To Understand The Nature Of Benchmarks, Option B:
Case Study of Flow-of-Matter Benchmark

Estimated Time: 90 minutes.

List of Materials

Sample Presentation
Presenter: The purpose of this activity is to explore the use of Project 2061 tools for science literacy. A key principle of Project 2061’s approach to science education is that instruction should target specific learning goals. These goals at each learning level are called benchmarks, listed in Benchmarks for Science Literacy (Benchmarks).

But how can an educator know when curriculum or instruction is truly relevant to a goal? To know that, we have to understand the goal clearly and thoroughly. In this part of today’s workshop we will demonstrate a procedure that can help educators fully understand a specific learning goal. This procedure can be used for any learning goal. We will begin by focusing on a single benchmark.  

Understanding what benchmark 5E (6-8)#1 intends students to know.

TRANSPARENCY: Benchmark 5E Flow of Matter and Energy (6-8)#1.

Presenter: According to this benchmark, what are students expected to know?  

Ask the participants to describe to their partners their understanding of the benchmark. Have several pairs report to the whole group. Record some of their comments on a transparency.

TRANSPARENCY: Exploring Project 2061 Tools - 5E.

Presenter: We are now going to see how Science for All Americans and Benchmarks for Science Literacy can be used to give us additional insights about this benchmark. We will study the benchmark in relation to the five readings shown on the transparency. 

Briefly review for participants the purposes of the five readings shown on the transparency:

Distribute SFAA, Benchmarks, and the HANDOUT: Strand Map: Flow of Matter in Ecosystems to each participant.

TRANSPARENCY: Strand Map: Flow of Matter in Ecosystems.

Presenter: Before we begin the readings, I’ll take a moment to introduce the strand map. Strands are networks of benchmarks through which students might progress on their way to the adult literacy goals defined in Science for All Americans. The strands show the development of concepts from rudimentary benchmarks at the elementary level through middle school learning to the sophisticated level of understanding expected of high school graduates. Strand maps show how related benchmarks build on and reinforce one another. There are 30 strand maps on Benchmarks on Disk.  

TRANSPARENCY: Exploring Project 2061 Tools - 5E.

Presenter: Your task is to study the reading you’ve been assigned to see how it affects your understanding of the benchmark and then share what you have learned with your group. 

After they have completed their studies, ask individuals to explain to other members of their group or to the total group what their particular reading contributed to their understanding of the benchmark. Record these comments on a blank transparency. Use this transparency and the one you created earlier in the session to compare understanding before and after the study.

Distribute HANDOUT: Exploring Project 2061 Tools.

Presenter: This handout shows the five readings used to increase understanding of a particular benchmark. You may want to refer to it when you use benchmarks in the future.