For the last two years, Achieve Inc. has been working to develop a set of national science standards similar to the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics.
The Next Generation Science Standards were built on the previously published book, A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas. A major goal of the standards is to integrate scientific practices into the standards themselves while using crosscutting concepts to allow students to make connections among disciplines. This will elevate these new standards above those previously developed that were just checklists of content with separate inquiry or science process standards. By integrating the practices into the standards themselves, the way that students learn cannot be unraveled from the content they learn.
So far, 26 states have committed to be lead partners in the development of the standards. The lead state partners have worked with Achieve to develop the standards and will give “serious consideration” to adopting the standards when they are completed. Click here to see if your state is on the list. It is quite possible that additional states will adopt the new standards once they are finalized.
On Tuesday, January 8, the second draft of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) were released for public comment. The public comment period will last until January 29, 2013. The final draft of the standards is planned for release in late March.
Gizmos are a great fit for the proposed science standards. Gizmos allow students to engage in inquiry-driven investigations that fulfill the goals of the Standards of Scientific and Engineering Practice, Crosscutting Concepts and Disciplinary Core ideas described in A Framework for K-12 Science Education. A great example of this is our Food Chain Gizmo, where students see how populations of producers and consumers fluctuate in an ecosystem. The Gizmo supports the Crosscutting Concept “Stability and Change” and targets DCIs LS1 and LS2.
If you wish to comment on the second draft of the NGSS, click here. This is a great opportunity to influence the development of new science standards and we urge that you take advantage of it. Here at ExploreLearning we are keeping a close eye on the development of the standards and how our Gizmos fit in. It is likely that much of our future Gizmo development will continue to enhance our alignment to these new science standards and support educators implementing them in classrooms.
Kurt Rosenkrantz is a science curriculum writer and Gizmo designer for ExploreLearning. Kurt holds a Master of Science in Geology from the University of Cincinnati, and a bachelor’s degree in Earth Science from Harvard. He taught high school and middle school science for eight years before joining ExploreLearning in 2005.