Author:
Kimberley Astle
Subject:
Literature, Elementary Education, Reading Informational Text, Speaking and Listening, Life Science, Physical Science, Physical Geography
Material Type:
Activity/Lab, Assessment, Diagram/Illustration, Full Course, Homework/Assignment, Interactive, Lesson, Lesson Plan, Primary Source, Reading, Simulation, Teaching/Learning Strategy, Textbook
Level:
Lower Primary, Upper Primary
Grade:
K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Tags:
3-5, Content Integration, K-5, K-5 Science, NGSS, Next Generation Science Standards, PreK-2, Reading, Reading Across the Curriculum, Remote Learning, Science, Speaking and Listening Skills, Wa-integrated, Wa-science, Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, wa-ela
License:
Creative Commons Attribution
Language:
English

Education Standards

K-5 NGSS Resource Sets for Teaching Science and Integrating with ELA

K-5 NGSS Resource Sets for Teaching Science and Integrating with ELA

Overview

This OSPI resource provides curated collections of free activities, lessons, units, and informational "texts" (articles, passages, e-books, videos, podcasts) to support every NGSS Performance Expectation (standard) in grades K-5.  This resource is intended to support teachers with teaching science while also integrating science and ELA to grow student knowledge, thinking, application, and skills in both content areas.  Materials are organized into units based on the topics and essential questions in each grade. Resources listed are all freely available online, with some requiring teachers to create free accounts to access.  Some trade books are also listed that might be accessed through a library system. Gratitude is expressed to the Washington State Science Fellows, Science Fellows Emeriti, and ELA Fellows who contributed to curating the informational texts.  For questions or comments contact OSPI Elementary Science at Kimberley.Astle@k12.wa.us. 

Viewing the Resource on This Site

To easily view the resources by grade level without clicking through all the pages, you can either:

1. Click the drop down arrow next to 2 of 14, which allows you to then choose a grade level.

or

2. Click "See Old Layout" in the corner, which displays the page with all the grade level resources listed on the right side of the page.

Slides from the Virtual Orientation to this Resource and from NSTA Session

Here is the slide deck from the one hour virtual orientation from OSPI on this resource with some tips for integrating content.  

 

Also linked is my NSTA Portland Conference Presentation Slidedeck , "Integrating Science and ELA, It's the Perfrect Match!"

Background and Purpose

Curated activities, lessons, units, and informational "texts" (passages, articles, e-books, videos, podcasts) to support every K-5 NGSS Performance Expectation.

Background and Purpose

This resource guide is provided as a support, supplement, and encouragement for teachers for design learning for their Next Generation Science Standards and to integrate science learning with English Language Arts.

Each grade level’s standards are organized by the Topic Arrangement of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), which bundles the Performance Expectations for each grade into several thematic units, each one driven by one or more overarching essential questions.

The essential questions for each grade encompass the performance expectations and can be used to coherently focus the instructional lens and activities on big ideas at the heart of the grade level learning.

The Topic Arrangement also provides a defined thematic lens that invites meaningful integration with English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Social Studies, an important strategy for designing learning to make optimal use of limited instructional minutes in the elementary grades.

To anchor each unit, a possible driving phenomenon is suggested as an example, knowing that teachers might instead leverage local phenomena or those based on student interest to personalize unit anchors specific to their area and learners.

A selection of freely available learning resources at the activity, lesson, unit, and whole year level are provided, knowing that teachers will choose, use and revise to best provide for the situation and needs of their students, whether that is in-person, virtual, or hybrid.  Some materials will require adaptation to best work for your class.

In addition, a variety of freely available reading and listening resources (“texts”) are provided in order for teachers to select what best suits the needs and interests of their students. These listings are not meant to be comprehensive, but rather to offer support and connections to freely available resources that can help students more deeply understand the science content and concepts in each standard.  Some will require teacher registration to access the free materials.  Listed text resources were curated by WA State Science Fellows, WA State Science Fellow Emeriti, WA State ELA Fellows, and Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction Associate Director of Elementary Science- Kimberley Astle.

