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Professional Learning Resource Center

Resource Spotlight 

Skype a Scientist

Looking for a way to connect your student scientists with professional scientists?  Next Generation Science Standards call for our students to engage in the practices of scientists and engineers.  In doing so, students examine phenomena, generate questions, and investigate.  As students search for answers to their questions, there are times where consulting the larger scientific community or an expert in the field would be advantageous. This resource enables student scientists to collaborate with professional scientists. 

Sarah McAnulty, a Ph.D. student, started an outreach program where classrooms and scientists are matched for Skype session.  "Skype a Scientist matches scientists with classrooms of any grade from around the country to answer any questions student might have! The goal of the program is to have students across the country have positive experiences with scientists and see a scientist that is not the stereotypical white man with crazy white hair. If we can teach a little science in the process, that’s an added bonus!"

If you would like to know more about the program, more information can be found at: Skype a Scientist. 

Nationally Recognized Professional Learning Resources

The home and hub of everything NGSS! 

  • Looking for the standards?  You can navigate the standards either by DCI or by Topic.
  • Need more information on each of the three dimensions?  To understand the complexities of the science and engineering practices, crosscutting concepts, the disciplinary core ideas, as well as many other key shifts in NGSS, an outline of the appendices is available.
  • What is three dimensional instruction? Shifting to NGSS instruction in the classroom, requires an understanding of three-dimensional learning
  • How do we assess NGSS? To support in the development of assessments, Achieve has developed evidence statements and a sampling of assessment tasks that demonstrate three-dimensional assessment.
  • How do we evaluate lessons and units for alignment? To help evaluate lesson and units, Achieve has created and updated the EQuIP Rubric for Lessons and Units: Science. The Educators Evaluating the Quality of Instructional Products (EQuIP) Rubric for science provides criteria by which to measure the alignment and overall quality of lessons and units with respect to the NGSS.
  • What new resources are available? To keep up to date with the latest NGSS resources, sign up for the NGSS NOW Newsletter.

NSTA has so many resources to share. To help make sense of NGSS, start with these great resources: 

  • Looking for NGSS on NSTA? NSTA resources specific to NGSS can be located on NGSS@NSTA.  
NGSS@NSTA - STEM Starts Here
  • Looking for a conference?

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  • What are teachers using to bring NGSS to their classrooms?  Next Gen Navigator is a monthly e-newsletter delivering information, insights, resources, and professional learning opportunities for science educators by science educators on the Next Generation Science Standards and three-dimensional instruction. To keep up to date with the latest NGSS resources, sign up for the Next Gen Navigator.
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  • Looking for print resources? NSTA Press  "produces 20 new books per year for science teachers from K to college." To learn about these publications and other helpful resources, subscribe to NSTA's Book Beat, the award-winning monthly newsletter!
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The STEM Teaching Tools site has tools that can help you teach science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). STEM Teaching Tools is currently focused on supporting the teaching of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).  

Each tool is focused on a specific issue and leverages the best knowledge from research and practice. The tool will include research articles, resources, and other valuable information related to the topic.  Under the News section, you can learn a bit more about how you might use them. This article provides background on this effort. 

Recent Tools - Practice Briefs:

  • Practice Brief #51 explores, Supporting Successful District Implementation of New Science Standards

Printable Resources:  

Professional Development Resources:

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The Teaching Channel offers an online platform for teachers to share and view a variety of videos intended to support teachers, schools, and districts.  Listed below is a collection of videos intended to support the implementation of NGSS. 

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

The National Academies Press (NAP) was created by the National Academy of Sciences to publish the reports of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. The following are linked to NAP publications supporting the Next Generation Science Standards.  These publications are available for download, reading online, or paperback purchase.

NGSS Resource Collections

Curriculum Resources

  • How do you read the Next Generation Science Standards?  New to the Next Generation Science Standards or need a refresher on how to read and work with the standards, the following resources are provided:
  • How do I plan NGSS units of study? 

Next Generation Science Storylines

  • How do I plan a NGSS lesson? 

NSTA has resources sharing how to develop a lesson using the 5E model. 

  • Where can I locate sample lessons that have been evaluated? 

Teachers Try Science

  • Are there quality resources available?  With the significant shift to learning aligned to the NGSS, quality resources take a great deal of time and effort to be developed. 

Model Based Biology 

  • With support from the National Science Foundation (DRL # 1348990)* a team of science educators and biologists have worked over the span of four years to develop, pilot, and refine curricular and pedagogical resources to support you in implementing a full year of high school biology that engages students in three-dimensional learning as called for in the Framework for K-12 Science Education and the Next Generation Science Standards.  The team includes teachers who work with students every day. Members of our team have worked for many years to figure out how to bring the practice of developing and using models into the science classroom.

