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400x capstone project


The world of informal education is incredibly diverse, offering students a wide range of memorable and engaging experiences in museums, nature centers, zoos, historic estates, parks, gardens, and more. These experiences are often meant to be educational, but they don’t always directly support the students’ formal, classroom-based education goals. By exploring the Next Generation Science Standards specifically in non-classroom settings, this module will help informal educators “speak the language” of NGSS and bring deeper value to students’ experiences in these unique programs and facilities. 


My approach to the design of this module was influenced primarily by the principles of constructivism and connectivism.  The constructivist approach seeks to provide scaffolding to keep learners in their Zone of Proximal Development. To provide this for my learners, my course starts with tasks that require lower-order thinking skills (memorization of components of the NGSS) that serve as a foundation on which to build when the learners later use higher-order thinking skills (application of NGSS in diverse contexts). Because the course is online, it also draws on connectivism through peer discussions and feedback, encouraging students to support each other and co-create knowledge as a community. This helps the learning experience to be dynamic and rich, even though students are likely to be working on the course content from disparate locations.



Objectives & Assessment 

Terminal objective: learners will be to apply and address the NGSS in an informal education program that they facilitate

  • Enabling objective 1 (week 1): identify and describe the three dimensions of the NGSS

    • Formative assessment: NGSS Comprehension Check (Google Classroom quiz)​

  • Enabling objective 2 (week 2): craft productive questions that support specific NGSS standards in the context of a specific program

    • Formative assessment: Crafting Productive Questions (interactive module)​

Authentic summative assessment: a written reflection in which learners select an informal education program that they facilitate; identify and define the three NGSS dimensions; select one standard from each of the three dimensions that can be supported by the program; and write two productive questions that they could ask of their students to directly encourage engagement with each of the three standards.


Available at Google Classroom here.

Class code is ovseau6.


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