Anchoring an NGSS aligned lesson with a phenomenon can help engage students and help them make connections between observations and understanding. Phenomena used at the start of a lesson builds inquiry skills toward learning the science knowledge that explains it. Using phenomena makes learning more meaningful for your students.
But how do we use phenomena? Here are some ideas:
- Do a demo or post an image or video of a relevant object or discrepant event and ask students to discuss, predict, or explain. Refer to the images throughout the lesson, building connections and strengthening understanding.
- Use images that build on familiar experiences to allow students more ownership of and connection to their learning.
- Engage students in communication their ideas about the phenomenon through writing.
- Phenomenon that can be guessed, googled, or explained in only one class period may be too simplistic. Phenomenon should build knowledge in layers that strengthen connections.
Since the adoption of the NGSS, many digital collections of phenomena have been developed. Two of my favorites are:
- Phenomena for NGSS – This collection appears endless to me, despite my hours invested in trying to see everything! Photos and gifs are searchable by topic. I couldn’t think of a topic that I couldn’t find an image for.
- The Wonder of Science – This site has collections of storylines, learning plans, images and videos for each standard with links to the evidence statements. A truly exhaustive collection.
Fire tornado image is the work of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employee, taken or made as part of that person’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain. For more information, see the Fish and Wildlife Service copyright policy.