Author:
Hank Clark, Deb Morrison, Philip Bell, WILLIAM PENUEL
Subject:
Applied Science, Education
Material Type:
Module
Level:
College / Upper Division
Tags:
Assessment, Equity, K-12 Science, Science Education, wa-pd
License:
Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike
Language:
English

ACESSE Resource E: Selecting Anchoring Phenomena for Equitable 3D Teaching and Assessment

ACESSE Resource E: Selecting Anchoring Phenomena for Equitable 3D Teaching and Assessment

Overview

This pair of workshops is designed to introduce you to the process of selecting phenomena that can anchor an entire unit that supports students’ 3D science learning or that can serve as a basis for a multi-component assessment task. This resource can also be used by individuals wanting to refine their teaching practice around phenomena based instruction. You may have heard a lot about phenomena, but you may also be wondering what exactly they are, and whether using phenomena is any different from how teachers teach today already.

This learning experience will help you:

  • Explain to a peer the role of phenomena and design challenges in science teaching, with a particular focus on equity and justice. 
  • Generate working definitions of phenomena, design challenges, and disciplinary core ideas. 
  • Identify phenomena related to a bundle of three-dimensional standards. 
  • Experience how phenomena can be introduced at the start of a unit, in order to launch a student-driven series of questions.

With respect to the assessment process, this resource supports the task of clarifying learning goals and eliciting evidence of student learning. Specifically, analyzing standards helps to clarify learning goals. In assessment, scenarios present phenomena to students, and then specific prompts are designed to elicit student understanding of core ideas, practices and crosscutting concepts. Once written as a scenario for an assessment, teachers can use the resources introduced in ACESSE Resource B to design specific prompts for their assessments (SEP Task Formats ToolCCC Prompts Tool). This resource complements Resource C, in that it provides some ways to integrate tools to connect science instruction meaningfully to students’ everyday lives and cultural practices. This workshop has multiple segments, and it is broken into two sessions that last roughly three hours each, which can be organized as a full-day session or across multiple days.

Introduction

This pair of workshops is to introduce you to how to select phenomena that can anchor an entire unit and support students’ 3D science learning. You may have heard a lot about phenomena, but you may also be wondering what exactly they are, and whether using phenomena is any different from how teachers teach today already. This workshop will help you both explore what phenomena are, and experience a process that has been developed and tested for selecting good phenomena to anchor a unit or for an extended, multicomponent assessment task that can be used to assess students’ three-dimensional science proficiency.

[2 minutes]

slide 1

This workshop will prepare you to…

In these two sessions, we will explore what the Framework and documents from Achieve have to say about how phenomena and design challenges can support three dimensional, equitable science teaching, including how design challenges can support students in seeing how engineering practices can be used to work together for justice aims in their communities, so that you can explain it to a peer.

We will also generate together a definition of what a phenomenon is, and how it is different from an engineering design challenge and from disciplinary core ideas.

We will identify a set of candidate or possible phenomena that could be used to teach or assess a bundle of 3D standards.

Finally, we’ll experience what might be called a “launch” of a phenomenon-based unit where students have a chance to generate questions that can help organize a sequence of lessons that are genuinely guided by students’ own ideas and questions.

[2 minutes]

slide 2

Selecting a Phenomenon

In the assessment process, this workshop engages you in (1) clarifying intended learning goals and (2) deciding on a phenomenon to help you elicit evidence of 3D learning aims. In an extended assessment task, we present a phenomenon students haven’t seen yet but that they have an understanding of core ideas, practices, and crosscutting concepts needed to explain. We present that phenomenon in a scenario.

Facilitator’s note:

Resource B includes tools for developing specific prompts for eliciting understanding from the scenario.

[1 minute]

slide 3

Overview of Workshop

This workshop has four segments, and it is broken into two sessions.

Together we’ll explore:

  • The Role of Phenomena and Design Challenges in Equitable Three-Dimensional Science Teaching
  • Is This a Phenomenon?
  • Finding and Selecting Phenomena to Anchor Units
  • Introducing Phenomena to Launch a Unit

You will have a chance to hear how people who have used phenomena to anchor curriculum describe the role of phenomena in science teaching, with a particular focus on equity.

You will also get a chance to explore differences between phenomena, design challenges, and disciplinary core ideas.

We’ll do some researching about phenomena related to a bundle of three-dimensional standards or performance expectations.

We’ll model, too, how you can introduce phenomena at the start of a unit, in order to launch a student-driven series of questions.

[2 minutes]

slide 4

Overview of Workshop 2

This workshop has four segments, and it is broken into two sessions.

Together we’ll explore:

  • The Role of Phenomena and Design Challenges in Equitable Three-Dimensional Science Teaching
  • Is This a Phenomenon?
  • Finding and Selecting Phenomena to Anchor Units
  • Introducing Phenomena to Launch a Unit

You will have a chance to hear how people who have used phenomena to anchor curriculum describe the role of phenomena in science teaching, with a particular focus on equity.

You will also get a chance to explore differences between phenomena, design challenges, and disciplinary core ideas.

We’ll do some researching about phenomena related to a bundle of three-dimensional standards or performance expectations.

We’ll model, too, how you can introduce phenomena at the start of a unit, in order to launch a student-driven series of questions.

[2 minutes]

slide 5

Session 1: What are phenomena?

In this session we will explore what phenomena are and their role in supporting implementation of equitable 3D teaching and assessment.

[1 minute]

slide 6

Today’s session will prepare you to…

In this first session,

We will engage together in activities that help us develop an understanding of the role of phenomena and design challenges, build together a definition of what a phenomenon is, and how it is different from an engineering design challenge and from disciplinary core ideas, by playing a game.

We’ll also dive deep into an analysis of a pair of performance expectations and use that analysis to brainstorm a list of candidate phenomena that could either anchor a unit, or if we are focused on assessment, elicit three dimensional science proficiency.

[1 minute]

slide 7

Initial Ideas, Experiences, and Questions

I’d like to begin by asking about your ideas about phenomena.

  • What are they? How have you heard them described by others?
  • What experiences inform your thinking about phenomena?
  • What questions do you have about ‘what counts’ as phenomena?

Write down participants’ questions on flip chart paper. Say which ones you plan to address in the workshop, and promise to return to them at the closing question-and-answer session.

As a facilitator, take in ideas, ask for clarification, but don’t judge initial ideas. This first activity is intended to elicit prior knowledge and experiences to surface both problematic and useful ideas to build on in the session.

NOTE:

Later, we will encounter some examples of phenomena that can ground the discussion. But the aim here is to solicit initial ideas and experiences that participants in the workshop can bring to help them make sense of what will take place here.

[8 minutes]

slide 8

Overview of Workshop

This workshop has four segments, and it is broken into two sessions.

Together we’ll explore:

  • The Role of Phenomena and Design Challenges in Equitable Three-Dimensional Science Teaching
  • Is This a Phenomenon?
  • Finding and Selecting Phenomena to Anchor Units
  • Introducing Phenomena to Launch a Unit

You will have a chance to hear how people who have used phenomena to anchor curriculum describe the role of phenomena in science teaching, with a particular focus on equity.

You will also get a chance to explore differences between phenomena, design challenges, and disciplinary core ideas.

We’ll do some researching about phenomena related to a bundle of three-dimensional standards or performance expectations.

We’ll model, too, how you can introduce phenomena at the start of a unit, in order to launch a student-driven series of questions.

