Building Theory While Supporting Implementation of the NGSS

Implementing the NGSS requires changes in teaching, assessments, and curriculum materials. In this session, participants explore theoretical questions for DR K12 research that are raised by these NGSS implementation challenges.

2014 Session Types
Mini-plenary Presentation

The Next Generation Science Standards present important shifts for science teaching, assessment, and curriculum materials—focusing on core explanatory ideas, a central role for science and engineering practices, and coherence across time and science disciplines. These challenges for practice require new theoretical advances. This session explores connections between problems of practice and theory–building research needed for the NGSS to identify synergies across DR K12 projects. Four projects present approaches to these theory-practice connections:

1. Developing a Model to Support Student Understanding of Sub-Microscopic Interactions. This project is developing curriculum materials to support students developing models of sub-microscopic objects’ interactions to explain behavior of physical and living systems that align with performance expectations in the NGSS.

2. Supporting Scientific Practices in Elementary and Middle School. This project is developing a learning progression describing students’ increasing sophistication in meaningful use of scientific practices to develop mechanistic, explanatory models through argumentation, and exploring teaching strategies that support this progression.

3. Modeling Scientific Practice in High School Biology. This project is developing educative curriculum materials to explore the curriculum and pedagogical resources needed to support teachers in enacting instruction that engages students in model-based reasoning in biology.

4. Designing Assessments in Physical Science Across Three Dimensions. Evidence-centered design drives research to develop models for assessment that blend content and practices as highlighted in the NGSS performance expectations, including how proficiency changes over time with instruction.

Following brief presentations from these projects, session attendees discuss how their projects are connected to these theoretical and practice-oriented issues, and identify synergies across DR K12 projects for meeting the needs of theory and practice.