Mystery Class and Educational Standards
Mystery Class is a content-rich learning experience that aligns with current educational standards in science, mathematics, language arts, geography, and technology. With standards-based instruction, students build content knowledge and essential skills by making scientific observations, recording/analyzing data, making predictions, describing patterns, reading informational texts, and building effective research/media skills.
These Mystery Class essential questions reveal the core concepts that students come to KNOW as they observe daily and seasonal cycles to search for ten secret sites around the globe:
- What makes day and night?
- What causes seasons?
- What can seasonal changes in daylight reveal about a location's latitude on Earth?
- How can Universal Time reveal a location's longitude on Earth?
Cornerstone tasks summarize the core skills that students are able to DO by the end of Mystery Class:
- Record and analyze local sunrise and sunset times
- Calculate, graph, and analyze changing photoperiods
- Record, graph, and analyze sunrise/sunset times from locations around the globe
- Use Universal Time to estimate longitude of locations
- Interpret and compare data to make predictions
- Utilize technology and reference materials to research and decipher continent-country-city clues to pinpoint locations
Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
Mystery Class aligns with the new Framework for K-12 Science Education that emphasizes the integration of scientific practices, core ideas, and crosscutting concepts. Each performance expectation incorporates all three dimensions from the Framework—a science or engineering practice, a core disciplinary idea, and a crosscutting concept. Each set of performance expectations lists connections to other ideas within the disciplines of science and engineering, and with Common Core State Standards in Mathematics and English Language Arts.
Scientific and Engineering Practices in the NGSS
The NGSS Framework identifies eight science and engineering practices that mirror the practices of professional scientists and engineers. Use of the practices in the performance expectations is not only intended to strengthen students’ skills in these practices but also to develop students’ understanding of the nature of science and engineering. Throughout Mystery Class students are:
1. Asking questions and defining problems
2. Developing and using models
3. Planning and carrying out investigations
4. Analyzing and interpreting data
5. Using mathematics and computational thinking
6. Constructing explanations and designing solutions
7. Engaging in argument from evidence
8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information
Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs)
The NGSS Framework identifies essential ideas in major science disciplines. Mystery Class supports the guiding principles that underlie the structure of the framework which include the natural investigative nature of children; the emphasis on a limited set of core ideas to allow for deeper exploration and understanding; and the recognition that science requires both knowledge and practice. The framework also describes learning where students “build progressively more sophisticated explanations of natural phenomena” rather than focusing only on description in early years and leaving explanation for later grades. In general, the framework and standards stress the importance of giving students experience with authentic scientific practices in the context of important core ideas.
Mystery Class aligns with NGSS Earth and Space Sciences: Students who demonstrate understanding can "use observations of the sun, moon, and stars to describe patterns that can be predicted. They can make observations at different times of the year to relate the amount of daylight to the time of year."
Mystery Class aligns with Earth and Space Sciences DCIs:
1. Patterns of the motion of the sun, moon, and stars in the sky can be observed, described, and predicted.
2. Seasonal patterns of sunrise and sunset can be observed, described, and predicted.
Concepts are developed over time through the grades:
Patterns of movement of the sun, moon, and stars as seen from Earth can be observed, described, and predicted.
The Earth's orbit and rotation and the orbit of the moon around the Earth cause observable patterns.
Solar System models explain and predict eclipses, lunar phases, and seasons.
Mystery Class provides multiple opportunities to build concepts that cut across all content areas:
2. Cause and Effect
3. Scale, Proportion, and Quantity
4. Systems and System Models
5. Energy and Matter
6. Structure and Function
7. Stability and Change
Connections with Common Core Standards
A majority of states have adopted Common Core Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics. Mystery Class provides rigorous and relevant opportunities to build concepts and skills across the curriculum.
Common Core Math Standards are addressed when students "make and use graphs to represent data and solve problems involving measurement and estimation of intervals of time."
Common Core Language Arts Standards emphasize integration of language skills with other topics through the use of a variety of texts, including informational texts.
Common Core Writing Standards are addressed as students “conduct research projects that build knowledge of a topic through investigation,” and “recall information from experiences or gather information from print and digital sources; take brief notes on sources and sort evidence into provided categories.”
Mystery Class supports the goals of STEM education which integrates the content and skills of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. STEM Standards of Practice guide STEM instruction by defining the combination of behaviors, integrated with STEM content, which is expected of a proficient STEM student. These behaviors include engagement in inquiry, logical reasoning, collaboration, and investigation. The goal of STEM education is to prepare students for post-secondary study and the 21st century workforce.
STEM Standards of Practice:
- Apply Rigorous Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Content
- Integrate Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Content
- Interpret and Communicate STEM Information
- Engage in Inquiry
- Engage in Logical Reasoning
- Collaborate as a STEM Team
- Apply Technology Appropriately