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Regents' Center for Early Developmental Education

Meeting Next Generation Science Standards

Ramps and Pathways is an integrative approach to STEM designed for PK through second grade classrooms addressing standards in STEM, Literacy, and the 21st Century Skills.

Contents

  • K-2 Alignment to NGSS
  • K-2 Alignment to Literacy
  • K-2 Alignment to Mathematics
  • K-2 Alignment to 21st Century Skills

Preschool is not addressed in NGSS. Classroom teachers searching for ways to include STEM in preschool often peruse social media where science for children is presented as entertainment rather than a way of enabling children to investigate their world and how it works. Science as entertainment can be seen in activities where children watch their teacher expand a bar of ivory soap in a microwave, or add vinegar to baking soda to make a volcano. The NSTA Early Childhood Science Education Position Statement counters this entertainment approach to science and states that ongoing and daily immersion in the practices of science and engineering in authentic experiences that are relevant and specific to their local geography and culture prepares children for the NGSS standards addressed in kindergarten, first, and second grades. Ramps and Pathways curriculum provides children access to daily immersion in the practices of science and engineering and develop their understanding of force and motion. In addition, these experiences entice children to learn the tools of literacy and mathematics to allow them to communicate about their experiences. Ramps and Pathways is a context for fully integrated STEM and literacy learning.

Even though the NGSS are explicitly K-12, they are also relevant to preschool. In fact, the state of Massachusetts has recently developed preschool standards that closely resemble the NGSS (Massachusetts Department of Education, 2013). The Framework for K-12 Science Education aligns with national early childhood program standards such as the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework (CDELF; Office of Head Start, 2011) and the National Association for the Education of Young Children Early Childhood Program Standards and Accreditation Criteria (ECPSAC; NAEYC, 2006). Linking these early childhood standards demonstrates the alignment between the science education community and the early childhood community concerning how best to approach STEM in the early years. Ramps & Pathways provides PK students with a seamless transition from early learning standards into Next Generation Science Standards.

Ramps and Pathways is a fully integrative STEM activity that addresses kindergarten, first, and second grade NGSS standards for Engineering Design

Science and Engineering Practices

Disciplinary Core Ideas

Crosscutting Concepts

Asking Questions and Defining Problems

Asking questions and defining problems in K–2 builds on prior experiences and progresses to simple descriptive questions.

Developing and Using Models

Modeling in K–2 builds on prior experiences and progresses to include using and developing models (i.e., diagram, drawing, physical replica, diorama, dramatization, or storyboard) that represent concrete events or design solutions.

Analyzing and Interpreting Data

Analyzing data in K–2 builds on prior experiences and progresses to collecting, recording, and sharing observations.

ETS1.A: Defining and Delimiting Engineering Problems
ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions
ETS1.C: Optimizing the Design Solution

Structure and Function

Ramps and Pathways is a fully integrative STEM activity that addresses Kindergarten NGSS standards for Physical Science: Motion and Stability

Science and Engineering Practices

Disciplinary Core Ideas

Crosscutting Concepts

Planning and Carrying Out Investigations

Planning and carrying out investigations to answer questions or test solutions to problems in K–2 builds on prior experiences and progresses to simple investigations, based on fair tests, which provide data to support explanations or design solutions.

With guidance, plan and conduct an investigation in collaboration with peers. (K-PS2-1)

Analyzing and Interpreting Data

Analyzing data in K–2 builds on prior experiences and progresses to collecting, recording, and sharing observations.

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Connections to the
Nature of Science

Scientific Investigations Use a Variety of Methods
  • Scientists use different ways to study the world. (K-PS2-1)

PS2.A: Forces and Motion
PS2.B: Types of Interactions
PS3.C: Relationship Between Energy and Forces
ETS1.A: Defining Engineering Problems

Cause and Effect

Ramps and Pathways is a fully integrative STEM activity that addresses NGSS standards for Second Grade Physical Science: Matter and its Interactions

Science and Engineering Practices

Disciplinary Core Ideas

Crosscutting Concepts

Planning and Carrying Out Investigations

Planning and carrying out investigations to answer questions or test solutions to problems in K–2 builds on prior experiences and progresses to simple investigations, based on fair tests, which provide data to support explanations or design solutions.

Analyzing and Interpreting Data

Analyzing data in K–2 builds on prior experiences and progresses to collecting, recording, and sharing observations.

Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions

Constructing explanations and designing solutions in K–2 builds on prior experiences and progresses to the use of evidence and ideas in constructing evidence-based accounts of natural phenomena and designing solutions.

Engaging in Argument from Evidence

Engaging in argument from evidence in K–2 builds on prior experiences and progresses to comparing ideas and representations about the natural and designed world(s).

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Connections to
Nature of Science

Science Models, Laws, Mechanisms, and Theories Explain Natural Phenomena
  • Science searches for cause and effect relationships to explain natural events (2-PS1-4)

PS1.A: Structure and Properties of Matter

Patterns
Cause and Effect

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 Connections to Engineering, Technology, and Applications of Science

Influence of Engineering, Technology, and Science, on Society and the Natural World

Ramps and Pathways is a fully integrative STEM activity that addresses Literacy standards for K-Second Grade

(K-2 Taken from Common core)

Speaking and Listening

K-2 Comprehension and Collaboration

  • Participate in conversations about grade level topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups
  • Confirm understanding of information presented orally or through other media by asking and answering questions about key details and requesting clarification if something is not understood
  • Ask and answer questions in order to seek help, get information, or clarify something that is not understood

K-2 Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas

  • Recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant descriptive details, speaking audibly in coherent sentences
  • Create drawings or other visual displays to stories or recounts of experiences when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings
  • Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification

Writing

K-2 Text Types and Purposes

  • Use a combination of drawing dictating, and writing to compose informative/explanatory texts in which they name what they are writing about and supply some information about the topic

K-2 Production and Distribution of Writing

  • Respond to questions and suggestions from peers and add details to strengthen writing as needed.

