NJSTA Maitland P. Simmons Memorial Award

NGSX 3DL and Facilitator Pathways

Twenty-three science educators participated in the 2019 Maitland P. Simmons (MPS) Memorial Award Summer Institute entitled NGSX: 3DL Pathway held at the Math and Science Learning Center (MSLC) on the Busch Campus of Rutgers University, Piscataway from July 8-12, 2019. Eighteen of the twenty-three returned July 19 -21 at the Waksman Institute for NGSX: Facilitator Pathway. The centralized location served science teachers from throughout New Jersey.

NGSX Facilitators, NSTA Area IV Director Scott Goldthorp and science coach Katie Bower, both from the Cherry Hill Public Schools, led the first MPS Institute entitled "NGSX: Science Exemplar System for PD".  During the impressive program, teachers were prompted to consider how phenomena could be used in their classroom while confronting the many challenges that such lessons encompass. Scott and Katie adeptly guided the Scholars through an extremely well-orchestrated selection of hands-on and online activities that provided participants new ways to consider application of SEPs such as asking questions, modeling, and constructing explanations for use in their schools.  In the second Institute “NGSX: Facilitator Pathway”, led by NGSX Facilitators Renee Affolter and TJ McKenna, Scholars were immersed in the knowledge building skills needed to lead NGSX study groups. These skills were introduced, once again, via a hybridized learning program which focused on adult learners.

Participants were immersed as learners and as teachers in the three dimensions of learning known as disciplinary core ideas of science, science and engineering practices, and cross cutting concepts. Using a web-based system of tasks, tools, and resources in a study group format, the NGSX experience combined first-hand science investigations, videotaped expert commentary and classroom case studies, along with facilitated individual, small group and whole group discussions. Educators were introduced to tools which could be created or purchased for their classroom. 

Multiple evaluative data sources attest that the year’s Institutes were a success and overwhelmingly productive.  One Scholar expressed, “I appreciated the opportunity to work through a phenomena-driven unit as a learner before thinking through how to approach this as an educator.  The idea of learning as a community was very powerful.”  Others wrote, “NGSX gives teachers strategies for how to get students to figure things out on their own and create their own understanding. It is powerful.” and “You should run this again next year.”  We will take that under advisement. News of the 2020 Maitland P. Simmons Memorial Award will be found on the Programs page the coming Fall.

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