Next Generation Science Standards: Offering Equitable Opportunities for ELLs to Engage in Science
We are very excited to share a new article from Colorín Colorado written by Emily Miller, a second- and third-grade bilingual resource teacher for the Madison, WI Metropolitan School District. Emily served on the Next Generation Science Standards' (NGSS) Elementary Writing Team as well as the Diversity & Equity Team, and she was previously featured on our blog.
The task of the Diversity & Equity Team was to ensure that the NGSS are accessible to diverse populations of students. The team assessed accessibility through bias reviews of the standards, teaching the NGSS in their classrooms during the writing process, and writing about their experiences in the form of case studies. The populations that the team focused on include the following:
- Case Study 1: Economically Disadvantaged
- Case Study 2: Race and Ethnicity
- Case Study 3: Students with Disabilities
- Case Study 4: English Language Learners
- Case Study 5: Girls
- Case Study 6: Alternative Education
- Case Study 7: Gifted and Talented Students
(See additional information in Appendix D: Making the Next Generation Science Standards Accessible to All Students.)
New Opportunities for ELLs in Science Class
Emily was responsible for writing the ELL case study based on her classroom instruction. Drawing from that experience, in her new Colorín Colorado article, Emily highlights four of the eight NGSS science and engineering practices that she believes will provide ELLs with more equitable science learning opportunities, which include:
- The use of crosscutting concepts
- The science and engineering practice of modeling
- The practice of developing explanations and designing solutions
- The addition of engineering practices and core ideas
After explaining what each practice looks like, Emily describes why the practice is particularly well-suited for engaging ELLs, as well as related opportunities for language development. She also has compiled a chart of science instruction strategies for ELLs that focus on building academic language and background knowledge such as literacy support strategies and discourse support strategies.
TESOL Academy 2014
Emily will be presenting at the TESOL Academy 2014 at The Ohio State University on June 20-21, 2014. Her session is titled Designing NGSS Science Lessons for All Students (C-2).
More Science Resources for ELLs
For additional ideas and resources related to science instruction for ELLs, take a look at our new science resource section! It includes classroom strategies and vignettes focused on inquiry-based learning, updated research reports, recommended books for professionals, bilingual fiction and non-fiction books for students, and bilingual tips for parents. Be sure to share these resources with your science colleagues and let us know what you think!