2014 GSA Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia (19–22 October 2014)

Paper No. 9-1
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM


MANNING, Cheryl L.B., Evergreen High School, 29300 Buffalo Park Road, Evergreen, CO 80439

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) challenge the K-12 education community to recognize the legitimacy of the Earth Sciences at or above the level of Biology, Chemistry, or Physics. Additionally, the NGSS integrates technology, engineering, mathematics and writing at all levels. While states contemplate adoption of these standards, Earth Science teachers around the country are eager to recreate their courses to reflect the new rigor presented in the NGSS.

The NGSS includes a broad range of Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI) including the Universe and stars, solar system, history of Earth, Earth materials and systems, plate tectonics and large scale system interactions, the role of water on Earth, weather and climate, biogeology, natural resources, natural hazards, human impacts, and climate change. In addition to these topics there is a strong emphasis on engineering principles. I will demonstrate how an aligned, well-designed Earth/Space Science course can address the DCI and encourage students to use scaling principles to create models; incorporate mathematical principles into investigations, experiments, and data analysis; design and refine solutions to identified problems; and use scientific evidence in writing. Students learn to make more explicit connections within natural and designed systems by evaluating cause/effect relationships and the forces and feedbacks that lead to stability or change. Students also develop an understanding of the role of different types of technologies on these systems.

Designing a high school level Earth/Space Science course that incorporates all of these components requires that we maintain a big-picture perspective and still pay attention to details. Curriculum design should utilize gap analysis to balance breadth and depth, as well as organization and flow. This ensures that students are given ample opportunities to gain an understanding of the content so they can apply their knowledge and skills creativity.

  • NGSS_EarthScienceHS.pdf (18.6 MB)