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Target Core Ideas

Goal for this sessionThe new vision of science education focuses on deep understanding of a limited number of disciplinary core science ideas (DCIs). In this session, teachers analyze their you analyze a short sequence of learning experiences within your curriculum through the lens of a DCI, identifying  target ideas and how a sequence of learning experiences within the curriculum builds students’ understanding of them. You’ll identify target core ideas for the sequence.

Study Guide

 Download pdf version of this Study Guide.

Prepare - Use a mini case study to see how a sequence of learning experiences target a core science idea and add to students’ understanding of it. This example is drawn from Investigating Water Transformations, a 5th grade curriculum that To prepare to analyze your classroom learning experiences, review an Example Target Core Idea Planning Tool for Investigations 10-12 in the 5th grade curriculum Investigating Water Transformations.

a. This curriculum focuses on the DCI Matter and Its Interactions.

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    • to find the components of the DCI

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    • that were used to develop performance expectations.   
    • Use the Example Planning Tool to find which of the components of the DCI were identified as targets for the 3-investigation sequence.

b.   With the target goals in mind, the next step is to identify learning goals that contribute to students’ understanding of the DCI-- and omit those that do not.

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    • to see the sequence of

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    • activities and

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    • learning goals in the complete curriculum

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    • unit. Zoom into Investigations 10-12

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    • to see goals for the 3 learning experience sequence.
    • On the Example Planning Tool, find the learning goals were identified to help students move closer to the target DCI components

Use the Planning Tool

  1. Identify the grade level and DCI Find the standards for the DCI that your curriculum targetsaddresses. (See the NGSS.).
  2. Review how this DCI unfolds what came before and what will come after in the students’ learning about this DCI. You can find descriptions of how each DCI develops from K-12 . (See in theFramework).
  3. Complete the Target Core Idea Planning Tool (docx).

Note:   When you analyze your curriculum through the lens of a DCI, be aware that sometimes you’ll You can look at a single lesson, one or series more sequences of learning experiences. Other times you may look at a unit, or look at several series of learning experiences within a unit, or an entire curriculum unit through the lens of a DCI.

Discuss in Your PLC

With your colleagues, share your filled out Planning Tool.  

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