A sharing resource curated by the staff of Frank H. Harrison Middle School in Yarmouth, Maine.
Sunday, December 20, 2015
Science Instruction in Three Dimensions
Joe Krajcik, a professor of science education, associate dean for research in the School of Education at the University of Michigan. He is also co-director of the Center for Highly Interactive Classrooms, Curriculum, and Computing in Education at the University of Michigan advises educators to think of lesson development as building a balanced meal. In an NSTA blog, he writes:
“I like to apply the analogy of preparing a really great meal to three-dimensional learning. I originally got this idea from Ted Willard from NSTA. I love to cook, so I’ve tried to expand on this analogy.
Think of knowing how to do various techniques in the kitchen like kneading bread, cutting tomatoes, beating an egg, frying or roasting, and so forth as the practices. You could know how to do all of these and still not be able to prepare a really good meal.
Now, think of picking out really good ingredients for the meal. You want to pick out a high-quality piece of fish or poultry or excellent pasta for the meal. These are your core ideas. A disciplinary core idea is essential to explaining a number of phenomena. Your main ingredient is essential to the meal. But just as the DCI works with practices to make sense of phenomena and design solutions, you need to know how to cook that main ingredient.
But something is still missing. The meal tastes bland. What is missing? To make a really good meal, we need to use spices and herbs [crosscutting concepts] to enhance the flavor of the main ingredients. Similarly, to really make sense of phenomena and to design solutions all three dimensions are necessary.
To make a really wonderful meal, good main ingredients are necessary, but you need to know how to use various techniques to prepare them, and you must have the spices and herbs to enhance the flavors. All three work and blend together to make a great meal. Similarly, to foster three-dimensional learning where all learners can make sense of phenomena and design solutions, all three dimensions need to work and blend together.”
Teachers can gain greater understanding of the Framework by reading the overview produced by NSTA. Chapter nine of the Framework provides a detail description of the integration of the three dimensions.