ERIC Number: EJ1096152
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
ISSN: ISSN-1933 8341
Teaching the "Geo" in Geography with the Next Generation Science Standards
Wysession, Michael E.
Geography Teacher, v13 n1 p17-22 2016
The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS; Achieve 2014, 532; Figure 1A) represent a new approach to K-12 science education that involves the interweaving of three educational dimensions: Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs), Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs), and Crosscutting Concepts (CCCs). Unlike most preexisting state science standards for public education, these new standards focus on what students can do and not what they have memorized. The NGSS were motivated by the awareness within business and industry of the great need for better STEM education (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) in order to meet future workforce demands for a global economy that is shifting toward higher technology levels. They were the result of a states-led effort, with twenty-six participating states involved in the writing; so far they have been adopted in full by sixteen states and the District of Columbia and adopted in part by several additional states and a large number of school districts. The NGSS have an increased focus on human-relevant content areas including the geosciences, which provide many new opportunities for the teaching of geography. The NGSS consist of a set of performance expectations for all U.S. K-12 students to complete, constructed in an integrated transdisciplinary manner for elementary school and broken out by discipline (Life Science, Physical Science, Earth and Space Science) for middle and high school. These performance expectations (PEs) represent a significant departure from the way science education has been previously assessed in the United States. To begin with, the PEs weave together eight practices of science and engineering (SEPs) with the content of science (DCIs), both within the context of seven broad crosscutting concepts (CCCs), as motivated by the National Research Council Report (NRC) A "Framework for K-12 Science Education" (NRC 2011; Figure 1B). The NGSS present an emphasis on science content that is relevant to human society and culture, resulting in a greater emphasis on earth science, which has a year's worth of standards for high school as well as middle school. The NGSS content is presented with a systems approach, as opposed to a disconnected set of facts to be memorized, and humans are an important part of this system. In addition, within the NGSS the line between science and engineering is intentionally blurred, and engineering concepts are integrated within all three dimensions. This means that the performance expectations go beyond the identification of human interactions with Earth's geographic surface to emphasize concepts of human sustainability through incorporation of the engineering design process. There is a great deal of enthusiasm within the national K-12 science education communities for implementation of the NGSS, and as a result there are a great number of resources being produced. The bipartisan not-for-profit states-led organization Achieve, which supervised the writing of the NGSS, has produced many resources listed at www. nextgenscience.org/resources.
Descriptors: Geography Instruction, Teaching Methods, Academic Standards, Educational Practices, Educational Change, Elementary Secondary Education, Curriculum Implementation
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A