Supporting Adaptation of Curriculum Materials to Bring Three Dimensional Teaching and Learning into K-12 Classrooms

Presenters: Cynthia Passmore, Brian J. Reiser

Currently, there are few instructional materials truly aligned with the NGSS three-dimensional teaching and learning. Teachers and schools face the challenge of evaluating, adapting, or developing their own curriculum materials. This session focuses on adapting, developing, and teaching with curriculum materials using storylines that articulate how teachers can elicit student questions in interactions with phenomena to help students incrementally construct explanatory models. Presenters draw on examples from NSF-funded research in instructional materials and professional development.


Cynthia Passmore, Associate Professor, University of California, Davis
Cynthia Passmore is an associate professor specializing in science education at the University of California, Davis School of Education. Her research focuses on the role of models and modeling in student learning, curriculum design, and teacher professional development. She investigates model-based reasoning in a range of contexts and is particularly interested in understanding how the design of learning environments interacts with students’ reasoning practices. She has been the principal investigator of several large grants and has co-authored several papers on modeling in science education that have been published in journals such as Science & Education, The International Journal of Science Education and School Science and Mathematics. Passmore completed her doctoral work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and prior to that she was a high school science teacher.

Brian J. Reiser, Professor, Northwestern University
Brian J. Reiser is professor of learning sciences in the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University. He was a member of the National Research Council committee authoring the report Taking Science to School (2007), which provided research-based recommendations for improving K–8 science education. He worked with the NRC committee to develop the Framework for K-12 Science Education (2012),which guided the design of the NGSS, and Developing Assessments for the Next Generation Science Standards (2014),which provides guidelines for NGSS assessments. Reiser has also worked with Achieve to provide feedback on the design of the NGSS and on the tools to help states implement the NGSS, and is collaborating with several state initiatives to design and provide professional development for K–12 teachers to support them in realizing the reforms in the NGSS in their classrooms. His research examines how to make the scientific practices of argumentation, explanation, and modeling meaningful and effective for classroom teachers and students. He co-led the development of Investigating and Questioning our World through Science and Technology (IQWST), a three-year middle school curriculum that supports students in science practices to develop disciplinary core ideas. Reiser has a BA in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, an MA in Psychology from New York University, and a PhD in Cognitive Science from Yale University.