What does NGSS look like in the classroom?

By Stephen Farnum – Middle School Science Teacher, Greenwich Public Schools & Tuva K-12 STEM Content Specialist

When I speak with fellow educators about Next Generation Science Standards, they usually tell me they understand “what” NGSS is, but have concerns about “how?”

How can I help my students meet these expectations? How does my instruction need to change? How am I going to find resources to help?

Tuva is on a quest to help science educators implement NGSS in their classrooms through our growing library of authentic datasets, interactive graphing tools, and ready-to-use activities and lessons. 

One aspect of this is to make it easier for teachers to create their own high-quality, NGSS-aligned lessons. 

In support of this, I recently collaborated with them to create Characteristics of an Effective Data-Driven Science Lesson, a checklist for teachers to use while creating or improving data-driven lessons which combine science, math, and problem-solving. 

I combined input from the NGSS Science and Engineering Practices as well as what I’ve learned from my students as they have developed their understanding of science and math through data analysis.

Once we completed the checklist, we realized that many teachers would like to see these characteristics of a data-driven science lesson in action.

Exemplar Science Lesson on Tuva

I created a lesson titled “How to Mitigate Hurricane Damage” to show one way of applying these characteristics to create an NGSS-aligned learning activity on Tuva.

I began with NGSS Middle School DCI: 

“Analyze and interpret data on natural hazards to forecast future catastrophic events and inform the development of technologies to mitigate their effects” (MS-ESS3-2). 

I searched the Tuva Datasets library to find a dataset titled – Hurricane Sandy, Her Brother and Sisters – that was relevant to the DCI. The source of the dataset is NOAA’s National Climate Data Center, and it has 654 Data Points (or cases) and 7 Attributes. 

I used Tuva’s graphing tools to explore relationships between different attributes. Noticing correlations between hurricane latitude, frequency, and severity, I designed a task that would guide students to investigate these relationships: 

“Create an evidence-based proposal for where a new hurricane mitigation structure should be placed” 

You can checkout the finished activity here, and feel free to use it in your classroom during your next Earth Science activity! 


Tuva NGSS Resources

The ability to easily find and create open-ended and student-centered learning activities shows Tuva’s potential as a tool for aligning K-12 STEM curricula with NGSS. 

If NGSS leaves you wondering “how?”, Tuva’s NGSS resources are a great place to start.

Teacher of the Week – Dave Ferris

David Ferris
AP Statistics, Precalculus, Finite Math
Noblesville High School
Noblesville, IN

“Tuvalabs is a refreshingly high-quality and engaging web-based tool for my students (who all have iPads). The datasets are interesting, and the analysis tools are easy to learn. I love the ability to create my own activities and have students complete them side-by-side on the same screen with the analysis tools. Tuvalabs is the perfect tool for introducing students to the excitement of discovering the stories that data can reveal.”

Teacher of the Week – Jodie Deinhammer

Jodie Deinhammer
High School Science, Anatomy, and Physiology Teacher
Coppell High School
Coppell, TX

“Over the last few years, I have searched for ways to incorporate data analysis into my senior level Anatomy and Physiology course.  Stumbling across Tuva was one of my favorite finds of the year.  

This year, my classes were able to analyze the use of vaccines in society and support their claims of efficacy with evidence obtained from Tuva.  They could clearly see the correlation between vaccination rate and disease.  They also discovered an outlier in the data which generated engaging class discussions and interesting perspective on disease, society, and income.  

Students need to be able to manipulate data, extrapolate information, and make informed decisions in order to develop evidence based conclusions in science. TuvaLab gives educators the ability to provide this to our learners with its user friendly interface and customization.”

Teacher of the Week – Anne Kridle

Anne Kridle
Junior High Science Teacher
St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School
Yorba Linda, CA

“I am new to using Tuva data sets, but have found it to be very user friendly and something my students enjoy as another fun learning tool.  My middle school students have been using it on their iPads and are able to navigate the system and discover different ways to analyze the data, graphs and draw information from the data sets. I look forward to using it more with my students!”

Teacher of the Week – Jill Spellman

Jill Spellman
Computer Teacher K-8
HolyTrinity Interparochial School

“The Tuva web site is a fantastic resource for viewing and manipulating
data which I have recently used in my 3rd-8th grade computer classes
at Holy Trinity Interparochial School in Westfield, NJ. 

the ability to instantly move attributes to the x or y axis, to
change chart types, and to effortlessly apply functions like sums and
percentages, provides the student with powerful tools to personalize
and visualize a data set which could otherwise present itself as dull
statistical information. 

example, students were fascinated to be able to click on a dot in a
plot and learn about an individual passenger who had been onboard the
Titanic.  Once they caught on to how to manipulate the attributes, I
heard comments like, “Oh look, this is so sad – here’s a four
month old baby boy named Gilbert who did not survive”.  Others
looked through the data in a table format to see if they could find a
passenger who shared their last name.  

classes did an activity with dog breeds.  A student informed me that
she really wanted to get a dog and she asked me for a pencil and a
sticky note so she could report to her parents which breeds were
“good with children”.  The eighth graders had recently read the
Diary of Anne Frank, so I thought it was appropriate to have them do
an activity relating to the Holocaust.   To see the numbers of
deaths in European countries in a graphical format was a poignant way
for the students to understand the magnitude of devastation.  

The Tuva
website provides an engaging way for students to learn how to
extract useful information from data and to help them form arguments
and draw conclusions.”