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Next Generation Science Standards: Dimensions and Practices

Next Generation Science Standards: Dimensions and Practices

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Author: Jody Waltman
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In this lesson, students will learn about the different dimensions and ideas that make up the Next Generation Science Standards.

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Source: Image of NGSS Logo, Fair Use, http://nextgenscience.org/

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In this tutorial, we'll explore the three dimensions that make up the Next Generation Science Standards. Disciplinary core ideas, practices and crosscutting concepts. Let's get started.

The first of the three dimensions that make up the Next Generation Science Standards is disciplinary core ideas. The disciplinary core ideas outline the science content grouped into categories, physical sciences, life sciences, earth and space sciences, and engineering technology and applications of science.

In order to be considered core content the content needs to meet at least two of the following criteria. The content needs to have broad importance across multiple disciplines or be a key concept in one single discipline. It must act is a key tool for investigating or understanding complex ideas in science and solving problems. It needs to be connected to societal or personal concerns, interests, and life experiences that require technological or scientific knowledge. Or, the content must be teachable over multiple grade levels, with increasing levels of depth or sophistication at each grade level.

Let's look at an example from each of the disciplinary core idea areas. First, from at the physical sciences. The topic of forces and motion is one of the disciplinary core ideas. The concepts of forces in motion have importance in multiple disciplines, from chemistry to physics. They're definitely concepts that are taught in increasing levels of depth and sophistication as the grade levels increase. Since at least two of the criteria for disciplinary core ideas were met we can clearly understand why forces and motion is a concept area in the disciplinary core ideas for physical science.

Next, in the life sciences, social interactions and group behavior is one of the listed coverage areas. These ideas certainly relate to the interests and life experiences of students, and they provide a foundation for understanding and investigating more complex problems. Once again, at least two of the criteria are met, so we can see how social interactions and group behavior make up a topic area that can be considered a disciplinary core idea.

From the realm of Earth and Space sciences a disciplinary core idea is earth materials and systems. We can definitely see a connection here to societal and personal concerns that require scientific and technical knowledge, and we can definitely see connections to multiple science disciplines here.

From the area of engineering technology and applications of science, one of the disciplinary core ideas is developing possible solutions. This, absolutely, is a key tool in understanding and investigating complex ideas and solving problems, and it's a skill set that can be taught it increasing levels of depth and sophistication as grade levels increase.

Next, let's look at the second dimension of the three dimensional framework that makes up the Next Generation Science Standards, science and engineering practices. The science and engineering practices outline behaviors that scientists engage in as they investigate and build models and theories about the natural world and the key set of engineering practices that engineers use as they design and build models and systems. Students are expected to emulate and learn these behaviors as teachers model them.

These practices are integrated within the content of both the disciplinary core ideas and the crosscutting concepts. It's not expected that all practices will be embedded in every single lesson. Rather, teachers will make informed decisions about which practices to emphasize in individual lessons.

The eight practices include, asking questions and defining problems, developing and using models, planning and carrying out investigations, analyzing and interpreting data, using mathematics and computational thinking, constructing explanations and designing solutions, engaging in argument from evidence, and obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information.

Finally, the third dimension of the Next Generation Science Standards is crosscutting concepts. These concepts link the various domains of science as they have application across all of the varying domains. They provide a way to organize knowledge from many different scientific fields into a coherent and scientifically sound view of the world. Therefore, teachers need to make these concepts explicit for students as they build their understanding of the world around them.

The crosscutting concepts include patterns, similarity, and diversity, cause and effect, scale proportion and quantity, systems and system models, energy and matter, structure and function, and stability and change. We can see how these ideas definitely do cut across all of the varying domains of the science fields.

In this tutorial we took a closer look at the three dimensional framework of the Next Generation Science Standards, including the disciplinary core ideas, practices, and crosscutting concepts.

Here's a chance for you to stop and reflect. Do you see the relationships among the three dimensions of the Next Generation Science Standards?

To dive a little deeper and learn how to apply this information, be sure to check out the additional resources section associated with this video. This is where you'll find links targeted toward helping you discover more ways to apply this course material.

Thanks for watching. Have a great day.

Notes on "Next Generation Science Standards: Dimensions and Practices"

(00:00 - 00:14) Introduction

(00:15 - 03:02) Disciplinary Core Ideas

(03:03 - 04:19) Practices

(04:20 - 05:15) Crosscutting Concepts

(05:16 - 05:27) Review

(05:28 - 05:54) Stop and Reflect