Best Sites For NGSS Phenomena

Where Can You Find Anchor Phenomena?

It takes time and a LOT of thought to identify a great anchor for a unit, so don’t think you have to get it perfect the first time, and don’t wait for the perfect anchor to start using anchoring phenomena! This is something that will evolve in your units over time, and you shouldn’t be afraid to change your anchor each time you teach a unit (until you get one you just love!). Just remember, a decent anchor is better than no anchor, and the more you practice – the better you’ll get.

So with that in mind, let’s look at a few great sources of inspiration for anchor phenomena.



Project Phenomena is probably my favorite place to start when looking for phenomena. The database has a ton of options, identifies whether it’s investigative or anchor, and is searchable by standard or keyword! The ideas presented typically include links to videos, images, or texts that you could use to present your phenomenon, too. It’s a great place to start your search.


The Wonder Of Science

The Wonder of Science has compiled some great phenomena ideas.  You can find the suggestions on the main site, and there is also a linked Google Doc with even more potential phenomena organized by standard.


Phenomena for NGSS

This site is full of images and videos you might want to incorporate as anchor or investigative phenomenon. You can search by topic or disciplinary core idea, and there’s definitely a lot to choose from!


Science News for Students

Believe it or not, you can identify your OWN phenomena — so don’t be afraid to do it! Phenomena is literally everywhere around us… it’s just a specific event or process, a moment in time, something we can experience! Science news sites can be a great source of inspiration. They are full of fascinating new discoveries, new connections, and oftentimes, data you can incorporporate.


One Important Note:

Many of the examples above use images or video to present phenomena, but those aren’t the ONLY ways to engage your students with anchors.  Phenomena can be presented through demonstrations, with data or models, or even simply by thoughtful discussion.  You can learn more about what makes a good anchor, choosing your anchor, and using your anchor at these blog posts.

Finding A Good Anchor Phenomenon For Your NGSS Unit

Anchoring Phenomena: Three Common Mistakes

Beyond Choosing An Anchor: USING An Anchor