Patterns Approach High School Science Sequence

Overview

The Patterns High School Science Sequence is a three year course pathway and curriculum aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).  The sequence consists of freshman physics, sophomore chemistry, and junior biology courses.  Each course utilizes common instructional strategies and real world phenomena and design challenges that engage students and support their learning.  The curriculum is a combination of teacher-generated and curated open-content materials.  The Teacher generated materials are shared freely under a Attribution-NonCommercial-Sharealike Creative Commons License.  Teacher workshops for each course are offered each summer in the Portland-Metro area. For more information, see our Professional Development page.

The Patterns Approach

The Patterns Approach to science instruction emphasizes the use of mathematical and phenomenological patterns to predict the future and understand the past.  Students construct science knowledge by making an initial “wild-guess”, asking questions, planning and conducting experiments, collecting data, finding a mathematical model that fits their data, explaining the phenomenon based on that model, then finally making a data-informed prediction. Harnessing their own experiences, students compare and contrast low-evidence predictions (wild guesses) to their data-informed prediction to live the experience and learn the value of evidence-based reasoning.  Additionally, students engage in several engineering projects in each course, where they must use the Patterns they discover in their designs to optimize their solutions.  The Patterns Approach utilizes technology, student-constructed knowledge, frequent opportunities for student talk, and language supports to ensure the engagement and success of every student.  By emphasizing, rather than removing, the mathematical connections to science, the Patterns Approach supports student conceptual understanding by connecting real-world inquiry experiences, graphical representations, and mathematical representations of science phenomena. For more on the Patterns Approach, read lead physics course developer Bradford Hill’s article in The Science Teacher: “The Patterns Approach – engaging Freshman in the practices of science.”