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Professional Learning Units

 

Gain Practical Teaching Strategies That Enrich Student Learning

NSTA Professional Learning Units (PLU) are bite-sized, self-paced, asynchronous short courses that educators can use to improve their practice, enrich students’ learning, and increase equitable participation in the classroom. Regardless of your schedule or location, you can earn a NSTA PLU certificate—that could be used towards credit hours of professional learning—when it’s convenient for you!

Benefits
  • self-paced and flexible short courses that can be completed anytime, anywhere
  • designed around relevant science education topics
  • supports student-centered teaching and learning
  • earn a certificate that could be used towards credit hours of professional learning (for each PLU)

PLUs

By Topic

Current topics include sensemaking, adopting an asset approach to student learning, using digital tools that support classroom collaboration, and social justice. More topics will be introduced soon, so check back often. You’re sure to find a PLU that will help you implement research-based pedagogy that places students at the center of learning!


Social Justice

The Meaning Beyond the Words

FREE to NSTA Members

The Meaning Beyond the Words

Recent research on race, language, and culture are working to re-shape science teaching and learning. As educators, how we say things can have an enormous impact on students’ sense of belonging.

This Professional Learning Unit provides an overview of the qualitative and quantitative research that documents the realities of this complex interaction and will provide classroom-ready practices to increase student understanding and sense of belonging. The NSTA Teacher Tip Tuesday Web Seminar used in this PLU features nationally-recognized expert and author Dr. Bryan A. Brown, associate professor at Stanford Graduate School of Education.

Member Price: $0.00  |  Non-member Price: $20.00  |  2 Credit Hours

  


3D Learning & Sensemaking

What is Sensemaking?

FREE to All

What is Sensemaking?

After exploring what sensemaking truly means, educators will be introduced to the four attributes of sensemaking (phenomena, science and engineering practices, student ideas and grade-appropriate disciplinary core ideas) and how they can be used in the classroom to promote equity and provide opportunities for all students to be scientific thinkers.

Member Price: $0.00  |  Non-member Price: $0.00  |  2 Credit Hours

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Evaluating lessons using the NSTA Sensemaking Tool

The NSTA Sensemaking Tool (adapted from the research-based NGSS Lesson Screener) is designed to help educators be critical consumers of curricular materials as well as create and/or revise science lessons to reflect the instructional shifts (sensemaking) required by the NGSS and three-dimensional state standards based on A Framework for K-12 Science Standards. In this professional learning unit you will become familiar with the Single-Point Rubric for Sensemaking Lessons; gain experience using the Sensemaking Tool to evaluate lessons for sensemaking; consider how the Sensemaking Tool can be used to choose lessons (critical consumer); revise or create lessons for personal use, and revise or create lessons for wider use.

Member Price: $15.00  |  Non-member Price: $20.00  |  3 Credit Hours

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How Do I Begin to Develop a Storyline for a Unit?

During this Professional Learning Unit, we discuss instructional strategies that take an asset approach to student learning. The discussion will focus on how the knowIn this introduction to Storylines, educators will be introduced to the Key Features in Lesson Materials that Support the Framework and NGSS. They will then hear experts describe the key routines in a storyline unit and explore a high-quality NGSS-designed storyline that intentionally includes these key features that support the Framework and NGSS.

Member Price: $15.00  |  Non-member Price: $20.00  |  2 Credit Hours

PLU

Supporting Equitable Sensemaking - A Tool for Educators

How do students build targeted science ideas and concepts? The Supporting Equitable Sensemaking - A Tool for Educators PLU explores how the use of modalities and intentional student interactions create opportunity to build ownership of science ideas to explain phenomena.

Member Price: $15.00  |  Non-member Price: $20.00  |  2 Credit Hours

  


Phenomena

What is Sensemaking?

Leveraging Assets to Build on Student Experiences: A Focus on Curiosity

During this Professional Learning Unit, we discuss instructional strategies that take an asset approach to student learning. The discussion will focus on how the knowledge students bring to learning—including student curiosity, questions, experiences, and diverse backgrounds related to phenomena and problems—can be used to drive teaching and learning and accomplish learning targets.

Member Price: $15.00  |  Non-member Price: $20.00  |  2 Credit Hours

  


Science and Engineering Practices

Engaging Students in Developing and Using Models

Engaging Students in Developing and Using Models

This Professional Learning Unit will provide educators strategies for supporting K-12 students in beginning to develop the knowledge and skills needed to engage with this practice. Educators will also recognize the importance of providing students opportunities to share ideas, build on each other's ideas, give and receive feedback, and change their minds to fully engage in Developing and Using Models.

Member Price: $15.00  |  Non-member Price: $20.00  |  2 Credit Hours

Solving the Problem of Finding Authentic Problems Students Can Solve in the K-12 Classroom

Supporting Ambitious Science Teaching

In this Professional Learning Unit we'll look at how Ambitious Science Teaching helps teachers focus on finding ways for all students to participate in science, making science compelling to a wider group of learners, and providing the means for students to show what they know.

Member Price: $15.00  |  Non-member Price: $20.00  |  2 Credit Hours

  


Technology and Sensemaking “Digital Collaborative Spaces”

Digital Collaborative Spaces for Sensemaking

Digital Collaborative Spaces for Sensemaking

We'll share a multitude of digital tools available to support collaborative engagement in the science and engineering practice to build an understanding of science ideas needed to explain how or why phenomena occur.

Member Price: $15.00  |  Non-member Price: $20.00  |  2 Credit Hours

Taking Familiar Digital Tools to the Next Level: Padlet and Jamboard

Taking Familiar Digital Tools to the Next Level: Padlet and Jamboard

You will learn ways to leverage some functions of Padlet and Jamboard to support students with sharing ideas, giving and receiving critiques, and increasing accessibility for all.

Member Price: $15.00  |  Non-member Price: $20.00  |  2 Credit Hours

Taking Familiar Digital Tools to the Next Level: Google Slides and Docs

Taking Familiar Digital Tools to the Next Level: Google Slides and Docs

We explore how to leverage Google Slides, Google Docs and the Read&Write for Google Chrome extension (free version) to support synchronous and asynchronous pair-, small group- and whole group-discussions between students. We also share strategies to create opportunities for all students to participate equitably in these discussions.

Member Price: $15.00  |  Non-member Price: $20.00  |  2 Credit Hours

  


STEM Engineering

Solving the Problem of Finding Authentic Problems Students Can Solve in the K-12 Classroom

Solving the Problem of Finding Authentic Problems Students Can Solve in the K-12 Classroom

In this Professional Learning Unit, you will learn how to identify and choose relevant, authentic problems for your students and to understand what makes a problem instructionally productive. We explore available resources and strategies that will help students identify the problems they may want to pursue individually, or with small groups for STEM competitions.

Member Price: $15.00  |  Non-member Price: $20.00  |  2 Credit Hours

We have got a Problem to Solve! Now What?

We Have Got a Problem to Solve! Now What?

Engineering lessons must include big ideas from physical, life, or Earth and space science together with big ideas from engineering design to solve problems. This PLU will get you started.

Member Price: $15.00  |  Non-member Price: $20.00  |  2 Credit Hours

  

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Membership in NSTA is one of the best professional development investments you can make. Join 40,000 dedicated teachers, science supervisors, administrators, informal educators, home educators, scientists, and business and industry representatives committed to science education.

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