In Robinson’s Weblog #005: For Goodness’ Sake, Will You Please Sit Down? Part Two: Your Ego is not Your Amigo, I wrote about my experiences with teaching subjects outside of my area of expertise.
When I taught subjects outside of chemistry, I didn’t always have an in-depth knowledge of the content. But, I did have my teaching superpower, which is what I call the ability to effectively facilitate student learning experiences. In addition to my teaching superpower, I also had a solid understanding of the “big ideas” of science; which gave me the adequate background I needed to step into unfamiliar domains. At that time I did not realize that there are two other types of big ideas that are important too.
As an integrative STEM educator, you do not need to be an expert on every topic in each science discipline, but you should know the big ideas and there a three main types:
- Big ideas about science education
- Big ideas about science
- Big ideas of science
Big Ideas About Science Education
These describe the overall vision for science education and the goal that science education aims to accomplish. In other words: What’s the point of science education?
Big Ideas About Science
These describe what science is, along with its characteristics, and are often referred to as the nature of science (NOS).
Big Ideas of Science
These are the the knowledge and practices that all students should know and be able to do by the end of high school.
In July 2011, the National Research Council (NRC) released A Framework for K–12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas, which draws on current scientific research on the ways students learn science effectively.
The Framework has three parts:
PART I: A Vision for K-12 Science Education
Outlines the vision for K-12 science education in the U.S. and describes assumptions about learning upon which the framework is based.
PART II: Dimensions of the Framework
Provides the core ideas and practices for K-12 education in the natural sciences (and engineering) and provides guidance on how these ideas and practices should be integrated into standards.
PART III: Realizing the Vision
Addresses issues related to designing and implementing standards, and outlines the means to realize the vision for K-12 Science Education.
Part III provides guidance for how the different ideas articulated in the framework should be integrated into standards. Thus, the framework provides the guidelines for the development of the new science education standards that came to be known as the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).
In my opinion, A Framework for K–12 Science Education does an excellent job of identifying all three types of big ideas. How and where? I’ll explain in future weblog entries. Stay tuned...
Last Updated: 7/20/2017