Next Generation Science Standards
, My research on Affinty Groups focused on SEL competencies but I am a science teacher so obviously the affinity groups were collaborating on science lessons. Our district adopted the standards several years ago and for middle school we selected the integrated model, which means every year (6-8) students will learn earth, life, and physical science in integrated units. Depending on when and where you went to school, this may be how you learned science. Many people experienced "discipline specific" science which included a year of earth science, followed by life science, and then a final year of physical science before heading off to high school.
Personally I enjoy the integrated units. Integrated seems to match how interconnected our world is and students appreciate getting a little taste of all the branches of science in one school year. Along with adopting the new science standards, 2020-21 was also the year that our district adopted a new science curriculum called Amplify and produced by Lawrence Hall of Science. Amplify worked out well for this year because it is a digital, integrated platform. Each unit begins with a phenomena and problem which research, experiment about, and solve. This curriculum was a good fit for affinity group interactions. Every unit in Amplify also includes a simulation that students return to repeatedly as they test different ideas related to the problem and gather evidence.
This is the link to the NGSS and Amplify website in case you would like to take a look. I adapted some of the Amplify lessons into Google Slides that could be shared by the Affinity groups for collaboration. For more on collaborating on a Google slide deck, see Lessons under the Learn More tab.
If you teach science and need some professional development for how to teach things or to get the gist of NGSS, I recommend Bozeman Science by Paul Anderson. He has a thick list of videos and other support material that he has produced for his students and for other teachers. His NGSS videos are excellent. He has another website The Wonder of Science that has great resources on inquiry lessons, graphic organizers, assessments, and The Master List of Phenomena (I know, right? What are you waiting for- start clicking!).