Instruction Resources

  • How do the practices of ELA, Mathematics, and Science overlap? Checkout this great resources from NSTA.  Practices Venn Diagram

Assessment Resources 

  • How do I assess three-dimensional learning and the NGSS? With a shift in instruction and curriculum, it is essential to shift assessment. The following are resources that have been developed to focus specifically on NGSS Assessment. 

  • What do I need to know about quality assessment?  Assessment literacy is an essential area for teacher professional learning. The following are general assessment resources that can help build teacher assessment literacy. 

 Balanced Assessment Overview &              Balanced Assessment Resources

Guiding Principles for Classroom Assessment

Assessment Literacy Training Modules Illinois Center for Improvement

  • What does research tell us about Assessment in NGSS?

  • Looking for information regarding ISBE Illinois Science Assessment (ISA)?  In compliance with federal testing requirements, Illinois will administer a science assessment to students enrolled in a public school district in grades 5, 8 and once at the high school level.  For current information and resources, click here.
Illinois State Board of Education

Resources for Districts

  • What is available to guide districts in implementation?
  • The Guide to Implementation provides guidance to district and school leaders and teachers charged with developing a plan and implementing the NGSS as they change their curriculum, instruction, professional learning, policies, and assessment to align with the new standards. 

  • Achieve Resources are designed to support school districts in implementation.
    • The District Guide to Implementation  booklet provides an overview of the issues and challenges associated with NGSS implementation and outlines some key questions, timelines, decisions, and considerations for district leaders.
    • The NGSS District Implementation Indicators document provides some key common indicators of successful NGSS implementation at the district level, as well as some concrete actions that districts can take to achieve implementation goals. 

Resources for Administrators

    • What professional learning opportunities are available to learn more about the Next Generation Science Standards for Administrators

    Resources for Parents

    Professional Learning Opportunities

    What professional learning opportunities are available for teachers and districts?

      Professional Learning Resources 

      • What professional learning resources are available to use with teachers and districts?
      • Science Teachers' Learning provides guidance for schools and districts on how best to support teachers' learning and how to implement successful programs for professional development.

        Networking Resources

        From NGSS Now: 9 things you need to know about NGSS this month September 2016

        #NGSSchat is an online forum for educators to learn and share insights around the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

        Each month, on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays, educators from across the nation gather online to discuss and reflect upon quality science instruction. The hashtag#NGSSChat, via Twitter, provides access to learning support from NGSS experts, peers, and scientists with rich and diverse backgrounds and contributes to educators' on-going, personalized professional growth.

        Click here to learn more.

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        Science Matters is an initiative of the National Science Teachers Association promoting quality science education, through the sharing of information, resources, and professional development opportunities.  Many of the resources shared in Science Matters offer opportunities for networking. 

        Interested in signing up for the Network News directly - Become a Point of Contact for your district: 

        • For more information, click here.
        • To sign up as a Point of Contact for Science Matters, click here
        • Recent Science Matters:  May 2017 Network News

        Each state has a Science Matters Coordinator whose primary role is to be the point of contact for distribution of science resources and opportunities to the state network. 

        The Illinois state coordinator is Mary Lou Lipscomb:

        Topic Specific Resources

        Scientific Phenomena

        An essential NGSS shift calls for students to make sense of phenomena and/or design solutions to a problem.

        Searching for phenomena to drive student questioning and investigations?  The links below offer collections of phenomena and resources highlighting natural phenomena resources.   

          Science in the News

          An essential NGSS shift calls for students to obtain, evaluate, and communicate information.  Searching for age-appropriate, relevant, and rich science news to share with your students?  The links listed below offer sources of science in the news. 

          Technology + Science Resources


          When engaging students in the science and engineering practice of Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking, simulations are a great tool.  The following sites offer simulations.


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          Virtual Chemistry and Simulations

          American Chemical Society, Chemistry for Life ®


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          Web Collections 

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          • Sponsored by the ASSOCIATION FOR LIBRARY SERVICE TO CHILDREN a division of the American Library Association, this site hosts a collection of Great Website for Kids!  The collection is organized by discipline. 

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          ISTA Phenomena Bank

          Click HERE to visit our latest resource to learn more about using phenomena to guide student learning.

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          This page is dedicated to providing accurate, reliable, and vetted resources focused on the Illinois's Learning Standards for Science which are the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).  A variety of resources are shared, including resources to assist teachers, administrators and districts in their implementation, resources for making sense of NGSS curriculum, instruction, and assessment, and resources to support educators in the shift to NGSS.

          Have you found a resource that has helped you along the journey?  Interested in sharing with other ISTA members?  Send ideas and resources to

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