We welcome collaboration and invite educators to provide feedback on the listed resources as well as sharing additional freely available materials they feel may be helpful to other teachers. Please email kimberley.astle@k12.wa.us at the OSPI Elementary Science Department with ideas, feedback, questions, resources, or concerns.  Disclaimer:  Potential learning resources are listed, but teachers should be sure and preview all materials before use with students to ensure they are appropriate for their own students and families.   

Learning Design and Integrating Informational Texts with Science Learning Experiences

Learning Design and Integrating Informational Texts with Science Learning Experiences

In NGSS, informational “texts” (articles, passages, videos, podcasts, images, photographs, diagrams, maps, tables, graphs etc.…) that introduce a phenomenon or problem without explaining it for students can be used early in the unit or lesson.

Texts that explain phenomena or problems should be saved until later in the learning sequence after students have had ample opportunities to observe, ask questions, investigate, make sense collaboratively, figure out, and explain as much of the phenomenon and science concepts as they can through engaging in scientific behaviors, modeling, talk, and thinking.   Engaging with explanatory resources too soon in the learning process robs students of the learning opportunities that allow them to develop scientific literacy.

The 5E Model developed by BSCS provides a useful structure to ensure students have a complete cycle of science learning experiences that are student-centered, inquiry-based, and investigative in nature, while at the same time engaging deeply in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and academic vocabulary development.  Note that informational texts/videos that introduce phenomena might be used in the engagement or exploration stages and texts/videos that explain phenomena or science concepts are best used in the explanation and elaboration stages to fill in, cement, and extend student learnings.

STAGES OF THE 5E MODEL

  • Engagement: Students' prior knowledge is accessed, and their interest is engaged in the phenomenon. The teacher does not explain or confirm student ideas in this stage.
  • Exploration: Students participate in activities that allows them to interact with phenomena and begin developing ideas, asking questions, and developing early explanations.
  • Explanation: Students generate an explanation of the phenomenon.
  • Elaboration: Students' understanding of the phenomenon is challenged and deepened as they apply and test their explanation in related situations.
  • Evaluation: Students demonstrate their understanding of the phenomenon.

RESOURCES FOR UNDERSTANDING THE 5E MODEL

Free Online Informational Text Sources

 

TEXT ONLY RESOURCES

Readworks K-12 (English)

  • High-interest reading passages, articles, ebooks, fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.
  • Teacher will need to make a free account.
  • You can assign students passages. Create a class and roster student accounts. To avoid using student data for their accounts, use each student’s class number as their name, 1, 2, 3 etc.….
  • You can also print materials to a pdf and save it or print to paper. 
  • Students can click to have the passage read to them.
  • Includes comprehension questions (multiple choice and written answer).

Newsela K-12 (English, some Spanish)

  • High-interest news articles.
  • Teacher will need to make a free account.
  • For teacher read-aloud or whole class reading, you can choose “present mode” then highlight and annotate text together.
  • You cannot assign students passages online with the free version, but you can print articles to a pdf and save it or print to paper.
  • Includes multiple choice quiz questions and writing prompts.
  • Students can click to have the passage read to them.
  • They also have a paid “PRO” version. This allows you to assign articles online to students, track progress (e.g., quiz scores), and access teacher created resources (to pair with the texts).

Wonderopolis K-8 (English)

  • High-interest science passages.
  • No log in or account needed
  • Each passage is paired with video clips, photos, vocabulary words, questions, and related activities to try.
  • Text is not an independent level for very young students.
  • Students can click to have the passage read to them
  • You can print passages to a pdf and save it or print to paper.

National Geographic Kids K-12 (English)

  • High-interest animal-related science articles, fact lists, and how to passages.
  • Site access is free online with no log ins or account needed.

Science for Kids: National Geographic UK K-12 (English)

  • High-interest animal-related fact lists with photos. 
  • Site access is free online with no log-ins or account needed.

