Paper No. 58-9
Presentation Time: 3:30 PM
LEARNING THE THREE DIMENSIONS OF NGSS THROUGH EARTH SCIENCE APPLICATIONS: THREE EXAMPLES FROM THE MI-STAR CURRICULUM
The Michigan Science Teaching Assessment and Reform (Mi-STAR) project is a partnership of scientists, engineers, K-12 and university educators, professional development providers, and others who are working together to improve the quality of the teaching and learning of science and engineering in the middle grades. Through the Mi-STAR project, Michigan teachers and content experts are developing a middle school curriculum that is Michigan-centric and inquiry-based, aligns with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), integrates STEM disciplines, and addresses 21st
-century applications. These curricular elements are designed to engage students and motivate them to recognize the relevance of science and engineering. In each unit, students complete performance-based tasks (challenges) based on a Michigan-relevant, 21st
-century application related to the unit’s assessable package of NGSS Performance Expectations. The unit-long challenge is a series of tasks that builds student knowledge and skills through the context of 21st
-century applications, while the end-of-unit challenge task is a summative assessment that calls on students to apply the skills they have gained to address a real-world scenario.
Geoscience is central to many of the 21st-century applications on which teachers and experts have based their unit challenges. Three examples of geoscience-focused unit challenges include road design (for a 7th-grade unit), selection of a wall material to maximize resource conservation (also for a 7th-grade unit), and developing an emergency preparedness plan (for an 8th-grade unit). Each of these units actively involves students in experiences and performance-based tasks related to physical science and Earth and space science as they build the competency needed to undertake the final challenge. In alignment with NGSS, each of the end-of-unit challenges requires students to demonstrate three-dimensional learning by performing science and/or engineering tasks that require the use of multiple practices, crosscutting concepts, and disciplinary core ideas. Geoscience is an interdisciplinary field that provides a robust context for these challenges and for holistic learning of science and engineering.