Today while students took the PSAE (Prairie State Achievement Exam), those of us on the Science Curriculum Team continued to analyze the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Performance Expectations, organize them into cohesive groupings, and sequence them into courses for 6th through 11th grade. By lunch, we had an example from each of the eight groups prepared for our gallery walk.
There were several different approaches. Some, like my group’s, were more traditional than others, though we did incorporate the idea of end-of-term capstones. One group had a particularly attractive freshman course. It had a wonderful narrative rather than just being a collection of related units. It would be challenging to teach that course and maximize its potential as it would require teachers of a certain mindset, familiarity with a variety of disciplines, confidence, and flexibility.
We continue our work tomorrow and it will be interesting what elements of these ideas the team converges towards by the end of the day.