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Running head: DOMAIN A LITERATURE REVIEW 1

TPE Domain A Literature Review

National University

Emily Atkins Wooldridge


DOMAIN A LITERATURE REVIEW 2

Abstract

This paper is a brief literature review of Colson and Colson’s (2016) article Planning NGSS-

Based Instruction: Where do you start?. They suggest strategies for implementing the Next

Generation Science Standards which promote authentic scientific experiences for students. I

analyze these strategies within the context of Domain A of the California Teaching Performance

Expectations. I also relate Domain A and the subject of Colson & Colson’s (2016) article to my

own science teaching.


DOMAIN A LITERATURE REVIEW 3

Introduction

In their article Planning NGSS-Based Instruction: Where do you start?, Colson & Colson

(2016) describe what an authentic classroom science experience should be given the Next

Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Framework. The NGSS Framework intends to engage

students in authentic scientific research which means they will be acting and thinking like real

scientists. However, this can be difficult since teachers are not trained like scientists are and

many students have not been exposed to many classroom experiences that require scientific

rigor. They suggest strategies that have been successful in the classroom to help students

comprehend scientific content while simultaneously engaging in authentic scientific inquiry.

Strategies

One of the strategies suggested is pursuing authentic questions, which sometimes

originate from the students. Allowing students to pursue questions and ideas that are interesting

to them provides them and the teacher with opportunities to make sense of measurements,

observations, and explanations together (p. 24). The next suggested strategy is engaging in

scientific practices that help students make sense of observations. One way to do this is to give

students open-ended lab experiments and investigations and allow them to make mistakes so that

there can be valuable discussions about the how and why of their results (pp. 24-25). The final

suggestion is to situate students’ authentic observations and understandings within the context of

core explanatory ideas of science and engineering. Frequently reminding students of the big

picture scientific ideas and concepts helps them “develop a more flexible and coherent

understanding of science,” according to the National Research Council (as cited in Colson &

Colson, 2016, p. 25). In a classroom like this, the teacher becomes more of a facilitator and

participant of less of a traditional presenter of knowledge.


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Conclusion

Domain A of the California Teaching Performance Expectations (TPEs) is about making

the subject matter comprehensible to students and specifically for science, teachers should be

able to engage students in scientific investigations and experiments, teach students how to read

and analyze scientific text and formulate arguments based on evidence, and encourage students

to pursue their scientific interests and interact independently with instructional materials

(California Teaching Performance Expectations, 2013, p. 5). Using the suggested strategies

above balances instructional focus on science content, concepts, principles, and skills. They align

with Domain A of the TPEs because of their success in making science comprehensible to

students. I have used all of these strategies in my classroom and I continue to develop and

improve my teaching of authentic science experiences. For example, by focusing on general

concepts I am able to provide my students with more time to extend our class experiments by

investigating student questions that arise from initial investigations. I also keep unit and chapter

questions posted on my classroom wall to refocus the class on the big picture ideas frequently

during a lesson. Authentic learning is extremely valuable in science education since children are

naturally curious and these authentic scientific experiences promote their inquisitive tendencies.
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References

California Teaching Performance Expectations. (2013). Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

Retrieved from https://www.ctc.ca.gov/docs/default-source/educator-

prep/standards/adopted-tpes-2013.pdf

Colson, M. & Colson R. (2016). Planning NGSS-based instruction: Where do you start? Science

and Children, 53(6). 23-25. Retrieved from

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