I am so excited to share with you a new project I have been working on this month to help teachers prepare for the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). I’ve had a lot of you tell me you need more resources for teaching the new science standards. So I set out on a mission to learn all I could about the standards as well as understand the theory behind them to create units that are engaging and fun for students. I hope this resource will help you understand the standards a little better as well as inspire you to try going digital with your interactive notebooks.
There are four parts for each standard when reading the Next Generation Science Standards:
- Performance Expectation
- Science and Engineering Practice
- Core Idea
- Crosscutting Concepts
I am going to share with you how I planned this unit and how the standards fit in with the activities. I know that some of the content below isn’t the most interesting but I think it is important to understand how the standards work.
Next Generation Science Standards – Animals Live in Groups
The core idea in this unit is from standard: (3-LS2-1)
“Being part of a group helps animals obtain food, defend themselves, and cope with changes.
Groups may serve different functions and vary dramatically in size”.
As with most of my units, I used the 5e’s of Instruction format to help organize the unit. I also developed an interactive component (INB) using Google Slides. Use the INB throughout the lessons and activities. First, as a way to understand the core idea ( input) and then secondly to demonstrate the understanding of the standard through the performance expectation (output).
Each standard has Performance expectations students should demonstrate to show understanding of the standard. For this particular unit, the performance standard is as follows:
“Construct an argument that some animals form groups that help members survive.”
For students to be able to construct an argument, students must understand how to hypothesize or make a claim from observations or questions about the topic.
An important component of this unit is to teach students not only to make claims but to support the claim with evidence. The science and engineering practice portion for this specific standard state students must “construct an argument with evidence, data, and/or a model”.
To construct an argument with evidence, students must examine several sources of information as well as identify and explain cause and effect relationships throughout the unit. A major activity of science is investigating and explaining relationships. Using crosscutting concepts help link the different domains of science to one another.
There are seven crosscutting concepts taught in the NGSS. Their purpose is to help students understand the core ideas and to think scientifically.
If you are looking for a fun and engaging unit for your students, I will encourage you to check this one out! There are several videos, websites, and graphic organizers plus fantastic ideas for using interactive notebooks digitally to help teach your students the amazing world of life science. Check out the video below and then click here to learn more about the unit.