University of Wyoming
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Using Storylines to Enhance Student Understanding of Space Systems

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posted on 2021-11-15, 21:12 authored by Ronald S. Ruckman
After the National Research Council’s publication of A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas and the subsequent adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), teachers were left with a significant challenge. The sheer magnitude of the task of finding, adapting, and creating new curriculum to support the three-dimensional (3D) approach called for in the NGSS was daunting at best. This project was an intentional effort to document the creation process of a 3D NGSS unit by a working teacher. The project used an anchoring storyline as outlined at This effort effectively incorporated the Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs), the Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs), and the Crosscutting Concepts (CCCs) of the NGSS into an Earth and Space Science unit for eighth grade students. The unit used anchoring phenomena and followed a dynamic science storyline. The vision was to allow students to move into the role of scientists and to allow the teacher to act as a partner in their journey to understanding. In this way, students were able to tap into their innate sense of curiosity which allowed them to drive their own understanding of the big ideas of Earth and Space Science. The process of designing the unit and its subsequent classroom pilot was documented and reviewed. The benefits of using this method, for the teacher and the students, are discussed.



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