[2 minutes]

slide 9

Facilitator

[FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS AND KEEP THE SLIDE HIDDEN]

The following slides present two alternate beginning points for the day—four slides related to two different phenomena. Each introduces an anchoring phenomenon and invites participants to play along as if they were students engaging with the phenomenon for the first time.

Choose one of the phenomena (four slides) and delete or hide the slides you do not use. Both are life sciences examples, targeting middle or high school. Later, there will be examples in all subject areas and grade bands.

The two choices present phenomena related to:

  • What happened to the African buffalo population on the Serengeti between 1960 and 2000. (HS, LS2)
  • What happens to our breathing after exercise, both before and after endurance training. (MS, HS, LS1)

slide 10

African Buffalo

Let’s pretend now we are middle or high school students, and you are in a life sciences class. I want us to experience what it is to be introduced to a phenomenon as a class, so that we can begin to get a sense of what a good phenomenon is that can anchor a set of lessons or even serve as the basis for an extended assessment task.

If time, you can visit www.google.com/maps/ to find Tanzania and the Serengeti National Park, located in the northeastern part of the country.

Although it is located just outside the Serengeti, this is an amazing aerial view of a herd of African buffalo on Google Maps.  Copy and paste the following coordinates into Google Maps (satellite view) to see: 4°17’21.49″ S 31°23’46.46″ E

[2 minutes]

slide 11

Maps

Although populations fluctuate, there are an estimated 1.3 million blue wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus), 200,000 plains zebra (Equus burchelli), and 400,000 Thomson’s gazelle (Gazella thomsoni) migrating between this ecoregion and the Southern Acacia-Commiphora bushlands ecoregion each year (Campbell & Borner 1995, WCMC 2001).

Image comes from Google Maps and https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/59/Tanzania_parks_map.jpg

[1 minute]

slide 12

What patterns do you notice in the graph?

Have pairs of participants analyze the graph and write down the patterns found on the graph and brainstorm some possible causes for what they see in the graph.  Remind participants to be specific and mention the years.

Listen for the following participant responses:

  • From 1961 to 1975, the population of African buffalo is increasing.  The population increases from about 30,000 to nearly 80,000.
  • From 1975 to 1998, the population of African buffalo is decreasing.  The population decreases from about 80,000 to 18,000.
  • The population of African buffaloes increases between 1998 and 2000.
  • There are sections of the graph where there are no data points.  This could be because data was not collected during these years.
  • I think there might have been a drought.
  • Maybe there was a change to the predators in the area.
  • Maybe the population had been supressed by disease before 1960, but the disease ended.
  • Maybe there was a war.

Suggested Prompts:

➔ What years was the population of African buffaloes increasing/decreasing?

➔ By how much was the population changing?

Data comes from: Packer, C. et al. (2005). Ecological Change, Group Territoriality, and Population Dynamics in Serengeti Lions. SCIENCE, 307. Retrieved July 11, 2017, from http://izt.ciens.ucv.ve/ecologia/Archivos/ECO_POB_2005/ECOPO2_2005/Packer%20et%20al%202005.pdf

[5 minutes]

slide 13

Knowledge and Experiences

Have participants now work in pairs or small groups to identify knowledge or experiences they’ve had that might be useful for the class, to help us test out our hypotheses.

Have them use this information to generate questions they think we need to answer, in order to come up with an explanation for the phenomenon.

Also, invite people to consider questions that personally interest them that are related to this phenomenon.

[5 minutes]

slide 14

Heartbeat

Let’s listen to these two sets of sounds of a heartbeat at rest, and one that is exercising. [Play each sound, following the links on the page.]

When we listen to this or look at the graph, what exactly are we hearing or seeing? What do you notice that’s different about these sounds/graphs?

Note:

Both visual and sound are provided, but you may wish to focus on just one channel.

At rest: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNeMO58SHME

Exercising: https://www.easyauscultation.com/cases-waveform?coursecaseorder=6&courseid=22

[2 minutes]

slide 15

Training the Body

Something curious happens, doesn’t it, when we exercise regularly. It gets easier to run or move more quickly, even though we still breathe hard and faster when we are exercising.

[1 minute]

slide 16

What patterns do you notice

This graph shows what happens to people before and after exercise to their heart rate. It shows two groups of people. The green graph shows what happens to people who haven’t been exercising regularly. The red shows what happens to a second group of people who have undergone training – they’ve exercised regularly.

What patterns in the data do you notice?

What are some of your initial ideas about what is explaining these patterns?

Talk with a partner for 3-4 minutes about what you see and what you think is going on. Then, be ready to share out your ideas with the whole group.

Look for the following participant responses:

  • The graphs both go up during exercise, and they go back down when it ends.
  • The training group has lower breathing rate always, though it’s close at the beginning and during exercise.
  • The trained group has a much lower breathing rate at the beginning and end.

[7 minutes]

slide 17

What knowledge and experiences have you had that might help us as a class explain what’s happening when people exercise and train

Have participants now work in pairs or small groups to identify knowledge or experiences they’ve had that might be useful for the class, to help us test out our hypotheses.

Have them use this information to generate questions they think we need to answer, in order to come up with an explanation for the phenomenon.

Also, invite people to consider why this phenomenon might matter to them, to their community, to a community of scientists?

[5 minutes]

slide 18

If we were to continue this activity

If we were to continue with this simulation, we might take each of your questions elicited from your own experiences and based on what you already know and build a public record of them. Some people call this record a Driving Questions Board, because the questions help to “drive forward” the lessons in a unit anchored in a phenomenon.

To really begin to investigate what’s going on here, though, we need to prioritize the questions together, based on an order that we agree on as a class.

And to get started, we’d decide together on an investigation to address the question we decided to answer first.

[2 minutes]

slide 19

And as part of this unit, we might also…

In a unit, there may also be a design challenge that requires students to apply what they’ve learned about a phenomenon they are studying to solve a concrete human need and address some societal or community concern.

If students were studying the Serengeti ecosystem, they might contribute to an ongoing citizen science endeavor to monitor efforts to preserve biodiversity.

Or if they were studying human body systems, they might design a training plan and diet for a class to build up their endurance.

[2 minutes]

slide 20

Discussion

Let’s take some time to discuss what we’ve just experienced. We might call this a “launch” of a phenomenon, that is, a first introduction to a sequence of lessons that launch a series of investigations that will help students explain the phenomenon.

What is the phenomenon here?

What strikes you as similar or different from how teachers have introduced science units in the past?

FACILITATOR NOTE:

The phenomenon is the description of the event here, not the set of questions that you posed. Those questions, though, are important, because they help problematize the event for students – that is, make it worthy of of students’ sustained interest and attention.

[5 minutes]

slide 21

But wait, is this a phenomenon?

We’ve now experienced what it’s like to engage with a phenomenon, but now let’s see if we can identify phenomena when we see them. To do so, we’ve devised a game called the Phenomenon Game.

Your task is to work in pairs, to sort these cards (or strips of paper) into three piles, based on whether you think the card is:

  • A phenomenon
  • A design challenge
  • A disciplinary core idea

These are all framed as if they were potential driving questions for a sequence of lessons in a unit. We’ve framed them as driving questions, because the idea is to see if we can tell the three apart (phenomena, design challenges, and disciplinary core ideas), and to develop a shared definition for when something is a “phenomenon” that we can use to guide us during the work we’ll do together for this workshop. Later, we’ll talk about how we develop descriptions of phenomena that we can use to select good ones for a unit or as part of a scenario for an assessment.

As you work, be sure to discuss your thinking with your partner: What makes this a phenomenon, design challenge, or disciplinary core idea?

