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Criteria 3 - Coherence

Lessons and units should build on discoveries from prior life experiences and/or background knowledge, student investigations and concepts covered in prior units and, when applicable, prior grade bands.

Outcome

Students will build on concepts discovered in prior years as well as building knowledge and skills throughout each unit.

Feature Expanding Implementation Implementation Beginning Implementation No Implementation
3A In designing and implementing instructional units, the teacher uses knowledge of the progressions of all three dimensions (DCI Matrix, SEP progressions, CCC progression;) and actively seeks information from students about previous instructional and life experiences to build upon prior knowledge and skills.  The teacher is aware of the progressions of all three dimensions (DCI Matrix, SEP progressions, CCC progression;) and works to connect current learning to past concepts but does not attempt to uncover what knowledge and skills students bring to the unit from life experiences. The teacher is aware of past experiences students have engaged in but only for the reason of not repeating them in the current grade level. The teacher is unaware of prior learning and experiences so each instructional unit starts from scratch with foundational ideas and skills.
3B Throughout the instructional unit, students engage in investigating an anchor phenomenon and related lesson level phenomenon and use their learning from each lesson to figure out different aspects of the natural event through their investigations. Throughout the instructional unit, students are investigating different lesson level phenomena that are conceptually connected or are exploring an anchor phenomenon but students do not figure out different aspects of the natural event or do not need to tie current learning with prior learning. Throughout the instructional unit, students are engaged in science activities/laboratory experiences that relate to a big idea but students are not able to articulate that relationship. Throughout the instructional unit, students engage in isolated lessons or investigations that are grouped together around a science topic or textbook chapter.
3C The instructional unit is coherent and when asked students are able to identify how what they are learning on a given day was related to previous learning and/or how it will guide future learning. The instructional unit has conceptual coherence; however, when asked, students may not consistently be able to identify how what they are learning on a given day was related to previous learning and/or how it will guide future learning. The instructional unit appears to have a loose conceptual coherence but appears to be organized around a topic or theme instead of phenomena with sequenced lessons to build conceptual understanding. The instructional unit is organized by content, each section/chapter having “cookbook labs” or activities that largely confirm learning about content.
3D Student learning targets/objectives are three-dimensional learning performances that build towards the big ideas of the unit because they are designed and coordinated over time to ensure students build understanding of all three dimensions of the standards. Student learning targets/objectives are three-dimensional learning performances that are designed to build student understanding. Student learning targets/objectives are one or two-dimensional and are typically focused on student mastery of learning particular content or skills but are not focused on all three dimensions. Student learning targets/objectives are performance expectations themselves and are treated as singular items to be learned  in isolation from one another.
3E Students and the teacher collaborate to establish driving question(s) and subsequent lesson-level questions build coherently to allow students to make sense of a phenomenon while building towards performance expectations. Students and the teacher collaborate to establish driving question(s) then the teacher determines which questions will be investigated and subsequent questions/investigations are not necessarily sequenced to build understanding. The teacher selects driving question(s) and the question is not complex enough to require building understanding over the course of several investigations. Students answer content-based questions at the beginning and/or end each lesson, unit, and/or chapter. Questions/prompts do not offer opportunities for students to show understanding of crosscutting concepts or science/engineering practices.

Feature 3A Resources

Appendix F - Science and Engineering Practices in the NGSS provides K-12 learning progressions for the science and engineering practices.

Appendix G - Crosscutting Concepts provides K-12 learning progressions for the crosscutting concepts.

Disciplinary Core Ideas in the NGSS

Next Generation Science Storylines - A team of science educators from Northwestern University in partnership with K-12 teachers has developed sample elementary, middle and high school storylines. 

Making Science Instruction Compelling for All Students: Using Cultural Formative Assessment to Build on Learner Interest and Experience provides professional learning focused on learner interest and identity.

The Iowa Science Standards as well as the NGSS are based on A Framework for K-12 Science Education that was developed by a committee of the National Research Council. This framework “...articulates a broad set of expectations for students in science (Framework, p. 1). The Framework along with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) together describe a new vision for science learning and teaching.

Feature 3B Resources

Nurturing STEM Skills in Young Learners, PreK-3 describes the issues, key research and promising practices related to fostering STEM skills in early learning environments.

Next Generation Science Storylines has developed a Storyline Design Toolkit including instructional routines for developing and implementing units of instruction that are grounded in phenomenon-based instruction.

Using Phenomena in NGSS-Designed Instruction includes an interview with Brian Reiser about using Phenomenon in instruction, a written resource describing how and why to use Phenomena and another resource describing the Qualities of Good Anchoring Phenomena.

Phenomena for NGSS provides a searchable bank of phenomena that have the potential to be instructionally productive. The site also provides reasons for using phenomenon in science instruction.

#Project Phenomena developed by the San Diego County Office of Education and includes criteria for selecting phenomena and a phenomenon database.

Feature 3C Resources

Next Generation Science Storylines has developed a Storyline Design Toolkit including instructional routines for developing and implementing units of instruction that are grounded in phenomenon-based instruction.

NGSS EQuIP Rubric for Science

Feature 3D Resources

This video from Mississippi Bend AEA describes a process and provides a template (PDF in folder) for unwrapping/unpacking the science standards.

How to define meaningful daily learning objectives for science investigations

Feature 3E Resources

Next Generation Science Storylines has developed a Storyline Design Toolkit that provides a process for unpacking standards and developing a storyline based on the unpacked standards.

 

Created 2018 through the work of M. Sanderman, P. Christensen, K. Kilibarda; Updated 2020 through the work of E. Hall, M. Sanderman, T. Jarrett, S. Nelson, K. Schmidt