The National Research Council's (NRC) Framework describes a vision of what it means to be proficient in science. It presents three dimensions that are combined to form each standard. In my last post I suggested that you allow for inquiry learning while controlling the conditions in the classroom. In this post I would like to offer an example of how that might be done with a common lab on “density” that is done in most physical science classrooms. I will then use the Three Dimensional Learning Model of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) to evaluate each method as listed. My hope is that you will use this comparison to see how simple it is to change a traditional activity into an inquiry based activity that meets the three dimensions of NGSS.
To honor brevity in this post, I will not go into full description of each of the three dimensions, but I will use each to evaluate the two labs. The NGSS three dimensions of learning include Science & Engineeing Practices (SEP), Cross-Cutting Concepts (CCC), and Disciplanary Core Ideas (DCI), which all science students should be profficient in by the end of their K-12 instruction. The three dimensions are used continuously throughout science learning and are meant to be interactively blended in K-12 science instruction.
An example of a traditional method for teaching students the concept of density is listed in column ‘A’, whereas an example of an inquiry based method is listed in column ‘B’.
Below, I have highlighted—in yellow—the most obvious components of the NGSS that are met by using a three dimensional inquiry based instructional method (the part of the Physical Science DCI PS 1 related to density is used for this example). I have also highlighted—in aqua—the most obvious components met by both the traditional and the inquiry based methods for this activity.
I argue that the additional yellow-highlighted standards above can only be met by the use of inquiry based three dimensional instruction in science. I would like to invite you to try and implement an inquiry based activity in the near future and to evaluate it based upon the NGSS three dimensions of learning.
Feel free to reasearch the NGSS to deepen your understanding of three dimensional learning. Also, should you have questions about the ideas or concepts in this post, please reach out to me at any time.
This post brought to you by Dan Devine, Secondary Implementation Associate
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