Students Should Make Sense of Science Phenomena
The core statement of the Wisconsin Standards for Science is that students should use their conceptual understanding, science and engineering practices, and a lens of crosscutting concepts to make sense of phenomena and solve problems. The role of a teacher is not as a dispenser of information, but a facilitator of students' opportunities to do and think scientifically. Local, community-related phenomena engage students and make science meaningful, preparing students for life beyond school in college, in careers, and as citizens. A good phenomenon often has no one right answer, but is a specific event or connection within the natural or designed world, ideally that students can directly experience. Further definitions of phenomena, resources for using them, and listings of them:
Defining and Using Phenomena
- What makes a good phenomenon? - ideas from the Georgia Science Teachers Association
- ACESSE Resource E: Selecting Anchoring Phenomena for Equitable Teaching – This professional learning module discusses what a phenomenon is and how it is different from a core idea in science.
- Qualities of a Good Anchor Phenomenon - resource from the Research and Practice Collaboratory
- NSTA Webinar on How to Select a Quality Phenomenon - by Tricia Shelton and Ted Willard, 90 min.
- NSTA Webinar on Storylines - by Brian Reiser and Michael Novak - details how to have students' work to sense of phenomena guide a unit of instruction, 90 min.
- STEM Teaching Tools Brief 42 - Using Phenomena in NGSS-Designed Lessons and Units
Listings of Phenomena
- Appendix A of the WSS - this appendix provides a range of Wisconsin-specific science contexts linked to the core ideas at each grade level. Often, a teacher would have to connect to a specific instance related to these contexts to make it a phenomenon.
- Georgia Science Teachers Association Phenomena Bank - created by teachers; linked to the Georgia standards, which are very similar to ours in Wisconsin
- Data nuggets - resource from Michigan State University that asks students to build understanding of actual examples of scientific research and data
- NGSS Phenomena Website - database of short video clips, images, and resources created by TJ McKenna
- #projectphenomenon - database of phenomena
- Wide range of actual data sources for students - large list of links to real-time data sets that students can make sense of
- Eureka Alert - Twitter feed with AAAS daily science news, images, videos, and more
- SciJourner - science news and graphics, most relevant for secondary and beyond students
- Bringing the Universe to America's Classrooms - PBS Learning Media collection of resources related to astronomy and earth science
- Phenomena Video Gallery - < 30 sec videos from Carorlina, I'd have students ask questions rather than giving them those provided