The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are a brand-spanking new set of standards that address the skills and knowledge professional-scientists and citizen-scientists will need in the coming years.
So how did the writers of the standards decide what skills would be most important?
A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas
An internationally-renowned, interdisciplinary committee of 18 scientists, science educators, and science education standards and policy experts studied current science research and science learning research in order to identify all of the science that K-12 students should know.
If you'd prefer a significantly shorter (and, dare I say, significantly more entertaining as well) explanation, then please read on.
Three Dimensional Learning
The first step of building a STEM lesson plan is deciding the broad topic of your study by picking one of the four domains to focus on.
2. Crosscutting Concepts
The second piece of our three-dimensional puzzle provides the bridges that link all of the domains together.
These are the ideas and practices that cut across the science disciplines.
When planning a STEM lesson, crosscutting concepts help narrow down your topic.
3. Scientific and Engineering Practices
These refer to the major practices that scientists employ as they investigate
and build models and theories about the world, as well as a key set of engineering
practices that engineers use as they design and build systems.
When you're building a STEM lesson plans, you can use the NGSS Scientific and Engineering Practices to determine how you will study a topic.
How to use the cootie catcher...
As you and your child play the cootie catcher game, use the worksheet to track your answers. Now you'll notice beneath the four Disciplinary Core Ideas there are more specific components. You can use these to narrow down your lesson's focus!
Once you have all three dimensions picked, work together to formulate an essential question.
Basically, an essential question ties together the dimensions and guides your investigation.
Once you have your essential question, you're ready to start doing some science (or engineering, if that's what you're into)!
You can use the Notes section to jot down--well, notes. Did anything in particular spark your child's interest? Use this to focus in on your lesson topic even more!
Your turn to teach me something...
How do you organize your homeschool year? Do you use a pre-defined set of standards? Or do you take learning opportunities as they appear?
Comment below and let me know!