In this video, we’re going to be looking at content shifts.
This is one of the most obvious changes – and the easiest to understand — when it comes to adopting the NGSS. The NGSS is all about helping students develop the BIG IDEAS in science. While most standards – for years and years – have focused on facts and figures, information to “stuff” into your students’ brains – the goal of the NGSS is to develop in students a conceptual understanding of scientific ideas and foster the skills (or in NGSS language, the practices) that scientists use every day to understand the natural world. For that reason, when you look at the standards, you don’t see a list of facts – or even topics. Instead, you see the Disciplinary Core Ideas. While you may already be familiar with these terms, tune in to this video to understand what the NGSS means for content in your classroom.
Choose a Performance Expectation that ties to a lesson or unit you currently teach. If you’ve already adopted the NGSS, choose one of the PEs you’ve been assigned as a part of your course. If you haven’t adopted the NGSS, a quick search on the NGSS site by keyword can pull up the Performance Expectations relevant to your topic.
Then, grab the Evidence Statement for that Performance Expectation. You can find it in the sidebar of the relevant standard on the NGSS site, or you can type the standard (like “MS-LS1-3”) and the words “evidence statement” into Google, and it’s either the first or second result that pops up! It will be a PDF file.
Lastly, use the Evidence Statement Breakdown Organizer linked in the resources to literally break down those standards! Focus on the boxes titled, “What Students Will Know (Facts, Ideas, Etc.)” and “Vocabulary” at this point. You may also choose to complete the box titled, “Deeper Thinking.” That said, if that part is a little overwhelming, don’t sweat it! And as for the other boxes, don’t worry about them now! (Unless you really want to, of course!) They will make more sense as we dive deeper into the Science and Engineering Practices and Crosscutting Concepts — aka the idea of three dimensional instruction and what it actually looks like in the classroom. For now, though, we’re just talking content.
Remember that the Evidence Statements were designed to clarify the Performance Expectations, but they aren’t meant to be curriculum, and they aren’t meant to limit students’ learning. They outline some basics that students may should in order to demonstrate mastery, but you might find other examples for students to demonstrate their understanding… and that’s OK! While the Evidence Statement may refer to the circulatory, respiratory, and digestive system… you may choose to focus on the skeletal and muscular systems instead. As long as students are meeting the big goals of the Performance Expectation, this is OK. Evidence Statements clarify and support – they do not DEFINE your curriculum.
Lastly, I want you to take a good long look at what you’re currently teaching related to the DCI and Performance Expectation you’ve chosen. It’s time to start thinking about those tough choices — figuring out what content you just may need to cut.
As always, head to the Beyond The Aha! Community to share your thoughts, ideas, and questions. Can’t wait to connect!