Carolina Biological K-8 Curriculum - March 2023

Learning to Read the Earth and Sky: Explorations Supporting the NGSS, Grades 6–12

by: Russ Colson and Mary Colson

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Is it time to refresh the way you think about teaching Earth science? Learning to Read the Earth and Sky is the multifaceted resource you need to bring authentic science—and enthusiasm—into your classroom. It offers inspiration for reaching beyond prepared curricula, engaging in discovery along with your students, and using your lessons to support the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The book provides

• examples of Earth science labs and activities you and your students can do as co-investigators;
• insights into student expectations and misconceptions, plus ideas for inspiring true investigation;
• stories of real scientific discovery translated for classroom consideration;
• exploration of how you can mentor students as a teacher-scholar; and
• guidance on how to translate the sweeping core ideas of the NGSS into specific examples students can touch, see, and experience.

The authors of Learning to Read the Earth and Sky are husband-and-wife educators who promote science as something to figure out, not just something to know. They write, “It is our hope that readers will find our book short on ‘edu-speak,’ long on the joy of doing science, and full of stories of students, classrooms, scientists, and Earth and sky.”

Table of Contents


About the Authors

About This Book


The Practices of Science

Chapter 1: Go and See

Chapter 2: The Controlled Experiment

Chapter 3: Field Observations

Chapter 4: Analyzing and Interpreting Data, Part 1: Graphing

Chapter 5: Analyzing and Interpreting Data, Part 2: Maps and Cross-Sections

Chapter 6: Modeling, Part 1: Conceptual Modeling

Chapter 7: Modeling, Part 2: Mathematical Modeling

Chapter 8: Arguing From Evidence, Part 1: Focus on Evidence

Chapter 9: Arguing From Evidence, Part 2: Claim and Argument

The Language of the Earth

Chapter 10: Stories in Rocks

Chapter 11: Stories in Rock Layers

Chapter 12: Stories of Places We Can’t See but Can Hea

Chapter 13: Stories of Places We Can’t Go but Can See

Chapter 14: Stories Told by Atoms

YOU Can Do It!

Chapter 15: Teacher as Curriculum Narrator

Chapter 16: Earth Science Where You Are

Chapter 17: Teacher as Mentor, Practitioner, and Scholar

Afterword: Some Things We’ve Left Out


Appendix A: Chapter Activities and Anecdotes Related to NGSS Performance Expectations

Appendix B: Chapter Activities and Anecdotes Related to the Three Dimensions and Performance Expectations of the NGSS

Appendix C: Resources for Further Reading

Image Credits


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