Note:

The cards for this game need to be cut into strips ahead of time. you should look at the facilitator guide for the reasoning behind each of the categories in the key. Choose between 12-16 cards from among those provided for the game. If you are leading the activity with a group that includes people who have played the game before, mix up the cards, choosing different ones from the time they were present. Or, encourage those who have played before to pair up with each other.

Also, refrain from providing answers to the game, but when people seek answers, ask questions like “How are you deciding?” or “What’s the decision you are trying to make?” and “What’s guiding your thinking in calling this a phenomenon?” The purpose is to develop a definition of phenomena, design challenges, and their differences from a DCI from the game play, rather than ahead of time. For many groups, this is a challenging activity, and it is only later in the discussion with the whole group that a consensus emerges as to the definition.

[30 minutes]

slide 22

This part of the session will prepare you to…

The purpose of this particular activity is for us to work together to generate a working definition of phenomena, design challenges, and disciplinary core ideas by playing the Phenomenon Game. During the game, we won't provide a definition, but you will uncover some principles that can distinguish the three that will be useful for selecting anchoring phenomena. 

[1 minute]

slide 23

Discussion

This is the most important part of the activity, where we share back what we’ve concluded with the group. I’ll ask each of you to share one question and what category you put it in, along with your reasoning about why you put it there. [Ask each pair to present one idea at a time and discuss it, before going onto the next one, until all the cards have been sorted into one category]

When a group presents their strip, ask: “Does anyone agree with their placement? If so, can you add on to their reasoning about where to place it?” Also, be sure to ask: “Does anyone have this in a different category? If so, what category did you put it in, and what’s your reasoning?” “Which one did you have the most trouble placing in a group and why?”

Note:

This discussion is crucial to building a shared understanding of what phenomena are. Facilitators can trust that through this discussion, however, participants will come to some agreements that are consistent with the definition that Achieve offers, and that is presented in a subsequent slide. For now, it is important to build up participants’ thinking from their ideas and to let them struggle.

[25 minutes]

slide 24

Discussion...

At the conclusion of the game, ask participants to generate a list of criteria that they and others might use to help decide whether something is a phenomenon, design challenge, or DCI. Write the criteria on a piece of flip chart paper to be able to refer back to throughout the two sessions.

A DCI can be studied using a variety of phenomena. Below, there are some possible criteria participants might generate or questions they might ask themselves, when trying to decide whether something is a phenomenon, design challenge, or DCI.

  • Does it happen in nature? (Almost a phenomenon!)
  • Are students solving a problem? (Design Challenge)
  • Is it focused on a specific event in nature or is asking a general question? (Distinguishing between DCI and Phenomenon)

A DCI is something students should know and be able to do, but isn’t framed in terms of something that takes place in nature.

[5 minutes]

slide 25

What are phenomena?

Let’s compare our definition to that of Achieve and allied projects. Achieve is the group that helped spearhead the development of the Next Generation Science Standards from the Framework.

Facilitator: Point out that this definition highlights the way that phenomena support students in applying their understandings of disciplinary core ideas and crosscutting concepts to explain and predict, that is, in the context of engaging in science and engineering practices. This definition explicitly relates phenomena to the three-dimensional science learning goals emphasized in the Framework.

For something to occur in the universe, it can be something that involves events that take place at the microscopic and macroscopic scale, over very short periods of time and long periods of time, and are on Earth’s surface as well as in the ocean and outer space. Phenomena are everywhere.

[3 minutes]

slide 26

Different kinds of phenomena

There is more than one kind of phenomenon!

Some phenomena can be used to anchor a long sequence of instruction, because they are likely to take many class periods to explore. Other phenomena, though, become the focus of a single period of instruction—or a small number of periods. They might be phenomena that help students gain understanding of some aspect of a bigger phenomenon students are investigating. Yet other phenomena are everyday examples that students may have a strong experience with but not realize that science ideas can be used to explain them. The main focus of this workshop is on the phenomena that take many class periods to complete.

Lots of deliberation that goes into identifying\for instruction that fits the focal learning goals; an anchor phenomenon may not be the best investigative phenomenon, and vice versa. And sometimes a phenomenon can become focal because it captures the attention of students or is local and salient to a current event.

A phenomenon doesn’t have to be “phenomenal,” but rather something people can observe. And phenomena aren’t just an opening hook that gets dropped as you proceed with a unit. They really do help us focus three-dimensional instruction.

Also, sometimes we have to use tools to make our phenomenon observable, because what students need to explore is at a spatial scale too large or too small to observe directly, or processes occur over timescales we cannot observe directly. In all cases, though, we want to try and find phenomena that are in some sense observable, and focus on developing an explanation for what it is we “see” – even if we cannot see it all at once.

[3 minutes]

slide 27

Phenomena are not just what we can observe directly…

As an example of something that is “observable” only when we look from afar and speed up time, consider this potential anchoring phenomenon for an Earth science unit: What are we “seeing” in this animation? How are science tools magnifying this, so that we might make it a phenomenon worthy of student investigation?

Listen for responses here such as:

“We’re seeing global CO2 flows over time.”

“We’ve got something that’s making the CO2 be a different color, depending on how much there is.”

“The animation is speeding up time a lot.”

“We can see something we need to explain. It will take a few classes for students to be able to develop the knowledge needed to explain what is going on here, too.”

[3 minutes]

slide 28

Phenomena are not just what we can observe directly…

It’s valuable to think beyond Earth’s surface and atmosphere, too, and consider phenomena in outer space and in the deep ocean. Phenomena that are on a macroscopic scale too vast for us to see without the aid of instruments and models, and on the microscopic scale too small to observe without powerful microscopes to see them.

Image sources:

Bioluminescent Tunica: https://upload.wikimedia.org/Wikipedia/commons/5/5f/Tunicate_off_Atauro_island.jpg

Crab nebula: https://upload.wikimedia.org/Wikipedia/commons/0/00/Crab_Nebula.jpg

CRISPR-protein: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cd/4qyz.jpg

[1 minute]

slide 29

Discussion

Engage groups in a discussion of other possible contrasts like micro- and macro-, that they should keep in mind as they brainstorm possible phenomena?

[3 minutes]

slide 30

Engineering Design Challenges

Let’s now return to what defines a design challenge, something else we explored in the phenomenon game.

Here’s the definition of design challenges: Again, what do we notice that is similar or different from what we came up with as a group, for telling when something is a design challenge?

What are some criteria for design challenges

Design challenges are a context where students can apply engineering design practices to create and test solutions that arise from phenomena. As noted in the definition here, phenomena are starting places for identifying needs for which people can design solutions to problems they encounter. An understanding of the science that explains a phenomenon is central to what makes for a good design challenge.

[3 minutes]

slide 31

Equity and Justice in Science and Engineering

Design challenges relate directly to a big idea in the Framework for K-12 Science Education about equity.

A major goal for science education should be to provide all students with the background to systematically investigate issues related to their personal and community priorities. 

That is, students need to be able to see how science and engineering are relevant and can address goals and problems that matter to young people.

They should be able to frame scientific questions pertinent to their interests,

A core assumption is that science instruction should connect directly to students experiences and interests, can help them develop identities as people who do science and engineering and, if desired, as people who are scientist and engineers.

Students should have opportunities to conduct investigations and seek out relevant scientific arguments and data, review and apply those arguments to the situation at hand, and communicate their scientific understanding and arguments to others.

