AstroCamp And The Next Generation Science Standards
“Making a positive difference in the lives of children by guiding them through unique opportunities for self-discovery through physical sciences and team challenges.”
The Astrocamp Teaching Philosophy above is directly aligned with the core framework used to develop the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The NGSS framework places renewed emphasis on students engaging in Scientific and Engineering Practices and recognizing Crosscutting Concepts found in all science disciplines.
Scientific and Engineering Practices
- Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)
- Developing and using models
- Planning and carrying out investigations
- Analyzing and interpreting data
- Using mathematics and computational thinking
- Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)
- Engaging in argument from evidence
- Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information
Incorporating NGSS Elements into Astrocamp Courses
Featured NGSS scientific practices and crosscutting concepts used in the science classes include:
With vacuum chambers, dry ice, liquid nitrogen, and explosive gases, Atmosphere and Gases allows students to explore atmospheres throughout the Solar System. In addition, students will use investigations to develop a model for gas involving temperature, pressure, and volume.
Central to our understanding of the world and universe around us, light is an NGSS core disciplinary idea. Students will explore the nature of light and its current uses in today’s society through the use of hands on demonstrations such as our fluorescent glow wall.
Electricity and Magnetism is a fundamental force in our universe. This class emphasizes the development of a model of charge through investigation and exploration. Use of high tech equipment such as the Van de Graaff generator and the Tesla coil will aid in the construction of the model.
NASA has increased its efforts to explore the solar system and we want to encourage students to know what they are looking for. Conducting investigations and constructing explanations of acid base chemistry, radiation detection, atmospheric wind patterns and Bernoulli’s principle are all featured in the class.
Featured NGSS engineering practices and crosscutting concepts used in the engineering classes include:
Build and test your own rocket! A focus on the design of the fins, nose cone, and nozzle help students understand how a rocket works and how alterations in the structure cause changes in flight. Post flight debrief allows students to analyze their rocket and decide how they would alter their design.
Cosmic Lander challenges students to safely land a water balloon on a simulated planetary surface. Students will build and test a prototype design and then use the data they’ve gathered to redesign and improve their model.
Students get to design windmills that actually produce electricity. A continuous testing station encourages numerous redesigns to better understand the redesign process and how engineers ultimately come up with their final product.