ERIC Number: EJ1020542
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Apr
The "Next Generation Science Standards" and the Earth and Space Sciences
Wysession, Michael E.
Science and Children, v50 n8 p17-23 Apr 2013
In this article, Michael E. Wysession comments on the "Next Generation Science Standards" (NGSS), which are based on the recommendations of the National Research Council and represent a revolutionary step toward establishing modern, national K-12 science education standards. The NGSS involves significant changes from traditional standards at all levels for all of the sciences, integrating three dimensions of science content, science practices, and the crosscutting, big-picture themes of science. Nowhere are these changes more apparent than for the Earth and space sciences (ESS). Within the "Framework," Earth and space science content is parsed into three "Big Ideas," each of which is subdivided into components. ESS1 examines the space and solar systems; ESS2 examines the interconnections among Earth's many different systems of the geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, cryosphere, and biosphere; and ESS3 focuses on the anthroposphere system, the important role that human civilization plays in affecting Earth's other systems. The NGSS performance expectations, and Earth and space sciences in particular, will pose special challenges to their implementation. Teachers may find many challenges: They may be unfamiliar with the aspects of engineering and technology newly integrated into the science curriculum; they may be unaccustomed to teaching from a practice-based approach as opposed to a concept focused approach; and they may be unused to connecting science content with overarching crosscutting concepts, with aspects of the nature of science, and with Common Core concepts of math and English language arts. This will all require significant professional development. None of these challenges is insurmountable, however, and many efforts are underway to help address them. However they are ultimately organized, structured, taught, and assessed in all of the states that adopt them, the NGSS provide a remarkable opportunity to realize the long-identified potential for Earth and space sciences to be taught in exciting, engaging, encompassing, and relevant manners from kindergarten through 12th grade.
Descriptors: Science Education, Earth Science, Space Sciences, Academic Standards, Course Content, Science Process Skills, Scientific Concepts, Science Curriculum, Faculty Development, Barriers, Teaching Methods, Holistic Approach, Elementary School Science, Secondary School Science
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A