Promoting equity, then, means students need to have direct opportunities to engage in science and engineering practices to investigate their questions and design solutions to problems they care about.

These relate also to justice aims for science education. Design challenges especially present opportunities for students to see how science and engineering practices can support goals for citizenship and community improvement, like addressing gaps in where trees are planted in the city or creating forums for youth to design and participate in democratic debates about the ethics of genetic engineering.

[3 minutes]

slide 32

Equity: Inclusive Science Instruction (from NRC Framework Chapter 11)

Chapter 11 of the Framework specifically addresses inclusive instructional strategies that are needed to promote equity in science education.

They address three that can be related specifically to phenomena and how students make sense of them.

For the purposes of promoting equity, it crucially describes how science learning is always a cultural process. It is important that instruction make connections with students’ everyday experiences instead of emphasizing discontinuities with their everyday lives. It needs to connect to the things young people care about and to how they see themselves. These are important for equity, because it is too easy to communicate the idea that “other people” do science, or to focus attention on aspects of experience that are remote from students’ lives.  We want to pick phenomena, then, that meet the criteria of “being observable” to the students in our classrooms. If we are not careful, we can make wrong assumptions about what those are.

Another place to emphasize continuity between science and everyday lives is to make specific questions to values and practices of students’ families and cultural communities. In some Native American communities, keen observation is a skill adults seek to cultivate in children. Instruction can help students build bridges between values – for example of persistent looking over time, noticing small changes and how they relate – and particular practices to those of scientific forms of observation and ideas that one might find in an ecosystems curriculum, for example. We can choose phenomena that explicitly bring these values and practices to bear on explanation or solutions to problems.

Third, inclusive instruction begins with the premise that young people already possess ways to communicate their ideas about phenomena they encounter in their everyday lives. This is different from deficit about the linguistic resources of English learners, or when students don’t use scientific terminology in their explanations. Vocabulary emerges from efforts to make sense of phenomena and give a name to things that—for most of their investigations, should empower youth to use whatever means they have available to communicate their thinking, from their native language to drawing to gesture.

[3 minutes]

slide 33

The Framework stresses the importance of inclusive instructional strategies

[READ QUOTE]

[1 minute]

slide 34

There are many kinds of design challenges

We often think of building and testing physical devices as a type of design challenge, and many performance expectations call for such connections. This slide lists a few types of challenges to consider.

When we think of the engineering design process broadly – and particularly recalling that it is oriented toward solving problems that address a human need, a community or societal concern, then design challenges that engage students with learning about those needs and testing solutions that have not just technical but also social dimensions, is important.

An important consideration is whether there may be opportunities to link design challenges to ongoing social justice concerns and endeavors in the community.

[3 minutes]

slide 35

This part of the session will prepare you to…

In this part of the session, you will gain practice with analyzing standards and exploring techniques for brainstorming phenomena. 

We will also generate together a definition of what a phenomenon is, and how it is different from an engineering design challenge and from disciplinary core ideas.

[1 minute]

slide 36

Initial Ideas

In this part of the session, you will gain practice with analyzing standards and exploring techniques for brainstorming phenomena. 

We will also generate together a definition of what a phenomenon is, and how it is different from an engineering design challenge and from disciplinary core ideas.

[1 minute]

slide 37

Why Analyze Standards?

You might wonder why we are stopping to analyze standards, and not taking them at face value or using evidence statements to guide our brainstorming. We start with analysis for three reasons:

  • There’s a lot “packed into” a single standard, in terms of different components of the three dimensions that students need to master.
  • When we talk about these together, we get a shared sense of the learning goals.
  • We also often come up with some initial ideas for phenomena.

If we skip over this step or just turn to the evidence statements, this short-circuits opportunities to deepen our understanding of the learning goals.

The process of selecting a phenomenon is an iterative process, and it often comes back to this analysis, along with other considerations we have identified as key criteria for a good phenomenon, like personal or cultural relevance.

[1 minute]

slide 38

Facilitator

This resource includes links to pairs of performance expectations that have been analyzed for each grade band (ES, MS, HS) and science domain (Physical Science, Life Science, Earth Systems Science).

Each pair is presented on a slide that follows this one.

Some suggestions are to:

  • Focus on only one pair in the session.
  • If generating phenomena for an assessment, analyze only one PE.
  • Engage the group for a limited time in analysis, then share the fully analyzed standards with participants to use as a resource for the remaining part of the session.

[FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS AND KEEP THE SLIDE HIDDEN]

  • Here is a list of the PEs:
  • Elementary Level
  • Physical Science: 2-PS1-2, 2-PS1-3
  • Life Science: 4-LS1-1, 4-LS1-2
  • Earth Systems Science: 5-ESS1-1, 5-ESS1-2
  • Middle School Level
  • Physical Science: MS-PS4-1, MS-PS4-2, MS-PS4-3
  • Life Science: MS-LS4-4, MS-LS4-5
  • Earth Systems Science: MS-ESS2-1, MS-ESS2-2
  • High School Level
  • Physical Science: HS-PS3-2, HS-PS3-3
  • Life Science: HS-LS-3-1, HS-LS-3-2
  • Earth Systems Science: HS-ESS3-5, HS-ESS3-6

slide 39

Begin with Analysis of the Standards

We’re going to bring you through a short version of a process we use to select anchoring phenomena for a unit in the Inquiry Hub partnership among CU Boulder, UCAR, and Denver Public Schools. We’ve used this process to develop three units of high school biology, all of which have both an anchoring phenomenon and a design challenge associated with them.

We always begin with analyzing the bundle of standards or performance expectations that we’ve pre-selected as the focus for our unit. Today, we’ll work with two performance expectations.

We’ll use a process to analyze each of the three dimensions in these standards that we use, which involves tracing the standards backward to the Framework, to try and identify the key facets of student understanding that need to be developed, as well as the pre-requisites from early grades that students need to bring to the task of explaining a phenomenon at the appropriate grade level.

There are lots of ways to do unpacking, and this is but one. Key is that you focus on all three dimensions and that you provide the design team selecting phenomena with some time to make sense of what the standards really are.

Assign groups to one of three groups, and have them download the view-only templates for unpacking to complete (or create a separate Google Drive space for them).

Standard 1 http://tinyurl.com/MSESS21Unp

Standard 2 http://tinyurl.com/MSESS22Unp

Some guidance: This is an occasion for considering how long to engage participants in unpacking. Going deep for a short period of time is always more beneficial than going broad; if you like, you can pre-unpack some standards to show people at the conclusion of this section. But giving some time for sensemaking is critical to helping people generate initial ideas for phenomenon: It gets them engaged with the content at a level needed to think about potential phenomena.

[4 minutes]

slide 40

Begin with Analysis of the Standards

We’re going to bring you through a short version of a process we use to select anchoring phenomena for a unit in the Inquiry Hub partnership among CU Boulder, UCAR, and Denver Public Schools. We’ve used this process to develop three units of high school biology, all of which have both an anchoring phenomenon and a design challenge associated with them.

We always begin with analyzing the bundle of standards or performance expectations that we’ve pre-selected as the focus for our unit. Today, we’ll work with two performance expectations.

We’ll use a process to analyze each of the three dimensions in these standards that we use, which involves tracing the standards backward to the Framework, to try and identify the key facets of student understanding that need to be developed, as well as the pre-requisites from early grades that students need to bring to the task of explaining a phenomenon at the appropriate grade level.

There are lots of ways to do unpacking, and this is but one. Key is that you focus on all three dimensions and that you provide the design team selecting phenomena with some time to make sense of what the standards really are.

