The latest from STEM Teaching Tools, a series of free, bite-sized PDFs for science educators.
Field Notes #7, June 2017
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How can science instruction be meaningfully connected to the out-of-school lives of students? What role do students’ cultures play in science learning? And how might teachers use formative assessments to focus science learning on students’ cultural contexts, interests, and identities?

Our new open educational resource, “Making Science Instruction Compelling for All Students,” is designed to help educators think about these questions as they develop formative assessments that build on students’ pre-existing interests, identities, and experiences. This resource is designed to be used as a 2 - 2.5 hour professional development session for educators, and can be freely adapted and modified for your local needs.

“Making Science Instruction Compelling for All Students”:
  • highlights the cultural dimensions of science learning
  • showcases an instructional technique for formative assessment called “self-documentation”
  • describes different assessment approaches and guides educators in thinking about particular goals for formative assessment
Read "Making Science Instruction Compelling for All Students"
Other New Teaching Tools
Brief #47: How can I promote equitable sensemaking by setting expectations for multiple perspectives? [Read]
Brief #48: How can teachers guide conversations to support science learning? [Read]
Brief #48 includes tools for teachers & students to support classroom science talk!
Brief #49: How can mentor teachers & university educators support preservice teachers? [Read]
STEM Teaching Tools Bookmarks

Download and print our STEM Teaching Tools Bookmarks. They offer a concise list of the science and engineering practices, disciplinary core ideas, crosscutting concepts, and key definitions for easy reference as you familiarize yourself with the NGSS. 

Download the PDF of a printable page of bookmarks (select "Actual Size" rather than "Fit to Page" when printing)

What are STEM Teaching Tools?
STEM Teaching Tool 3

STEM Teaching Tools are short briefs designed to bring together ideas and resources to address common challenges as educators adopt the new vision for science education in the NRC Framework and resulting Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). These tools are helping thousands of educators across the country align their teaching with best practices from both research and teaching.  

STEM Teaching tools are:

  • co-written by researchers and educators.
  • easily downloadable as PDFs.
  • updated regularly at, with new briefs created in response to educator needs.
Access the entire collection of STEM Teaching Tools
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STEM Teaching Tools content copyright 2014-17 University of Washington Institute for Science + Math Education. All rights reserved.

This site is primarily funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) through the Research + Practice Collaboratory (Award #1238253, #1626365). Opinions expressed are not those of any funding agency.

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