Teaching Kids News 2-8 (English)

  • High-interest news articles for kids.
  •  Site access is free online with no log ins or account needed.
  • Articles can be printed to pdf or paper.
  • Each article includes a writing/discussion prompt and a reading prompt.

 

PODCAST AND VIDEO SOURCES

PBS Learning Media K-12 (English, Spanish) Videos, Lessons, Interactives

  • This excellent free education site offers lessons, videos, interactives, interactive lessons, other media, and collections.
  • Teachers will need to make a free account to assign.
  • Materials often include instructional supports for teachers.
  • Some resources are aligned to NGSS, but other would need to be adapted to provide the appropriate student interactions with the Science and Engineering Practices and the Crosscutting Concepts.

Science Friday 3-12 (English) Podcasts, Stories, Videos

  • High-interest podcasts, stories, and short videos.
  • Classes might read the short video introductions together and write/share their questions about the topic, their connections and background knowledge, and predictions for what they will learn in the video. Students can then listen carefully during the video for answers to their questions and information that supports their claims. Teacher can pause the video for discussions along the way.

The Kid Should See This K-12 (English) Videos

  • Short, high-interest videos paired with a transcript of the first part of the video.
  • Classes might read the text transcript introductions together and write/share their questions about the topic, their connections and background knowledge, and predictions for what they will learn in the video. Students can then listen carefully during the video for answers to their questions and information that supports their claims. Teacher can pause the video for discussions along the way.
  • Site access is free online with no log ins or account needed.

Brains On K-5 (English) Podcasts

  • Very kid-friendly podcasts on science topics with a kid guest host and a science expert, sometimes answering kid-submitted questions.
  • 30-40 minute podcasts.  Classes might just listen to selected exerpts or listen to the entire podcast in segments over time. 
  •  Site access is free online with no log ins or account needed.

Ask Dr. Universe K-8 (English) Informational Text Articles, Videos, Podcasts

  • Very kid-friendly articles, videos, and podcasts on science topics with a kid guest host and a science expert, sometimes answering kid-submitted questions.
  • Texts are in narrative format, with Dr. Universe answering a student question and explaining the topic.
  •  Site access is free online with no log ins or account needed.

Tumble  2-5 (English, Spanish) Podcasts

  • Kid-friendly podcasts on science topics.
  • 15-20 minute podcasts.
  • Site access is free online with no log ins or account needed.
  • Podcasts have short commercials at the beginning to skip past.

 

NGSS RESOURCES

NGSS ToolkitIf you are interested in learning more about the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), this is a collection of resources addressing all areas of NGSS.

NSTA Daily Dos K-5+ (English) Lessons and Activities

  • Quality NGSS-aligned activities and lessons from NSTA (the National Science Teaching Association)
  • For limited access to materials, go to this site, then click on the “Create a Free User Account” link.   Creating a Guest Account gives you access to many free resources and up to 3 resources per month that are normally paid, such as the NSTA Daily Dos.
  • For full, unlimited access to all NSTA resources, sign up for one of the paid memberships.

Going 3D with GRC  K-5+ (English) Lessons and Activities

  • Lesson sketches for each NGSS PE developed by teachers. 
  • Instructional moves are suggested, but not fully fleshed out.
  • More lessons are available on their site.

Kindergarten NGSS Resource Sets

Curated activities, lessons, units, and informational "texts" (passages, articles, e-books, videos, podcasts) to support every Kindergarten NGSS Performance Expectation.

Please be sure that students engage with explanatory texts AFTER they have had ample opportunity to observe, explore, and explain phenomena and problems as far as they are able themselves.  Providing explanatory texts too early in the science learning process prevents students from engaging as scientists and developing science, engineering, thinking, and reasoning skills.

Kindergarten Science Through the Essential Questions

“The performance expectations  in Kindergarten help students formulate answers to grade level essential questions such as:

What happens if you push or pull an object harder?

Where do animals live and why do they live there?

What is the weather like today? How is it different from yesterday?”