Assign groups to one of three groups, and have them download the view-only templates for unpacking to complete (or create a separate Google Drive space for them).

Standard 1 http://tinyurl.com/MSESS21Unp

Standard 2 http://tinyurl.com/MSESS22Unp

Some guidance: This is an occasion for considering how long to engage participants in unpacking. Going deep for a short period of time is always more beneficial than going broad; if you like, you can pre-unpack some standards to show people at the conclusion of this section. But giving some time for sensemaking is critical to helping people generate initial ideas for phenomenon: It gets them engaged with the content at a level needed to think about potential phenomena.

[4 minutes]

slide 41

Begin with Analysis of the Standards

We’re going to bring you through a short version of a process we use to select anchoring phenomena for a unit in the Inquiry Hub partnership among CU Boulder, UCAR, and Denver Public Schools. We’ve used this process to develop three units of high school biology, all of which have both an anchoring phenomenon and a design challenge associated with them.

We always begin with analyzing the bundle of standards or performance expectations that we’ve pre-selected as the focus for our unit. Today, we’ll work with two performance expectations.

We’ll use a process to analyze each of the three dimensions in these standards that we use, which involves tracing the standards backward to the Framework, to try and identify the key facets of student understanding that need to be developed, as well as the pre-requisites from early grades that students need to bring to the task of explaining a phenomenon at the appropriate grade level.

There are lots of ways to do unpacking, and this is but one. Key is that you focus on all three dimensions and that you provide the design team selecting phenomena with some time to make sense of what the standards really are.

Assign groups to one of three groups, and have them download the view-only templates for unpacking to complete (or create a separate Google Drive space for them).

Standard 1 http://tinyurl.com/MSESS21Unp

Standard 2 http://tinyurl.com/MSESS22Unp

Some guidance: This is an occasion for considering how long to engage participants in unpacking. Going deep for a short period of time is always more beneficial than going broad; if you like, you can pre-unpack some standards to show people at the conclusion of this section. But giving some time for sensemaking is critical to helping people generate initial ideas for phenomenon: It gets them engaged with the content at a level needed to think about potential phenomena.

[4 minutes]

slide 42

Begin with Analysis of the Standards

We’re going to bring you through a short version of a process we use to select anchoring phenomena for a unit in the Inquiry Hub partnership among CU Boulder, UCAR, and Denver Public Schools. We’ve used this process to develop three units of high school biology, all of which have both an anchoring phenomenon and a design challenge associated with them.

We always begin with analyzing the bundle of standards or performance expectations that we’ve pre-selected as the focus for our unit. Today, we’ll work with two performance expectations.

We’ll use a process to analyze each of the three dimensions in these standards that we use, which involves tracing the standards backward to the Framework, to try and identify the key facets of student understanding that need to be developed, as well as the pre-requisites from early grades that students need to bring to the task of explaining a phenomenon at the appropriate grade level.

There are lots of ways to do unpacking, and this is but one. Key is that you focus on all three dimensions and that you provide the design team selecting phenomena with some time to make sense of what the standards really are.

Assign groups to one of three groups, and have them download the view-only templates for unpacking to complete (or create a separate Google Drive space for them).

Standard 1 http://tinyurl.com/MSESS21Unp

Standard 2 http://tinyurl.com/MSESS22Unp

Some guidance: This is an occasion for considering how long to engage participants in unpacking. Going deep for a short period of time is always more beneficial than going broad; if you like, you can pre-unpack some standards to show people at the conclusion of this section. But giving some time for sensemaking is critical to helping people generate initial ideas for phenomenon: It gets them engaged with the content at a level needed to think about potential phenomena.

[4 minutes]

slide 43

Begin with Analysis of the Standards

We’re going to bring you through a short version of a process we use to select anchoring phenomena for a unit in the Inquiry Hub partnership among CU Boulder, UCAR, and Denver Public Schools. We’ve used this process to develop three units of high school biology, all of which have both an anchoring phenomenon and a design challenge associated with them.

We always begin with analyzing the bundle of standards or performance expectations that we’ve pre-selected as the focus for our unit. Today, we’ll work with two performance expectations.

We’ll use a process to analyze each of the three dimensions in these standards that we use, which involves tracing the standards backward to the Framework, to try and identify the key facets of student understanding that need to be developed, as well as the pre-requisites from early grades that students need to bring to the task of explaining a phenomenon at the appropriate grade level.

There are lots of ways to do unpacking, and this is but one. Key is that you focus on all three dimensions and that you provide the design team selecting phenomena with some time to make sense of what the standards really are.

Assign groups to one of three groups, and have them download the view-only templates for unpacking to complete (or create a separate Google Drive space for them).

Standard 1 http://tinyurl.com/MSESS21Unp

Standard 2 http://tinyurl.com/MSESS22Unp

Some guidance: This is an occasion for considering how long to engage participants in unpacking. Going deep for a short period of time is always more beneficial than going broad; if you like, you can pre-unpack some standards to show people at the conclusion of this section. But giving some time for sensemaking is critical to helping people generate initial ideas for phenomenon: It gets them engaged with the content at a level needed to think about potential phenomena.

[4 minutes]

slide 44

Begin with Analysis of the Standards

We’re going to bring you through a short version of a process we use to select anchoring phenomena for a unit in the Inquiry Hub partnership among CU Boulder, UCAR, and Denver Public Schools. We’ve used this process to develop three units of high school biology, all of which have both an anchoring phenomenon and a design challenge associated with them.

We always begin with analyzing the bundle of standards or performance expectations that we’ve pre-selected as the focus for our unit. Today, we’ll work with two performance expectations.

We’ll use a process to analyze each of the three dimensions in these standards that we use, which involves tracing the standards backward to the Framework, to try and identify the key facets of student understanding that need to be developed, as well as the pre-requisites from early grades that students need to bring to the task of explaining a phenomenon at the appropriate grade level.

There are lots of ways to do unpacking, and this is but one. Key is that you focus on all three dimensions and that you provide the design team selecting phenomena with some time to make sense of what the standards really are.

Assign groups to one of three groups, and have them download the view-only templates for unpacking to complete (or create a separate Google Drive space for them).

Standard 1 http://tinyurl.com/MSESS21Unp

Standard 2 http://tinyurl.com/MSESS22Unp

Some guidance: This is an occasion for considering how long to engage participants in unpacking. Going deep for a short period of time is always more beneficial than going broad; if you like, you can pre-unpack some standards to show people at the conclusion of this section. But giving some time for sensemaking is critical to helping people generate initial ideas for phenomenon: It gets them engaged with the content at a level needed to think about potential phenomena.

[4 minutes]

slide 45

Begin with Analysis of the Standards

We’re going to bring you through a short version of a process we use to select anchoring phenomena for a unit in the Inquiry Hub partnership among CU Boulder, UCAR, and Denver Public Schools. We’ve used this process to develop three units of high school biology, all of which have both an anchoring phenomenon and a design challenge associated with them.

We always begin with analyzing the bundle of standards or performance expectations that we’ve pre-selected as the focus for our unit. Today, we’ll work with two performance expectations.

We’ll use a process to analyze each of the three dimensions in these standards that we use, which involves tracing the standards backward to the Framework, to try and identify the key facets of student understanding that need to be developed, as well as the pre-requisites from early grades that students need to bring to the task of explaining a phenomenon at the appropriate grade level.

There are lots of ways to do unpacking, and this is but one. Key is that you focus on all three dimensions and that you provide the design team selecting phenomena with some time to make sense of what the standards really are.

