New Mexico Science Teachers' Association (NMSTA) has taken a leadership role to offer a series of regional workshops devoted solely to new science standards in our state. On Saturday, February 9, 8:30 am – 4:00 pm, a workshop was held at New Mexico Highlands University, Center for Teaching Excellence in collaboration with the LANL Foundation for elementary and secondary level teachers.
In 2018, the New Mexico Public Education Department (PED) adopted its version of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) called the NM STEM Ready Standards. The new standards raise the level of rigor and complexity not only for the science subject matter but also how the content is delivered through inquiry explorations and communication of core ideas, concepts, and practices that span lessons, grades, and science and engineering disciplines.
Teachers who have been leading science instruction using more traditional methods that involve demonstrations, lectures, book learning, and worksheets are now challenged to incorporate new strategies. The inquiry process allows students to explore and experience science lessons rather than the teacher steering them to get a desired result. The goal for this workshop is for teachers to create the structure and guide the lesson while also grasping the dimensionality of the standards, making them explicit and meeting the required implementation.
LANL Foundation professional development staff offered inquiry-based explorations—including making claims, collecting evidence, charting data, writing in science notebooks, drawing models, and holding meaning-making discussions—to help illustrate NGSS and put teachers in roles of learners and leaders in the classroom. Using this structure, elementary and secondary teachers will obtain a shared frame of reference and can develop an exemplary lesson model to apply in their daily planning and practice.
Teachers traveled from Clovis, Taos, Des Moines, Peñasco, Grants, Albuquerque, Cimarron, Portales, West Las Vegas, Española, Raton, Roy, Wagon Mound, Clayton, Santa Fe, and Pecos, as well as New Mexico Highlands University to attend the training and learn about the three dimensions of NGSS through inquiry explorations.
PED offers NGSS resources on their website, but NMSTA and LANL Foundation have seen firsthand how in-person workshops strengthen teachers’ understanding and application of the NM STEM Ready Standards.
For more information, visit the NMSTA online.