AIMS Center

NGSS Thoughts- Grouping Performance Expectations

For this entry I’m going to be discussing the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Performance Expectations (PE), which state what students should be able to do in order to demonstrate that they have met the standards. I think of these expectations as “goals” for students in science and for teachers to know what to share and teach in their classrooms. These standards are also clear and specific targets for curriculum and instruction. The PE’s for every grade incorporate the three-dimensional learning laid out in the NGSS document and incorporate a science or engineering practice, a core disciplinary idea, and a crosscutting concept in each. They also list connections to ideas within the disciplines of science and engineering, and with Common Core State Standards in Mathematics and English Language Arts, which is very helpful.

The PEs should be used as a guide for teachers to make connections when thinking about the flow and sequence of the science lessons they teach in the classroom. Think of the PEs as a storyline. Beware that trying to teach each individual PE separately and adequately would be impossible during a calendar school year, and it makes much less sense than to group various ones together to make a cohesive unit of instruction based on grouping. Try to think about how to group different PEs together to create science units. The benefit of being able to choose this way is that there is no set way to do it, it’s entirely up to you. Do some collaboration with your learning team and find what works for you.

Suggestions for the focus of your NGSS science units based on grouped PE units might be:

  1. Science domain or topic
  2. NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas
  3. Similar science interactions
  4. Scientific connections/relationships

The NGSS website has great resources to help with this idea. A new school year starts soon. Will you be “bundling” the NGSS Performance Expectations in a new and unique way?

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