Unpacking the Next Generation Science Standards

Unpacking-CCSS-Middle-School-Webinar-Graphic

For my Science Demo Unit I would like to explore more the following NGSS standards:

  • LS 1-1: Conduct an investigation to provide evidence that living things are made of cells; either one cell or many different numbers and types of cells.
  • LS 1-2: Develop and use a model to describe the function of a cell as a whole and ways parts of cells contribute to the function.

To deconstruct the said standards, we must look at the verbs. In LS 1-1, students are to conduct an investigation, meaning they will have experienced a lab that directly provides evidence of living things being made of cells. In our case, we will look at onion tissue under the microscope. In all 3 magnifications 10X, 40X and 100X students will be able to identify plant cells, first looking like a brick wall, then in the highest magnification they can identify the nucleus within most cells.

In the second standard, LS 1-2, students will develop and use a model that describes the function cell organelles and they help living organisms develop and grow. In our case, we are making several models. For instance, students will create a comic strip. In that comic strip, students detail the how viruses trick cells, enter their nucleus to reproduce themselves and exit the cell unnoticed. In addition, students will also create a fiction story in which a cell thrives by its organelles performing their jobs despite obstacles such as the living organism not drinking enough water, or not eating well, or not having oxygen. Lastly, students will in groups make up a skit in which students will recreate the jobs that organelles do within a cell. This last is the key summative assessment of the unit.

The idea behind conducting an experiment, actually looking at a plant cell under the microscope is to give students a really experience of looking at cells versus just seeing it as a diagram in the textbook or online. As far as the creation of the different models, students will be given various visuals of the cell model, giving students a real context for what each organelle does and how it supports the cell that supports a body system which supports the living organism. In comparison to the usual, ‘let’S make a model of the cell out of macaroni and glue’ students will use 21st century tools to create their comic strip, their fiction story and their final skit.   

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