  • Students are able to apply an understanding of the effects of different strengths or different directions of pushes and pulls on the motion of an object to analyze a design solution.
  • Students are expected to develop understanding of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive and the relationship between their needs and where they live.
  • Students are also expected to develop understanding of patterns and variations in local weather and the purpose of weather forecasting to prepare for, and respond to, severe weather.

The crosscutting concepts of patterns; cause and effect; systems and system models; interdependence of science, engineering, and technology; and influence of engineering, technology, and science on society and the natural world are called out as organizing concepts for these disciplinary core ideas.

In the kindergarten performance expectations, students are expected to demonstrate grade-appropriate proficiency in asking questions, developing and using models, planning and carrying out investigations, analyzing and interpreting data, designing solutions, engaging in argument from evidence, and obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information. Students are expected to use these practices to demonstrate understanding of the core ideas.”

                                                Kindergarten NGSS Front Matter: Topic Arrangement

First Grade NGSS Resource Sets

Curated activities, lessons, units, and informational "texts" (passages, articles, e-books, videos, podcasts) to support every First Grade NGSS Performance Expectation.

Please be sure that students engage with explanatory texts AFTER they have had ample opportunity to observe, explore, and explain phenomena and problems as far as they are able themselves.  Providing explanatory texts too early in the science learning process prevents students from engaging as scientists and developing science, engineering, thinking, and reasoning skills.

First Grade Through the Essential Questions

“The performance expectations  in First Grade help students formulate answers to grade level essential questions such as:

What happens when materials vibrate?

What happens when there is no light?

What are some ways plants and animals meet their needs so that they can survive and grow?

How are parents and their children similar and different?

What objects are in the sky and how do they seem to move?

  • Students are expected to develop understanding of the relationship between sound and vibrating materials as well as between the availability of light and ability to see objects. The idea that light travels from place to place can be understood by students at this level through determining the effect of placing objects made with different materials in the path of a beam of light.
  • Students are also expected to develop understanding of how plants and animals use their external parts to help them survive, grow, and meet their needs as well as how behaviors of parents and offspring help the offspring survive. The understanding is developed that young plants and animals are like, but not exactly the same as, their parents.
  • Students are able to observe, describe, and predict some patterns of the movement of objects in the sky.

The crosscutting concepts of patterns; cause and effect; structure and function; and influence of engineering, technology, and science on society and the natural world are called out as organizing concepts for these disciplinary core ideas.

In the first grade performance expectations, students are expected to demonstrate grade-appropriate proficiency in planning and carrying out investigations, analyzing and interpreting data, constructing explanations and designing solutions, and obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information. Students are expected to use these practices to demonstrate understanding of the core ideas.”

First Grade NGSS Front Matter: Topic Arrangement

Second Grade NGSS Resource Sets

Curated activities, lessons, units, and informational "texts" (passages, articles, e-books, videos, podcasts) to support every Second Grade NGSS Performance Expectation.

Please be sure that students engage with explanatory texts AFTER they have had ample opportunity to observe, explore, and explain phenomena and problems as far as they are able themselves.  Providing explanatory texts too early in the science learning process prevents students from engaging as scientists and developing science, engineering, thinking, and reasoning skills.

Second Grade Through the Essential Questions

“The performance expectations  in Second Grade help students formulate answers to grade level essential questions such as:

How does land change and what are some things that cause it to change?

What are the different kinds of land and bodies of water?

How are materials similar and different from one another, and how do the properties of the materials relate to their use?

What do plants need to grow?

How many types of living things live in a place?”

  • Students are expected to develop an understanding of what plants need to grow and how plants depend on animals for seed dispersal and pollination. Students are also expected to compare the diversity of life in different habitats.
  • An understanding of observable properties of materials is developed by students at this level through analysis and classification of different materials.
  • Students are able to apply their understanding of the idea that wind and water can change the shape of the land to compare design solutions to slow or prevent such change. Students are able to use information and models to identify and represent the shapes and kinds of land and bodies of water in an area and where water is found on Earth.

