation Science Standards that can be applied to any scientific evidence.​

 

Contact

Jessica Ashley

Science Education Consultant

James Emmerling

Science Education Consultant

Michael Gallagher

MiSTEM Director