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Five Questions Science Educators Should Ask About Instructional Materials

How can you determine if instructional materials are designed for 3-dimensional learning?

Here are five questions you should ask and examples of the many ways Carolina kits for 3-dimensional learning meet and exceed these expectations.

Don’t just believe the claims—our 3-dimensional learning solutions are backed up by evidence.


 Does the lab require students to make sense of phenomena or design a solution?


 Is the lab written at the correct conceptual level?

    • Example: Natural Selection with Drosophila (171995)

      In this lab activity, students build upon their knowledge of the disciplinary core idea natural selection, using prerequisite knowledge of the basics of genetic inheritance in an activity that provides further evidence of natural selection.


  Does the lab elicit student artifacts that show direct observable evidence of 3-dimensional learning?

    • Example: Wisconsin Fast Plants® 72-Hour Monohybrid Genetics (158940)

      In this lab activity, students produce multiple artifacts as evidence of their 3-dimensional learning, including a pre-lab scientific argument about true-breeding, a model explaining inheritance patterns generated during the investigation, and a whiteboard presentation for a turntable share-out session.


  Does the lab engage the students with relevant personal experience?

    • Example: Evolution in Real Time (171206)

      In this lab activity, students start an investigation to make sense of the phenomenon of increasing antibiotic resistance in the environment by first discussing what they’ve heard or read about hospital-acquired bacterial infections, the promotion of antibiotic-free meats, and the prescription of medically unnecessary antibiotics.


  Does the lab give every student multiple opportunities to demonstrate how their thinking has changed over time?

    • Example: Contributors to the Carbon Cycle (187100)

      In this lab activity, students create an initial model of the carbon cycle, and as they learn more about the carbon cycle, they continue to refine and revise their models to reflect their deepening understanding.


Check out the NGSS Lesson Screener for more criteria and a look at the differences between the new standards and past standards.

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