The PRISM website is a resource made by teachers for teachers who want to learn more about engaging students in the Science and Engineering Practices as described in the Next Generation Science Standards and in the Mathematical Thinking Practices as described in the Common Core State Standards. We have gathered video clips of students and teachers engaged in the Practices together, interviews with teachers about shifts in instruction, useful tips, frames for thinking about integrating the Practices into learning, and more. It is meant to serve as a platform to promote discussion with your colleagues about approaches to instruction, a source for understanding shifts in how you teach that can support the Practices, and strategies for more authentic ways to engage students in math and science.
Who is this Website for?
This site is for K-12 teachers of science and/or mathematics who are interested in having their students engage in the CCSS Mathematical and NGSS Science and Engineering Practices. Teachers who are interested in shifting their instruction to be more congruent with current educational research and more robust learning goals for students will find supports here. Please explore and use these resources as tools to help you shift your instruction to be in line with what is called for in the Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core Math.
A Framework for thinking about the Practices
The Practices in math, science and engineering are interwoven and connected to one another and in order to implement them we have to cultivate a certain kind of classroom. We think of these elements as separate wavelengths of colored light that combine to form white light. We created this website to serve as a prism to tease apart and individually examine these Practices and understand their interplay with the complexities of your classroom environment. A group of teachers spent four years integrating the Practices into their classrooms, observing one another and discussing their experiences. Along the way they identified key shifts and strategies for creating a classroom culture that is conducive to the Common Core and Next Generation Science Practices. We have found that a classroom where the Practices can live up to their promise is one where there is careful attention to the norms of classroom discourse, where there is an awareness of shifts and strategies that support students in a new paradigm and where the teacher has a deep understanding of the Practices themselves, what they mean and why they are important.
Within this website you will find the Practices listed and described and links to CCSS and NGSS. You may want to start there to provide a solid foundation for further exploration. Next, move to the Shifts page to understand how, why, and where you may need to alter your classroom environment and the way you interact with your students. We identified these shifts based on our own early experiences in bringing the Practices to our students. Explore the Video Cases to discover discreet examples of what Common Core and Next Generation classrooms look like in action, then peruse some detailed descriptions of some of the specific Strategies we have found useful in cultivating a Practices-oriented classroom environment.
We know it is hard work to change your instruction, but it can also be so rewarding. We hope these resources inspire you to try something new and continue to refine and improve over time.