Happiest of Holidays to You and Yours
The 12 days of Christmas traditionally follow Christmas day itself, so I figured I’d celebrate this year in a very scientific way. Erm, at least, in a very scientifically-inspired fashion. With just a little bit of help from the spirit of science holidays past (AKA Science Cat*), I present to you the 12 Days of NGSS! What better way than science to wind down 2017 and commit to a higher standard in 2018. And, in the respectful spirit of whatever holiday you and yours celebrate, I want to wish you a fabulous time with friends and family as well as a happy new year!
1 Set of Next Generation Science Standards
The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are no longer new. At least in Washington State, they are in year 5 of a five-year phase-in cycle. They are now our standards, as well as most of the country’s standards.
Here’s a link to check out the NGSS, because, well, if you haven’t yet and you’re in education then it’s time: https://www.nextgenscience.org/
2 Languages for all Parent Guides
The new Spanish guides support many of our young English language learners. The parent guides in English are also pretty handy for the rest of us.
Parent Guides: https://www.nextgenscience.org/parentguides
3 Dimensional Science Instruction
Okay, so it’s not exactly IMAX Star Wars in 3D with the glasses and all, but it’s important to know that there are 3 dimensions to the NGSS: the Disciplinary CORE ideas, the Science and Engineering Practices, and the Crosscutting Concepts. Each composes an important facet and weaves together to form the actual standards. All three together are the standards’ content. Like a three-legged stool, the NGSS cannot stand without one of these legs in place as students explore and learn about science phenomena (teaching the NGSS with phenomena being an entire post unto itself).
Check out the 3 dimensions here: https://www.nextgenscience.org/three-dimensions
4 Core Disciplines
The Disciplinary Core Ideas are composed of 4 areas: Physical Science; Life Science; Earth and Space Sciences; Engineering, Technology, and Applications of Science. This facet of the three dimensions is often disproportionately emphasized as the content, but it’s important to note that the “content” of the NGSS is composed of all three dimensions together.
The 4 Disciplinary Core Ideas: https://www.nextgenscience.org/sites/default/files/resource/files/AppendixE-ProgressionswithinNGSS-061617.pdf
5 Shifts of Thinking
There are a lot of thinking shifts involved when it comes to NGSS implementation. The implications of transitioning our thinking to the new standards are many and run deep. The official NGSS website highlights 5 particular shifts per Appendix A: “Science Education Should Reflect the Interconnected Nature of Science as it is Practiced and Experienced in the Real World; The Next Generation Science Standards are student performance expectations – NOT curriculum; The Science Concepts in the NGSS Build Coherently from K–12; The NGSS Focus on Deeper Understanding of Content as well as Application of Content; Science and Engineering are Integrated in the NGSS, from K–12.”
The 5 highlighted shifts of thinking: https://www.nextgenscience.org/sites/default/files/resource/files/Appendix%20A%20-%204.11.13%20Conceptual%20Shifts%20in%20the%20Next%20Generation%20Science%20Standards.pdf
6 Parts to Read in Each Standard
Performance Expectation; Dimensions consisting of Disciplinary Core Idea, Crosscutting Concept, & Science and Engineering Practice; Clarification Statement; Assessment Boundaries; CCSS Connections; and Evidence Statements…. And more if you want to get nitpicky, but six is plenty to start with per standard.
How to read the standards resource: https://www.nextgenscience.org/resources/how-read-next-generation-science-standards
7 Crosscutting Concepts
The Crosscutting Concepts are big ideas that cut across all science disciplines. Often misrepresented as intending to cut across all subjects, they do still represent a good jumping off point for multi-subject integration. Crosscutting concepts are present in every science lesson, and therefore important to highlight when most relevant: Patterns; Cause and effect; Scale, proportion, and quantity; Systems and system models; Energy and matter; Structure and function; Stability and change.
8 Science and Engineering Practices
The Science and Engineering Practices are the “how” of approaching, teaching, and doing science. Comparing the old “Scientific Method” to the depth and breadth of the 8 practices is like contrasting a puddle with the Pacific Ocean. There’s no comparison. The Scientific Method had its place, but the real science cannot be contained in checklist, but is a messy process of constantly evolving questions, predictions, observations, understanding, and more.
