Evidence statements from NGSS (I'm going to call them ES after this) are big gnarly layer that I need to add onto my understanding.
My biggest ah-ha came as I realized that most statements are given through the lens of the SEPs. I knew from designing 2015-2016 lessons that all 3 dimensions were important and I believe that SEPs are the way to creating lasting knowledge for my students. But now the ES are giving me a better handle on just how this will look in the classroom.
My first unit is on Energy
UNIT 1: ENERGY
And we have these basic learning targets. We've designed the unit to start off looking at MS PS 3-1 which defines the basic forms of energy while learning how to use math to study these types. I think I'm lucky because I've also taught math and it makes sense to me to use graphs to show how all the variables are related. I'm also lucky because our district's math curriculum spends gobs of time talking about direct and indirect relationships. So when the ES elaborate in this way,
it totally makes sense to me.
I actually think using something like Geometer's Sketchpad would make this easy. Why?
Because you can easily manipulate the variables so the you could change speed and mass and actually observe what happens to the line. From doing enough examples, students would easily be able to discern the patterns of change. That pattern would reveal the proportionality of this relationship.
It does bring up an important question. I believe it's a huge shift in thinking to have students realize that a graph actually represents something in the world. Getting them to trust that they can look at the graph and play around with it and learn something about how the speed and mass of the car varies on the ramp. It's a big leap of faith for them.
Once they make it, though....well, you've got them hooked for the whole year. I also see a heavy role for formative assessment here. I think I can build a Sketchpad they can access through their devices and they can manipulate it. I wonder if I can create formative questions they would have to answer and then have them build screencasts to explain what they've learned. Even if the explanation was wrong, the class discussion would reveal that and then we could talk about how the explanation would have to shift or change to accurately reflect what the graph was communicating.
Gobs of complex learning is involved....explanations, discussion, evaluating evidence, interpreting evidence, using math to answer questions, trusting the classroom culture enough to be wrong and willing to accept revisions, being respectful, being brave to experiment with something that is probably a unique experience, being able to write about it in their science journals. Does anyone think teaching science is easy? If they do, they clearly haven't considered all that goes into this that is well beyond the actual science standard.
And that's what the ES are pushing teachers towards, don't you think?
So lots of talk. Lots of documenting what they're thinking and using that documentation to help them realize that math helps understand science. It's also a big help to see the ES because they confirm my own professional understanding and help me transition to the 3D style of teaching science.