The crosscutting concepts of patterns; cause and effect; energy and matter; structure and function; stability and change; and influence of engineering, technology, and science on society and the natural world are called out as organizing concepts for these disciplinary core ideas.

In the second grade performance expectations, students are expected to demonstrate grade appropriate proficiency in developing and using models, planning and carrying out investigations, analyzing and interpreting data, constructing explanations and designing solutions, engaging in argument from evidence, and obtaining, valuating, and communicating information. Students are expected to use these practices to demonstrate understanding of the core ideas.

Second Grade NGSS Front Matter: Topic Arrangement

Third Grade NGSS Resource Sets

Curated activities, lessons, units, and informational "texts" (passages, articles, e-books, videos, podcasts) to support everyThird Grade NGSS Performance Expectation.

Please be sure that students engage with explanatory texts AFTER they have had ample opportunity to observe, explore, and explain phenomena and problems as far as they are able themselves.  Providing explanatory texts too early in the science learning process prevents students from engaging as scientists and developing science, engineering, thinking, and reasoning skills.

Third Grade Through the Essential Questions

“The performance expectations in Third Grade help students formulate answers to grade level essential questions such as:

“What is typical weather in different parts of the world and during different times of the year?

How can the impact of weather-related hazards be reduced? How do organisms vary in their traits?

How are plants, animals, and environments of the past similar or different from current plants, animals, and environments?

What happens to organisms when their environment changes?

How do equal and unequal forces on an object affect the object?

How can magnets be used?”

  • Students are able to organize and use data to describe typical weather conditions expected during a particular season. By applying their understanding of weather-related hazards, students are able to make a claim about the merit of a design solution that reduces the impacts of such hazards.
  • Students are expected to develop an understanding of the similarities and differences of organisms’ life cycles. Also, that organisms have different inherited traits, and that the environment can affect the traits that an organism develops. 
  • In addition, students are able to construct an explanation using evidence for how the variations in characteristics among individuals of the same species may provide advantages in surviving, finding mates, and reproducing.
  • Students are expected to develop an understanding of types of organisms that lived long ago and about the nature of their environments.
  • Third graders are expected to develop an understanding of the idea that when the environment changes some organisms survive and reproduce, some move to new locations, some move into the transformed environment, and some die.
  • Students are able to determine the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object and the cause and effect relationships of electric or magnetic interactions between two objects not in contact with each other. They are then able to apply their understanding to define a simple design problem that can be solved with magnets.

The crosscutting concepts of patterns; cause and effect; scale, proportion, and quantity; systems and system models; interdependence of science, engineering, and technology; and influence of engineering, technology, and science on society and the natural world are called out as organizing concepts for these disciplinary core ideas.

In the third grade performance expectations, students are expected to demonstrate grade-appropriate proficiency in asking questions and defining problems; developing and using models, planning and carrying out investigations, analyzing and interpreting data, constructing explanations and designing solutions, engaging in argument from evidence, and obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information. Students are expected to use these practices to demonstrate understanding of the core ideas.

                                                     Third Grade NGSS Front Matter: Topic Arrangement

Fourth Grade NGSS Resource Sets

Curated activities, lessons, units, and  informational "texts" (passages, articles, e-books, videos, podcasts) to support every Fourth Grade NGSS Performance Expectation.

Please be sure that students engage with explanatory texts AFTER they have had ample opportunity to observe, explore, and explain phenomena and problems as far as they are able themselves.  Providing explanatory texts too early in the science learning process prevents students from engaging as scientists and developing science, engineering, thinking, and reasoning skills.

Fourth Grade Through the Essential Questions

“The performance expectations in Fourth Grade help students formulate answers to grade level essential questions such as:

“What are waves and what are some things they can do?

How can water, ice, wind, and vegetation change the land?

What patterns of Earth’s features can be determined with the use of maps?

How do internal and external structures support the survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction of plants and animals?

What is energy and how is it related to motion?

How is energy transferred? How can energy be used to solve a problem?