The 8 Science and Engineering Practices: https://www.nextgenscience.org/sites/default/files/resource/files/Appendix%20F%20%20Science%20and%20Engineering%20Practices%20in%20the%20NGSS%20-%20FINAL%20060513.pdf
9 Resources for Communicating About Science Standards
These resources are available on the NGSS website for helping educate others about the new standards, e.g. parents, principals, community members, etc. They are very useful to have handy whenever you are trying to communicate with one or many groups of people regarding the NGSS. The 9 documents are the NGSS Overview for Principals, NGSS Parent Guides, Public Attitudes Toward Science Standards, Infographic: How Will Science Education Change with the NGSS, Infographic: Science Education Needs an Update, Why K-12 Standards Matter, NGSS NOW, NGSS Fact Sheet, Messaging Card.
The 9 NGSS Communication Resources: https://www.nextgenscience.org/communicating-about-standards/communicating-about-standards
10 Additional Appendices (Beyond the DCI; CCC; SEP).
It’s not rocket surgery, but, beyond the three dimensions of the NGSS, there are 10 additional appendices to check out regarding the standards. If you read just one appendix though, then read Appendix D: “All Standards, All Students”. There is a lot of lip service paid to equity in education. Well, now, as far as the NGSS is concerned equity is no longer a nice option or extra enhancement. With the NGSS, equity is our standard.
The other nine appendices cover a range of important topics: “Conceptual Shifts; Responses to Public Drafts; College and Career Readiness; Nature of Science; Engineering Design in the NGSS; Science, Technology, Society, and the Environment; Model Course Mapping in Middle and High School; Connections to CCSS-Mathematics; Connections to CCSS-Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects”.
The 10 NGSS Appendices: https://www.nextgenscience.org/resources/ngss-appendices
Just kidding, there’s more than that. But here’s the top 11 acronyms that I’ve come across from the new standards: NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards); DCI (Disciplinary Core Ideas); CCC (Crosscutting Concepts); SEP (Science and Engineering Practices); CCSS (Common Core State Standards); PE (Performance Expectations); ES (Evidence Statements); PS (Physical Science); ETS (Engineering, Technology, and applications of Science); LS (Life Science); ESS (Earth and Space Sciences).
Here’s a much longer list of acronyms used throughout the NGSS: https://www.nextgenscience.org/sites/default/files/Glossary%20of%20Topics%20used%20in%20NGSS%20Standards%206%2021%2013.pdf
12 Grades of Standards Built Upon Kindergarten as the Base
There are Next Generation Science Standards at all grades: 1st through 12th as well as the all-important kindergarten. Every grade builds upon the last which means kindergarten forms the original base of understanding upon which grades 1-12 both build and depend upon. Each grade level has different focuses. The emphasis is on a depth of knowledge that builds year to year as well as in cycles.
“A Framework for K-12 Science Education” lays this out in full: https://www.nextgenscience.org/framework-k-12-science-education
As you can see, there is a lot to the Next Generation Science Standards. To be honest, 12 days of NGSS barely begins to cover it, and definitely doesn’t cover it all, e.g. Phenomena, NGSS Evidence Statements, and many other things. Which brings me to my next post: “365 Days of NGSS”. Just kidding. But, in all seriousness, there is probably that much there when you dig deep enough. Like all things, start small, take two steps forward with one step back, and methodically build your knowledge base over time in the context of your every-growing professional learning community. In this way, the NGSS will go from being a relatively new acquaintance to a longtime best friend of yours and standards-based education in general.
Finishing on a Personal Note
This post marks the end of my three years as one of the official bloggers for CORElaborate. The opportunity to write and post as a teacher leader in this program has been one of the greatest professional development opportunities of my career. If you’ve read this far in this post, or any of my often long-winded posts, thank you. Thank you for humoring my passion for teaching and STEM education, as well as writing about both. I wish you the very best with all of your future endeavors, especially those related to teaching and supporting education. I’ll still be guest posting here from time to time so you’ll see me around, but, after three years, I feel that it’s time for me to let someone else have a turn to take a more central role in this amazing opportunity. Thank you Ready WA. Thank you Puget Sound ESD. Thank you CORElaborate!
Please Check Out Some of My Previous Posts on the NGSS
Engineering Standards via Star Wars: http://corelaboratewa.org/no-more-death-stars-and-other-engineering-standards/
NGSS Personal Phenomena: http://corelaboratewa.org/personal-phenomena/
NGSS via Star Wars: http://corelaboratewa.org/ngss-according-to-star-wars/
Three Dimensions of the NGSS with Science Cat: http://corelaboratewa.org/the-three-dimensions-of-the-ngss-according-to-science-cat/
Or, Check Out My Complete Listing of CORElaborate Posts Here: http://corelaboratewa.org/author/dfurguson/
*Also, to address potential concern for Science Cat’s health: while her modeling career days are generally behind her, please rest assured that she is doing as well as can be expected with kidney disease in her old age… and of course an active toddler always nearby for added grey cat hairs.
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