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Crosscutting concepts are sometimes the neglected dimension of the NGSS and other standards based on the Framework for K-12 Science Education. But crosscutting concepts can provide students a useful lens for making sense of phenomena. They include patterns; cause and effect; scale, proportion, and quantity; systems and system models; energy and matter; structure and function; and stability and change. Join us on Saturday, February 8, starting at 10 am Eastern, to learn how crosscutting concepts can be used as lenses to explore phenomena


Crosscutting Concepts: Strengthening Science and Engineering Teaching and Learning

This session introduces the nature and intent of the crosscutting concepts, and addresses why they are a necessary part of science and engineering instruction that engages students’ figuring out phenomena and designing solutions to problems. After this introduction, the remainder of the session focuses on unpacking three key roles that crosscutting concepts might play in strengthening teaching and learning: making connections across disciplines, providing complementary analytical lenses on phenomena, and broadening access to science and engineering through the inclusion of all students in the science classroom.

Crosscutting Concepts in the Life Sciences: Principles for Model-based Reasoning

In this session we explore the key roles that crosscutting concepts play in students’ sensemaking about living systems. In particular we look at (a) how CCCs can serve as rules or guiding principles for scientific models, arguments from evidence, explanations, and designs and (b) how students can use CCCs as heuristics to generate questions and suggest explanations and solutions in the life sciences. We will discuss how students of different ages learn to use CCCs productively, with examples of assessments and teaching strategies.

How does the crosscutting concept offer a particular access to sensemaking of earth science?

In traditional science instruction we are used to ideas being presented as facts to be memorized. This has been especially true for earth science because large scale processes such as plate movement and climate changes are inaccessible in the classroom. For example, we memorized different kinds of rocks and how each kind of rock is formed, and memorized the layers of rocks that make up our planet. We learned about specific index fossils. In the age of the NGSS, students are presented with phenomena to explain using scientific ideas during sensemaking. Crosscutting concepts provide access to the figuring out of the complex phenomena of earth science. In this session, we build on the teacher capacity to make sense and leverage the crosscutting concepts during sensemaking. Teachers must capitalize on their specialized knowledge to support students during learning, while simultaneously making sense of three dimensional learning. Three educators present three distinct earth science lessons --at fourth, and eight grade, and in a Professional learning session. We examine the affordance of the crosscutting concept for the earth science discipline. Finally, we consider the usefulness of crosscutting concepts --the dimension that is still being understood in theory and practice-- for teacher agency.

Cross-Cutting Concepts in Physical Science: The versatility of CCCs

This session focuses on the power of CCCs in helping students make sense of physical science, specifically, the structure of matter at the different grade bands. Explicitly discussing the CCCs, helps students to understand the CCCs while also developing an understanding of Disciplinary Core Ideas (e.g. matter and its interactions) and of the Science and Engineering Practices that they are engaging in to make sense of phenomena. They then can use the CCCs to apply what they have learned to new phenomena.

Making sense of phenomena with crosscutting concepts - perspectives on assessment

How can we assess students’ use of crosscutting concepts? This session will describe how the crosscutting concepts provide questions that help students make sense of novel phenomena, and how to use them to design classroom assessments that provide information about students’ three-dimensional learning.

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