National Research Council (2009). Engineering in K–12 Education:
Understanding the Status and Improving the Prospects. Washington,
DC: National Academies Press.
NGSS Lead States (2013). Next Generation Science Standards: For States, by
States. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
Waggoner, B. & Speer, B.R. (2006). Introduction to the “slime molds.” http://
TAYLOR HOLDER is a Science Teacher at Albemarle Western High School,
Crozet, VA 22932; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. LAURA POTTMEYER is
Research Associate at Carnegie Mellon University, Eberly Center, Teaching
Excellence & Educational Innovation, Pittsburgh, PA 15213; e-mail:
email@example.com. FRACKSON MUMBA is Associate Professor of
Science Education at the University of Virginia, Curry School of Education,
Charlottesville, VA 22904; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Table 2. Continued
Dimension Name and NGSS Code/Citation Specific Connections to Classroom
Science and Engineering Practices Developing and Using Models
• Develop and use a model based on
evidence to illustrate the relationships
between systems or between
components of a system. (HS-LS1-2)
Planning and Carrying Out
• Plan and conduct an investigation
individually and collaboratively to
produce data to serve as the basis for
evidence, and in the design decide on
the types of data, how much data, and
the accuracy of data needed to
produce reliable measurements and
consider limitations on the precision of
the data. (HS-LS1-3)
Students use a prototype to
demonstrate the concepts of
containing an outbreak.
Students brainstorm and design their
own individual solutions. They then
work in groups to select the best
solution and create their prototype.
Students work under the constraints
provided in the design challenge.
Disciplinary Core Ideas LS1.A: Structure and Function
• Multicellular organisms have a
hierarchical structural organization, in
which any one system is made up of
numerous parts and is itself a
component of the next level. (HS-LS1-2)
• Feedback mechanisms maintain a living
system’s internal conditions within
certain limits and mediate behaviors,
allowing it to remain alive and
functional even as external conditions
change within some range. (HS-LS1-3)
Students connect the characteristics of
the slime mold to how it functions.
They use their knowledge of the slime
mold’s behavior to contain it.
Students observe slime molds
attempting to navigate through the
quarantine facility using chemical
signals to move toward the food.
Crosscutting Concept(s) Systems and System Models
• Models (e.g., physical, mathematical,
computer) can be used to simulate
systems and interactions – including
energy, matter, and information flows –
within and between systems at
different scales. (HS-LS1-2)
Stability and Change: Feedback
(negative or positive) can stabilize or
destabilize a system. (HS-LS1-3)
Students use the slime mold as a
model organism to simulate a disease
Students observe the slime mold’s
movements over the course of several
days. Slime molds will grow toward a
food source and retreat from avenues
that do not lead to food.
Students receive feedback and revise