Assign groups to one of three groups, and have them download the view-only templates for unpacking to complete (or create a separate Google Drive space for them).

Standard 1 http://tinyurl.com/MSESS21Unp

Standard 2 http://tinyurl.com/MSESS22Unp

Some guidance: This is an occasion for considering how long to engage participants in unpacking. Going deep for a short period of time is always more beneficial than going broad; if you like, you can pre-unpack some standards to show people at the conclusion of this section. But giving some time for sensemaking is critical to helping people generate initial ideas for phenomenon: It gets them engaged with the content at a level needed to think about potential phenomena.

[4 minutes]

slide 46

Begin with Analysis of the Standards

We’re going to bring you through a short version of a process we use to select anchoring phenomena for a unit in the Inquiry Hub partnership among CU Boulder, UCAR, and Denver Public Schools. We’ve used this process to develop three units of high school biology, all of which have both an anchoring phenomenon and a design challenge associated with them.

We always begin with analyzing the bundle of standards or performance expectations that we’ve pre-selected as the focus for our unit. Today, we’ll work with two performance expectations.

We’ll use a process to analyze each of the three dimensions in these standards that we use, which involves tracing the standards backward to the Framework, to try and identify the key facets of student understanding that need to be developed, as well as the pre-requisites from early grades that students need to bring to the task of explaining a phenomenon at the appropriate grade level.

There are lots of ways to do unpacking, and this is but one. Key is that you focus on all three dimensions and that you provide the design team selecting phenomena with some time to make sense of what the standards really are.

Assign groups to one of three groups, and have them download the view-only templates for unpacking to complete (or create a separate Google Drive space for them).

Standard 1 http://tinyurl.com/MSESS21Unp

Standard 2 http://tinyurl.com/MSESS22Unp

Some guidance: This is an occasion for considering how long to engage participants in unpacking. Going deep for a short period of time is always more beneficial than going broad; if you like, you can pre-unpack some standards to show people at the conclusion of this section. But giving some time for sensemaking is critical to helping people generate initial ideas for phenomenon: It gets them engaged with the content at a level needed to think about potential phenomena.

[4 minutes]

slide 47

Begin with Analysis of the Standards

We’re going to bring you through a short version of a process we use to select anchoring phenomena for a unit in the Inquiry Hub partnership among CU Boulder, UCAR, and Denver Public Schools. We’ve used this process to develop three units of high school biology, all of which have both an anchoring phenomenon and a design challenge associated with them.

We always begin with analyzing the bundle of standards or performance expectations that we’ve pre-selected as the focus for our unit. Today, we’ll work with two performance expectations.

We’ll use a process to analyze each of the three dimensions in these standards that we use, which involves tracing the standards backward to the Framework, to try and identify the key facets of student understanding that need to be developed, as well as the pre-requisites from early grades that students need to bring to the task of explaining a phenomenon at the appropriate grade level.

There are lots of ways to do unpacking, and this is but one. Key is that you focus on all three dimensions and that you provide the design team selecting phenomena with some time to make sense of what the standards really are.

Assign groups to one of three groups, and have them download the view-only templates for unpacking to complete (or create a separate Google Drive space for them).

Standard 1 http://tinyurl.com/MSESS21Unp

Standard 2 http://tinyurl.com/MSESS22Unp

Some guidance: This is an occasion for considering how long to engage participants in unpacking. Going deep for a short period of time is always more beneficial than going broad; if you like, you can pre-unpack some standards to show people at the conclusion of this section. But giving some time for sensemaking is critical to helping people generate initial ideas for phenomenon: It gets them engaged with the content at a level needed to think about potential phenomena.

[4 minutes]

slide 48

Begin with Analysis of the Standards

We’re going to bring you through a short version of a process we use to select anchoring phenomena for a unit in the Inquiry Hub partnership among CU Boulder, UCAR, and Denver Public Schools. We’ve used this process to develop three units of high school biology, all of which have both an anchoring phenomenon and a design challenge associated with them.

We always begin with analyzing the bundle of standards or performance expectations that we’ve pre-selected as the focus for our unit. Today, we’ll work with two performance expectations.

We’ll use a process to analyze each of the three dimensions in these standards that we use, which involves tracing the standards backward to the Framework, to try and identify the key facets of student understanding that need to be developed, as well as the pre-requisites from early grades that students need to bring to the task of explaining a phenomenon at the appropriate grade level.

There are lots of ways to do unpacking, and this is but one. Key is that you focus on all three dimensions and that you provide the design team selecting phenomena with some time to make sense of what the standards really are.

Assign groups to one of three groups, and have them download the view-only templates for unpacking to complete (or create a separate Google Drive space for them).

Standard 1 http://tinyurl.com/MSESS21Unp

Standard 2 http://tinyurl.com/MSESS22Unp

Some guidance: This is an occasion for considering how long to engage participants in unpacking. Going deep for a short period of time is always more beneficial than going broad; if you like, you can pre-unpack some standards to show people at the conclusion of this section. But giving some time for sensemaking is critical to helping people generate initial ideas for phenomenon: It gets them engaged with the content at a level needed to think about potential phenomena.

[4 minutes]

slide 49

Guidelines for Analysis

Here are a few guidelines to help you get started with Analysis.

First, use the Framework text as your guide, and not your own ideas about what kids “should” know. Sometimes those are in the Framework, but many times when we bring our own ideas we bring the “facts” and not the “big ideas behind the facts.” The Framework emphasizes the latter, as well as relationships among those big ideas. Pay attention to those when unpacking. The Framework was trying to narrow content that is taught around specific topics—and to create cohesive progressions of ideas.

Second, don’t just use single words or ideas when you “unpack.” Write full sentences, and think of them as claims that students should be able to elaborate upon and defend with evidence.

Third, each sentence in the Framework packs in a lot of ideas. Think about the different facets or aspects of the idea that go into understanding what the sentence means.

Fourth, some of the knowledge is assumed students will bring from elementary school. Use Framework text about grade band expectations to develop claims that go in the right hand column of the unpacking.

Fifth, unpacking can take us backward from the vision of the Framework if we’re not careful. We could wind up with a lot of definitions we think we are supposed to teach. Discipline yourself: Every time you are tempted to unpack by writing a definition, say what the concept or idea helps you explain.

[3 minutes]

slide 51

Some Example Claims

Here are a few guidelines to help you get started with unpacking.

First, use the Framework text as your guide, and not your own ideas about what kids “should” know. Sometimes those are in the Framework, but many times when we bring our own ideas we bring the “facts” and not the “big ideas behind the facts.” The Framework emphasizes the latter, as well as relationships among those big ideas. Pay attention to those when unpacking.

Second, don’t just use single words or ideas when you “unpack.” Write full sentences, and think of them as claims that students should be able to elaborate upon and defend with evidence.

Third, each sentence in the Framework packs in a lot of ideas. Think about the different facets or aspects of the idea that go into understanding what the sentence means.

Fourth, some of the knowledge is assumed students will bring from elementary school. Use Framework text about grade band expectations to develop claims that go in the right hand column of the unpacking.

Fifth, unpacking can take us backward from the vision of the Framework if we’re not careful. We could wind up with a lot of definitions we think we are supposed to teach. Discipline yourself: Every time you are tempted to unpack by writing a definition, say what the concept or idea helps you explain.

[2 minutes]

slide 51

Building Understanding

Join with another group.

As a small group discuss and write down answers to the questions here in your notes.

