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Interdisciplinary Connections Science

How The Extraordinaires® Aligns with the Next Generation Science Standards and the International Society for Technology in Education

An Extraordinaires Design Challenge becomes the perfect vehicle for an educator to deliver deep, meaningful learning experiences with engaging, ready-made hands-on student activities.

In order for students to become successful inquiry-based problem solvers ready for college and career, they must first experience what it is like to think and feel like innovators during their elementary and middle school years. That period of time is critical to helping them become scientifically literate and is essential to inspiring their pursuit of STEM-related fields later in life.

The Extraordinaires® Design Studio is a creative thinking game that can easily make accessible to young people the opportunity to engage in the real-world practices of an engineer, all while having fun.

When used in the classroom along with learning goals aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), an Extraordinaires Design Challenge becomes the perfect vehicle for an educator to deliver deep, meaningful learning experiences with engaging, ready-made hands-on student activities.

When students take on an Extraordinaires Design Challenge alongside their teacher, they experience the formative benefits of

  • Empathizing with another’s needs.
  • Defining design problems.
  • Applying scientific knowledge to a problem.
  • Creating drawings, diagrams, and models.

which can lead to

  • Researching their concepts.
  • Calculating design-based mathematical evidence.
  • Refining their design solution through questioning.

and, if an educator’s learning space is equipped for it, also

  • Building their designs.
  • Evaluating their work and the work of others.

Lessons utilizing The Extraordinaires® Design Studio or any of its components can easily meet the learning goals of the following NGSS and ISTE standards with little to no extra materials:

NGSS, Third to Fifth Grade Engineering, Technology, and Applications of Science

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

3-5-ETS1-1. Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
3-5-ETS1-2. Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.

NGSS, Middle School Engineering, Technology, and Applications of Science

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

MS-ETS1-1. Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.
MS-ETS1-2. Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.

ISTE, Creativity and innovation

1a. Apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes.
1b. Create original works as a means of personal or group expression.

ISTE, Communication and collaboration

2d. Contribute to project teams to produce original works or solve problems.

In settings where educators have access to a greater breadth of technology and equipment, an Extraordinaires Design Challenge can be extended to also encompass the following NGSS and ISTE standards:

NGSS, Third to Fifth Grade Engineering, Technology, and Applications of Science

3-5-ETS1-3. Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.

NGSS, Middle School Engineering, Technology, and Applications of Science

MS-ETS1-3. Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.
MS-ETS1-4. Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.

ISTE, Research and information fluency

3b. Locate…and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media.

ISTE, Critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making

4a. Identify and define authentic problems and significant questions for investigation.
4b. Plan and manage activities to develop a solution or complete a project.
4d. Use multiple processes and diverse perspectives to explore alternative solutions.

Finally, The Extraordinaires® Design Studio can help teachers to facilitate one of the most formative learning experiences that a young person can have in a classroom that follows the NGSS: the development of the understanding that society influences science as much as science influences society.

In the 21st-century classroom, science education must go beyond the memorization of facts; it must illustrate to children through active learning practices that science champions the needs of communities. That notion is made easier for young children to understand through play-based learning with The Extraordinaires® characters and their Design Challenges.

Students need to grasp the relationship between the natural world and the human-built world while getting the chance to relate science, engineering, and technology to their own lives. The earlier they understand those concepts, the greater their capacity to be engaged by deeper and more sophisticated science topics as they progress through school.