99: Crosscutting Concepts – 6 Examples of How to Use them in Your Classroom

October 11, 2021

Now that you’ve taught your students about the Crosscutting Concepts, it’s time to use them in your classroom. The more often that students make connections to the CCCs, the more valuable that they become. In this episode, Erin provides you with 5 easy-to-implement Crosscutting Concept examples to use in your classroom.

Make sure your students have had explicit instruction first.

Before diving into this episode, it’s important that you understand the importance of explicit instruction of the CCCs. In the last episode, Erin talked all about how to teach the CCCs. So, if you haven’t already, make sure you listen to that episode first.

5 Crosscutting Concept Examples

We’ve talked about a lot of these on the podcast before. But, we wanted to make sure you had access to these all in one place. So, here are 5 easy ways that you can use the CCCs.

#1 Add the CCCs into your regular questions.

This is a super easy strategy to implement because Erin has done the work for you. She created 55 Ready-to-Use Questions for the Crosscutting Concepts. These are questions that you can add to any lesson.

3 page resource: 55 Ready-to-Use Crosscutting Concept Questions.  Coffee and Planner.   The planner has a to-do list that says "include Crosscutting Concepts in lesson" and it is checked off.
Grab this FREE resource: 55 Ready-to-Use Crosscutting Concept Questions.

She used the NSTA Matrix for the Crosscutting Concepts to create questions for the Upper Elementary and Middle School levels. If you are a high school teacher, don’t worry. These are high-level questions and are a great place to start with your students.

Use these questions during whole group instruction. Or, add them to your activity sheets.

#2 Create CCC exit tickets.

Exit tickets are a great time to use the CCCs. Why? Because they are a great way to formatively assess your students. The CCCs require students to have a strong understanding of the Disciplinary Core Ideas. And, starting in middle school, they often include Science and Engineering Practice. So, the CCCs provide an opportunity to create a quick, 3-Dimensional Assessment.

If you aren’t sure what questions to ask, you can use Erin’s Free Resource as a starting point.

#3 Use a graphic organizer.

Graphic organizers are a great way to help students make connections. And, once they are created, they can be used OVER and OVER again.

Here is an example of Erin’s Graphic Organizer and Reference Sheet for the Crosscutting Concept of Patterns.

If you don’t want to take the time to create your own, Erin has created sets for the upper elementary grade band, the middle school grade band, and the high school grade band.

If you don’t want to purchase a set, use the NSTA Matrix to create your own.

#4 Ask students to choose a CCC to connect to.

Once you have introduced several CCCs, you can ask students to make their own connections. Ask them to explain how their observations relate to one of the Crosscutting Concepts. Then, have them share their connections with other class members. This is an excellent way to bring collaborative learning into the classroom.

#5 Have students make connection to more than one CCC.

This is really an extension of #5. But, it adds a layer of depth. Also, it can be used as a way to add additional rigor for advanced students.

This can be done in one of two ways. First, give all students the questions related to a specific CCC. Then, ask them to find another connection. Or, simply ask students to make a connection to two separate CCCs.

#6 Use them to review what you’ve learned.

In an NGSS learning environment, students must synthesize and make sense of a lot of information. The Crosscutting Concepts are a great way to slow down and let them recap what they know. The subcomponents of the practices provide a framework that can be used to build a review for your students. Or, use Erin’s Ready-to-Use Crosscutting Concept Guide to build a review sheet.

Other Episodes with Crosscutting Concept Examples