The purpose of this discussion is to build knowledge of the bundle as a whole, and to prepare us to brainstorm phenomena, by helping us refine a set of criteria for use in selecting an anchoring phenomenon for a unit or sequence focused on these two standards.

Ask groups to share their discussion and notes, and add to the list of criteria the group has developed for what makes something a good anchoring phenomenon.

[ANALYSIS 20 MINUTES, SHARING 15 MINUTES]

slide 52

Homework!

We have homework for you to do, to take some photos of everyday processes or objects that are in some way related to the standards you have analyzed.

[2 minutes]

slide 53

Help us improve the resource

[READ SLIDE and ask participants to complete the survey. Clarify that this is information for the ACESSE team to refine the activities—and not about you as the facilitator.]

[estimated time: 3-5 min]

slide 54

Session 2: Selecting Phenomena

Session 2: Selecting Phenomena

[1 minute]

slide 55

Today’s session will prepare you to…

In this second session, we will engage in activities that prepare you to:

  • Use tools to elicit student interest and related experiences to help select a phenomenon.
  • Select a phenomenon related to a bundle of three-dimensional standards we have analyzed.
  • Experience how phenomena can be introduced at the start of a unit, in order to launch a student-driven series of questions.

[1 minute]

slide 56

Overview of Workshop

This workshop has four segments, and it is broken into two sessions.

Together we’ll explore:

  • The Role of Phenomena and Design Challenges in Equitable Three-Dimensional Science Teaching
  • Is This a Phenomenon?
  • Finding and Selecting Phenomena to Anchor Units
  • Introducing Phenomena to Launch a Unit

You will have a chance to hear how people who have used phenomena to anchor curriculum describe the role of phenomena in science teaching, with a particular focus on equity.

You will also get a chance to explore differences between phenomena, design challenges, and disciplinary core ideas.

We’ll do some researching about phenomena related to a bundle of three-dimensional standards or performance expectations.

We’ll model, too, how you can introduce phenomena at the start of a unit, in order to launch a student-driven series of questions.

[2 minutes]

slide 57

Coming to Consensus

Begin with taking stock of where the group left off in the last session.

The answers to these questions may depend on going back to sheets posted on the wall that are brought back for the second session. Before going on, make sure all participants have a chance to recall what the group came to consensus on last time.

[5 minutes]

slide 58

Sharing our Homework

Provide participants with an opportunity to post their photos and sticky notes on a wall, and let them do a “Gallery Walk” to look at the pictures. Then hold a whole group discussion to get thinking started about phenomena. Record their ideas on chart paper.

[10 minutes]

slide 59

Brainstorm Phenomena

Now, we will brainstorm a few more ideas for phenomenon. Let’s adhere to these rules for the game of brainstorming:

  • Make sure the phenomenon addresses as many of the unpacked components for both PEs
  • Go for quantity.
  • Describe as something observable.
  • Write a driving question to focus investigation.

Have people create half-sheet stickies and post their ideas on the wall as they generate them.

Now’s the time to go back and grab these from wherever you’ve written them down, and put them in our shared space.

Create a link for the brainstorm.

[20 minutes]

slide 60

Share, Cluster, Reduce

Now we need to share our best ideas in a common space. Put yours there, then take 5 minutes to read them over.

Let’s first cluster phenomena that are either the same or that we think could “go together,” meaning we could combine some parts of them.

Then, let’s see if we can narrow our list so that each one of us can work in a pair to take it to the next step. That could be 5-6 ideas, depending on how many people are present. In reducing the list, focus on what we call viability, that is, the potential for students to need ALL THE IDEAS in the standards you just unpacked to address.

To reduce the number, you can invite participants to indicate their preference by adding a star to a sticky they think is a good candidate phenomenon for the pair of PEs they are focused on.

[10 minutes]

slide 61

Construct a Student Explanation

For the remaining phenomena, the next step is for you to write a brief student explanation—in student-friendly language—of one of the remaining phenomena. Indicate in parentheses, too, where the phenomenon connects with either some facet of understanding from the phenomenon or the PE as a whole. We suggest that you write these explanations using plain language, not scientific terminology, and imagine what an English learner (or emerging bilingual student) would write as an explanation after a successful instructional experience with the phenomenon.

By brief, at this point, aim to get the gist right. Later, we’ll write a more elaborated explanation once we’ve actually picked our phenomenon. At this stage, we just want to use this as a further check on the viability of the phenomenon.

We’ll give an example now that you can use as a model. This model purposefully comes from a different area of science.

If you have time, you can also name possible design challenges that could be linked to your phenomenon. What’s something students could do that is personally relevant and makes science instruction more meaningful to them, because they have a chance to do something with their explanation of their phenomenon.

[3 minutes to introduce, 25 minutes to write explanations]

slide 62

Construct a Student Explanation

Here’s a sample of what we mean, something that we developed to help select an anchoring phenomenon for a genetics unit. We use a little scientific terminology here – “mutations,” but notice that the explanation uses a lot of kid friendly language like “swept along” to explain what happened such that some adults can drink milk into adulthood while others can’t. Again, this is not a complete explanation, but it is a start. For example, there’s nothing in here about the distribution of varying populations that might help explain why “most adults” can’t drink milk as opposed to “some” can’t.

[2 minutes]

slide 63

Building Understandings Discussion

What do you notice about our explanations?

What are you wondering about?

[4 minutes]

slide 64

Connecting to Students’ Interests and Experiences

You likely noticed that in the candidate phenomena “build out” worksheet, there is a space for writing down evidence related to how phenomena connect to students’ interests and experience.

This is important to do, from an equity perspective, to gather evidence that a broad range of students in our classes might see some relevance to these phenomena. We want to know that boys and girls, students of color, students from different kinds of families might all find a point of connection to what we are studying.

We also want to use this opportunity to identify additional candidate phenomena that students might help us generate, now that we have a sense of what might or might not be viable. 

We will share two methods for developing this assessment evidence that can be used at this point in the process for accomplishing these aims: a student survey and self-documentation.

[2 minutes]

slide 65

Student Survey

In our work in Denver with Denver teachers and CU and Northwestern researchers, we take the student driving questions, and we create a simple 8-10 item survey from the phenomena we’ve vetted. It asks them to rate interest on a Likert scale for each of the questions.

We set it up in Google Forms, and then we look at the pattern of results. When we meet as a design team to start designing a new unit, we review the data—paying attention to the average but also the distribution or range of responses. Recently, we’ve looked at these results by gender – and in some cases eliminated phenomena that showed a strong bias toward boys being more interested in the phenomenon than girls.

[2 minutes]

slide 66

Self-Documentation

In a project led by Carrie Tzou and Philip Bell, researchers and teachers engaged students in a process of self-documentation, a process developed originally for community psychology. This process can be used to expand our list of candidate phenomena, not just review what we have.

Students were sent home with cameras and were asked to document health practices in their community as a way to bridge the practices of science class and community activities.

[1 minute]

slide 67

Self-Documentation

For each picture students took of community health practices, they identified what was in the picture, where the picture was taken, and what activity the picture explained. Additionally, students wrote about how they understood the activity in the picture to be related to staying healthy or getting well.

[2 minutes]

slide 68

Community Health practices and topics

Then, the teacher took all of these photos, sorted them and generated a list of Community Health practices and topics that involved microorganisms. This list became the source of possible investigations students would carry out to learn more about microorganisms in their community.

