Gordon Lake


Return to: ETAP 623 Fall 2019 (Zhang) | College Biology Curriculum and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

About Me

Death Dealer.jpg

Hello Everyone! I received my MSc in Molecular Biology from Memorial University, NL, Canada. I have since married and relocated to the Hudson Valley where I am a tenure track instructor at Dutchess Community College. I teach Human Biology and Anatomy & Physiology primarily and through various grants and departmental initiatives I’ve had the opportunity to explore and develop curriculum and OER resources. Through those experiences I've become interested in the online learning experience and find myself here enrolled in my second course as part of the Certificate of Online Learning and Teaching.


Beyond academics I have been working to improve my digital sculpting skills. I have partnered with a small collective of artists scattered across the country to design, paint, and 3D print accessories and various components for customizing existing toy properties. This summer has been very exciting in this regard as our group has acquired a property license to create and distribute pieces based on Frank Frazetta’s Death Dealer character. Independently I have been commissioned to sculpt accessories for an action figure designer based in the Dominican Republic who is utilizing the Kickstarter platform to bring their Plunderlings toy property to life.

Applying Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

It has been more than 17 years since the National Research Council (NRC) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) have released their most recent report on science standards. Since then there have been major advances in all scientific fields as well as cognitive sciences and our understanding of teaching and learning.

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are a new set of science standards addressing the K-12 curriculum that have been developed by a team from 26 states with a writing team made up of teachers, scientists, and education researchers. The goal of the NGSS is to identify scientific and engineering practices, crosscutting concepts, and core ideas in science in an effort to prepare today’s students for success in college and 21st-century careers.

The NGSS is built on three distinct and equally important dimensions to learning science:

  1. Science and Engineering Practices
  2. Disciplinary Core Ideas
  3. Crosscutting Concepts

You can access the entire NGSS database here.

Learning Outcomes

Learners will be able to:

  • Summarize the purpose and goals of the Next Generation Science Standards framework (Understanding)
  • Utilize the NGSS database to find standards based on the target student audience (Applying)
  • Compare and contrast the eight Science and Engineering Practices (Understanding)
  • Dissect standards into their component practices, core ideas, and crosscutting concepts (Analyzing)
  • Design Understanding Performances to support NGSS Practices (Creating)

Needs Assessment

Instructional problem

  • Post-secondary educators are not familiar with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).
  • Instructional design for many post-secondary programs do not attempt to leverage NGSS when establishing learning goals and outcomes for freshman courses.

Nature of what is to be learned

  • Educators will become familiar with the NGSS at the high school level.
  • Educators will explore how the NGSS can inform instructional design at the post-secondary level.

Learner Analysis

  • Community college biology instructors.

Instructional Content

  • This course will establish a brief background for the development of the NGSS as well as how standards can be accessed through the dedicated website.
  • This course will familiarize learners with the three components of the NGSS: practices, core ideas, and crosscutting concepts.
  • This course will help prepare learners to incorporate NGSS Practices into their instructional design.
  • Summative assessment will consist of quizzes and journal entries providing reflections on how and why NGSS can be leveraged in the classroom.

Analysis of the Learner and Context

Performance-Based Objectives

  • Given access to the Next Generation Science Standards website the college biology instructors will summarize the purpose and goals of the NGSS in a minimum 400 word journal entry.
  • Given access to the NGSS database college biology instructors will explain how four common first year biology topics can be mapped to the NGSS framework. Evaluations will be completed using an assessment form and submitted electronically.
  • Given access to the NGSS database as well as a series of videos discussing the NGSS Science and Engineering Practices college biology instructors will summarize the eight Practices and discuss their contribution to science education and literacy. Discussions will be facilitated using online discussion forums.
  • Given access to the NGSS database college biology instructors will construct a guide for interpreting the alpha numeric codes for NGSS standards. This assignment will require hyperlinks to all relevant supporting documentation from the NGSS database. Learners will be grouped into pairs. Each member of a pair will submit their guide as a discussion thread and will also be responsible for evaluating their partner’s contribution (rubric will be provided).
  • College biology instructors will create Wiki entries proposing two understanding performances addressing specific NGSS Practices. Wiki entries will include a description of the proposed task/activity/assignment and will identify how it supports the selected Practice.

Task Analysis

This mini-course includes the following units. Click the title of a unit to go to its page.

Unit 1: What are the Next Generation Science Standards?

  • Review video content from the NGSS website as well as the Bozeman Science Youtube channel.
  • Online scavenger hunt style quiz to assist in navigating the NGSS database.
  • Journal entry summarizing why the NGSS were created and who was involved in the collaborative effort.

Unit 2: What are the components of a standard?

  • Review NGSS video detailing how to read the alphanumerical standard codes.
  • Complete quiz: Given a standard's code can you interpret the relevant details? Given the relevant details can you construct a standard's code?
  • Create a short guide to interpreting the NGSS standard's codes. Learners will work in pairs submitting their guides as discussion threads and submitting peer evaluations as journal entries.

Unit 3: What are the NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas and Crosscutting Concepts?

  • Review the NGSS database appendices.
  • Review Bozeman Science videos related to Crosscutting Concepts and the Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI) most relevant for your field of study.
  • Choose a unique topic relevant to your own instruction and align it to the appropriate DCI and Concept. Submit this analysis as a journal entry.

Unit 4: What are the NGSS Science & Engineering Practices?

  • Submit a journal entry briefly summarizing each of the eight NGSS Practices with hyperlinks to supporting documentation.
  • Discuss which Practice best suits the unique topic you chose in the previous unit and offer support for your decision. Submit your analysis as a journal entry.

Unit 5: Using the NGSS to guide curriculum.

  • Create a fully realized task/activity/assignment to address the topic and NGSS you explored in the previous two units.
  • Submit your task/activity/assignment as a Wiki entry.
  • Include in your Wiki entry evidence and support for each component of the standard: Practice, Disciplinary Core Idea, and Crosscutting Concept.

Curriculum Map

Revised Curriculum Map.jpg

References and Resources