ENSI NOS Lessons: Meeting the New Science Standards
Science Education Standards.
ENSI’s NOS lessons reflect virtually every Learning Outcome listed in the two matrices in Appendix H of the NGSS on how the NOS is handled in the NGSS (pages 5 and 6), and even a few goals in the 2012 national Science Framework that were overlooked by the NGSS. Some of those Learning Outcomes are not as clear as they could be, and a few important elements are missing, but this is much better than in any earlier set of national standards. If your state has not yet developed new science standards, you might want to point out those few suggested changes to your state standards committee if you have the chance. Perhaps you could work with your state science teacher's association in doing this. If you like, you can contact the ENSI webmaster for a copy of the NOS suggestions he sent to his state (CA) committee.
Scientific Argumentation: This is another major goal of both the NGSS and the Common Core Standards. It appears in the new Framework for K-12 Science Education (2012) nearly 100 times. Several of the ENSI NOS lessons do provide opportunity to practice this skill. See links to resources and ENSI lessons referenced below under Scientific Argumentation.
Critical thinking has also been a stated goal in past science frameworks, and the latest one (NRC 2012) expresses this as engaging in “…critical and evidence-based argumentation…” But this, too, requires that certain strategies be actively and explicitly modeled and practiced. Even if a textbook were to describe those strategies, it’s the teacher who must do the modeling and guide the practicing students. Critical thinking should be an important part of your introductory unit on the NOS.
Studies have pointed out that students will not learn or acquire understanding of the many important elements of the NOS simply by doing investigative studies (Khishfe & Abd-El-Khalick 2002; Schwartz, et al 2004). Specific elements of the NOS must be pointed out explicitly, and students must engage with them in interactive lessons.
STEM and Common Core Standards
There are at least three of ENSI’s NOS lessons that use and apply math in science (meeting both STEM and Common Core goals): The Oat Seed Lab (teaches statistical analysis, growth measurements, graphing and their analyses). The Perception Not Always Reality involves measuring percent differences between estimated and measured degrees of difference. How’s Your Horoscope involves calculating likely results due to chance.
Common Core related lessons in the ENSI NOS collection that require reading and interpreting scientific material (besides the math-using and argumentation lessons mentioned):
LINKS TO USEFUL INFORMATION:
Index to Useful Overviews of ENSI NOS Lessons (includes NGSS-CCS-STEM targeted lessons)
NRC (National Research Council). 2013. NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards),