Skip to main content
California Department of Education Logo

Assessment Spotlight, Issue 267

California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) email update, March 8, 2024.

Focusing on the CAASPP System and English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC)—and including, when timely, updates on California’s other statewide assessments. For questions related to test administration, coordination, and trainings, visit the CAASPP website External link opens in new window or tab. and the ELPAC website External link opens in new window or tab. .

March Featured Resource in Tools for Teachers—Engineering Inspired by Nature!

First grade teachers can use the Tools for Teachers science instructional resource, Engineering Inspired by Nature External link opens in new window or tab. (account required), to guide students in exploring dandelion seed movements using parachute designs. This hands-on lesson aligns with the California Next Generation Science Standards and focuses on the Science and Engineering Practice: Analyzing and Interpreting Data, and the Cross Cutting Concept: Patterns. Math and language arts skills are also incorporated into the lesson as students explain the design and results of their experiment.

Students investigate how observations of dandelion seeds inspired engineering designs by manipulating parachutes to observe the movement of pennies (representing dandelion seeds). Students experiment with various designs and begin to build the relationship between what scientists use to help people live better and how nature provides inspiration. Teachers facilitate active engagement using the Notice/Wonder strategy, encourage collaboration with Think-Pair-Share activities, and help students record their observations and ideas in science notebooks. After completing the experiment and recording data, students engage in a Socratic Seminar activity, called Scientists Circle, where students discuss which design has the best canopy. The lesson concludes with students completing an Exit Ticket to record the decision.

To view this and other instructional resources, local educational agency (LEA) staff need a Tools for Teachers account which can be obtained either through self-registration, described in the flyer How to Self-Register for Tools for Teachers (PDF), or through their LEA CAASPP coordinator.

To receive future CAASPP updates and notifications, subscribe to the CAASPP mailing list by sending a blank email message to For previous Assessment Spotlight issues, visit the California Department of Education Assessment Spotlight web page.

Questions:   California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress Office | | 916-445-8765
Last Reviewed: Monday, March 11, 2024
Recently Posted in Testing