Taking the Next Generation Science Standards by Storm
Jade Dygert and Arianna George Nataley Caponera and Olivia Pratt
Sixth grade scientists at OESJ recently embarked on a new kind of challenge: How can we model mitosis in our own way? The Next Generation Science Standards are asking students to advance their thinking in three key ways: Scientific and Engineering Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Disciplinary Core Ideas.
What does this mean for 6th graders? Take a close look at Nataley Caponera and Olivia Pratt’s Cell Cycle Project. This duo had to find information about mitosis (the process by which our cells divide, allowing us to grow and reproduce) on their own. Then they had to take their research, synthesize it, and decide how to present this information in an attractive way. “We were comfortable talking about the cell cycle,” comments Pratt. She talks about finding a diagram that made sense to her and then putting it on a poster. Caponera said, “You can understand it better and show what you learned.”
Jade Dygert and Arianna George loved being able to choose the materials they wanted for the model project. Their project features cells made out of painted sponges, macaroni, string, pipe cleaners, and beads as well as a key to tell what each piece is. Jade’s eyes light up as she adds, “You were able to experience the learning for yourself…instead of just memorize it from a sheet.” These scientists excelled through the process of planning, evaluating, and finally communicating their learning.