Comparing NGSS and Delaware Science Standards

I'm in week one of learning about Next Generation Science Standards through Coursera and my first assignment is compare them to similar standards that I am already teaching. If you've never heard of Coursera, it's one of the "big three" of companies offering massive, open, online courses or MOOC's.

The NG standard I'm evaluating is within its "Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy and Dynamics" unit. My teaching partner and I taught this activity yesterday through "Deer/Lion" which is a prey/predator game of tag that we are using in an environmental detectives unit investigating the "Grey area" which is a fictional watershed wherein an unexplained ecological die-off of fish has occurred. We use this game to highlight how predators influence prey and how scarcity of prey limits the carrying capacity of predators. We graph this relationship to look at change over time and help us interpret data.

Students declaring what resources that they are or want
Competing for resources
This is how the Next Generation Standard reads:

Delaware doesn't have such a succinct learning standard and instead, breaks down the blue sections above into the "Nature of Science" strand and the orange section above falls into ecology as shown below:

Overall, I think that NG does a better job tying the knowledge and skills together rather than having the learning outcomes, skills and knowledge as separate entities within the backwards design framework. Although I do like backwards design and have co-authored dozens of curriculum maps, the learning outcomes are taken from an eclectic variety of locations within "Stage 1: Desired Results" However, Delaware is moving away from these standards and moving towards common core standards in the near future.

What I like about NG standards is that they're well contained with tabs to highlight "cross cutting concepts and core ideas" which make is easy to toggle between knowledge, skills and interdisciplinary projects. Although the standard is not new to me, it's easier to navigate from a curricular standpoint.


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