DIG Texas Blueprints > How to use the Blueprints

How to use the Blueprints

There are many ways to construct a high school Earth Science class. These DIG Texas blueprints provide a year-long roadmap, a pathway for educators to follow as they teach a one-year high school Earth Science course (approximately 30 weeks). Educators may use each one as is, or mix and match different units to create blueprints tailored for their own course. Educators may also use the blueprints as the inspiration to create their own blueprints.


Blueprints organize units in a coherent framework for teachers to follow as they teach. Each unit has links to pre-existing, carefully reviewed learning experiences and other educational resources. Selected resources constitute a manageable number of resources for students to use over a three-week time frame and are packaged in a way that facilitates their use. Learning experiences included in the units have links to background preparatory materials, additional hands-on resources, teaching tips, and, in some cases, cross-curricular connections. For example, a learning experience on the formation of our universe may have links to myths and legends about its origin and evolution. In addition to the learning experiences, the units contain visualizations, animations/ or videos and a list of suggested readings/podcasts or tutorials. These are intended to provide the context for the learning experiences. There are "Scaffolding Notes" for each unit to facilitate implementation.

Standards Alignment

The learning experiences in each unit were purposefully chosen to align with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Earth Science Performance Expectations (PEs). The PEs require that "... students operate at the intersection of practice, content and connection" (NGSS Lead States, 2013). Therefore, the PEs integrate specific Science and Engineering Practices (practice), Disciplinary Core Ideas (content) and Cross Cutting Concepts (connection). In order for students to achieve a particular PE, they need to engage in several different Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs) to develop their understanding of a Disciplinary Core Idea (DCI). PEs provide guidance to teachers on what students should be able to do at the end of instruction for each blueprint unit. They are not designed to describe what students are doing during instruction and how teachers should teach the material.

The NGSS have identified the most important material for students to know and do. We have included additional educational resources in order to ensure that the blueprints are aligned with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Earth and Space Science and the Earth Science Literacy Principles http://www.earthscienceliteracy.org. A blueprint does not attempt to cover all of Earth Science; instead it takes an in-depth look at key topics that are critical for understanding the challenges that humans face in living on this "restless planet."


NGSS Lead States, 2013, Next Generation Science Standards, For States, By States, Washington DC: The National Academies Press, p. Xvii.


1. Lead educators to a carefully selected, reliable, high-quality, peer reviewed resources for teaching the content of an Earth Science course.

2. Provide curriculum that is aligned with the NGSS.

3. Provide curriculum that is appropriate to address the Texas TEKS for Earth and Space Science, a high school Earth science course envisioned as a capstone course.

2. Provide this curriculum through several different 'Blueprints' or pathways.

4. Allow educators to create their own blueprints to suit the needs of their courses, schools, districts, and unique settings.

Blueprints provide curriculum and resources for students' use

The blueprints provide labs, learning experiences, readings, and other educational resources for students to do.


Designed for high school Earth Science classes; also appropriate for two-year college and undergraduate Earth Science courses.

Educator Expectations

  1. Educators must develop their own individual plan for how they will teach a blueprint.
  2. Educators are expected to provide the necessary instruction required to prepare students to use educational resources in the units that comprise the blueprints. Therefore, it is extremely important to allocate time to review all the activities and background material prior to using the learning experiences and to probe students for their prior knowledge before starting to teach a unit.
  3. Educators should supply their own PowerPoint presentations, deliver lectures and assign ancillary work (readings, etc.) to their students in order to set the stage for effective use of the learning experiences.
  4. Although some activities may incorporate assessments, teachers will need to create their own assessments for each unit

Currently, the blueprints do not provide direction and supplemental resources to support educators with implementation of blueprints in the classroom. We will create an implementation guide for educators in 2015, using feedback from teachers who test our blueprints in the classroom setting.

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