The Power of the Dimension of Crosscutting Concepts: Prompting Student Sensemaking and Discourse

About the Webinar

The Framework for K-12 Science Education details the importance of every student’s engagement with natural scientific phenomena at the nexus of three dimensions of learning: Science and Engineering Practices, Disciplinary Core Ideas, and Crosscutting Concepts. Of these three dimensions, it is the dimension of Crosscutting Concepts which unifies the study of science and engineering across all domains of science.

This webinar is designed to provide science educators at all levels with meaningful insights into how to use the dimension of Crosscutting Concepts to structure student-facing prompts and questions to engage students in reasoning how and why phenomena occur. Crosscutting Concepts, when used consistently in classroom instruction, provide a common language between educators and students thus serving to structure student thinking towards key aspects of the phenomenon being investigated and setting the stage for meaningful formative assessment opportunities.

Viewers come away from this session with:

  • A clear understanding that Crosscutting Concepts are not a product of instruction but, instead, an important part of the instructional process
  • An understanding of how to construct prompts and questions using Crosscutting Concepts
  • An awareness of the importance of Crosscutting Concepts as familiar touchpoints between students and teachers

This recorded webinar is of interest to K-12 science teachers.

About the Presenter

Peter McLaren is the executive director of Next Gen Education, LLC and works as a consultant with states and districts in support of the implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards and other three-dimensional state science standards based on the Framework for K-12 Science Education (NRC, 2012). In his previous work, Peter served in several roles in science education policy including Director of the State and District Support for Science at Achieve, Science and Technology Specialist at the Rhode Island Department of Education, and President of the Council of State Science Supervisors (CSSS), serving as President from July 2010 until April 2013.

Peter has over 30 years of experience in science education practice, programs, and policy. An award-winning educator, he is the recipient of several awards including the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award. He holds BS and MA degrees in science education from the University of Rhode Island.