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Rice University

Using The Next Generation Science Standards for Students’ Deeper Understanding

Rice University via Coursera

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The Scientific and Engineering Practices as outlined in A Framework for K-12 Science Education, provide the basis for students to gain a deeper understanding science content through the use of hands-on science investigations and engineering design activities.  Often investigations remain as engaging activities without adding depth to the students’ understanding of the science core ideas. Research-based instructional strategies utilized in STEM programs require a more rigorous approach to describing the scientific ideas that underlie the activity. 

The question becomes:

As teachers begin to address the Science Core Disciplinary Ideas through the lens of STEM (Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics), how and why should the Scientific and Engineering Design Practices be integrated into investigations?

Using the Framework for K-12 Science Education can be the basis for this depth of understanding by:

·       Providing research-based science core disciplinary ideas

·       Connecting the ideas with Cross-cutting concepts

·       Utilizing scientific and engineering practices and

·       Providing guidance in the assessment of the depth of knowledge gained by students and a measure of achievement in understanding the core disciplinary ideas in science.


Week 1: Learn about the Framework for K-12 Science Education and how it is organized by Practices, Crosscutting Concepts and Core Ideas for one specific grade level or content strand.  Understand how the organization of the Framework will guide teachers in the development of deeper student understanding in science. Analyze a Performance Expectation (PE) for one of the NGSS and determine how the three strands are embedded in the PE.

Week 2: Explore the Disciplinary Core Ideas as outlined in the K-12 Framework for Science Education by the NRC. Based on your understanding of how these are vertically alinged from K-6, and for secondary science, compare the alignment to a set of education standards used in your community.

Week 3: Scientific and Engineering Practices to understand how they are similar processes with very different outcomes.  Based on an understanding of how these practices are utilized by the STEM Workforce, analyze how each practice is used in a relevant, real-world problem-based situation.

Week 4: Explore the Crosscutting Concepts as outlined in the K-12 Framework for Science Education by the NRC.  Determine how they are used within the Framework to build a deeper understanding of the DCI to which it is attached.  Compare the use of the CCC within the NGSS compared to the education standards of your community.

Comprehensive Assignment:  Using the alignment of the components of the NGSS and your local science education standards for one specific grade level and concept, compare and contrast the comprehensive nature of both standards in meeting the needs of your school system now and in the future, for the instruction of science education.

Taught by

Terry Talley


3.5 rating, based on 2 Class Central reviews

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