KSDE Science Education Newsletter

March 2019

Cross-State Professional Learning: MINK Webinar Series

Phenomena in science education is not a new idea, but it is now more central (traditionally missing piece) in our Kansas Science Standards. KSDE receives the most amount of questions for support around this topic.


Come join us tomorrow for this virtual 4-state collaborative supporting science educators on a journey to implement 3-dimensional standards in a learning network drawing on multiple perspectives and experiences.


The Nebraska team will kick off this new topic tomorrow (Thursday, March 7) interviewing a national phenomena science education leader.


Find more information about each topic and links to join each topic on our website (recordings and resources linked each time for post viewing).

Free 3-Dimensional HS Biology Curriculum

This OER storyline-based curriculum has been reviewed by Achieve receiving ratings of Example of High-Quality NGSS Design for one unit and Quality Work in Progress for another.

K-12 Science Classroom Assessment Project: Nebraska & Kansas Partnership

Our Kansas Science Standards raise several questions about how to monitor student progress toward those learning goals. The Nebraska and Kansas Departments of Education have teamed up to create a suite of classroom formative interim assessment task examples for K-12 science.


We launched this project to provide an answer to the questions “what does it look like to ask students to demonstrate progress toward three-dimensional standards?” and “what are the most important features of high-quality science tasks?” Educators across Kansas and Nebraska are working on this project and we will be releasing the suite of classroom formative interim examples this summer. Stay tuned.


Looking for tools to help your science assessment efforts? We are informing our work based on the shifts also seen in our state summative assessment using these screening assessment tools and this suite of resources including annotated examples of assessment tasks for elementary, middle, and high school.

Modeling Instruction in Chemistry Workshop

Central to engaging students in the science and engineering practices in the NGSS is "developing and using models".

Submit a Session Proposal for the Kansas Association of Teachers of Science Conference

To submit a presentation proposal for KATS 1.5 (2019 conference), visit: http://bit.ly/KATS2019presentation

or contact Nancy Smith, president-elect@kats.org.

Inaugural Science Curricular Reviews: EdReports

EdReports.org, a nonprofit that provides free reviews of instructional materials, announced the first results of its first round of science reviews (6-8 being reviewed first). Unlike other organizations that request submissions from organizations to provide a free review, EdReports reviews anything that says it is aligned to the standards we have in place for science (Kansas was a lead Next Generation Science Standards lead state) without invitation.


Districts are looking to independent third parties like EdReports to help guide them in the selection of high-quality science instructional materials. These science reports will give a useful piece of evidence to make informed decisions in this market. I happen to know the science director at EdReports leading this charge (used to be my counterpart in South Dakota) and many of the educators (several from the midwest) that are working on this project. They are doing such a thorough job and I am excited for more information coming in the next year for other grade bands.


Quick Summary & Embedded EdReports Links


Science Curricular Review Rubrics

Educators Invited to Join Scientists from K-State & Other Regional Universities

Who else to better know Kansas science phenomena than the scientists in your area? Teachers across the region are invited to join scientists from K-State and other regional universities as they connect to better communication between scientists and non-scientific audiences during a conference in Manhattan March 22nd-24th.


Teachers can participate in the entire conference and register at the reduced student price, or you can attend a couple free events Saturday afternoon and evening. Visit https://www.k-state.edu/scicomm/conference2019/index.html for more details about the conference. The free events teachers are invited to are the Science at Sunset Zoo event starting at 1:30 p.m., the Art(ifacts) session at Sunset Zoo at 4:00 p.m., and the Open Mic Night: Explain It Like I’m 5 event at O’Malley’s in Manhattan’s Aggieville.


All three of these free events will be great opportunities for teachers to connect with scientists that can help enhance student engagement in your classroom including phenomena. Some of these events have capacity limits, so please use this link if you plan to not register for the conference but plan to attend any of the three free events: https://kstate.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_1SbnRneKLx63HxP. If you get to the Zoo events and decide you want to go to the Open Mic Event, we will have additional signup opportunities that day.


Any questions can be directed to Jared Bixby, Curator of Education at Sunset Zoo, by emailing at bixby@cityofmhk.com.

Free K-12 NSTA NGSS Classroom Resources

Check out these NGSS@NSTA Classroom Resources vetted by NSTA teacher curators.

Free Quality Instructional Materials for Kansas Science Standards

New High-Quality Science Units Posted - The Science Peer Review Panel has identified and posted several new high-quality science units this month. The units shared online are held to a high standard: only 8% of submissions to the Science Peer Review Panel are highlighted on the website as high-quality examples, and only 3% of all submissions earn the NGSS Design Badge (the highest rating on the EQuIP Rubric for Science).


The Science PRP has identified 4th grade unit, Community Waters, and a high school unit, How Can Science Be Used to Help Make Our Lives Better?, as high-quality. Additionally, a unit from each grade band earned the NGSS Design Badge this month. Two units that were already posted as high-quality examples were revised based on Science PRP feedback, resubmitted, and earned the highest rating on the EQuIP Rubric for Science, the requirement for an NGSS Design Badge (new versions are posted here: Grade 5: MySci: From Sun to Food and High School: Why Don't Antibiotics Work Like They Used To? [v3.1]). They join a new middle school unit that has earned the badge: Middle School: Understanding White Sharks.

NSTA: Check Out Grant Opportunities

Select Events/Fellowships from the Event Category Menu