Some of the investigations they did included:

  • Microorganism in the school (sampling and studying microorganisms)
  • Beneficial micros (yeast fair test, yogurt making)
  • Handwashing technique fair test
  • Effectiveness of “green” cleaners fair test

[2 minutes]

slide 69

ACESSE Resource C

To learn more about this interest-driven approach, you can explore ACESSE Resource C. It is a half-day learning experience around cultural dimensions of science learning.

[1 minute]

slide 70

Taking Stock

Now is a good time to take stock of where we’ve been so far in selecting an anchoring phenomenon.

Ask:

“Who can help us remember together where we’ve been so far these past two sessions? What are some steps?”

Once the steps are recalled, ask:

Turn to a partner and talk for a minute: What are some steps that strike you as really important? Why are those important?

Ask people to share out their ideas.

[10 minutes]

slide 71

Introducing Phenomena: Objectives

In this last part of the workshop, you will experience one way to introduce a phenomenon to a group of students. This particular approach is an adaptation of one developed by the Next Generation Storylines team, called an Anchoring Phenomenon Routine.

It will illustrate how an initial sequence of lessons can be built from student questions, as well as how to connect students’ own experiences to the phenomenon you have chosen in ways that make use of their own ideas and experiences to help set a direction for the class.

[2 minutes]

slide 72

Introducing a Phenomenon

It can be valuable to seek out some “stimulus” -- a video, a piece of data, a demonstration, a brief exploration of some physical design or phenomena you bring into the classroom -- and actually simulate with other educators an initial anchoring event or what we sometimes call a “launch.” Running a launch can reassure us that the phenomenon we have selected will generate questions that, if students answer them, will require they engage in practices to develop understanding of the core ideas and crosscutting concepts targeted in the bundle of PEs.

This step involves a routine that we’ll go through ourselves in a moment and that makes use of an anchoring video that launches a genetics unit. You’ll notice there are no words in this video, just pictures and sounds. No science is given away, but hopefully as it does for students, it will provoke a lot of “noticing and wonderings” we’ll capture at the end.

[2 minutes]

slide 73

Anchoring Phenomenon Routine

What we will simulate with you as participants is something the Northwestern Storylines team calls an anchoring phenomenon routine. The steps of this routine are shown in the graphic, and you can find a detailed template for developing such a routine for your phenomenon at their website.

[2 minutes]

slide 74

Introducing Phenomena

We’ll now invite you in to participate as students would in the first day of our project-based unit in genetics. This is how we start this unit.

Play video [by clicking the image or the link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcQcNPn5V9Y], and ask participants to write down things they observe as they watch.

[6 minutes]

slide 75

Observations and Questions

Write down on two flip chart sheets answers to the questions on the slide that participants give to each of the questions.

Don’t judge any ideas, but do ask for clarification.

Listen for participant responses to the “notice” question such as:

  • Young boys all around the world
  • Have trouble getting around/moving, not stable, seem weak especially in their legs and arms. Their fingers and “fine motor” skills worked ok.
  • We see the ways they are being cared for - getted fed, need braces, have tools for mobility like car ramps to get into car and drive. Care is different depending on where they are in the world but everyone was getting cared for
  • It looked like they were going to PT to help, move bodies, some involved water
  • Why do they need to move like that?
  • Are they working out? Why does it look different than when I’ve been to PT or when I’ve worked out? What’s different?
  • There weren’t any adults having problems
  • There weren’t any girls affected in the video
  • A lot of the people are having daily lives, eating, driving, joy/happy, laughing, sports, video games, people taking care of them, families
  • We saw siblings in the video, the girl sibling we saw didn’t seem to have the same movement issues
  • The parents in the video (we think the adults were parents), they seemed healthy too

Listen for questions such as:

  • Why is this happening to these boys?
  • What’s happening to them?
  • Was it an accident?
  • Were they born that way?
  • Did they catch it? If yes, could I get it?
  • Can it be fixed? Should it be fixed? (These 2 questions get at the idea of different opinions/values that can be discussed.)
  • Are they going to die?
  • Why only boy? Why no adults?
  • How common is it?

[10 minutes]

slide 76

Initial Ideas

Write down on flip chart paper answers to the questions on the slide that participants give.

Listen for ideas related to genetics, inheritance, as well as some ideas that are potentially off base. Be sure not to judge any ideas, not just because adults are playing as students but because we want to model that at this point, all ideas are plausible.

Note: This priming of students is a good formative assessment moment, to find out what they are bringing. It also -- by engaging them in initial hypothesis formation, helps create a motivation to learn about the key ideas.

[10 minutes]

slide 77

Prioritizing Questions

Next, take the group through a process of prioritizing questions. Seek to have participants justify why some questions must come before others. This will help to set out a storyline for the class to follow, to come up with an explanation for the phenomenon.

Note: Sometimes we can also ask students to build an initial model of the phenomenon, and then engage in yet another round of question posing before prioritizing the questions and building our class’ storyline.

[10 minutes]

slide 78

Debriefing the Launch

Notice three things that just happened in this activity.

First, the launch presented the phenomena, setting up the expectation that they will observe some things that need investigating.

Second, the launch engaged students in asking questions, and therefore puts students in the driver’s seat for a series of lessons.

Third, the launch asked them to come up with initial ideas and related phenomena.

Third, the launch required students to prioritize when to take up what questions, providing a possible learning pathway for them to pursue.

We use this process once we select a phenomenon to help us build a storyline. It is very successful in laying out a potential sequence of activities where students are in the driver’s seat, even though we do guess wrong sometimes. We use evidence from how things go in the classroom to make adjustments as we go.

[5 minutes]

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Summary of Process

So to summarize where we’ve been today, and highlight key steps of the process.

First we analyzed the standards

Then we brainstormed candidate phenomena individually.

We shared, clustered, and reduced the list

We wrote student explanations

We got student input.

We chose a phenomenon and “launch” activity

We simulated the launch to establish a possible sequence for a unit.

[2 minutes]

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Places to Find Ideas for Phenomena

Where can you find good ideas for phenomena?

There are many sources; one is a site maintained by T. J. McKenna of the Connecticut Science Center. He collects ideas for phenomena from a wide variety of sources.

Science news is a great source of contemporary science ideas.

Also, because they are focused on engaging the public in science, some podcasts like Radio Lab and 99 Percent Invisible are great sources of ideas.

A great site when looking for phenomena that might interest and engage older students is Scijourner.org. That site posts student science journalism on topics of their own choosing.

[2 minutes]

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Learn More about Phenomena

There is a resource where you can learn more about phenomena at STEM Teaching Tools web site. This web site includes a number of resources related to learning about equitable 3D teaching and learning in science: http://stemteachingtools.org/brief/42

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Professional Learning Resources to Support NGSS Implementation

You will be able to find ACESSE resources and other tools on the STEM Teaching Tools site. You can easily download PDFs of dozens of tools to support implementation of the NRC Framework vision.

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On Twitter @STEMTeachTools

You can learn about these tools on Twitter.

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Sign Up for Email Newsletter STEMteachingtools.org

Or sign up for a periodic email newsletter—at the bottom of the front page of the web site.

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Help us improve the resource

[READ SLIDE and ask participants to complete the survey. Clarify that this is information for the ACESSE team to refine the activities—and not about you as the facilitator.]

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Thank you! For more info…

Here are some resources and contact information for the authors of this PD unit. They hope you have found it useful. They welcome any feedback or suggestions on how to improve it.

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[This resource was refined through a 13-state collaboration to make the resource more broadly useful. If you choose to adapt these materials, please attribute the source and that it was work funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).]

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