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Short Courses

Chicago National Conference on Science Education • July 20-23


Fill in the gaps in your content knowledge and explore the very latest research and strategies with our short courses. These intensive workshops explore a variety of topics, including three-dimensional assessment tasks and NSTA's instructional tools and protocols. All short courses are filled on a first-come, first-served basis, so act now!



Pre-Conference • Wednesday, July 20 • 8:30 - 11:30 AM CT

SC-1: Developing and Using Three-Dimensional Assessment Tasks to Support NGSS Instruction

Assessment tasks for NGSS classrooms are different from the typical tasks that require students to recall what they know. A Framework for K–12 Science Education and the NGSS call for assessment tasks that ask students to use and apply the three dimensions of science proficiency: disciplinary core ideas, scientific and engineering practices, and crosscutting concepts. With three-dimensional tasks, the expectation is that students will use and apply the three dimensions of science proficiency together to make sense of phenomena or solve problems.

In this session, we focus on designing three-dimensional assessment tasks for classroom use with an emphasis on assessment for teaching and learning. A good assessment task should provide actionable information of value to teachers and their students. Importantly, it should provide insight into how students are building toward an NGSS performance expectation.

How can we use performance expectations to construct assessment tasks that can be used during instruction? Participants will learn an approach for designing three-dimensional assessment tasks and explore how to use them formatively in classrooms to help students build toward the performance expectations.

Participants will also be able to preorder our assessment book Creating and Using Instructionally Supportive Assessments in NGSS Classrooms.

Key Takeaways

  1. what is meant by three-dimensional assessment;
  2. how to design classroom-based assessment tasks aligned with the NGSS
  3. how to make use of formative assessment tasks to support instruction.



Christopher Harris
K-12 Alliance/WestEd

Joseph Krajcik
CREATE for STEM Institute, Michigan State University



Pre-Conference • Wednesday, July 20 • 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM CT

SC-2: Supporting Teachers and Students in the Science Classroom Using NSTA’s Instructional Coaching Tools and Protocols

This workshop is designed for instructional coaches and leaders who want to support their teachers in making the instructional shifts required by three-dimensional science standards. Participants will receive NSTA’s suite of instructional coaching tools and gain experience using the protocols and providing feedback.

Key Takeaways

  1. Become familiar with a suite of instructional coaching tools and protocols
  2. Gain experience using the instructional coaching tools and protocols
  3. Identify ways to use the tools to provide feedback to teachers and document growth over time



Kate Soriano
National Science Teaching Association

Tricia Shelton
National Science Teaching Association

Kristin Rademaker
National Science Teaching Association



FREE with a Conference Registration • Limited to 100 Attendees

Saturday, July 23 • 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM CT

SC-3: NASA’s JWST Workshop: Looking into Our Past to Discover Our Future

NSTA’s Professional Learning Team will introduce a sensemaking task teachers can use to engage their students in authentic, relevant science learning based on the science ideas and STEM careers woven into the documentary film The Hunt for Planet B, based on the goals of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) program. Join us to explore how the four critical aspects of sensemaking work together to create opportunities for students’ equitable participation in actively trying to figure out how the world works using the phenomenon of the JWST. Dr. Jon Arenberg, Chief Mission Architect for Science and Robotic Exploration at Northrop Grumman, will join us to share his passion for STEM to help teachers integrate STEM career awareness into their curricula.

Attendees will receive a copy of the NSTA Press book Helping Students Make Sense of Their World: The Next Generation Science and Engineering Practice.

A snack break is included during this short course.

NSTA wishes to thank Northrop Grumman Foundation for sponsoring this short course.

Key Takeaways

  1. Understand the critical attributes of sensemaking
  2. Strategies for intentional sequences of student interactions to provide access to participation and learning for all students
  3. Strategies to integrate STEM career awareness into science lessons



Jonathan Arenberg
Northrop Grumman Corp.

Patrice Scinta
National Science Teaching Association

Kate Soriano
National Science Teaching Association

Pre-Short Course Featured Presentation

Featured Speaker: NASA’s James Webb Telescope (JWST): Looking into Our Past to Discover Our Future

Join Northrop Grumman’s chief engineer for Webb to explore the design of the largest telescope ever built for space. Discover how Webb’s development, as shown in The Hunt for Planet B, will shape our future. Jon will also discuss what we can learn about the skills and relationships that drove this amazing technological journey and how to bring them to the classroom.


Sponsored by:




FREE with a Conference Registration • Limited to 125 Attendees

Saturday, July 23 • 8:00 - 11:00 AM CT

SC-4: Quality Questions Make the Case: Designing Case-Based Lessons

In this workshop, you will experience, and then utilize, a backwards design approach to creating a short case study. You will engage with peers on elements that make a good case and thought-provoking selected-response questions. You will then implement those lessons to develop your own activity.

Key Takeaways

  1. Use backward design to create a case study aligned with learning objectives and assessment items
  2. Apply an item-writing checklist to improve assessment items
  3. Revise open response items into a selected response format
  4. Revise assessment items & provide peer feedback


Sponsored by:

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