We have received many questions from elementary school teachers asking how they can get up to speed on Next Generation Science Standards NGSS. In recent years, there has been some confusion and we have been searching for resources to help teachers to become prepared. One of those resources we came across recently is a website published by Erika Gasper, a science curriculum researcher and developer, called simplyteachingscience.
A recent article from Simply Teaching Science titled, “So Many Systems,” explores the concept of how systems thinking is a foundational skill in next gen science. I have included an excerpt from that article below. For the complete article, visit Simply Teaching Science.
“One of the essential elements that distinguishes next gen science from prior science standards is the emphasis on systems thinking and modeling. The Next Generation Science Standards include Systems and System Modeling as one of the seven crosscutting concepts that are developed in every grade from K-12. Systems can be considered a kind of “meta” crosscutting concept that waves through nearly all of the other crosscutting concepts. The reason that next gen standards emphasize systems so heavily is that systems thinking and system modeling are core skills in scientific and engineering careers. Scientists and engineers use systems thinking to approach all types of scientific investigations and engineering designs. The natural world can best be understood as systems nested in with smaller and larger systems, from the quantum particles to the known universe. System modeling is a core engineering design process that is applicable to just about every industry.”
Science Lessons Grade 2
In addition, they offer fun, easy to follow science lesson plans for Kindergarten, First, Second, Third, Forth, and Fifth grades. For instance, we have heard very positive feedback from their Grade 2 Science Lessons called “Finding Direction” where students learn how to make simple compasses and learn basic concepts about gravity.
Plus, they offer a new lesson called “Systems and Systems Modeling.” An excerpt from this lesson: “Introduces students to how and why scientists use systems thinking and system modeling. The worksheets use simple, familiar contexts to explain how the parts of a system work together to perform its function by changing and moving energy and matter. The activities provide clear steps and scaffolding for students as they draw their own system models.”
In summary, if you are an elementary school teacher struggling for lesson plans to make science fun and memorable for your students, check out Simply Teaching Science.