An emerging science concept called phenomena-based learning—backed by the NGSS—taps into students’ natural desire to make sense of their world.

This approach encourages students to observe natural phenomena, such as a rising tide or a glass shattered by sound. They can then investigate why it occurs.

Students also learn that the approach mirrors how actual scientists find answers through reasoning and inquiry.

“I like to think of phenomena as breadcrumbs that teachers are going to use to guide students along learning paths,” says Ted Willard, assistant director for science standards for the National Science Teachers Association.

Unlike in a traditional teacher-led lesson, students in NGSS phenomena-based learning lead by asking questions.

They also collaborate, discover connections, design models, and ultimately, make sense of what they observe.

“This inquiry-based approach avoids ‘intellectual bulimia’ in which students just learn words to spit back out on a test,” says Willard.

“By teaching them the reasoning process, they get a deeper understanding of science concepts.”


Click here to read the full story in District Administration magazine (February 14, 2019)




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