Introducing Teachers and Administrators to the NGSS
by Eric Brunsell, Deb M. Kneser, Kevin J. Niemi

Price at time of review: $48.04
250 pp.
NSTA Press
Arlington, VA
ISBN: 9781938946189

Grade Level: K-12

Reviewed by David Brock
AP Biology Teacher

I am always cautious when recommending one of NSTA’s own books because as an active member myself, there is always the potential accusation of nepotism; and so to me, it is very important that an NSTA Press book truly stand out as exceptional. This book is such a book and is an invaluable resource for anyone seeking to promote constructive dialogue in their schools about how to implement the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) successfully.

It provides activities for introducing the nature and structure of the standards so that any and all possible stakeholders in an educational community can understand the intent, purpose, and value of the NGSS. It provides activities for exploring what is new and different about the NGSS from previous science education reform efforts so that current teachers of science can evaluate what they are already doing in their classrooms in light of the new standards. It provides activities for making the transition from the performance standards in the NGSS to the development of proper assessments, individual units, and larger curricular decisions, and finally, it provides activities to explore the connections between NGSS and the new language and math standards of the Common Core.

What sets this book apart for me is the quality of the way the activities are provided to the potential user. First, the authors present already well–vetted material with the documentation that supports their effectiveness. Second, the authors truly recognize that successful professional development is an ongoing, reiterative process that takes long periods of sustained effort in order to be effective. Thus, they organize the activities by topic (e.g. the three dimensions of the NGSS—science and engineering practices, disciplinary core ideas, and crosscutting concepts), and then they scaffold them so that one activity builds on the preceding one in order to explore each topic in increasing depth. Third, the authors provide all the necessary elements in the facilitator notes (including potential “oops!” moments as well as “next steps”) to enable even a novice science supervisor or department head to begin working effectually with his or her staff using these materials.

Hence, even administrators who are themselves just beginning to explore the NGSS can begin implementing the first steps of change in the classroom for which the new standards call. One thing to note, the book refers to the “case studies in NGSS Appendix D” on several occasions in Chapter 7 that are not actually in Appendix D (they are located online here: The value of this book is such that I am already planning on using three of its activities with the teachers in my K–12 department this August—and I can’t think of a higher recommendation than that.

Review posted on 7/22/2014

Customer Reviews
Great Resource for Facilitators!
  Reviewed by: Jenny (Adrian, MI) on March 29, 2016
  This has been my most widely used go-to book in my work as a science consultant. I work with teachers in grades preK-12. This book provides a quick intro and some basics on developing PD, then it breaks things down into different activities. There are 24 activities, from looking through the layout of the NGSS to breaking down the 3 dimensions for participants to working to develop a unit applicable for the content they teach. Each activity is presented in the same format, background info is provided when needed. You can pick and choose which activities to include in your work. It's great for something quick at a staff meeting, or for a two day (or more) session.

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