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 or 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.
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.
Designed for high school Earth Science classes, this site is also appropriate for two-year college and undergraduate Earth Science courses.
How to use the Units
Blueprint units provide curriculum and resources for use with students
The blueprints provide labs, learning experiences, readings, and other educational resources for students to do, organized within individual units. Teachers must develop their own individual plan for how they will teach a unit. Therefore, it is extremely important to allocate time to review all the activities and background material prior to using the learning experiences in this unit and to probe students for their prior knowledge before starting an activity. There are "Scaffolding Notes" for each unit to facilitate implementation.
The learning experiences selected provide links to excellent background preparatory materials, additional hands-on resources, teaching tips, and cross-curricular connections. Visualizations, animations or videos and suggested readings, podcasts or tutorials are included to provide the context for the learning activities. However, teachers may wish to create their own PowerPoint/Prezi presentations, deliver lectures and assign other ancillary work (readings, etc.) to their students, in order to set the stage for effective use and implementation of each unit's learning activities. In addition, although some activities may incorporate assessments, teachers may need to create their own assessments to ensure that they are appropriate for the students they teach.
- Educators must develop their own individual plan for how they will teach a selected blueprint.
- Educators are expected to provide the necessary instruction required to prepare students to use educational resources in the units that comprise the blueprint. 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.
- Educators should supply their own PowerPoint/Prezi 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.
- 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.
This website was developed by the Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College and its partners with funding from the National Science Foundation and other sponsors. Any views expressed in this website do not necessarily reflect the views of SERC, Carleton College or any of its sponsors or affiliates.
Citing this Site
A number of useful citation formats for web resources can be found here. In general you should include author, publication date, page title, title of the site, date you viewed the site, and the url. A citation of the DIG Texas Instructional Blueprint resource might look like this:
Ellins, K.K., Riggs, E.M, Serpa, L., Pennington, D., Stocks, E.S., and the DIG Texas Instructional Blueprint Development Team (2015), Dig Texas Instructional Blueprint: Songs of a Distant Earth, Retrieved April 6, 2015, from http://serc.carleton.edu/dig_blueprints/.
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