Last week, new guidelines for K–12 science education were released. The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) were developed by 26 states, along with the National Research Council, the National Science Teachers Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Achieve. The standards emphasize critical thinking over content memorization and identify science and engineering practices that students should master to be fully prepared for college and careers.
NGSS also recommends that students learn about climate change. For the last two years, we have partnered with Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management on a program called My Carbon Footprint, an educational initiative designed to build awareness about climate change science. As a result of this project, we have developed two climate change curriculums – one for middle schools and one for high schools – that include hands-on activities that give students the foundation they need to understand climate change. Both curriculums align to the seven crosscutting scientific and engineering concepts identified in the NGSS framework: patterns; cause and effect; scale, proportion, and quantity; systems and system models; energy and matter: flows, cycles and conservation; structure and function; stability and change. The curriculums can be downloaded for free and can help guide teachers who implement climate change science lessons into their classrooms.
The NGSS guidelines are voluntary, but many educators are applauding the move away from rote memorization. Our president and CEO, Margaret Honey, said in a recent USA Today article that children should be taught
“how to learn and how to be discerning…When I was a kid, education was memorizing and learning lots of facts — that methodology of teaching absolutely no longer makes sense. That’s not the world we live in anymore.”
In response to a teachers plea
for science resources, we’ve gathered some links and lessons from the Teachers Talkingscience
site, some of which NYSCI has written and which extend the learning of Science Friday videos. Most of these have videos and associated lesson plans:
Comparative Metabolism and Energy use:
Energy content and behavior of matter:
How the metabolic needs of individual organisms create ecosystem connections
Comparing ourselves to robots
Is today’s music instruction a little hollow? Should science education be hit with a thunderbolt?
Don’t worry. The thunderbolt is in town and she has collaborated with NYSCI and the Creator’s Project on an education series for middle school students. Björk, the Icelandic music superstar, has made New York City the first U.S. stop on her Biophilia tour, with shows at NYSCI and Roseland Ballroom. Not content to just sing about nature and science, Björk has made education an integral part of her New York residency. Through the Biophilia Education Series, music and science instructors are educating 50 Queens students by using Björk songs to teach topics like dark matter, crystalline structures, and viruses. Students were recruited from middle schools in our neighboring communities of Corona and Flushing.
In the Biophilia after-school workshops and this week’s winter break camp, students explore the fundamentals of music composition and production using iPad apps created by Björk for her latest project, Biophilia. Students also participate in demonstrations and hands-on activities led by NYSCI instructors that explore the scientific themes of Biophilia. The result is a unique educational experience that will get kids feeling electrified about songs, nature and technology.
Think of it as a bolt of inventiveness for science and music learning.
Photo: Students learn about the phases of the moon at a Biophilia workshop. Photo by Andrew Kelly. View more photos.