NCSE Sound Science Teacher Toolkit

A teacher using calipers to measure a horse tooth fossil.

NCSE has developed a collection of resources that aid teachers in implementing research-based practices and approaches in their classrooms. Because these tools and strategies form the base of NCSE’s approach to sound science teaching, they are integrated into our new Story Shorts. They can also serve as independent tools for any teacher to incorporate into their practice even if they are using curricula from a different developer or lessons that they create themselves.

BRAVE Classroom Practices

The most crucial step toward sound science teaching and resolving student misconceptions is to establish norms and expectations for classroom culture. This resource summarizes NCSE’s approach to managing conflict in the classroom by setting up shared values, habits, and behaviors for teachers and students.

> BRAVE Classroom Practices resource

DataWISE: A tool for scientific, media, and data literacy

While NCSE’s lessons are designed to identify and resolve student misconceptions, we also want to help ensure that new misconceptions do not develop after students leave the classroom. This resource summarizes DataWISE, a tool that students can use to evaluate any data-based claim both in the classroom and out in their daily lives.

> DataWISE: A tool for scientific, media, and data literacy resource

Driving Question Boards

Driving Question Boards (DQBs) are key to storylines and phenomenon-based instruction. This resource summarizes how DQBs are used to assess students’ prior knowledge (and potential misconceptions) about a topic, engage students’ interest in the phenomenon, and organize students’ learning and mastery of the standards by anchoring each lesson.

> Driving Question Boards resource

NCSE Story Shorts

Recent research has shown that storylines, the basis for phenomenon-based instruction, are highly effective in aiding students’ mastery of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). However, qualitative data from teachers and students have also shown that many storylines can be very long and overly complicated. This resource summarizes NCSE’s solution to this problem in the form of Story Shorts and Side Quests: brief, flexible storylines that are directly tied to specific NGSS performance expectations with optional opportunities to dive deeper into student interests.

> NCSE Story Shorts resource

Resolving misconceptions

We know that students do not come into the classroom as blank slates. This resource summarizes the academic literature about how students learn, unlearn, and relearn scientific concepts and highlights key elements of NCSE’s approach to identifying and resolving student misconceptions.

> Resolving Misconceptions resource