NGSS for NOS and ENSI NOS Lessons
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In the final NGSS, Appendix H (Nature of Science), there are eight “basic understandings about the nature of science” listed (page 4). The first four (1-4 below) are associated with practices; the second four (5-8) with crosscutting concepts. In the matrices they show (pp. 5-6), those “basic understandings” for the nature of science are referred to as “major themes” and listed under “Categories” in each matrix. The matrix describes specific “learning outcomes” for each Category/Theme in each grade band. They say that those learning outcomes are expressed in selected performance expectations in the foundation boxes throughout the standards.

If you search the NGSS for those NOS performance expectations, you will find that there are not many, and those are relegated to the bottoms of the foundation boxes (blue and green), where they may even go unnoticed or ignored by teachers. The new Framework (2012) strongly urges that the many aspects of NOS must be taught for students to achieve good science literacy. Furthermore, research has clearly shown that if the NOS elements are to be properly understood and remembered, they must be explicitly taught, and not just mentioned in the context of science inquiry for other topics of science. See <http://undsci.berkeley.edu/teaching/educational_research.php>. Fortunately, a selection of any three or four of the ENSI NOS lessons already meet all of the NGSS expectations with interactive, classroom-tested and engaging lessons. We urge you to use these in your introductory unit on the nature of science, and insert others where appropriate throughout your course.

The grid below shows which NGSS NOS Themes/Categories are addressed with each of several selected ENSI NOS lessons available on the ENSI site. Some of these (and others on the site) also meet the expectations of Common Core and STEM. Any of these lessons could be used in either middle school or high school. For lessons, see <http://www.indiana.edu/~ensiweb/natsc.fs.html>.

NGSS NOS Themes/Categories:
1. Scientific  investigations use a variety of methods
2. Scienctfic knowledge is based on empirical evidence
3. Scientific knowledge is open to revision in light of new evidence
4. Scientific models, laws, mechanisms and theories explain natural phenomena.
5. Science is a way of knowing
6. Scientific knowledge assumes an order and consistency in natural systems.
7. Science is a human endeavor.
8. Science addresses only questions about the natural and material world.


Selected ENSI NOS Lessons:

NGSS NOS Themes/Categories

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

False Assumptions

 

 

X

 

 

X

X

 

The Oat Seed Lab

X

X

 

 

X

 

X

 

Checks Lab

X

X

X

 

X

X

X

 

Sunsets, Souls & Senses

 

 

 

X

 

X

X

X

Perception is Not Always Reality

X

X

X

 

X

X

X

 

The Magic Hooey Stick

X

X

X

X

 

X

X

X

Palpating Pachyderms

X

X

X

 

X

 

X

 

Mystery Boxes

X

X

X

 

X

X

X

 

Crime Scene: Case of Missing Microchip

X

X

X

 

X

X

X

 

Therapeutic Touch

X

X

X

X

 

X

X

X

How’s Your Horoscope

X

X

X

X

 

X

X

X

Corresponding
ENSI Key Concepts:

4,5,
6,11

2

7,10

1

2,3
7,12

1

8,9

1,2