Bite Sized Next Generation Science Standards

NGSS

Paul Anderson is a Science Teacher who maintains Bozeman Science (he teaches in Bozeman Montana, hence the name).  To date he has produced 355 videos on YouTube that explain a variety of science concepts that have been viewed millions of times by students and teachers around the world.  When I was a high school science teacher I utilized a few of his videos on my Edmodo site to help reinforce student understand for challenging concepts.

Anderson’s latest series takes on the task of covering the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).  Nextgenscience.org describes the NGSS as an important opportunity to improve not only science education but also student achievement.  They are intended to reflect a new vision for American science education.  Since they are so new many educators know little about them, this is where Anderson’s series can help teachers not only learn what they are but how to teach them.

Anderson has produced 60 bite size videos, including an introduction video, that cover the K-12 Science Framework over a total of 7 hours. Eight videos cover Science and Engineering Practices, Seven go over Crosscutting Concepts, and 44 videos describe Disciplinary Core Ideas which cover Physical Science, Life Science, Earth Science, Space Science, Engineering, Technology and Applications of Science.  In each video Anderson gives simple, real life examples for teachers and/or students to use in order to understand content and concept.  These mini-lessons can help guide teachers lesson plans and help students learn or reinforce a concept covered in class.  The clock icon in his videos tell us what grade level standard the explanation is intended for.

The introduction video for the NGSS series explains the K-12 Science Framework in a clear and concise way.  Paul explains the three general areas of the standards, the first being Science and Engineering Practices.  In this first video I learned that Engineering is a big part of the new standards because Engineering is the application of science.  Paul gives a real world example of this application of Engineering by describing the Mars Rover Curiosity landing this past year and connecting that event to the framework of Developing and Using Models.  

The second general area is Crosscutting Concepts.  These are a main part of the Framework that are fundamental concepts that bridge all of the ideas between the various sciences.  Anderson gives the example of Louis Pasteur discovering that microorganisms cause infectious disease.  Before Pasteur made this discovery it was thought that “bad air” was the culprit, this type of thinking was commonplace before the Scientific Method was fully developed.

The third general area for the NGSS fall under Disciplinary Core Ideas (Life, Physical, Earth, & Engineering).  These Core Ideas are the content meat and potatoes of the NGSS.  The NGSS framework gives teachers a progression on how to move students through the required information.  Paul explains this progression by giving an example of LS1D: Information Processing from elementary teaching that different parts of the body collect information about the world around us such as eyes, hands, and ears.  At the middle school and high school level teaching centers around the brain and how signals are transmitted from those body parts to the brain and how we form memories and actions according to those signals.

The NGSS represent an evolutionary jump in science education. Whenever there is such a major change in framework there tends to be resistance by the stakeholders involved.  If people take the time to watch even a few of the videos in this series they will find that while there are new components and areas of focus, it is really a manageable straight forward way to teach science.  As Anderson says at the end of the introduction video “it is going to be a long journey but hopefully it is going to be a fun journey”.

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