NGSS Lending Library Available through LCOE

November 21, 2017

Click here to access items available from NGSS Lending Library

From 9/28/17 Record Bee, written b Tammy Murga

LAKE COUNTY >> As Bill Nye, the Science Guy would say, “Things are made of stuff.”

Though simple to say, it’s not the easiest to explain verbally — especially to 6-year-olds. That’s where those colorful, plastic Lego bricks come in. Kindergarteners around the county will learn this concept through the joining and disassemble of legos. There’s just one problem, however. How can county educators ensure all students have access to these toys for lesson plans?

Thanks to Jenna Rodgers, education specialist for the Lake County Office of Education, and her team, all county teachers will have access to legos and a myriad amount of supplies for classroom projects, available now in what is known as the Lending Library.

“The purpose was to make teachers’ lives easier,” Rodgers said. “We built this library to help teachers build a level of implementation without having to spend a lot of their own money because these tools can be expensive.”

After collecting materials and preparing the area, the library became available this school year. It’s located inside LCOE’s learning lab, a bungalow usually used for meetings. Currently, the library consists of two heavy-duty shelves, each with five wide rows and is decked from bottom to top with all sorts of items that would make you want to return to grade school. Among those items are magformers, digital scales, Newton cradles, slinkies, and LED lamps. And inflatable earth and moon spheres, because “you never talk about a sphere without a sphere in front of you,” one teacher told Rodgers once.

All of these are very science-related items, right? That’s because schools are required to implement hands-on activities under current science standards, according to LCOE Superintendent of Schools Brock Falkenberg.

By standards, Falkenberg refers to those set by the “for state, by state” Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). According to NGSS’ homepage, the goal for developing a new set of standards was to “give local educators the flexibility to design classroom learning experiences that stimulate students’ interests in science and prepares them for college, careers, and citizenship.” This is implemented with a three-dimensional approach known as “Crosscutting Concepts, Science and Engineering Practices, and Disciplinary Core Ideas.” In other words, students break down scientific concepts, put them to practice with their own hands, and finally come to a fundamental conclusion. This repeats as they move to higher grade levels.

Rodgers, who was once a fifth-grade teacher, explained:

It’s not about sitting down and reading about photosynthesis. It’s about doing an experiment that shows you that plants depend on certain things, then extrapolating conclusions from multiple sources of data, and helping build what they understand. It’s less about content and more about intent.

“Students learn by doing. They engage in the scientific process,” Falkenberg added. Science tools are perhaps some of the most expensive, but highly needed items in classrooms. So, the Lending Library is “just one way that LCOE is trying to serve and support Lake County teachers.”

There are also basic supplies like construction paper, scissors, glue, and sidewalk chalk available. Rodgers said that her goal is for the library to grow and offer materials for other subjects. She would also like to have alternative teaching books like Ditch that Textbook, accessible for educators.

“I think the best way to demonstrate the importance of students is to value the teachers. They’re the ones that have the love for the kids, working 16 hours a day, and are stuck with mechanisms that don’t feel right,” said Rodgers.

To access the Lending Libray, educators must visit and fill out an online request form. The request form also provides a link to the entire inventory. Educators can borrow materials for up to two weeks and must pick up the requested items at the LCOE on a Friday chosen in the form.

NGSS Lending Library image

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