IQST Summer 2020 Science Education Professional Learning Webinars

The Institute for Quality Science Teaching (IQST) at the Museum of Science and Industry is one mechanism within The Welcome to Science Initiative—helping children achieve their full potential in science by improving the quality of science teaching in schools, connecting science to children wherever they are, and showcasing diversity in STEM fields. Our typical professional development programming is 6 days of coherent, active learning experiences for teachers that integrate the learning of science content and science pedagogy.

In response to the safety considerations related to COVID-19 and the Museum’s reopening plan, we decided to engage teachers (and potentially others who are interested in science education) through a series of 12 webinars so we could learn together while prioritizing both health and mental well-being. The hour-long webinars cover a range of science education and NGSS focused topics that we share during our in-person teacher professional development.

Webinars Offered

You can take all 12 sessions or attend only the topics most relevant to you.

  • Tuesday, July 14

    9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

    What You Don't Know Can Help You Learn

    Students begin making sense of the natural world long before their first science class and throughout school they accumulate ideas that can run contrary to accepted scientific ideas. Misconceptions are often hard to change because they make sense to the student. In this session we will explore how to identify students' science misconceptions through formative assessment and how to use the information to alter the instruction to achieve conceptual change.

    1 p.m. - 2 p.m.

    If All Models Are Wrong, Why Do We Use Them?

    Modeling is a central practice in science. Yet, models are not the answer to science questions: they are a tool that scientists use to make their thinking visible, advance their understanding of complex systems, and explain phenomena. Models are built using available data, which is always changing, and thus models themselves are always changing. Learn about how scientists use models to answer real-world questions and how that translates to the classroom.

    3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

    It's in the Details: Exploring NGSS Evidence Statements

    Have you ever looked at a Performance Expectation and thought, "What does that actually mean"? In this session, participants will explore how looking at Evidence Statements can provide teachers with a vast amount of information about what students are expected to know and do in order to reach the goals of the PE.

  • Thursday, July 16

    9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

    Nature of Science: View, Process, and Product

    Using the three dimensions of the Next Generation Science Standards primes students for learning about the nature of science. But where is the Nature of Science explicitly within the NGSS and how do we engage students with it during instruction? Learn more about the NGSS Nature of Science Matrix and resources for shaping instruction.

    1 p.m. - 2 p.m.

    Cutting Across the Sciences in NGSS

    Why do we need to teach crosscutting concepts? Do scientists really use crosscutting concepts in their science practice? What does it look like? Learn about some real-world examples of crosscutting concepts put in practice, and the value in using crosscutting concepts in the classroom as a lens to investigate science questions.

    3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

    Whoa, Why Did THAT Happen? Using Student Questions to Drive Learning

    When teachers hear their students ask, "Why are we learning this?", they often only have the answer "because it's in the curriculum" in their toolkit. In this session, we will explore ways for using your students' questions as a way to generate excitement and curiosity in the classroom, and how using student questions can help drive a unit forward.

  • Tuesday, July 21

    9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

    Citizen Science for Students: Authentic, Accessible, and Achievable

    Engaging in citizen science projects, whether at home or at school, allows students to access science content, use science practices, and contribute to authentic science research following simple, achievable processes. Find a citizen science project that works for your students and learn how to integrate real-world science content and practices into your lessons to support an interesting and exciting learning experience for your students!

    1 p.m. - 2 p.m.

    Experiences, Language, and Sensemaking: Tools for Teaching in an NGSS Classroom

    Teaching in an NGSS classroom requires that students are active learners, rather than passive recipients of knowledge. In this session, we will present our strategy for teaching Energy to 3-8th grade students, including how we engaged students with difficult content in a way that goes beyond memorizing vocabulary words. We will also discuss how this way of teaching attends to equity by leveling the playing field for all students.

    3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

    Progressions: The Path to Scientific Understanding

    Education is a system that ideally provides structures and supports for students to know where they are in their learning, where they need to go, and how to get there. Progressions described in The Framework for K-12 Science Education provide insights into targets for DCI, SEP, and CCC that teachers can use to help students in their development as scientific sense makers. See how the progressions can be used to inform planning, teaching, and assessing so that students see a path to success.

  • Thursday, July 23

    9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

    Phenomena in Science Instruction: Not Just Learning About, but Figuring Out

    The Next Generation Science Standards supports the idea of using phenomena in science instruction as a best practice. Discover how exposing students to real-world phenomena in science instruction supports independent critical thinking and learning. Learn equitable strategies for connecting your students' background and experiences to your science lessons and how to encourage them to use their science content and problem-solving skills in the real world.

    1 p.m. - 2 p.m.

    Causation and Correlation: A Primer

    The difference between causation and correlation appears in the learning progression of the Cause and Effect crosscutting concept as early as elementary school (3-5). In this webinar, we will discuss what that difference is and how to present it to students and will provide examples of misrepresentation in real-world situations.

    3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

    Conceptual Coherence: Strong Links in the Chain

    Teachers are being asked to increase student agency related to their learning and to help students see themselves as scientific sense makers, not just content accumulators. Conceptual coherence is at the core of The Framework for K-12 Science Education and is an essential feature of any instruction that meets the goals of NGSS. See how planning for coherence provides strong links for achieving both learning agency and NGSS Performance Expectations.


View recordings and materials from the July 2020 webinars.