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Intro To The NGSS

If the NGSS has left you feeling overwhelmed and just plain confused, this one's for you. Too many trainings focus on the semantics and language - this idea and that - and don't tell you what the NGSS actually means for you and your classroom. Not this one. Through Module One: Intro To The NGSS, you will understand the core tenets of the NGSS and and what it means for your classroom.


  • the secret to "covering it all" using three dimensional approaches
  • why your students will be naturally invested in NGSS units
  • how to shift ownership from the teacher to the student in your NGSS classroom


Bundling The Standards

The NGSS Performance Expectations are not meant to be taught in isolation. Rather, they are meant to be bundled together to create cohesive and engaging storylines used to explain natural phenomena.  Learn how to bundle your standards to save instructional time while helping students see connections between related concepts.  

You'll get:

  • what you need to know to make the important choice: integrated or discipline-specific?
  • a simple strategy for identifying connections and grouping your standards
  • a step by step plan to create cohesive course flow


Anchoring Phenomena

Sick of hearing the question, "Why are we learning this?" It's time to invest in anchoring phenomena. NGSS units begin with anchoring phenomena that frame student learning throughout the unit. These puzzling events or processes spark engagement and curiosity. They add authenticity and cohesion, and drive instruction. Learn how to identify and use anchoring phenomenon in your NGSS-aligned units. 


  • how to identify and select amazing anchors
  • how to engage your students with phenomenon from day one
  • how to use phenomena throughout your unit, going beyond the initial "hook" so your units don't flash, bang, and fizzle


Creating Storylines

Lesson by lesson, chapter by chapter. These are the approaches of the past. Put your textbook pacing guide aside and get ready to engage your students in cohesive investigations into things that matter​​Storylines help students see connections and retain what they've learned. Learn what storylines are and how to use them to connect the NGSS Performance Expectations and Disciplinary Core Ideas and logically guide students toward conceptual understanding of science content.

You'll understand:

  • what storylines are and how they support phenomenon-based instruction
  • the key to creating integrated storylines that address multiple standards
  • the linear process of storyline mapping that results in science units that just make sense (to students and teachers alike!)


Designing Assessments

Put down the multiple choice, the matching, the fill-in-the-blank, and even the short-answer exams. It's time to make your assessments look different. ​​Evaluating the Performance Expectations requires a shift in how we evaluate student understanding.  

Find out:

  • why traditional assessments cannot assess the NGSS
  • the simple steps to creating three dimensional performance tasks that actually align to the standards
  • how you can integrate formative assessments that address all three dimensions ​​​​into your daily activities


Designing NGSS Lessons With The 5E Model

Quit "teaching as telling" and embrace exploration and discovery. The NGSS is all about engaging students in "explore before explain" style learning.  When given the opportunity, our students can​​ discover the concepts themselves through an application of Science and Engineering Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and some critical thinking. 

You'll walk away with:

  • a totally new and improved understanding of the 5E Model and what it really looks like
  • a clear map for guiding students through the "figuring it out" process
  • the know-how to develop learning sequences for your NGSS storylines


Designed To Engage

"I love teaching bored and uninterested students!" said no teacher ever. Duh. You want your students excited, curious, engaged. That's why every NGSS lesson starts with a phenomenon, and why the 5E Model uses an engagement activity to present it.​​ This is the time for your students to activate prior knowledge, spark curiosity, and generate questions in order to drive your storyline forward - you can't skip this.  Take a deep dive into this phase, identifying both ideal activity formats and how to implement these activities to truly engage students. 


  • why this phase is the vital first step for every NGSS learning sequence
  • ideal activity formats that can work in any classroom
  • tips and tricks to implement these activities to truly engage your students


Exploration To Discovery

Everything changes here. Exploration is what makes a three dimensional lesson a three dimensional lesson. These learning activities promote student discovery of the content -- one of the defining features of NGSS-aligned instruction. It's about creating their AHA moment. They foster student motivation, promote ownership, and ultimately lead to longer learning gains when implemented appropriately. Exploration is the backbone of your NGSS curriculum. 


  • my go-to list of activity formats that allow for exploration and discovery (just sub in your content!)
  • how to frame and implement activities to guide students from exploration to their AHA!
  • BONUS: approaches to incorporate discovery even in content-heavy classrooms
  • BONUS: how to flip your existing lessons to make "explore before explain" a reality


Explaining Is Meaning-Making

Nope, don't pick up that PowerPoint. Your explanations aren't needed (yet). It's time for meaning-making, but that's not YOUR job. Discover how to transition Explore into Explain, utilize the two parts of the Explain phase, and support the development of student understanding in this module. 

Find out:

  • the two vital parts of the "explain phase" and why both are necessary
  • how to transition students from exploration to understanding
  • the appropriate time for you to step back in with vocabulary, detailed content, and explanations


Elaboration And Extension

Those AHA moments don't stick if students don't have time to practice and elaborate on their learning. But what does that look like in an NGSS classroom? The Elaborate phase offers students the opportunity to practice independently and extend their learning. Explore how you can craft three dimensional activities for this phase in this module.

You'll get:

  • my go-to list of activity formats for elaboration and extension
  • a how-to guide to incorporate all three dimensions into these activities
  • your "next steps" in NGSS curriculum design

Beyond The Basics

Dive Into 3D

Take a closer look at the Science and Engineering Practices and Crosscutting Concepts in these advanced workshops. 

Cultivating Discovery Culture

There's a lot more that goes into teaching besides curriculum -- from notebooking to classroom management, all of these things look different in NGSS classrooms. These advanced workshops address those topics.

Monthly Interactive Workshops

What do you want to learn about? Join us each month in live interactive trainings where we break down topics of interest to you - from Project Based Learning to Using Digital Notebooks - these topics are developed from your needs

Explore To Aha! 

It's time to engage your students in science discovery with the NGSS, but you're just not sure how to get there? Let me help!

I just wanted to say thank you for the amazing work you are doing! I finished up parent teacher conferences today and so many were impressed and excited about what is happening in my classroom. The kids are talking about science at home and are loving science!! ... My students are thriving. I have never had a class so engaged and learning at this level ever before!! Thank you for all you do!

Cadena P.

Middle School Teacher, South Dakota


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