ERIC Number: EJ1047567
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Dec
Reference Count: 11
Methods & Strategies: What's the Big Idea?
Houseal, Ana K.; Ellsworth, Peter C.
Science and Children, v52 n4 p65-69 Dec 2014
The fact that "The Next Generation Science Standards" ("NGSS") are standards and not curriculum (NRC 2012, p. xiv) means that while they tell teachers what to teach, they do not tell them "how" science shall be taught. Ana Houseal and Peter Ellsworth have worked with eight Wyoming school districts on the implementation of "NGSS" and have found that there are several questions that have emerged repeatedly: (1) How should teachers decide which textbooks, kits, and other curriculum materials to buy? (2) How do teachers plan professional development activities? (3) Why is there such an emphasis on science and engineering practices? and (4) Where are teachers going to find the time to do all this? To find answers to these questions, Houseal and Ellsworth recommend the research summarized in two volumes published by the National Research Council (NRC): "Taking Science to School" (2007) and "Ready, Set, Science" (2008). This research provides clear guidelines educators can use to evaluate commercial educational materials and professional development programs and to plan instructional activities and assessments that align with the standards. These documents, along with "A Framework for K-12 Science Education" (NRC 2012), informed the development of the "NGSS," and in the case of "Ready, Set, Science," give examples of what research-based instruction looks like. Most of the teachers and administrators in the districts in which Houseal and Ellsworth have worked are only vaguely familiar with these documents and their implications. Thus, in this article they identify and discuss three big ideas to help teachers make sense of the intent and structure of the "NGSS." Additionally, they discuss conclusions and make suggestions as to how to address the issues raised by the three big ideas and present some possible answers to the four questions.
Descriptors: Academic Standards, Science Education, Guidelines, Research, Experiential Learning, Cognitive Ability, Age Differences, Course Content, Teaching Methods, Science Process Skills, Science Curriculum, Instructional Materials, Faculty Development, STEM Education, Time Factors (Learning), Elementary Secondary Education
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A