Real Scientists + Real-World Phenomena =
Real Next Generation Learning
When Dr. Robert Ballard returned home after finding the location of the RMS Titanic in 1985, he received thousands of letters from children all over the world, asking how to become scientists and explorers. Determined to become part of the solution to close the STEM gap and produce scientifically literate and STEM career-ready workers, Dr. Ballard established JASON Learning. Realizing the power of strong role models, Ballard founded the program with the philosophy that connecting kids with scientists and real-world applications inspires and motivates them to study, and pursue careers in, STEM.
Since then, JASON has developed award-winning, state-of-the-art curricula that integrates the nation’s leading scientists and they work that they do into every curricular component, highlighting real-world phenomena and application.
The three-dimensional learning presented in the National Research Council’s A Framework for K-12 Science Education (2012) and the Next Generation Science Standards promotes deeper student understanding of core ideas and crosscutting concepts, and the acquisition of skills and tools to effectively question, model, construct evidence-based explanations, and evaluate and communicate ideas. The cornerstones of this framework are the anchoring phenomena around which students become engaged and driven. By connecting students to real scientists and real-world research, JASON provides authentic and relevant phenomena around which to build three-dimensional learning units of instruction.
Next Generation Science Standards
For Educators, By Educators
Here at JASON, we understand that NGSS isn’t just about new standards—it’s about new pedagogy and new ways of delivering guided instruction. As such, JASON is being extremely critical and careful in our approach to providing NGSS resources. We want to develop these resources the right way, and with the right tools, incorporating research-based methods and well-constructed units.
True NGSS “alignment” involves more than correlating content and key concepts—it requires a shift in how science is taught. To support this shift in pedagogy, JASON Learning is working closely with the teaching community in Rhode Island, the first state to adopt NGSS. In 2014, in an effort to provide NGSS alignments to existing JASON Curricula, JASON Learning formed the JASON NGSS Alignment Task Force, a group of dedicated educators and administrators in Rhode Island.
This Task Force, now in its second year, is carefully examining each and every existing article and hands-on investigation to determine the level of current NGSS alignment and how well each item embraces the three-dimensional framework as envisioned. The following at-a-glance matrices are currently available for download:
Additional matrices are in development.
A digital catalog of existing curricula resource alignments to NGSS is available within JASON’s digital platform. The Task Force is also supporting the development and field-testing of exemplar lessons.
NGSS Lesson Planning Tools
In order to support the shifts in pedagogy, JASON has developed the following resources to help teachers:
Three-Dimensional Learning Reflection challenges educators to deliberately and purposefully position investigations or labs to engage students in the 3-dimensional learning process and can be used for JASON and non-JASON lessons.
Concept Resource Map helps educators determine how and with what supporting resources a single activity helps develop the ideas, concepts, and practices necessary for students to reach a performance expectation. Multiple activities, representing a continuum of learning and experiences within a storyline will be necessary to position any one student to reach any given performance expectation.
Planning Investigations – Experimental Design Template can be used by both teachers and students in planning an investigation. This “map” helps conceptualize the process of isolating variables and determining how, why and what to test while linking the investigation back to a central phenomenon and focus question.
Engineering Design Decision Matrix – A variation of the Pugh Matrix, this allows students to systematically compare competing designs or solutions, one of the key expectations of the new engineering design standards.