Ambitious Science Teaching

Ambitious Science Teaching

Mark Windschitl, Jessica Thompson, and Melissa Braaten
paper, 312 Pages
Pub. Date: April 2018
ISBN-13: 978-1-68253-162-4
Price: $34.00

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Pub. Date: April 2018
ISBN-13: 978-1-68253-164-8

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2018 Outstanding Academic Title, Choice

Ambitious Science Teaching outlines a powerful framework for science teaching to ensure that instruction is rigorous and equitable for students from all backgrounds. The practices presented in the book are being used in schools and districts that seek to improve science teaching at scale, and a wide range of science subjects and grade levels are represented.


Ambitious Science Teaching offers teachers a toolbox of strategies to embed in our twenty-first-century classrooms to welcome all students’ ideas, help them engage in well-constructed storylines, and build and revise their models with adequate time for sense making through discourse, all in the service of a strong scientific explanation. Windschitl, Thompson, and Braaten have made a welcome and important contribution to science teaching with equitable access to science learning for all students. — MaryMargaret Welch, PK–12 science program manager, Seattle Public Schools

Ambitious Science Teaching empowers science teachers to meet the rigorous demands of the Next Generation Science Standards. By implementing a toolkit of teaching routines, science educators can engage all students in challenging science practices. The teaching strategies outlined by the authors will transform your classroom into a place where students explain, argue, and model like real scientists and engineers. — Tanya Katovich, vice president, Northern Illinois Science Educators, and chemistry teacher, Hoffman Estates High School

Ambitious Science Teaching provides four sets of practices for teachers to engage in to promote three-dimensional teaching and learning in their classrooms. Each chapter offers excellent guidance on how teachers implementing new standards can help their students succeed. — Ted Willard, editor, The NSTA Quick-Reference Guide to the NGSS

Offering a comprehensive vision for equitable and rigorous learning, the authors present a timely and important resource for K-12 science education and pre-service teacher preparation. — D. M. Moss, Choice Connect

This book may serve as a valuable resource for all science educators regardless of the grade level or the school in which they teach. — Education Review

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About the Authors

Mark Windschitl is a professor of Teaching, Learning & Curriculum at the University of Washington. He taught secondary science for thirteen years in the Midwest before receiving his doctorate and moving to Seattle. His research focuses on how teachers take up new practices and the tools they use to engage students in authentic disciplinary activity. Dr. Windschitl is the lead author of “Rigor and Equity by Design: Seeking a Core of Practices for the Science Education Community,” a chapter in the newest edition of the Handbook of Research on Teaching (American Education Research Association). He is a past recipient of the AERA Presidential Award for Best Review of Research, and a member of the National Research Council Committee on Strengthening and Sustaining Teachers.

Jessica Thompson is an associate professor in Teaching, Learning & Curriculum at the University of Washington. Her research focuses on building Local Improvement Networks that support ambitious and equitable teaching practice with novice and experienced science teachers, science and English learner (EL) coaches, principals, and district leadership. She has expertise in facilitating and studying teacher learning of Ambitious Science Teaching practices at the elementary and secondary level, as well as in the methods of improvement science. Central to her work is partnering with culturally and linguistically diverse student populations in formal and informal settings. She also runs and studies afterschool programs that learn from and support ethnic minority girls’ engagement in scientific inquiry. Dr. Thompson has a background in biology and chemistry. She taught grades 6–12 science as well as in a dropout prevention program for eight years in North Carolina and Washington State. At the University of Washington, she teaches secondary and elementary science teaching methods courses, Teacher Learning and School Change, and Culturally Responsive Math and Science Teaching.

Melissa Braaten is an assistant professor of Science Education at the University of Colorado in Boulder. She taught upper elementary, middle, and high school science for thirteen years in Texas and in South Seattle before receiving her doctorate. Her research focuses on the complexities of teaching science in culturally sustaining and responsive ways that disrupt injustices and advocate for justice. In research partnerships with teachers, she drew upon teachers’ expertise and insights to refine professional learning experiences across their career trajectory and build stronger explanations of how teachers learn. She is interested in how teaching is shaped by—and how teachers could shape—the political and institutional contexts of schools, educational reforms, and education policy. In 2011, she received the Outstanding Doctoral Research Award from the National Association for Research on Science Teaching.

Table of Contents


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