The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)* call for students to use the practices, concepts and content of science and engineering to understand phenomena and solve problems that are relevant to their lives. Starting from a student’s own experiences and community makes the science meaningful and increases engagement while helping students understand how global issues like climate change are present and addressable in their lives. In this series (NGSS in Action: Science and Engineering in your Schoolyard) we examine how you can use the new science standards and your community to understand and address real world environmental problems and explore together how to integrate NGSS into your district’s classroom science units.Workshop 1: Science in Action Description: "Venture outside the walls of the classroom to find local environmental phenomena that can anchor your classroom science unit. Explore with us the big picture of Next Generation Science Standards’ “three dimensional” science learning and then get hands on with the Science and Engineering Practices as you use them to build an understanding of an example phenomenon in our 'schoolyard.' You’ll leave this workshop with ideas and examples you can use in your own classroom science curriculum."
A change in climate over time has contributed to a significant increase of wildfires in our state. In this storyline, students will make the connection between changes in ecosystems and the interconnectedness of all things. Students will gain an understanding of combustion (fire triangle), and observe through data that certain conditions (humidity, temperature, fuel load, etc.) contribute to forest fires (fire environment triangle).
What we see on Earth’s surface is a complex and dynamic set of interconnected systems that include the geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, cryosphere and biosphere. Earth’s processes are the result of energy flow and matter cycling within and among these systems. Understanding Earth’s systems is important for many decisions made in communities today such as where to build a road, where a salmon can successfully build a redd to lay eggs, and how to ensure air quality. Erosion involves all five spheres giving students an excellent example of the interconnectedness of these large systems. Students may begin the storyline by hearing a story about the relationship between the land and plants from an Indigenous perspective, a local tribe elder or expert if possible. This perspective can be woven throughout the storyline while students explore different types of erosion: wind, water and ice in sand and soil. For real life experiences, students visit their schoolyard or nearby area to find examples of erosion. They may find examples from very small to larger examples of places where soil has eroded. They may find places where human foot traffic has made pathways through a previously planted area.
The goal of the fifth grade Forests: Forest Ecosystem Benefits storyline is to build on students’ previous knowledge of plant/animal needs, ecosystems, and protection of Earth’s resources. In this storyline students develop an understanding of forest ecosystems, tree benefits including carbon sequestration, and what trees need to grow/gain mass.
While food waste is not typically seen as contributing to greenhouse gas emissions, it is a major contributor. Reducing food waste ranks as the 3rd most beneficial drawdown solution. Wasted food, and the resources to produce that food, are responsible for approximately 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. When individuals and groups reduce food waste, it has a huge impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Food waste awareness is applicable to every person and community. In this storyline, students connect with cultural values around food, impacts of food waste and solutions to food waste issues.
This lesson from Common Thread Farms is geared for elementary ages, grades 1-4. It introduces students to erosion and then challenges them to implement a design that will mitigate erosion on a model dirt mountain.