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Designing NGSS Science Lessons for All Students (C-2)


How can teachers promote ELLs’ access to the rigorous expectations of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) as well as language growth?

The eight science and engineering practices of the NGSS are language intensive. They require teachers of ELLs to consider ways to deepen science learning and to plan instruction that scaffolds student engagement with the practices. The workshop leader, an elementary ESL/bilingual resource teacher science specialist and writer for the NGSS Diversity and Equity Team, presents the ESL vignette in NGSS Appendix D: All Standards/All Students, which was based on her own classroom.

The earth science/life science unit integrates the three dimensions stressed by the NGSS—science and engineering practices, disciplinary core ideas, and crosscutting concepts—and combines research-based effective teaching strategies to increase language skills for English learners. In addition, the lesson aligns with the Common Core State Standards for ELA and mathematics. Participants will be given a sample unit template and learn how to use it to create and adapt lessons that increase access to rigorous science for the English learners in their own classrooms.

Who Should Attend?

PreK–8 teachers of ELLs, teachers in bilingual programs, administrators, content-area teachers

What Will I Learn?

In this workshop, participants will
  • gain an understanding of the NGSS
  • experience key lessons from the earth science unit in NGSS Appendix D: English Language Learners
  • learn how to adapt units that integrate the three dimensions of NGSS with researched-based strategies in science for ELLs
  • focus on two science practices that are language intensive: developing and using Models and constructing explanations, and discuss classroom-tested scaffolds for ELLs
  • become adept at writing language goals that address what ELL students must do with language to achieve the NGSS

About the Workshop Leader

Emily C. Miller is a second- and third-grade ESL and bilingual resource teacher at a Title 1 school, where she has taught for 16 years. She is a writer for the Elementary Team and the Diversity and Equity Team of the Next Generation Science Standards. She received the Research Experience for Teachers Grant to work with a team to design place-based, culturally relevant units with a focus on sustainability and biodiversity in and around the Menominee Forest. Ms. Miller has a master of science degree in bilingual studies from the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, a bachelor of science from the same department with a Spanish minor, and ESL and bilingual teaching licenses.