Build a Drifter  – Plankton model activity that encourages students to design and re-design. Strong links to NGSS and engineering. This activity is also sometimes written up as “Plankton Races”.

Habitat in a Bucket (alternative opening activity that we did not do, but I still recommend). This lesson plan also includes a simplified version of categorizing questions, a little like we did to develop our own investigations.

I notice, I wonder, It reminds me of and Inquiry Fever  from Lawrence Hall of Science BEETLES

Design a Wetland  – Wetland restoration activity that encourages students to think about positive ways humans interact with ecosystems. Can be done with strong links to NGSS and engineering.

Power point presentation about National Estuarine Research Reserve, Suisun Marsh, and Rush Ranch.

Wind and water-quality data from NERRS.

Lawrence Hall of Science BEETLES Project also has examples of structured investigations that they refer to as “focused explorations”. Although they were designed for outdoor educators, they can be adapted (or possibly used entirely) in a schoolyard setting. Lichen Exploration. There are also write-ups for additional explorations on the BEETLES website.


NGSS resources: – Find all the information you need about “your” standards (including the printouts you were given in your folder) and sign up for the informative newsletter and twitter feed. – Standards arranged by topic. When you click through to a standard, scroll down the page and there will be a list of vetted lesson plans that meet this standard. If you are feeling like you are searching for activities, this list could help! – Videos of a high school science teacher explaining each NGSS standards. If you like to learn from videos, these can be a great way to build familiarity with the standards you are responsible for.