Many students experience high school science without considering the interconnectedness of different domains. By leveraging the Energy and Matter crosscutting concept and uniting this lens with a forces perspective, we consider how a Matter-Energy-Forces (MEF) triangle can help students apply core principles of physical science across multiple domains. We explore the MEF triangle’s use in three different units that highlight Earth and Space Science alongside Biology, Physics or Chemistry to make explicit connections to the crosscutting concept of energy and matter and core life and physical science Disciplinary Core Ideas. Examples include fires, polar ice melt, tectonic plate motion, and meteors. We also consider how this tool could be useful for students over the course of many units and how it can increase access to more difficult life and physical science concepts through the use of this routine. Participants will practice applying the MEF triangle to phenomena in their contexts.
The Framework calls for “a common use of language about energy and matter across the disciplines in science instruction.” The MEF triangle uses cues and prompts to draw attention to interactions between matter, energy, and forces to help students make sense of complex phenomena across domains.
Whitney Mills (BSCS Science Learning: Colorado Springs, CO), Jamie Noll (BSCS Science Learning: Colorado Springs, CO), Dan Voss (Northwestern University: Evanston, IL), Diego Rojas-Perilla (BSCS Science Learning: Colorado Springs, CO)