Excitement! Not what was expected when we recently attended an NSTA Webinar sponsored by The NSTA Learning Center, for familiarizing ourselves with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and how they intersect with Common Core in Mathematics and English Language Arts. That presentation was made by Dr. Sarah Michaels, Professor of Education at Clark University. We anticipated that the content in all three disciplines would be different but we were most hopeful that the process/thinking skills would intersect across content. That intersection will provide opportunities for teachers through common content thinking processes to optimize student college and career readiness.
For the Science Standards, the Science Practices are referred to as – Science and Engineering Practices. There is a definite shift from the emphasis on content to process/thinking skills in the New Generation Science Standards. The first NGSS blog from science on our CTL website, “Update in the Next Generation Science Standards,” was about the shift in emphasis from content to process and how this is a new and important step for teachers and students. The Science and Engineering Practices are listed below:
- Asking questions and defining problems
- Developing and using models
- Planning and carrying out investigations
- Analyzing and interpreting data
- Using mathematics, information and computer technology, and computational thinking
- Constructing explanations and designing solutions
- Engaging in argument from evidence
- Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information
In past blogs, we have written about the Common Core Standards in Mathematics and the accompanying Mathematical Practices, see: “We have the Common Core Standards for Mathematics – What is Next and How Should We Start?” and “Implications for Modeling and Reasoning from the Common Core Standards in Mathematics.” These Standard Mathematical Practices are:
- Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them
- Reason abstractly and quantitatively
- Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others
- Model with mathematics
- Use appropriate tools strategically
- Attend to precision
- Look for and make use of structure
- Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning
For English Language Arts Standards, the practices or anchors are referred to as “Capacities of the Literate Individual.” These Capacities (Anchors) are stated as students who are college & career ready in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and in language:
- Demonstrate independence
- Build strong content knowledge
- Respond to varying demands of audience, task, purpose, and discipline
- Comprehend as well as critique
- Value evidence
- Use technology and digital media strategically and capably
- Come to understand other perspectives and cultures.
As one examines the three disciplines’ thinking processes, the connections and commonalities in those thought processes for Science, Mathematics, and ELA begin to be clear. The color coding begins to demonstrate the common thinking skills across the disciplines.
The Venn diagram below, provided during the webinar, constructs another visual model for educators to connect instruction across the three disciplines.
The webinar went into elaborate discussion of how we provide opportunities for students to make sense of the content through solving problems in science and mathematics by reading, speaking, listening, and writing. Stay tuned for further discussion and blogs regarding opportunities for student discourse in science and mathematics to make sense of the content in each. All and any ideas are welcomed – please join us in this discussion.
For more NGSS engage in our Hangout with CTL: Next Generation Science Standards.