In early April, 2013, the world was greeted with the first-ever set of Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Developed and released as an effort to help high school students more easily enter into math and technology rich college programs, the NGSS goal, derived from the original “Framework K-12 Science Education” created by the National Research Council, is to foster scientific learning while also aiding students in understanding the unique processes of scientific examination.
Since their release, several states have adopted these standards (along with Common Core State Standards). Although there is no nationwide mandate for incorporating the science benchmarks into the classroom, after school programs and individual teachers all over the country have found immense value in their adoption of the NGSS. Meant to be coupled together, the NGSS aren’t a checklist — they’re an instruction guide on the best ways to bundle science standards together for the benefit of students by capitalizing on the connections between each standard.
The Unique Dimensions
While NGSS has only recently released its bundles, PCS has already taken the time to commit resources to developing coherent, cohesive units that will allow teachers to more easily review concepts. This new bundling effort will allow students to see connections between ideas while creating more valuable instruction time in the classroom, which is sure to spark the minds of the next wave of innovation.
In the new framework, the NGSS has worked explicitly to connect all engineering standards. The field of engineering is constantly evolving, and with it, so is the cognitive demand on those who study it. Because of this, students who engage in engineering-based thinking are naturally better problem solvers, oftentimes developing multiple answers to any given problem.
It was this enhanced level of learning that immediately peaked an interest at PCS Edventures. What could we design that tapped into the potential of increased engineering-based cognitive demand, closely aligned with the NGSS and provided learners with unique, experiential projects that instill real-life knowledge? And thus, the Discover Robotics & Physics series was born! Expertly structured to support essential problem-solving and collaborative skills while students seek solutions to unique and engaging challenges, this series moves through the curriculum by having students employ the iterative design process to formulate and develop a deep understanding of robotics and physics.
As with all PCS Edventures developed curriculum, the overarching objective of Discover Robotics and Physics is to cultivate intrinsic motivation, deep conceptual foundations and a sense of intellectual empowerment. It’s the perfect way to not only introduce new concepts in any learning environment, but to also explore the possibilities of NGSS.
On top of rich engineering-based learning, PCS dove straight into biology and the life sciences, developing programs, enrichment camps and curriculum sets specifically and carefully aligned to the NGSS. Of our newly aligned learning solutions, our most recent and exciting programs, Oceanic Exploration Camp and BrickLAB Zoo, utilize hands-on, activity-based learning as a means of helping students develop the foundations of scientific inquiry, engineering design principles and technological literacy. While exercising problem-solving, communication, reflection and collaboration skills, our content integrates instructional goals into application-based learning experiences!
In Oceanic Exploration Camp, students journey from the tropics to the poles, inspect arctic food webs, simulate coral reef adaptations and survey everything from the great river deltas to the Mariana Trench. They collaborate to bring the California sea otter back from the brink of extinction and track great white sharks across the open ocean, learning and answering important sea-dwelling questions about the variety of the oceans and the differences in ecosystems. Through action-packed activities, they’ll discover the physical and geological sciences that underpin all ocean life like density, buoyancy, heat transfer, plate tectonics and the water cycle.In BrickLAB Zoo, students traverse tricky terrain, shake claws with lobsters and design ecosystems in this life science camp! They’ll discover the diversity of wildlife adaptations, the differences in habitats and what’s necessary for each biome’s survival. Focusing on specific environments, learners travel from the sands of the Sahara to the peaks of the Himalayas in search of unique and complex creatures, engage with hands-on experience around the Earth’s biospheres and investigate the vital roles animals play in the world around us.
For more information on bundles specifically aligned to the NGSS or for unique learning solutions perfect for your educational environment, contact one of our STEM Program Specialists today at 800-429-3110, or through email at email@example.com
Three Dimensional Learning. N.d. Retrieved May 2, 2016 from http://www.nextgenscience.org/three-dimensions
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