  • Students are able to use a model of waves to describe patterns of waves in terms of amplitude and wavelength, and that waves can cause objects to move.
  • Students are expected to develop understanding of the effects of weathering or the rate of erosion by water, ice, wind, or vegetation. They apply their knowledge of natural Earth processes to generate and compare multiple solutions to reduce the impacts of such processes on humans. In order to describe patterns of Earth’s features, students analyze and interpret data from maps.
  • Fourth graders are expected to develop an understanding that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction. By developing a model, they describe that an object can be seen when light reflected from its surface enters the eye.
  • Students are able to use evidence to construct an explanation of the relationship between the speed of an object and the energy of that object. Students are expected to develop an understanding that energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents or from object to object through collisions. They apply their understanding of energy to design, test, and refine a device that converts energy from one form to another.

The crosscutting concepts of patterns; cause and effect; energy and matter; systems and system models; interdependence of science, engineering, and technology; and influence of engineering, technology, and science on society and the natural world are called out as organizing concepts for these disciplinary core ideas.

In the fourth grade performance expectations, students are expected to demonstrate grade-appropriate proficiency in asking questions, developing and using models, planning and carrying out investigations, analyzing and interpreting data, constructing explanations and designing solutions, engaging in argument from evidence, and obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information. Students are expected to use these practices to demonstrate understanding of the core ideas.                                                    

Fourth Grade NGSS Front Matter: Topic Arrangement

Fifth Grade NGSS Resource Sets

Curated activities, lessons, units, and informational "texts" (passages, articles, e-books, videos, podcasts) to support every Fifth Grade NGSS Performance Expectation.

Please be sure that students engage with explanatory texts AFTER they have had ample opportunity to observe, explore, and explain phenomena and problems as far as they are able themselves.  Providing explanatory texts too early in the science learning process prevents students from engaging as scientists and developing science, engineering, thinking, and reasoning skills.

Fifth Grade Through the Essential Questions

“The performance expectations in Fifth Grade help students formulate answers to grade level essential questions such as:

When matter changes, does its weight change?

How much water can be found in different places on Earth?

Can new substances be created by combining other substances?

How does matter cycle through ecosystems?

Where does the energy in food come from and what is it used for?

How do lengths and directions of shadows or relative lengths of day and night change from day to day?

How does the appearance of some stars change in different seasons?

  • Students are able to describe that matter is made of particles too small to be seen through the development of a model. Students develop an understanding of the idea that regardless of the type of change that matter undergoes, the total weight of matter is conserved. Students determine whether the mixing of two or more substances results in new substances.
  • Through the development of a model using an example, students are able to describe ways the geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and/or atmosphere interact. They describe and graph data to provide evidence about the distribution of water on Earth.
  • Students develop an understanding of the idea that plants get the materials they need for growth chiefly from air and water. Using models, students can describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment and that energy in animals’ food was once energy from the sun.
  • Students are expected to develop an understanding of patterns of daily changes in length and direction of shadows, day and night, and the seasonal appearance of stars in the night sky.

The crosscutting concepts of patterns; cause and effect; scale, proportion, and quantity; energy and matter; and systems and systems models are called out as organizing concepts for these disciplinary core ideas.

 

In the fifth grade performance expectations, students are expected to demonstrate grade-appropriate proficiency in developing and using models, planning and carrying out investigations, analyzing and interpreting data, using mathematics and computational thinking, engaging in argument from evidence, and obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information; and to use these practices to demonstrate understanding of the core ideas.

Fifth Grade NGSS Front Matter: Topic Arrangement

Attributions

NGSS Lead States. 2013. Next Generation Science Standards: For States, By States. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press | Public License

Icons from The Noun Project

  • text by Kudicon from the Noun Project
  • video by i cons from the Noun Project
  • podcast by Larea from the Noun Project
  • stage by Nithinan Tatah from the Noun Project
  • cogs by Milinda Courey from the Noun Project
  • questions by Gregor Cresnar from the Noun Project

Science books photo by Kimberley Astle | CC BY NC (book cover images copyright of their respective owners and used pursuant to fair use)

License

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