Calif. district boosts NGSS resources

Pasadena USD selects STEMscopes California to help students adjust to NGSS, develop and deepen STEM understanding through inquiry-based learning

ngss-sciencePasadena Unified School District is addressing the new Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for California by providing its K-6 teachers and students with STEMscopes California, a hands-on digital STEM curriculum built to meet the California NGSS standards.

Developed by Accelerate Learning and Rice University, STEMscopes California places problem-based learning, engineering challenges, scientific investigations, math and literacy connections, and culminating claim-evidence-reasoning assessments at teachers’ fingertips, so they can help students understand the NGSS as they were designed.

This fall, Pasadena USD will implement STEMscopes in all 24 of its schools that serve students in grades K-6.

“STEMscopes takes the guesswork out of teaching the Next Generation Science Standards,” said Jodi Marchesso, Pasadena USD’s STEM curriculum coach. “While many resources claim to be NGSS-aligned, they rely heavily on reading and writing about science rather than doing science. STEMscopes is the only resource I’ve seen that’s aligned to meet all of the Next Generation Science Standards. It supports our vision for student-centered learning and follows all the best practices we want to see in our science classrooms.”

According to Marchesso, STEMscopes also will help the district support several priorities in its Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP). “STEMscopes will make it easy for teachers to provide students with access to NGSS-aligned instructional materials, and to involve parents, too. The program’s emphasis on inquiry-based instruction will increase student engagement and help students prepare for the new science assessments,” she said.

“In addition, the cross-curricular connections will enable teachers to integrate science into all of the content areas and to support student achievement in subjects such as English language arts and math as well.”

STEMscopes California aligns with Pasadena USD’s mission to drive inquiry-based learning. It fosters student understanding of science through inquiry-based, hands-on investigations and problem-based learning, including engineering solutions in a real-world context.

In addition, STEMscopes offers a Spanish version for grades K-5, which Pasadena USD plans to implement to support its large population of Spanish-speaking students as well as its Dual Language Immersion Program in Spanish. “Instead of having to translate our STEM resources into Spanish, which is very time-consuming, teachers will now have instant access to the resources they need,” said Marchesso.

Designed to work in any classroom — traditional, blended and 1:1 — STEMscopes provides teacher and student digital resources, supplemental print materials, and hands-on exploration kits that build student engagement and excitement for learning. In addition, strong vertical alignment allows teachers to develop student expectations across grade levels with parallel lesson design.

Material from a press release was used in this report.

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