Tag Archives: Next Generation Science Standards

Looking Forward: The Next Generation Science Standards

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Why Change Science Instruction?

Why change the way science (and math) are taught in the United States? Check out this great infographic to see why instruction in science, technology, engineering and mathematics needs to change drastically in the United States.

Transforming Science Education

In response to the need for science education to change to meet the needs of 21st century students, Achieve, Inc.,  has released the final draft of the Next Generation Science Standards. The standards are available for reading, free of charge, or can be ordered in hard copy.

http://simplesciencestrategies.com

Standards can be viewed online, free of charge, or ordered in hard copy (click image for more information).

Where Did They Get the Standards?

The NGSS are based on the National Research Council Framework, which focuses on three dimensions of science instruction: scientific and engineering practices, cross-cutting concepts, and disciplinary core ideas (see the tabs at the top of this blog post for the three dimensions and their components). This framework is available for reading online, free of charge, or for free download. See the widget in the sidebar, at right, to get a copy for yourself. Each standard is followed by the frameworks elements it draws on (see image, below), and includes specific language to clarify age-appropriate expectations.

http://simplesciencestrategies.com

Each standard draws on several elements in the NRC Framework.

I find the color-coding of the three dimensions helpful for quickly identifying different aspects of the framework, for each standard.

Scientific and Engineering Practices

Scientific and engineering practices are the things we want students to DO in science. These are divided into eight areas:

  • Asking Questions and Defining Problems
  • Developing and Using Models
  • Planning and Carrying Out Investigation
  • Analyzing and Interpreting Data
  • Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking
  • Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
  • Engaging in Argument from Evidence
  • Obtaining, Evaluating and Communicating Information

Here is an example of the scientific and engineering practices connections to one fifth grade science standard:

http://simplesciencestrategies.com

Scientific and Engineering Practices are the things we want students to DO in the science classroom.

 

Cross-Cutting Concepts

There are many essential truths in science — concepts so broad, that they extend into all disciplines. These cross-cutting concepts — the things we want students to understand — are listed below.

  • Patterns
  • Cause and Effect: Mechanism and Explanation
  • Scale, Proportion and Quantity
  • Systems and System Models
  • Energy and Matter: Flows, Cycles and Conservation
  • Structure and Function
  • Stability and Change

 

http://simplesciencestrategies.com

Cross-Cutting Concepts are the broad ideas that we want students to UNDERSTAND, regardless of the specific science topic.

 

Disciplinary Core Ideas

Each science discipline has its own “truths,” things that we want students to know about a particular topic. These are listed as disciplinary core ideas, and are broken into the four main branches of science:

Physical Sciences

  • Matter and Its Interactions
  • Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
  • Energy
  • Waves and Information Transfer

Life Sciences

  • From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
  • Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy and Dynamics
  • Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits
  • Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity

Earth and Space Sciences

  • Earth’s Place in the Universe
  • Earth’s Systems
  • Earth and Human Activity

Engineering, Technology and the Application of Science

  • Engineering Design
  • Links Among Engineering, Technology, Science and Society
http://simplesciencestrategies.com

Disciplinary core ideas are the subject-specific things we want students to KNOW.

Integrated Standards and Thematic Teaching

One part of the new standards that I think will be a big bonus for teachers is the connection of related literacy and numeracy standards after each science standard, as well as related framework ideas. With these connections, it is not only easier for classroom teachers to design rich, integrated units of study based on scientific topics — it is also easier for teachers to be reassured that integrated, thematic teaching can address important literacy and numeracy goals of high-stakes testing.

Here is an example of an integrated unit based on the Grade 1 science standards:

http://simplesciencestrategies.com

If Only I Could Fly – an integrated Grade 1 Science Unit. (c) Simple Science Strategies, 2013. Click the image to download this 13-page document, FREE.

 

This unit includes three performance tasks, addressing two science standards, two numeracy standards, and five English language arts standards. For each task, a task table outlines key vocabulary, big ideas, a description of the essential task with grade-level expectations, important concepts and any foundational concepts. Components are sorted by Bloom’s Level.

 

http://simplesciencestrategies.com

Standards are arranged to show performance tasks, including key vocabulary, big ideas and concepts, and grade-level expectations.

 

To assist teachers in assessing student performance relative to the standards, sample rubrics are included for each performance task.

For Your Science Library

Please see the sidebar for new selections for your science library and classroom: A Framework for K-12 Science Education, and The Essentials of Science and Literacy.


 

 

 

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The second draft of the Next Generation Science Standards are available for public review. If you are interested in examining them, and giving feedback either as an individual or as a representative of your organization, you may read the standards … Continue reading

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