Each of these phenomena-based titles integrates a three-dimensional approach to provide an engaging, relevant, and rigorous program of instruction. Departing from the more traditional approach of BIOZONE’s Non-Integrated Series, the Integrated Series offers a learning experience anchored in student-relevant phenomena and problems.
Welcome to a synopsis of BIOZONE's new integrated titles for the Next Generation Science Standards for California Public Schools (CA NGSS). The series has been designed and written following the High School Three-Course Model for California but has relevance to the wider NGSS audience interested in an approach integrating Earth and Space Science with Life Science, Chemistry, or Physics. Each of these phenomena-based titles takes a three-dimensional approach to provide an engaging, relevant, and rigorous program of instruction.
These student-friendly full color books are neither heavy-weight texts nor dense test banks. Instead, they approach the learning experience in the same way as the student, through engagement and exploration.
From the outset we wanted BIOZONE's new integrated books to be:
In developing content, we have focused (and continue to do so) on providing varied and engaging experiences through which students can demonstrate their existing understanding of phenomena and move towards deepening that understanding as they investigate, explain, interpret, and analyze the material presented. To this end, the books provide a range of familiar and less familiar phenomena around which we have developed a wide range of activities including but not limited to:
The first title in the series, The Living Earth, is in production now. Its structure is based on the prescribed Instructional Segments for CA NGSS, enabling seamless navigation through the program. Subsequent titles in the series will be similarly organized.
The integrated series employs the 5E instructional model with its components (engage, explore, explain, elaborate, evaluate) clearly identified and unfolding within a sequence of activities. Importantly, this sequence is not a linear one, but an iterative spiral in which student explanation leads to further exploration and so on. In this manner, related activities build connections and deepen understanding.
Emphasis throughout is in leading the student, through initial engagement and exploration, towards developing sound explanations of phenomena based on scientific thinking. Through their use of Science and Engineering Practices and application of Crosscutting Concepts, students deepen their understanding of the Disciplinary Core Ideas. They are encouraged, through the activities, to collaborate with their peers and be open to modifying their models and explanations based on evidence.
A chapter introduction provides a bullet-point outline for each IS (instructional segment), organized under the guiding questions. Each point is associated with one or more activities. By completing the activities, students address the points and can tick them off when they (or their teacher) feel they are satisfied with their responses. The chapter introductions in the Teacher’s Edition have the relevant CCCs, SEPs, DCIs, PEs, and CaEP&Cs identified and embedded within the text for easy reference.
For each chapter, students are engaged through (1) the use of anchoring phenomena at the opening of each IS and (2) the use of relevant everyday and investigative phenomena within each activity as prompts for further engagement in relation to the anchoring phenomenon. Phenomena are explored through examples, student investigation, analysis and interpretation of data, and historical accounts. Students generate explanations for phenomena based on the understanding they have developed though exploration. They are then given opportunities to apply and deepen their understanding by elaborating on new phenomena or to use their experience to develop engineering solutions to relevant problems.
The proposed anchoring phenomena are:
Evaluation is achieved both through tasks within activities (largely formative assessments) and through the summative assessments concluding each IS. Summative activities usually focus on two or more performance expectations (PEs). Other PEs are met within the activities as identified in the chapter introduction. Here, teachers may be able to incorporate their own resources into the assessment if they wish.
Each introductory activity with its anchoring phenomenon is revisited at the end of the chapter, immediately prior to the summative assessment. There, students have an opportunity to reflect on what they have learned and place that knowledge within the context of their earlier understanding of the topic. Teachers then have an opportunity to see how their ideas have changed.
There is full integration of Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs), Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs), and Crosscutting Concepts (CCCs) within activities as identified in the chapter introduction (for the teachers) and through the use of the tab system (students and teachers). Color-coded page tabs for each activity allow easy identification of related concepts and ideas within and between instructional segments. As an important part of the CaNGSS program, California’s Environmental Principles and Concepts (CaEP&Cs) are integrated throughout the text, identified within color-coded target boxes and explored through their incorporation into activities. Understandings about the Nature of Science are supported through the Science and Engineering Practices and Crosscutting Concepts.
Formative and summative tasks are designed to address performance expectations and assess students in all three dimensions. Proficiency in mathematics and computational thinking is strongly supported throughout, including with a key skills chapter, which is referred to often throughout the text so students are continually supported to develop confidence in this area.
While there are many snapshots and case studies from California, there are many North American and international examples too. This reflects a global view and recognizes that science is internationally collaborative and the problems faced by humanity and the solutions that must be found to those problems are not restricted by geographical location.