Friday, January 27, 2017

Exploratorium's NGSS STEM Conference 2017

Making Science Count: Integrating Math into an NGSS Classroom

January 28th, 2017

Event website

Do You Need the Square?

Bree Barnett-Dreyfuss

Students often have trouble with proportions and relationships. What goes up when another quantity goes down? How much does it go up? Experience hands-on activities that show students the difference between an inverse relationship and an inverse square relationship. Explore examples using light, gravity, and electric charge.

Google slide presentation

Thursday, October 20, 2016

NGSS Evidence Statements

Presented at the Fall 2016 NCNAAPT meeting and conference at UC Berkeley 
October 22nd, 2016

From the NGSS website: "NGSS Evidence Statements provide educators with additional detail on what students should know and be able to do. These are statements of observable and measureable components that, if met, will satisfy NGSS performance expectations."
Within the "Introduction and Overview" document:
"The evidence statements, as described here, describe what teachers or assessors would observe (not infer) from successful student performance of each performance expectation (PE). The evidence statements can serve as supporting materials for the design of curriculum and assessments. In the NGSS, each PE is accompanied by a foundation box with associated practice, core idea, and crosscutting concept. The evidence statements expand this initial structure to include specific, observable components of student performance that would demonstrate integrated proficiency by using all of the necessary tenets of the practice to demonstrate understanding of the disciplinary core ideas (DCIs) through the lens of the crosscutting concepts (CCC)."
"...the evidence statements are written to provide more clarity about what the PEs ask students to demonstrate, these statements are not sufficient to replace lesson plans or assessment items; asking students to simply perform the PEs verbatim would not be useful for instruction or assessment."

Blog of Phyz post on Evidence Statements

Presentation shared as Google Slides file  or as a pdf
Presentation handout as a Google Doc file or pdf

Workshop survey ( for sharing brainstorming sessions

NGSS Evidence Statements website

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Crash Cushions - AAPT Summer Meeting 2016

Designing and Testing Crash Barriers, an Engaging NGSS Activity [AJ03]

Mon 07/18, 9:30AM - 9:40AM

Dan Burns, Los Gatos High School
Bree  Barnett Dreyfuss, Amador Valley High School

The design of highway crash barriers is rich in physics and the potential to engage students. Crash barriers are ubiquitous in urban, suburban, and rural areas. There are many different types in use. Designing them is an effective way to address NGSS standard HS-PS2-3 that asks students to apply scientific and engineering ideas to design a device that minimizes the force on an object during a collision. Crash barriers involve many physics topics like Newton’s laws, impulse and momentum, energy, and kinematics. The lab requires only one set of equipment but no eggs! Students design and build crash barriers from inexpensive materials and test them using a cart, track, and accelerometer. They can use their test results to improve their design. We will show several variations of crash barrier test setups using a variety of vendor equipment. We will show student examples and test data. 

 Powerpoint from our presentation available here.

Note:  We may refer to these student-made devices as "Crash Cushions" or "Crash Barriers."

Below are resources available from our first attempts at this project, materials we like to share, etc. 

  • Video summarizing Bree's 2016 classes showing their crash test and resulting graphs:
  • Video of professional crash cushion tests Dan likes to share:

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Building Crash Barriers: An Impulse Engineering Project

NCNAAPT, April 24th & 25th, 2015
Created in collaboration with Dan Burns of Los Gatos High School and Jon Brix of Amador Valley High School
This project was inspired by a conversation with Dan Burns and developed by Jon Brix and I. We continue to work on this project to refine it.
Poster (ppt or pdf) and handout (pdf or google doc)

Saturday, March 7, 2015

NGSS Science & Engineering

New Teacher Institute, March 7th, 2015
Presented with Geoff Gould
Powerpoint shared today (pdf or ppt)
Science & Engineering Practices Highlights (pdf or google doc)
More complete text of Science & Engineering Practices Activity (pdf or google doc)
Blank Practices chart (pdf or google doc)
Workshop Notes graciously collected by Mac of our discussions
Just some of the ideas for implementing the Science & Engineering Practices that participants had:
Ideas for Implementation 1
Ideas for Implementation 2

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

NGSS Sample Performance Assessments

The sample Performance Assessments were released last month and I'm just now getting a chance to sit down and look at it. And it will take some time to digest it. Each is 17 pages and includes background information, description of the tasks, time lines and examples. The Solar Oven is the only one that seems primarily Physics. As you read it, you may come to realize its a fairly complex assignment as I did. Each time I thought I understood how to implement it in my classroom another page reveals another layer. I don't know how this can be achieved with hands on materials in my classroom.