Having just joined the #NGSSBlogs, I'm finding tons of helpful blogs from other science teachers who really care about shifting their practices into 3D Learning (that's the term for weaving content, practices and cross-cutting concepts together). Today I'm responding to a post from science teachers in the Puget Sound area, "The Reasoning Problem". I feel so fortunate to find these kinds of things to read and learn from. How lucky are we to be in a profession where people want to share with each other for the good of the people we serve?
It's always a little un-nerving to swap ideas with someone who you don't know. But I'm always in for a challenge.
So the idea presented was how well the cross-cutting ideas would help students gain a broader and more specific understanding of what constitutes "reasoning". Oh boy, I've spent a whole semester trying to help students beyond retelling and to analyzing what happened and creating an original, reasoned answer. And the lesson is designed to help them identify and use specific types of reasoning. Both of these targets would be very informative to my practice.
The first reading is about wolves and I really was impressed with the multiple readings routine. This is something that people have advocated but never really explained how it would work in the science classroom.
The general pattern seems to be that the 1st reading is for unknown words or phrases. I'm assuming that you discuss these before you go back to do the second and third readings. The 2nd reading begins to tear apart the reading for understanding. In the high school example, students uncover the points of view as well as what would be seen in the wolf population if this point of view was established. In the elementary example, the teacher show them how to use a fossil card to find the evidence they need to answer the prompt. There is an emphasis on the cross-cutting concept that is part of the learning goals for that lesson. So the fossil care is constructed to highlight structure and function. Smart!!!! There is one model done as a whole class and then the independent practice. Again, I think both of these are well thought out. The 3rd reading is a bit different for each age group---high schoolers work on identify cause-effect relationship and I can imagine what that might look like but didn't see a place for it on the graphic organizer. Elementary students continue the work that they saw modeled but for different organisms.
I thought this general structure was terrific and would work well for almost any class. Plus this blog post really describes how it close reading looks in the science classroom.
I also thought the strength of the lesson was in the follow-up to the evidence processing. High schoolers, using their knowledge of the cross-cutting concept, had to rate each point of view and then create their own. Love the fact that there was analysis and then applying that analysis to their own solution. Elementary students categorize their fossil cards and construct argument block organizers they can use in the classroom discussion.
Can't you imagine the strength of each of these approaches?
My students are about ready to embark on a new unit about forces and Newton's laws. If I were to apply these techniques within my classroom, I would need to find a good article that describes action-reaction pairs and do something similar to the fossil cards. Maybe a book like "The Physics of Baseball" by Robert Adair since we're in the midst of spring training and our town is nuts over the Royals? or "Soccer Science" by Natalie Hyde is Sporting KC's season is also starting. Since our cross-cutting concept for this lesson is Systems and Models, I would want to focus on interactions, processes and outputs or how the energy flows within the system. The standard really calls for us to focus on Newton's 3rd Law, but I think a quick review of the 1st and 2nd law would be very helpful, especially since it's been at least 3 years since they've studied these ideas.
I'm going to try this out and see how it goes. Anyone have ideas or feedback for me?