There was a lot of apprehension and push back when Common Core was rolled out in New York State. We hope NYSSLS will be different. These science standards have been released for a few years now. Teachers, like myself, are already receiving training to help implement the standards and they aren't being tested yet. We hope the roll out will be smoother than CC. But some of the main principles of NGSS/NYSSLS align with the Common Core State Standards.
Both NGSS and CCSS have either practice or capacities that student shave to be able to demonstrate in addition to the content they should master. There is more "sense making" and reasoning to explain and argue points. Both standards want students to communicate information. ELA, Science, and Math all require students to construct viable arguments and critique reasoning of others, value evidence, and engage in argument from evidence.
I want to create a classroom culture where students have well structured social interactions where they need to make their thinking clear and communicate how they think with their peers. I would like to have my students sit in teams of 3-4, not just during labs, but during practice as well. When I introduce a phenomenon, I'd like to give student time to think on their own to come up with some ideas, but then have structured questions to help students organize their ideas and discuss with their peers. I want to create cards that have sentence starters that will help the students who are not great at communicating to have a few points to start their discussion. I want to make sure I am using questions in class that are more open ended and have more divergent answers to help students increase their creativity and problem solving capacities. I think it is important to "frame the questions" I ask by defining the words within and surrounding the question to give the students the tools to be able to answer the questions more like a scientist or a professional.
I would also like to bring in more scientific papers that are not too above their own reading level. I need students to identify vocabulary words that we are using in class in these articles to see how they are used and why they are necessary to understand scientific research. To increase literacy, we need complex level readings that guide them from being high school students to becoming a college minded student. When we are trying to understand and explain an anchoring phenomenon, we will not only use activities and labs to investigate our ideas about the phenomenon, but also use scientific research articles. Students will need to be able to evaluate the research they use to see if it is not only applicable to their problem, but also from a reputable source.
Common Questions about CCCs:
1. What is the purpose of the Crosscutting Concepts? How do the Crosscutting Concepts support and relate to the SEPs (Science and Engineering Practices) and the DCIs(Disciplinary Core Ideas)?
Cross Cutting Concepts give students the organizational framework to understand and explore science. It helps connect all disciplines in science to show they are all science disciplines are investigated in studied in a similar way. Students will have a hard time coming up with their own questions and things to investigate with out prompts such as patterns, or scale. Much like when it is time for the science fairs, many families and kids panic because they don't know where to start. CCCs give students the tools to come up with their own investigations in order to find ownership of the information they analyze and the solutions they come up with. In order to have students cultivate their understanding of the DCI as concepts rather than plain facts, they will need to use CCCs to generate questions (one of the SEPs) to start their study. They need to know if they are planning to research patterns, scales, models, changes, etc. The CCCs help formulate the plan of action that a students can use to investigate the DCI using the practices. They will all be assessed because they are all intricate parts of the learning and performance of science. DCI, SEP, and CCCs are all part of the content.
2. What is an analogy that could help someone understand CCCs?
If DCIs are each individual person in the world, filled with useful information and potential to be someone important in your life.You can use questions, investigations, analysis, and argumentation to get to know them (SEP). In order to create bonds between people or communities with in those people we can identify patterns between the people (Do I see them at work? Are they related to me?), find ways they are useful to us (are they trustworthy? Can the help in crisis?), if they are there for us for a long time through our rough times (stability and change), and generally how they interact with our lives (system) which could be CCCs. Another great analogy can be found here.
1. What are the science and engineering practices?
These are the actions that scientists and our students should take to better practice and understand science. They can be used simultaneously and a lesson can have any number of practices being showcased. However, one will be correlated to the disciplinary core idea that is being studied in the Performance Expectation and that is the one that should be most assessed with that idea.
2. What is the purpose of having students engage in science and engineering practices?
Students shouldn't just be memorizing random facts, keeping them at a novice level. In order to become better members of society and maybe even great experts in science in the future, students have to interact with science. They need to see the big picture, the concepts, through investigation and models. Students need to be challenged to draw models or explain scientific ideas out loud so they can identify when the models and explanations are flawed or when key ideas seems to be lacking. Teachers need to see the inner thoughts of the students in order to assess their misconceptions and build towards more higher level thinking. As far as being college and career ready, students need to be dynamic problem solver sand critical thinkers in order to solve our new environmental and societal issues. Even if they won't become scientists or engineers, students will need to be able to analyze data in order to make informed life decisions and engage in adult arguments to better our society.
3. How can the SEP be used during a lesson or unit of study in chemistry class?
Nuclear chemistry is a great topic to look into. Students can generate questions about the topic because they seems to have some prior knowledge and misconceptions that they will want to investigate. Some students may even identify problems with the use of nuclear chemistry before we start the unit. We could use modeling to show how the decay and transmutation reactions occur- possibly using pom-poms as the protons and neutrons to demonstrate conservation of mass, and then creating a drawn model from that. Investigations are limited in this topic but students could still analyze and interpret data to determine which energy sources are cleanest and most cost effective (coal, nuclear, hydroelectric, solar, etc). Students could then argue about which energy they believe we should use based on the evidence they identify. The could teach each other through this argumentation, using models, pictures, and charts or graphs to communicate their ideas. An engineering design can also include problem solving to help make power plants less dangerous, or ways nuclear chemistry could be used in the medical field.
NYSSLS is driving students to understand how to work with science and communicate their ideas. We are no longer looking for fact memorization, but for conceptual understanding. Therefore, students will need instruction on three primary areas:
In 2023, New York State will be changing the Chemistry Regents Exam to include standards from a new set of science standards. Drafted from A Framework for K-12 Science Education, the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) were developed by the National Research Council in order to elevate our students scientific thinking and understanding to better prepare them for the expanding scientific job market. As a nation, our schools have been falling short of preparing students for jobs in science and math, as we have not been making science and engineering a priority in K-12 education (find more needs for the standards here).
New York State is one of 42 states that have either accepted or modified NGSS. NYS developed a set of standards known as the new York State Science Learning Standards that incorporate the principles and ideas of NGS with a few additional scientific topics. Some conceptual shifts that arise as NGSS/NYSSLS is implemented are:
The NYSSLS standards can be found here.