Teaching Science

The ” Objectives” Issue

How many times have you been told you must post or share your learning objectives at the beginning of your lesson?

I had the pleasure of listen to Paul Anderson address the Wisconsin Society of Science Teachers last spring. One of the first issues he brought up was the need to push back on administrators requests to post learning objectives on the board. Shortly after this I saw the video linked below to a discussion with Jason Crean on the matter. Teacher’s who engage in inquiry should consider alternative strategies to posting objectives. UBD author, Grant Wiggins chimes in with the writing of his article, “Mandating the Posting of Learning Objectives and other Mindless Policies. The policy is well meant, but perhaps superficial.

I am implementing the Illinois Storyline for the first time this year. I have decided to post the essential question for the lesson and the Science and Engineering Practice(SEP) and/or Crosscutting Concept(CCC) as “learning targets”.

Another strategy is to have students co-create the learning objectives with you. This is done as part of the discussion and reflection for each lesson. Stem Teaching Tools has a nice description of this approach. I hope to grow into this process too.

This shared Google Doc addresses FAQ’s for implementing NGSS storylines


EcoMuve is an immersive ecology game built by the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The game is downloaded and installed on student computers. Students explore pond ecology while playing the game and interacting with data collection simulations. I plan to explore this with my ecology students working remotely this winter. Teacher and students guides are available to support integration of this game. https://ecolearn.gse.harvard.edu/projects/ecomuve