Reflection: Developing a Conceptual Understanding Aluminum Foil Boats Day 2 - Section 4: Making Connections to Crosscutting Concepts (Structure and Function)


I have developed a deep appreciation for using Crosscutting Concepts in my classes over the past several months.  In particular, how structure and function can be used to bridge understanding between various STEM topics.  In this case, volume and surface area were used to make connections to the improved function of students boats, resulting in a deeper conceptual understanding of those math topics.  Crosscutting Concepts are referred to as the 'unsung heroes' of the NGSS, because they intentionally link topics that would potentially be skipped otherwise.  How many times have you ever had a lesson where you had a great conversation with your class--that time when you ditched the lesson plan and let the students discuss connections.  You were incorporating Crosscutting Concepts!  I bet if you went back to the conversation and then compared it to the list of CCCs, you would see that several of them were being incorporated.  Now that we are venturing into this world of integrated learning for deep conceptual understanding, we need to plan to incorporate specific moments when students are asked to specifically connect two topics together.  As a result, students will see that they are learning topics for a reason and that everything--especially in science--relates to everything else.  Crosscutting Concepts make that a reality and should be celebrated as the 'unsung heroes!'

  Crosscutting Concepts: the unsung heroes of the NGSS
  Developing a Conceptual Understanding: Crosscutting Concepts: the unsung heroes of the NGSS
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Aluminum Foil Boats Day 2

Unit 5: Engineering
Lesson 8 of 11

Objective: SWBAT design and test other designs that hold more cargo to reflect on overall design challenges, constraints and crosscutting concepts.

Big Idea: Crosscutting Concepts enable students to make connections to other disciplines and phenomena. This lesson sets out to enable students to redesign their boats and reflect on what they learned.

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