Discovery: Engage Your Students and Make Learning Stick

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When we talk about the NGSS, we often use phrases like “minds-on” and “active learning” and “discovery” and “exploration.” But what does all of that MEAN!?

I knew there were a LOT of misunderstandings out there about what NGSS-style instruction looks like, but I’ve realized that there’s even confusion about what “discovery” looks like in the classroom. In just the last three days, I’ve heard complaints like:

  • there’s no content
  • it only works for some students
  • it takes too much time
  • it just doesn’t work
What this tells me is that there’s some big misunderstandings about discovery-based learning — what it IS and how it works to transform your classroom into a space where students are 1) learning content, 2) by doing science, 3) while developing thinking skills in a way that encourages them to 4) engage and 5) take ownership.