5 Secrets to Building NGSS Bundles

March 30, 2020 No Comments

Creating bundles is an important step in creating cohesive storylines.   In fact, many consider it the first step in the process. Here are 5 tips for creating NGSS bundles.  Here are five secrets that will help you create NGSS Bundles.

What are NGSS Bundles?

NGSS bundles are sets of performance expectations with some commonalities.  These commonalities allow them to be taught together around a common phenomenon, theme, or problem.

To learn more about NGSS bundles, check out this blog post.

How do I create NGSS bundles?

There are many strategies that are used to create NGSS bundles.  But, there are some tricks that I have found that make the process easier.  Here are the five strategies that I find helpful when I create bundles.

1. Review the NGSS bundles that already exist.

You don’t have to follow someone else’s model, but it doesn’t hurt to take a peak.  The bundles that exist are usually well thought out.  Also, they might provide some inspiration.  Here are a few examples of models that already exist.

Where can you find NGSS bundles?

There are several places to find bundles.  Here are some of the websites I would recommend taking a look at.

  • NextGenScience.org: This site provides 2 examples of bundles for grades kindergarten through 5th grade (the thematic or topic model).  In middle school, there are recommendations for integrated and discipline-specific courses.  In high school, they provide a conceptual model and a discipline-specific model.
  • The California Framework: The California Framework provides examples of NGSS bundles.  However, the CA Framework also provides considerable detail about their vision for the bundles.  The documents are in grade-level bands so you will have to do a little scrolling to find the appropriate grade level.
  • Next-Gen Storylines: This website is still growing so there isn’t a full scope and sequence for any grade level.  However, their storylines are well thought out and there is a lot of detail provided.
  • Open Science Ed:  Open Sci Ed’s bundles also include full-blown lesson plans.  Unfortunately, their list of resources is also growing.

Looking at other bundles might make it so you don’t have to completely reinvent the wheel. If you like something that was done in either of these, don’t feel like you have to use the entire thing.  Take what works best for you and make adjustments.

2. Build your NGSS bundle around a phenomenon.

Relate your bundle to an anchoring phenomenon right away.  If you are able to come up with an anchor in this initial stage, the rest of your planning process will be much easier.  Check out this blog post on selecting an anchor.

It is essential that your bundles are engaging to your students. Selecting phenomena in this initial part of the planning process ensures that you won’t be creating bundles without purpose.  In fact, some teachers suggest finding your anchoring phenomenon right away before you

3. Bundle standards that you find most relatable with the ones that you find less relatable.

There are standards that I find more and less relatable.  For example, I find the chemistry standards (like MS-PS1-1 through MS-PS1-6) to be the least relatable to real-world situations on the surface.  However, I find them incredibly easy to relate to a larger topic and like to use these as sub-standards.

Fuel Consumption and Earth's Resources

I bundle some of these chemistry standards with standards related to photosynthesis and cellular respiration.  Both of these processes provide a real-world example of chemical reactions.  Students are generally aware of these processes by the time that they reach middle school.  They are also easy for me to relate to phenomena like air quality and food production.

Also, it’s important to note that the chemistry standards might not be the least relatable to you.  I loved biology growing up only found out that chemistry is pretty cool much later in life.  It’s important to take your own experience and expertise into consideration when building bundles.  It is important that you do what works best for you!

4. Don’t be afraid to bundle across disciplines.

Generally speaking, the best storylines that I have seen have been built from integrated bundles.  I think this is true, in part, because the creation of integrated bundles requires the simultaneous creation of a story behind it.

There is also some very obvious overlap.  For example, in 8th grade, I teach gravity (a physical science standard) and the solar system (Earth and Space Science).  To me, these standards make more sense when taught together because one provides the context for the other.

Moon Phases Bundle

5. Make bundles for your whole year all at once.

It is important that you do this for your entire year.  Otherwise, you might be left with a few standards that have nowhere to go. (Information about creating a scope and sequence is coming soon!)

It’s a good idea to put them in the order that you will most likely teach them in as well.  You don’t have to build out all of your bundles at once, just get a good idea of where you are going.

Want to learn more?

What are your tips for creating bundles?  Write your tips in the comments below.


Erin Sadler

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