It’s summer, but class was in session for nearly two dozen teachers from across the Santa Clarita Valley.
The 22 educators participating in an outreach training session for sixth-grade teachers in the Castaic Union, Saugus Union, and Sulphur Springs Union school districts were there to learn Next Generation Science Standards, the newest set of K-12 science standards formally adopted by the state Board of Education in September 2013.
The three-day workshop, hosted by College of the Canyons, allowed participating teachers to engage in discussion and share teaching techniques with COC and elementary faculty who have an expertise in subject matters related to Next Generation Science Standards, like space and science.
Teresa Ciardi, professor and lead faculty for astronomy and physical science at the college, moderated multiple project-based learning exercises in a simulated classroom experience at the Valencia campus of the lone community college in the Santa Clarita Valley.
“The goal of these workshops is to collaboratively develop strategies to implement use of NGSS in the classroom,” said Eric Harnish, COC spokesman, in a news release, “and to improve science education in elementary schools using a three-dimensional approach.”
Science and engineering practices, disciplinary core ideas and crosscutting concepts will be discussed in the coming days to provide a cohesive understanding of the research-based standards, and “give teachers more flexibility when creating learning experiences for students,” Harnish said.
The event has been hosted every summer for the past three years, officials said. Hundreds of teachers have participated in various iterations of the seminar, which has covered biological, physical and other types of sciences.
This year’s NGSS training session will focus on the cyclic patterns of lunar phases, solar and lunar eclipses, seasons, scale properties of objects in the solar system and the role of gravity in the motions within galaxies and the solar system
The workshop to promote the integration of NGSS into elementary school curriculum is part of the community college’s Educational Outreach Alliance partnership with local Santa Clarita Valley school districts, officials said, which allows the college to become a resource for elementary school teachers in the community who want to collaborate with other experienced instructors.
“For us, it’s an excellent opportunity to collaborate with elementary schools, and faculty from each side brings something to the table,” said Micah Young, an interim dean of the School of Mathematics, Sciences and Health Professions. “Faculty working alongside each other allows both sides to see what happens during the learning process and have an information exchange that ultimately benefits all of the people in the Santa Clarita Valley.”