Thursday, December 4, 2014

Thinking about NGSS Connections

I've been thinking a lot about how each of us has been motivated to include music in our project and how each of us found ourself trying to understand the representation of the information as well as the science involved (frequencies).    Our individual projects made us all aware of some gaps in knowledge and understanding and increased our desire to bridge that gap.

Educational theory about the role of motivation in learning is at play here.   When you have personal motivation to learn something you are in prime readiness state to understanding.   So it seems natural that having some materials accessible for students as they reach that state in various maker project would be desirable to helping us make the connection between making and NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards).

I did a quick search for NGSS related resources that might provide some insight on which NGSS standards might relate to sound and frequencies, since it is obvious that all 3 of us are now involved with a need to better understand frequencies and sound to better have a deeper understanding of our projects and meet our need to be able to build our project towards a desired result.   Here are a few examples of what I found.

1) A lesson plan on Music and Sound from Engineering Outreach Program out of Berkley 
which had the following NGSS connections and some interesting resources for understanding some of the concepts.

I was surprised that the lessons was targetted at early elementary grades.  Surely these concepts were build upon in standards for higher grade levels! I think each of us would agree that our search for increased understanding is at a much higher level than 2nd and 4th grade.   So with some more digging I was able to find that these standards so have a progression.

So I'm feeling that my belief that  there can be connections with personalized learning,  making, and NGSS is validated when I look at this,  but I'm left with the some questions.
How do we satisfy the expectations that we be explicit when designing instructions to make start with the standards first and then design instruction  to the type of learning that I see happening in maker ed where the standards that are being met evolve out of pursuit of personalized learning which brought us to a state of prime readiness to learn the concepts.  
You could argue that if we had received science instruction that lead to deep understanding of these concepts in the first place, we might not be experiencing a gap of understanding about some of the science at play in our projects.      Yet it is these very projects that well help us reach higher levels of understanding of the concepts. (perhaps this is where cross cutting concepts come into play).  When I look at some of the lessons, including the lesson referenced above that ask students to cut out pictures representing sound and match them with concepts,  I yawn.   Not only would this activity NOT motivate me as a learner, but it certainly would not result in deep understanding.

It feels like a chicken and egg type of dilemma.

I think I have more questions than answers tonight.  But I just wanted to capture those questions in a blog post, so that I can reach out to science education experts for further dialogue about the connections with Maker ed.

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