The three dimensions of NGSS are represented in the NGSS logo: disciplinary core ideas, crosscutting concepts, and scientific practices.

Introduction: Teaching the Next Generation Science Standards

Whether you teach 1st-grade science or seniors in high school, we all know that there are key aspects of science instruction that are essential to driving home understanding. The Next Generation Science Standards highlights these important elements with the concept of the three dimensions (3Ds). If you aren’t too familiar with Next Generation Science Standards, it’s important to know that the basis of the 3Ds include combining content with crosscutting concepts and both science and engineering practices.

With the 3Ds, the Next Generation Science Standards remove any notion that science topics can be taught from a simple “read and repeat” checklist. The Next Generation Science Standards enforce the idea that science is a process that must be experienced to be learned. Modeling and the scientific process are each important elements of the science learning process and therefore carry a strong presence in the Next Generation Science Standards.

Young ScientistConsiderations for Science Instruction

The interdisciplinary nature of science adds to the complexity of science instruction. Science relies on students having basic literacy and math skills. Teaching the scientific process, inquiry, or project-based learning are each ways that you as a science instructor may choose to provide students with an interdisciplinary learning experience that demonstrates practical applications of science in real life.

The bottom line is that comprehensive science instruction has many moving parts and can appear challenging to measure. With strong TEIs, autograding, and student data reports, Edulastic can help science educators assess NGSS skills and keep track of student achievement.
We looked into what science teachers look for in online assessment platforms and from what we’ve learned, here are the 9 reasons why science teachers use Edulastic.

9 Reasons Why Science Teachers Use Edulastic

1) Label an image

Label an Image - NGSS Question
Science teachers can prompt students to answer label an image questions with dropdown or text entry.

There is a certain degree of rote memorization needed in science to ensure that students understand terminology such as the different parts of a cell or the names of different types of rocks. (Life without scientific terminology might look like this.)

Depending on desired DOK check, instructors can either choose to provide students with dropdown options or can step up the challenge by using text entry, thereby requiring students to recall and enter the correct answer from memory. Try out this question type for yourself!

2) Lab safety check

Ensure that students know how to be safe in lab! Start off the year with a lab safety quiz to make sure you aren’t losing any eyeballs or fingers. No need to start from scratch, start with this pre-made assessment and tweak it for your class. (Hint: A lab safety quiz can double as an opportunity to get students comfortable with using Edulastic.)

Lab Safety Quiz by Jessica Mullins
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3) Performance Expectation Tracking

With many moving parts to the NGSS, it helps to have a running check of which DCIs (Disciplinary Core Ideas) have been covered and mastered by students. By creating short, weekly comprehension quizzes, science teachers can quickly check for understanding while moving through NGSS DCIs!
If you have a state science test, Edulastic can make it easier to prepare for that as well. You’ll be able to keep tabs on how students are doing and can adjust instruction if you see that students need more support on a certain topic.

4) Student Performance Data

From one science person to another, we all love the insight that comes along with datasets. With student performance data, you can look at patterns, pinpoint outliers, and see trends forming. Edulastic allows you to collect the insights and quantitative information needed to understand where to focus instructional efforts.

Technology Enhanced Items
A sample of some of the Technology-Enhanced Items (TEIs) science teachers can assign.

5) A Powerful Variety of Technology-Enhanced Items 

Let’s face it, a lot of scientific work involves math concepts, science literacy, which in turn requires creative and strategic ways to present problems and scenarios to students. Science teachers like the ability to use passage-based questions and graphing questions to explore science topics with students. In particular, this might be great for prompting students to answer questions about a scientific experiment or to analyze a scientific topic. Learn more from the item type showcase.

6) Multimedia Integration

By adding a video, science teachers can easily incorporate models or demonstrations into their Edulastic assignments. One option is to embed select videos from YouTube, but if you are a super ambitious science teacher with some free time, making your own videos and demonstrations to share is another way to go! Learn more here.

7) Growing NGSS Item Bank

Edulastic already has a growing bank of question items for science teachers. And as time goes on, the accessible science content is only going to grow. Keep your eye out for new content and be generous with your own! Share your science assessments publicly so teachers across the country don’t have to reinvent the wheel and can borrow your content for their classes. You can pull from individual items in the Item Bank or browse pre-made assessments. Here are some places to get started:

8) Learning Personalized

Whether starting from scratch or from pre-made questions, educators have the chance to deliver personalized assignments in Edulastic. Quality of education improves when content is relevant to students and catered to their needs. Whether you’re focusing on local habitats or physics as it relates to your local public transportation systems, personalized learning is always more engaging for all!

9) Edulastic is Free

The Edulastic team believes that teachers are some of the hardest working professionals. We are always looking to support teachers in the best way we can which is why Edulastic is free for teachers.

Are you a science teacher? Give Edulastic a try today!

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Hear tips and tricks from teachers who use Edulastic in their classroom for assessments, lessons, and more.

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