Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Physics Instruction in the Era of the NGSS

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Physics Instruction in the Era of the NGSS

Article excerpt

Last month this column looked at the impact of the newly released Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) (Achieve 2013) on chemistry instruction, focusing on the first physical science standard, "Matter and Its Interactions" (HS-PS1). Since the theme of this issue is physics and physical science, let's now look at the other high school physical science standards:


* Motion and Stability (HS-PS2)

* Energy (HS-PS3)

* Waves and Their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer (HS-PS4)

As with all the NGSS, each standard relates performance expectations to disciplinary core ideas, crosscutting concepts, and scientific and engineering practices. The NGSS do not dictate a specific curriculum, and teachers can help students reach expectations by using the core ideas with a variety of instructional practices.

Let's see how this might play out. The article "What Happens When You Flip a Switch?" (p. 33) describes a series of activities to help students understand the concepts of energy, energy generation, and energy transformations. These activities align perfectly with HS-PS3, "Energy," especially if made to emphasize student exploration and inquiry.

Students who successfully complete activities similar to those in the article should be able to "design, build, and refine a device that works within given constraints to convert one form of energy into another form of energy" (Performance Expectation HS-PS3-3). …

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