Tag Archives: science education

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 September 2012 Simple Science Newsletter – Focus on… Observation

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The September 2012 Simple Science Newsletter – “Focus on… Observation”

Simple Science Strategies — the Newsletter

Think of it as a road map to the September blogs on the Simple Science Strategies website. Or perhaps a Table of Contents. Think of it as a planning tool for your classroom, nature studies or homeschool lessons. Or even an idea-generator.

The September Simple Science Newsletter provides the science educator with a collection of focused learning tasks, links to online resources, and background information to help you prepare to teach big ideas with the simple materials you already have in the classroom.

In the September 2012 Issue:

  • The Writing Connection: Elaborative Detail
    September Science Tasks & General Instructions
    September Coupon Specials and Links
  • For Your Science Journal: Observation Page
    September Science Centers: The Nature Corner
    The Book Nook: One Small Square
    September Skill: Observation

To download a copy of this 9-page newsletter, right-click on the link, below, and click “save target as” — save the newsletter wherever you wish on your home computer or electronic device. If you’d like to share it, please direct friends and colleagues to this page, not the actual .pdf file.

Download the September 2012 Newsletter here.

If you subscribe to the Simple Science Strategies blog, you will automatically receive email notice about the October newsletter. Simply enter your email in the “Subscribe to my feed” widget in the sidebar.

For tons of extra information on observation, order my e-Book, The Gentle Art of Observation, regularly priced $10.95, which is available for the September special price of $8.95 (price good through 9/30/2012).

 

Use discount code = discount5 to save $5 on your $10+ purchase at NotebookingPages.com

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“No Place Like Home” – Additional Notebooking Options for Nature Study

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For our rotting log twist on the “One Small Square” task, I developed two notebooking pages, called “No Place Like Home.” These can be used instead of, or in addition to, any of the other printables in this e-Book, as they all focus on nature study and observation.

This journal page is a simple frame and lines for any type of written observations.

For list-making (we love making lists of things in our house), I created a simple lined page to document the types of organisms observed.

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Adopt-a-Plant: Printable Resources

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This fall, we will be using the “Adopt-a-Plant” strategy for observing plant life over an extended time frame. Here are printable resources that you can download and use with any of the the Adopt-a-Plant tasks this month.

This set of journal or notebooking pages can be used in multiple ways. The frame sizes and line spacing vary. Use a different one each day to encourage more sketching, or more writing, as appropriate.

If you want to encourage data collection, choose from either of the following pages:

 

 

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One Small Square: Printable Resources

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Here are some handy resources you can print out for use with this strategy:

 

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Welcome to “Simple Science Strategies!”

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Maybe you landed here through a Google search. Maybe you’re looking over your science materials for next year, and getting a jump on planning for September. Maybe you linked here through one of my other blogs. Whichever it might be, I welcome you!

Science is my passion. I love everything about it, and I find science in everything I do, as a mom, a gardener, a teacher and a homeschooler. I hope you find this blog to be a helpful tool as you plan to work more science, and better quality science activities, into your repertoire.

The purpose of this site is to help you, the teacher or homeschooler, find simple experiments and investigations that you can conduct that teach big scientific ideas. You will notice that none of the activities use hard-to-find materials or complicated procedures. You will also notice that ALL of them require kids to ask questions and do some big thinking. Science is about asking questions, then figuring out a way to answer them on your own.

These activities and experiments can be used with any age student — you will notice, at the bottom of each post, suggestions modifications to the basic experimental design, for different age groups of students. Most of the modification involve different types of questioning or follow-up, rather than major changes to the actual activity.

You have a couple of ways to navigate this site.

  1. The main navigation bar, at the top, guides you to strategies and activities, organized by the three dimensions of the Next Generation National Science Education Standards: scientific and engineering process skills; cross-cutting, multidisciplinary concepts; and key ideas in physical sciences, life sciences, earth and space sciences, and engineering, technology and science applications. ]
  2. To the right, you may access the site by browsing according to the cognitive process that you want to reinforce with students: defining, describing, comparing, classifying, showing part-to-whole, showing cause-effect, and illustrating an analogy (see Hyerle’s Thinking Maps for more information on these processes).
  3. Of course, you can always browse the site using the “Recent Posts” links in the sidebar, the search function, or just the front and back navigation arrows at the top of each blog post.
  4. If you are looking for Common Core connections, type the notation for the CCSS into the search box, and see a list of activities linked to key literacy and numeracy standards.

Please visit often over the summer, as I will be adding to this blog using topics that are seasonal, to help teachers connect their science instruction to real-life situations. For updates directly to your email box, subscribe to our newsletter (the September edition should be posted on August 24, 2012).

 

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Leave me a note if you have any suggestions or topics that you’d like to see covered. Or just to leave a word of encouragement!

– Kim at Simple Science Strategies

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