Saturday, August 31, 2013

NGSS Basics

I found that I started not understanding the basic chart format of the standards. I found an Infographic about NGSS that is very clear and understandable that helps explain the "parts." The new standards are no longer a check list of "things students need to know" but a list of (1) Content they must know at a deeper level than before, (2) Practices or skills they must have in order to express that content and (3) Crosscutting ideas they should be able to see across several disciplines. The framework in its chart form separates each of these categories from the "Performance Expectations" that detail what students are expected to be able to do based on those three parts.

Specific resources for the Middle School and High School are also available. 

Science & Engineering Practices These skills are listed under specific Performance Expectations but do not have to be taught only with those concepts. All the advice I've heard for implementation of NGSS has been to start with these Science and Engineering Practices. These skills can be taught to students in any concept and if students truly understand how to do it then they should be able to apply them to any other concept. For example, there is an Science & Engineering Practice regarding analyzing data, something that students do frequently. There are others about designing and revising a model which you may teach to your students in the Kinematics unit but they may be assessed regarding Electricity. I've separated the Science and Engineering Practices for Grades 9-12 so that you can see them a little more broadly. 

Crosscutting Concepts:
The Crosscutting Concepts are concepts that should appear in multiple disciplines and help students see the overall interdisciplinary connections between their classes. Often, teachers discuss applications of a particular concept in multiple classes. For example, the lens of the eye shares properties with over convex lenses so it may be discussed in both a biology (or anatomy) class as well as a Physics class. In my class I discuss near-sightedness and far-sightedness and how their focal lengths differ; students who are in anatomy and have dissected a cow's eye have a much better understanding of that concept. Crosscutting Concepts Grades 6-8 and Grades 9-12

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