NGSS and Science Museums: How Learning Progressions Can Inform Field Trip Lesson Planning for Informal Science Centers
thesisposted on 01.07.2017, 00:00 by Dorothy Jablonski
Many states, including Wyoming, have adopted the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) or a very similar version of science standards. Research shows that in order to remain competitive in the field trip market, science museums need to align their curriculum to the same standards (Anderson, Kisiel, & Storksdieck, 2006). The major challenge for museums engaged in this process is the gaps in content introduced to various grade levels across performance expectations. I proposed that these gaps may be filled by creating a learning progression to inform the alignment process. Literature on cognitive development, informal learning, and previous learning progressions is used to create a physical science learning progression, scaffolded by foundational concepts and grade level. Next, I analyzed lessons from The Science Zone in Casper, WY to identify which foundational concept they addressed, then created a matrix to show which lessons were appropriate for each grade level. The final product is a suggested progression of physical science lessons for The Science Zone that is developmentally appropriate and aligned to the NGSS.