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NGSS Topic Study Cycle Format

The NGSS Topic Study Cycle is designed to happen in a one hour setting. Additional time is recommended if available to increase the time participants have to read, research, and take personal notes as well as participate in a collaborative discussion. The times referenced below are a minimum amount to allow for each component of the study cycle to occur. 

Prior to running a study cycle, it is recommended that one person is identified as a group facilitator. That person should take a few minutes to review the section on Planning an NGSS Topic study as well as prepare any tools and handouts in the NGSS Study Tools and Handouts section. The facilitator takes responsibility for keeping the study cycle flowing and ensuring that all the components are followed.

The NGSS Topic Study Cycle of Inquiry, Study, and Reflection

TOPIC ENGAGEMENT (3 minutes)
Purpose: Think about why I want to engage in an NGSS Topic Study.

Questions/Actions for Consideration:
  • What is my purpose for engaging in a NGSS Topic Study?
  • What grade level(s) will I focus on?
  • What topic (from the 60 possible topics) will be studied.
  • What resources will I focus on as part of my research?

TOPIC ELICITATION (7 minutes)
Purpose: Activate and record current knowledge and beliefs about the chosen topic prior to engaging in the reading, research, and note taking process.

Questions/Actions Steps for Consideration:
  • What skills and concepts should all students leaving high school and scientifically literate adults have about my topic?
  • What difficulties or misconceptions related to my topic am I aware of?

TOPIC EXPLORATION AND DEVELOPMENT (25 minutes)
Purpose: Read, research, and take notes about the topic. Individually process information and jot down important notes. Prepare to participate in a collaborative discussion and synthesis of information.

Questions/Actions Steps for Consideration:
  • Take time to read, research, and take notes about the topic.
  • Review the general questions in each of the three Goals for the NGSS Topic Study (or the identified goal if time is limited).
  • Use a graphic organizer or handout from NGSS Topic Study Tools and Handouts for note taking purposes and to focus thinking. 
  • What do I see that I want to dig deeper into?
  • What key learning do I want to share in a collaborative discussion?

TOPIC DISCUSSION AND SYNTHESIS (20 minutes)
Purpose: Share out key learning as findings from reading and research. Listen critically to the ideas of others and make notes of relevant information. Reflect on initial ideas and outcomes and summarize group's findings. 

Questions/Actions Steps for Consideration:
  • What are the important ideas?
  • What do these findings mean?
  • How has my thinking changed from my initial thinking during the Topic Elicitation phase of the NGSS topic study?
  • How do I summarize the group discussion and findings?

TOPIC APPLICATION (5 minutes)
Purpose: Synthesize results and learning and prepare to apply findings. Think about how to apply the findings from the topic study.

Questions/Actions Steps for Consideration:
  • What conclusions can I draw from the findings to help me apply them to my work?
  • How will I use the findings from the NGSS Topic Study?
  • How can I put ideas from different topic studies together?
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