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Goals for the NGSS Topic Study

An effective NGSS Topic Study engages adults as learners in the dimensions and performance expectations of the Next Generation Science Standards as they ponder and discuss what students should know and be able to do. There are three main goals of the NGSS Topic Study process. They are listed below along with general reflective and discussion questions for consideration among the study group members.

Goal #1: Identify the Outcomes of the Standards
The Next Generation Science Standards establish a vision of what all students should know and be able to do to be considered literate in science as they leave high school. This is the base set of knowledge that all adults (including teachers) should have to be informed citizens and consumers in our knowledge and technology-driven global society.

General Questions:
  • What "big ideas" and major concepts make up this topic?
  • What examples or contexts were used to explain the ideas?
  • What other new insights about the topic did you gain from your study?


Goal #2: Consider Instructional Implications
Identify important considerations for K-12 or grade span instruction, provide a broad overview of the big ideas, concepts, and skills for K-12 students related to the topic, and suggest effective instructional strategies and contexts.

General Questions:
  • What "big ideas" and concepts should students at your identified grade level know and be able to do with the topic you are studying?
  • What student learning difficulties, misconceptions, or developmental considerations are mentioned?
  • Are there explanations, examples, or investigations that you can use with students to explain concepts in an interesting or comprehensible way?
  • How would you sequence the "big ideas" in an instructional sequence that makes sense?


Goal #3: Identify Concepts and Specific Ideas through Performance Expectations
Identify the concepts, specific ideas, level of sophistication, and appropriate terminology related to a topic as they relate to the performance expectations of the NGSS.

General Questions:
  • What performance expectations align with this topic?
  • What concepts, specific ideas, and practices make up the performance expectations for this topic?
  • How do these performance expectations help you clarify what is important to teach in the topic?
  • How do these performance expectations help you determine what you can eliminate or place less emphasis on?

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