NEXT-GEN EARTH AND SPACE SCIENCE LITERACY INSTRUCTION AND EXPERTISE (NESSLIE): A PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROJECT TO IMPROVE MIDDLE SCHOOL SCIENCE TEACHERS’ UNDERSTANDING AND EFFICACY OF NGSS EARTH SCIENCE CONTENT AND PEDAGOGY
To meet the project goal, teacher participants, each summer over three-years, completed seven 12- to 15-hour ESS units, designed and peer-reviewed by the PD project team (e.g. geoscience content, science education, and literacy faculty). To ensure quality and fidelity to NGSS and CCCS, the project team adhered to the following criteria in developing the ESS units: 1) initiate with a real-world phenomenon (e.g. solar eclipse); 2) follow a validated instructional model (e.g. 5E Learning Cycle); 3) use three-dimensional learning with a focus on high-leverage practices (modeling, explanation, and argumentation); 4) promote CCSS-aligned reading, writing, and oral discourse strategies; 5) embed multiple formative assessments; and 6) include a three-dimensional summative performance assessment. A unit design rubric was developed based on these criteria for the peer review process. Furthermore, teacher participants used these ESS units and adapted them for implementation with their students. Based on evidence collected from this project (e.g. surveys, interviews, classroom videos), teacher participants made significant gains in their content knowledge as well as delivered the instructional shifts related to NGSS and CCSS. One of the most significant changes was teachers’ efficacy of three-dimensional learning and the embedded literacy practices as part of their science instruction. The design of this project and some general findings of its success will be shared.