Teacher Professional Development

NGSS In Action: Science and Engineering in your Community

Planning Sessions at Schools

"These planning sessions are valuable because [they] will show you how to use your neighborhood for NGSS science lessons. Brad saved us valuable time by researching our local park, then walked with us around our school’s property and the park next door. He pointed out several opportunities for connecting kids to local phenomena." 

— Kate Heino, Teacher at Helen Keller Elementary

"I was feeling really insecure about switching to NGSS but after this planning session I'm really looking forward to engaging my students with engineering practices and watching them problem solve real issues in our environment." 

— Mia Kelley, Teacher at Lake Forest Park Elementary.


This year, OSPI Climetime funding is providing for on-site support with planning and assistance towards school teachers incorporating local phenomena, field experiences and community assets into their curriculum. 

The support provided can vary depending on your needs but could include one or more of the following:

  • A two-hour teacher planning session at your school where we explore your schoolyard or community and discuss how it could fit into your storylines work and/or other lessons.
  • An online video chat where we support you in your storylines work.
  • On-line or in person collaboration to adapt one of the following lessons to fit your students and schoolyard:
    • I notice, I wonder activity – Observational activity focused on student observational skills and curiosity.
    • Stormwater Runoff in your Schoolyard – Students investigate pervious and impervious surfaces and where water flows around their schoolyard.
    • Ecosystem Services Investigation – Students look for ways their schoolyard is useful to humans and animals.
    • Bioblitz Investigation – Students compile a list of the organisms that live around their school and how they interact with humans.
  • Hands on assistance with delivery of a field-based lesson that we have worked with you to develop or adapt.

Teacher teams are encouraged (but not required) to sign up with other teachers from their school.

If you are interested, you can fill out a short application here:

Register Now!


NGSS In Action Workshop Series: Science and Engineering in your Community

Our workshop series have finished for the 2018/19 school year, but we could possibly do additional workshops this year in the Puget Sound and/or Olympic Education Service Districts. If you are interested in hosting a workshop, please contact Brad Street at brads@islandwood.org. Otherwise, check back to see if more are added.

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)* call for students to use the practices, concepts and content of science and engineering to understand phenomena and solve problems that are relevant to their lives. Starting from a student’s own experiences and community makes the science meaningful and increases engagement while helping students understand how global issues like climate change are present and addressable in their lives. In this series of four workshops we examine how you can use the new science standards and your community to understand and address real world environmental problems and explore together how to integrate NGSS into your district’s classroom science units. To get more of a glimpse into the series, check out this blog post.

Participants who attend multiple sessions in the series will benefit from the progression and have opportunities to discuss successes and challenges with the group. Registering for and attending all sessions is not required, but we hope you will! 

STEM Clock Hours are provided. OSPI is funding stipends for public school teachers.  Public school teachers who complete a follow up survey will receive a $60 stipend per 3-hour workshop attended ($125 for full day workshops). Full day sessions also include lunch and free childcare (for ages 4 and up but they need to bring their own sack lunch).

There is also funding for us to provide some schools additional support with on-site planning sessions and assistance in taking your students outside.  More details about additional support will be provided at each workshop.

* Next Generation Science Standards is a registered trademark of Achieve. Neither Achieve nor the lead states and partners that developed the Next Generation Science Standards were involved in the production of this PD series, and do not endorse it.

The Workshops in the Series:

1: Science in your Schoolyard

Venture outside the walls of the classroom to find local environmental phenomena that can anchor your classroom science unit. Explore with us the big picture of Next Generation Science Standards “three dimensional” science learning and then get hands on with the Science and Engineering Practices as you use them to build an understanding of an example phenomenon in our “schoolyard.” You’ll leave this workshop with ideas and examples you can use in your own classroom science curriculum.

2: Community Mapping with Crosscutting Concepts

Mapping neighborhood assets, opportunities, and problems can engage students more deeply in science and engineering. In this workshop you’ll learn how system models, looking for patterns, and observing change over time can help students investigate and map their community. Local ecosystems, water flow, and community assets are some of many possible areas for your mapping efforts. By the end of this workshop you’ll have strategies to use in mapping your community and ideas for how you can use the information gathered

3: Engineering Community Solutions

How does engineering relate to solving problems in your community?  Learn how IslandWood is using the engineering design process to help students investigate local stormwater problems, seek stakeholders’ input, and develop solutions. Then, explore what is involved in putting student ideas into action including possible real-world constraints, practical small-scale solutions potential partners and mini-grant options. We'll work together to figure out a plan for the topics and students you teach.  

4: Understanding Urban Water Systems

Would you like to learn more about how urban water systems actually work?  Are you curious how water systems, the impacts of climate change, and related conservation issues can interest your students and integrate with NGSS? Join us to learn about wastewater and stormwater systems (may include tours of facilities, depending on the site) and then workshop how you might use this content in your classroom. Appropriate for all 4th-12th grade teachers.

Please check back often for new events!