This article is the second of 2023 that continues to offer information about the NYS Science Investigations. If you missed the first article, head back to the February archive and search for “NYS REQUIRED SCIENCE INVESTIGATIONS GOT YOU STUMPED?” or click here.
Teachers and coordinators have been experiencing the NYS Science Investigations firsthand in several workshops that have been offered this spring. Participants in these workshops are encouraged to ask any and all questions and are assured their questions will be answered before they leave for the day. They participate in a vocabulary activity where all vocab words are identified in an Investigation and then they are given ideas for how to start incorporating these words more into their curriculum. The participants split up to experience an activity that is relevant to them - they set up the Investigation as they would as a teacher, and then they work through the Investigation as a student would, identifying obstacles and points where they could scaffold or modify the Investigation for students they think may struggle on that part. Finally, everyone is brought back together as we comb through the list of questions, being sure none are left unanswered. Resources that are used during the workshop as well as other items related to the NYS Science Investigations can be found in this Wakelet collection.
If you would like to take part in one of these NYS Science Investigations workshops, there will be a workshop this summer, July 12 (register now!) and another on October 10 (registration for fall workshops will be open soon). Principals are encouraged to attend with their teacher teams. Certainly, newly-hired teachers in Grades 3-8 should attend.
Kits filled with materials for the NYS Science Investigations are available to order from resources.caboces.org. Each kit contains enough materials for 30 students. Some kits contain reusable items, and so a teacher with multiple classes would only need one kit. Some kits have consumable items, and in that case a teacher with multiple classes would want to order enough kits for the number of students they have, ie. If a 5th grade teacher has three classes of 20 students throughout the day, they would have a total of 60 students, and should order 2 kits.
We are in the process of receiving all of the materials we ordered and continuing to fill kits. We will ultimately have a stock of 35 kits for borrowing, hopefully by September.
With the printshop, we have created a booklet that contains all of the documents that should follow a student through three years, being passed on to each teacher as the student moves on. The spiral-bound booklets contain the record-keeping sheet, all of the student answer packets, and the rubric for each investigation. Districts can order these booklets using this sheet. You can order any of the NYS Science Investigations print materials from this form, but the booklets are located at the bottom of each page. Directions for where to send this are found on the third page.
The answer booklets are a fantastic tool for assessing student progress through the new science standards. Teachers in 4th grade can now see student answers and how they were scored on the rubric in 3rd grade and use that information for scaffolds and support in their science lessons. Even though the grades are banded 3-5 and 6-8, 6th grade teachers will likely want to see the answer booklets from 3-5 to inform their lesson design. Likewise, as a former 9th grade teacher, I would love the information in the 6-8 answer booklets to make it to me in preparation for those students entering my Earth Science course.
In addition to keeping these booklets, PowerSchool, eSchool, and School Tool all have integrated a column for tracking the NYS Science Investigations from year-to-year. The checkbox is important to confirm the student is eligible to take the 5th grade and 8th grade state science exams.
If a student transfers, please send the answer booklet to the next school. There is a place for teacher and principal signatures in the front of the answer booklet, that is necessary to confirm what the student has completed.
When can a student be marked as “Successfully Completed”?
This is a local decision. All teachers should have the goal of helping all students meet Proficiency in all categories as they guide their students to the state assessments. In reality, not all students will meet Proficiency. Teachers should mark students appropriately on the rubric and make notes where applicable as information for further remediation or for information for a student’s future teachers. The rubric is not a report card, it is part of the tool that will help inform instruction for our students to help them better learn science.
To learn more about the NYS P-12 Science Learning Standards, administrators and teachers are welcome to attend the Intro to NYSSLS workshop on November 16 (registration will become available soon).
Please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org or 716-376-8285) for work with Teacher-Administrator teams to come up with the best solution for NYS Science Investigations implementation at your district.
By: Kelli Grabowski, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Follow us on