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Teaching the Daily Dos

Posted on 2020-06-25

Teaching the Daily Dos

NSTA Daily Do: Engaging Students in Authentic, Relevant Science Learning

School closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic have changed the educational roles of teachers and families across the nation. Overnight, face-to-face instruction in formal classroom settings became impossible, and virtual learning partnerships among families, students, and teachers were formed. As teachers struggled to support students with quality educational experiences, they became increasingly dependent upon and proficient with remote learning platforms and resources, such as the National Science Teaching Association’s (NSTA) Daily Do.

NSTA Daily Dos are tasks that teachers and parents can use to engage their students in authentic, relevant science learning. The tasks associated with each Daily Do take between 20 to 90 minutes to complete and focus on giving students an opportunity to make sense of a puzzling or intriguing phenomenon. Clear guidance is provided to help parents and teachers lead sensemaking discussions and engage students in science and engineering practices. Every Daily Do task integrates two or three dimensions of science teaching and learning as described in A Framework for K12 Science Education.

Recent events have again highlighted what the Framework identifies as the “urgent need for a scientifically literate citizenry” and the need to “provide all students with experiences in science that deepen their understanding and appreciation of scientific knowledge.” NSTA Daily Dos can be viewed as tools aligned to the vision of the Framework; tasks and guidance for promoting sensemaking; and flexible resources that support teachers and parents as they educate students in person and in virtual settings.

In this month’s Next Gen Navigator, we hear from four public school teachers who have used the Daily Dos during the recent school closures. The teachers—two elementary, one middle, and one high school—have unique applications, but all have the same commitment to provide every student with experiences that deepen understanding of how the world works as the do science!

Edel Maeder
Edel Maeder
Next Gen Navigator Guest Editor

Edel Maeder is the K–12 District Science Coordinator for the Greece Central School District in New York. A former middle school and high school science teacher, she received her doctorate in district-level education from the University of Rochester. Her research focused on the relationship among program structures, student self-efficacy, and success in higher-level science courses. Maeder is passionate about providing all students with engaging, high-quality, three-dimensional learning from kindergarten through grade 12. She is a member of the EQuIP Peer Review Panel, NSTA Professional Development Cadre, New York State Content Advisory Panel, and New York Science Education Consortium.


Using Daily Dos to Make Science Accessible to Our Youngest Learners

New York kindergarten teachers Maria Barthelmann and Stephanie Canale share how the Daily Dos provide accessible, learning-based experiences for their students, enabling them to act like scientists and explore things on their own. Read more.

Using Daily Dos to Connect Middle School Students to the Natural World

Veteran educator Kyra Stephenson discusses how using Daily Dos and finding ways to make something like a pollinator garden relevant during distance learning are key to getting kids to participate in authentic science explorations. Read more.

Looking Back and Moving Forward: How Daily Dos Are a Place to Start

Eighteen-year veteran high school teacher Nicole Vick shares how to use the format and ideas in the Daily Dos to create an engaging series of lessons that can be used synchronously or asynchronously with students. Read more.

Note: The Next Gen Navigator is a monthly e-newsletter from NSTA delivering information, insights, resources, and professional learning opportunities for science educators by science educators on the Next Generation Science Standards and three-dimensional instruction.  Click here to sign up to receive the Navigator every month.

The mission of NSTA is to promote excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all.

Lesson Plans NGSS Professional Learning old Three-Dimensional Learning

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