K-2 Research to Build and Present Knowledge

  • Recall information from experiences to answer a question

Language

K-2 Conventions of Standard English

  • Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking

K-2 Vocabulary Acquisition and Use

  • Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade level content
  • Explore word relationships and nuances in word meanings
  • Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts

Ramps and Pathways is a fully integrative STEM activity that addresses Mathematical standards for K-Second Grade

(K-2 Taken from Common core)

Counting and Cardinality

  1. Understand counting, ways of representing numbers, and relationships between quantities and numerals (12.1)
  1. know number names and count sequence
  1. Count to tell the number of objects
  1. Compare numbers

Operations and Algebraic Thinking

  1. Children demonstrate strategies for reasoning and problem solving (12.5)
  1. Children understand patterns (12.2)
  1. Understand addition as putting together and adding to, and understand subtraction as taking apart and taking from
  1. Represent and solve problems involving addition and subtraction

Measurement and Data

  1. Children understand comparisons and measurement (12.6)
  1. Describe and compare measurable attributes
  1. Classify objects and count the number of objects in each category
  1. Measure lengths indirectly and by iterating length units
  1. Represent and interpret data
  2. Measure and estimate lengths in standard units
  1. Represent and interpret data

Geometry

  1. Children understand shapes and spatial relationships (12.3)
  1. Identify and describe shapes
  1. Analyze, compare, create, and compose shapes
  1. Reason with shapes and their attributes

Mathematical Practices

K-2

  • Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them
  • Reason abstractly and quantitatively
  • Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others
  • Model with mathematics
  • Use appropriate tools strategically
  • Attend to precision
  • Look for and make use of structure
  • Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning

Ramps and Pathways is a fully integrative STEM activity that addresses 21st Century skills

Key Subjects and 21st Century Themes

Financial, Economic, Business and Entrepreneurial Literacy

  • Knowing how to make appropriate personal economic choices 
  • Understanding the role of the economy in society 
  • Using entrepreneurial skills to enhance workplace productivity and career options

Ramps and Pathways provides a context where children recognize and manage the economy of materials as they design and build their structures individually and as a classroom community.

Civic Literacy

  • Participating effectively in civic life through knowing how to stay informed and understanding governmental processes 
  • Exercising the rights and obligations of citizenship at local, state, national and global levels 
  • Understanding the local and global implications of civic decisions

Ramps and Pathways provides a context where the teacher and students co-create rules and a management system for working within the Ramps and Pathways center. These rules are subject to changes, or amendments, when reasons for change become obvious and necessary for the students and teacher.

Learning and Innovation Skills

Creativity and Innovation

  • Think Creatively
  • Work Creatively with Others
  • Implement Innovations

Ramps and Pathways is open-ended and encourages students to create new and worthwhile ideas, elaborate, refine, analyze, and evaluate those ideas. In the process, students communicate those ideas with each other and learn to become open and responsive to others’ perspectives. Students often build off each other’s ideas to produce innovative designs.

Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

  • Reason Effectively
  • Use Systems Thinking
  • Make Judgments and Decisions
  • Solve problems

Ramps and Pathways is open-ended to inspire the use of inductive and deductive reasoning. Because the adjustment of one component of the system affects the effectiveness of the rest of the systems, Ramps and Pathways immerses the students in systems thinking. As problems and successes occur, students analyze and evaluate a system, making claims and beliefs about what is necessary to make a system work. In the process, they become willing to consider other students’ points of view and arrive at solutions in both conventional and innovative ways.

Communication and Collaboration

  • Communicate Clearly
  • Collaborate with Others

Ramps and Pathways is interesting and engaging to PK-2nd grade students. Because of this engagement, students work hard to overcome developmental issues in communication and collaboration; they develop executive function skills that allows them to grow in their ability to articulate their thoughts and ideas, listen effectively, use communication to inform, instruct, motivate, and persuade, and do so in an increasingly respectful manner to achieve common goals as well as the celebration of individual accomplishments.

Life and Career Skills

Flexibility and Adaptability

  • Adapt to change
  • Be flexible

Initiative and Self-Direction

  • Manage Goals and Time
  • Work Independently
  • Be self-directed Learners

Social and Cross-cultural Skills

  • Interact Effectively with Others
  • Work Effectively in Diverse Teams

Productivity and Accountability

  • Manage Projects
  • Produce Results

Leadership and Responsibility

  • Guide and Lead others
  • Be Responsible to Others

Ramps and Pathways provides a context where the PK-2nd grade teacher can nurture leadership within students. While most curricula place the teacher at the center providing step-by-step direction toward a predetermined goal, Ramps and Pathways provides a meta-problem such as “How can we get an object to move in a interesting way?” The open-ended center allows children to pursue meso problems that involve design. As students pursue their design goal, they encounter micro problems of physics. These micro problems require students to adapt and be flexible in their design. They work independently to pursue their goal, but also interact with others to request assistance in problem solving, or act as a consultant on another student’s design. Rather than learning about productivity and accountability, they are immersed in an atmosphere where these traits are practiced and developed.