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Project 2061 on the Agenda at NSTA Baltimore Conference

With more than 2500 science teachers expected to attend, the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Baltimore Area Conference in October offers Project 2061 researchers a chance to showcase their latest research findings and curriculum and assessment resources. The research team will host a short course introducing Toward High School Biology (THSB), an innovative new middle school unit developed by Project 2061 and BSCS and published by NSTA Press.  Also on the Baltimore Conference agenda is a workshop in which teachers who have taught the unit over the past three years will share their classroom experiences and a presentation introducing assessments that can be used to monitor what students know about energy from late elementary school through high school. 

The short course, “Introducing a New NGSS-Aligned Curriculum Unit--Toward High School Biology,” will provide an overview of the unit, demonstrate how it tackles key problems in middle school science, and provide evidence of how it supports the vision of three-dimensional learning and teaching recommended in Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Working with the unit, which was developed with support from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences, participants will gain a deeper understanding of what it means to address the three dimensions of NGSS and will have a chance to examine criteria for supporting claims of NGSS alignment specified in the Educators Evaluating the Quality of Instructional Products (EQuIP) Rubric for science.

As participants try out activities in the THSB unit, they will see how the unit’s content story line unfolds; consider how carefully selected science phenomena are used to integrate core ideas and crosscutting concepts from physical and life sciences; discover how the unit’s instructional activities engage students in using core ideas and concepts and the practices of data analysis, modeling, and explanation as they make sense of the phenomena; and examine the use of embedded assessments to monitor students’ progress.

The short course is scheduled for Friday, October 6, from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., in the Key 10 room of the Baltimore Hilton Hotel. Registration begins in early August on a first-come, first-served basis either online or by downloading the registration form from NSTA’s website. Tickets (if still available) may also be purchased at the conference site in the registration area. Advance short course registration fee is $45 (deadline is Sept. 15); the on-site registration fee is $50.

On Thursday, October 5, conference participants can attend the workshop, “Diving into the Chemistry of the Toward High School Biology Curriculum,” from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m., in Room 324 of the Baltimore Convention Center to find out how the new THSB unit can help teach ideas about the conservation of matter so that students retain what they’ve learned. Then, from 5:00 to 6:00 the Key 3 room of the Hilton, they can join the Project 2061 team for “Assessing Students’ Progress on the Energy Concept,” a presentation on the development of a set of tests of energy knowledge and data on how students from across the U.S. performed on them.

All NSTA conference registrants can attend the workshop and presentation; space fills up quickly, so plan to arrive early. Register for the NSTA Baltimore Conference here