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Science Bits was created in 2012 with the explicit objective of translating A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas (National Research Council, 2012) into concrete practices for the real classroom. This educational framework provided the foundations for the Next Generation Science Standards, which were released in 2013.
Since then, Science Bits has been developing learning units for Middle School that align with the disciplinary core ideas, crosscutting concepts, and Science & Engineering practices included in these standards. Science Bits’ activities and learning sequences have been developed by applying a “backward design” process from the NGSS performance expectations.
Science Bits’ lessons follow the BSCS 5E model of instruction to create sequences that accommodate the three dimensions of performance expectations in the NRC Framework and the NGSS. Some performance expectations are covered by specific 5E Science Bits units, while others are built through sequences of several 5E units that allow students to elaborate scientific models with understanding.
Additionally, the methodology that Science Bits follows aligns with the international recommendations for the development of scientific competencies (OECD) and is grounded in cognitive research about how people learn.
It is important to realize that the NGSS is a set of standards that do not dictate a particular curriculum. It is the task of states and/or districts to establish a curriculum and to develop and/or select instructional materials aligned with the NGSS. Aligned materials integrate the three dimensions of scientific and engineering practices, disciplinary core ideas, and crosscutting concepts. An aligned curriculum provides a sequence of topics within each grade that is consistent with the progression of the NGSS’ core ideas.
NGSS’ performance expectations correspond to concrete scientific competencies and are intended to aid the assessment process by clarifying what students should be able to know and do at the end of the grade or grade band.
Science Bits’ units and activities can be arranged any way you like to cover the sequence of your own curriculum aligned with NGSS.
However, Science Bits also offers a complete curriculum sequence for the 3-year Middle School period that has been especially designed by a team of educators, scientists, and cognitive psychologists. This curriculum provides effective and coherent learning sequences that help students progressively build scientific concepts from ground, learn crosscutting ideas, develop scientific competencies, and acquire positive attitudes towards science.