Teaching Rocks and Minerals in the Context of Dynamic Earth Systems and Interactions: Using the Three Dimensions of the Next Generation Science Standards as an Organizing Framework to Engage Learners in Teacher Preparation Courses

Friday, 19 December 2014
Mara e Brady, California State University Fresno, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Fresno, CA, United States and Fred Nelson, California State University Fresno, Curriculum and Instruction, Fresno, CA, United States
The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) call for a shift from science learning as a fixed body of decontextualized facts toward a deliberate integration of three dimensions that transcend instructional level: 1) Disciplinary Core Ideas, 2) Crosscutting concepts, and 3) Science & Engineering Practices. This new approach to K-12 science education requires a dedicated effort to address teacher preparation in ESS. Here, we present an instructional model that explicitly integrates the three dimensions of the NGSS as an organizing framework in large-enrollment, undergraduate introductory geoscience courses targeted toward future teachers. This curriculum development is part of a campus-wide collaboration among science, engineering, and education faculty to enhance science teacher preparation. This approach reflects NGSS conceptual shifts and promotes a learner-centered environment where students regularly engage with each other and course material as part of the course:

1) In terms of content, Earth systems and interactions, are emphasized; rocks and minerals are discussed in the context of their use to understand and predict changes over Earth’s past, present, and future; and engineering and technology are incorporated into discussions of mediating human impacts on Earth systems. 2) Cross-cutting concepts, such as cycles and flows, are explicitly referenced throughout the course to promote connections between and application of prior knowledge and new information or situations. 3) Guided by explicit prompts for partner discussions in class, students regularly engage in scientific practices, such as arguing by evidence and constructing an explanation. We will provide examples of student learning assessment, including in-class responses pre- and post- partner discussions, short written reflections, and cumulative projects. Ongoing evaluation of this instructional approach will include pre- and post- Geoscience Concept Inventory responses.