The Concord Consortium is filled with great tools to support teachers who are redesigning their curriculum in light of the Next Generation Science Standards. By signing up for a free account, teachers can create their own classes and push out activities to their students. They can also track which assignments students have completed.
Search through the Concord NGSS Pathfinder to look for tasks specifically aligned to the NGSS Science and Engineering Practices and Crosscutting Concepts. Prepare for lessons by checking to make sure which activities must be downloaded to student computers ahead of time.Continue reading Show less
The Concord Consortium has hundreds of science activities and computer simulations best used with middle and high school students. Teachers can use the site to find tasks aligned to their standards, push assignments out to their students, and track student progress. By assigning a task to their class, teachers can view written responses that students provide throughout an activity.
Activities are organized by discipline in the life, engineering, physical, and earth sciences. Teachers can select from official Concord Consortium activities or those created by other community members. One option is to choose larger thematic collections of activities, lesson plans, and assessments -- like Geniverse -- where kids learn about genetics by breeding virtual dragons. Alternatively, teachers can choose stand-alone activities like Describing Velocity, where students manipulate velocity-time graphs and act as racetrack commentators.
The Concord Consortium embraces the "phenomena first" emphasis in the Next Generation Science Standards. For instance, kids learn about gas laws through the phenomena of bottles crushing and ears popping. Like ExploreLearning Gizmos, the collection utilizes online computer models to make both micro- and macro-scale phenomena easy to view and manipulate. The Concord Consortium adds to this an emphasis on written reflection and a tool for teachers to track students' written ideas over time. Whether describing the motion of atoms in a gas or the change in a lion population, kids type thoughtful explanations of the phenomena.
Each activity varies in format and therefore in its strengths and weaknesses. In the African Lions task, kids explore actual lion population data. They graph predictions, modify their graphs in light of new information, and reflect on how their predictions compare to reality. Unfortunately, they cannot go back and review work earlier in the module. Other activities, like DNA to Protein, are Java-based and must be downloaded to computers to use. This may be problematic for classrooms with Chromebooks or for districts that block students from downloading.
Key Standards Supported
Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
Use mathematical representations to support explanations of how natural selection may lead to increases and decreases of specific traits in populations over time.
Construct an explanation based on evidence that the process of evolution primarily results from four factors: (1) the potential for a species to increase in number, (2) the heritable genetic variation of individuals in a species due to mutation and sexual reproduction, (3) competition for limited resources, and (4) the proliferation of those organisms that are better able to survive and reproduce in the environment.
Apply concepts of statistics and probability to support explanations that organisms with an advantageous heritable trait tend to increase in proportion to organisms lacking this trait.
Construct an explanation based on evidence for how natural selection leads to adaptation of populations.
Evaluate the evidence supporting claims that changes in environmental conditions may result in: (1) increases in the number of individuals of some species, (2) the emergence of new species over time, and (3) the extinction of other species.
Create or revise a simulation to test a solution to mitigate adverse impacts of human activity on biodiversity.
Earth and Human Activity
Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how the uneven distributions of Earth’s mineral, energy, and groundwater resources are the result of past and current geoscience processes.
Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.
Evaluate competing design solutions for developing, managing, and utilizing energy and mineral resources based on cost-benefit ratios.
Create a computational simulation to illustrate the relationships among management of natural resources, the sustainability of human populations, and biodiversity.
Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
Analyze geoscience data and the results from global climate models to make an evidence-based forecast of the current rate of global or regional climate change and associated future impacts to Earth systems.
Use a computational representation to illustrate the relationships among Earth systems and how those relationships are being modified due to human activity.
Earth’s Place in the Universe
Evaluate evidence of the past and current movements of continental and oceanic crust and the theory of plate tectonics to explain the ages of crustal rocks.
Develop a model to describe the cycling of Earth’s materials and the flow of energy that drives this process.
Analyze and interpret data on the distribution of fossils and rocks, continental shapes, and seafloor structures to provide evidence of the past plate motions.
Develop a model to describe the cycling of water through Earth’s systems driven by energy from the sun and the force of gravity.
Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth’s surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.
Use a model to describe how variations in the flow of energy into and out of Earth's systems result in changes in climate.
Develop a quantitative model to describe the cycling of carbon among the hydrosphere, atmosphere, geosphere, and biosphere.
Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem.
Use mathematical and/or computational representations to support explanations of factors that affect carrying capacity of ecosystems at different scales.
Use mathematical representations to support and revise explanations based on evidence about factors affecting biodiversity and populations in ecosystems of different scales.
Design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity.
Construct and interpret graphical displays of data to describe the relationships of kinetic energy to the mass of an object and to the speed of an object.
Construct, use, and present arguments to support the claim that when the kinetic energy of an object changes, energy is transferred to or from the object.
Develop and use models to illustrate that energy at the macroscopic scale can be accounted for as a combination of energy associated with the motions of particles (objects) and energy associated with the relative position of particles (objects).
Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.
Analyze a major global challenge to specify qualitative and quantitative criteria and constraints for solutions that account for societal needs and wants.
Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
Use a computer simulation to model the impact of proposed solutions to a complex real-world problem with numerous criteria and constraints on interactions within and between systems relevant to the problem.
Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits
Develop and use a model to describe why asexual reproduction results in offspring with identical genetic information and sexual reproduction results in offspring with genetic variation.
Ask questions to clarify relationships about the role of DNA and chromosomes in coding the instructions for characteristic traits passed from parents to offspring.
Make and defend a claim based on evidence that inheritable genetic variations may result from: (1) new genetic combinations through meiosis, (2) viable errors occurring during replication, and/or (3) mutations caused by environmental factors.
Apply concepts of statistics and probability to explain the variation and distribution of expressed traits in a population.
Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
Ask questions about data to determine the factors that affect the strength of electric and magnetic forces.
Analyze data to support the claim that Newton’s second law of motion describes the mathematical relationship among the net force on a macroscopic object, its mass, and its acceleration.
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