Episode 013 Understanding by Design Meets NeuroScience (and NGSS) with Jay McTighe and Dr. Judy Willis



Meet Jay McTighe and Dr. Judy Willis authors of Upgrade Your Teaching: Understanding by Design Meets Neuroscience. How can we use neuroscience research to improve curriculum, instruction, and assessment so our students achieve deep learning and understanding? We talk about merging insights from neuroscience with Understanding by Design® , and NGSS to create units of instruction and authentic assessments that emphasizes contextual understanding rather than recall.

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Show Notes:

  • Find out how Judy and Jay started to integrate neuroscience findings into classroom strategies and integrations to strengthen the student’s results.
  • There is value in cross disciplines.
  • How to reinforce lessons and knowledge with neuroscience techniques
  • Integrating performance tasks into a lesson allows students to actively learn
  • When students are doing something with the learning, it makes the learning more long-term
  • How Judy and Jay leverage neuroscience to get students to be successful in the classroom
  • Neuroplasticity is a lifetime potential. You never stop developing it.
  • You have the opportunity to change your brain every day.
  • Why having different modes of delivering a lesson (audio, visual) grows students brains
  • Quantitatively different goals represented by AMT:
    • 1. Acquisition: acquiring new knowledge and the ideas and concepts the student needs to learn
    • 2. Meaning making: teaching more than just facts.
    • 3. Transfer: in the classroom, students should be encouraged to transfer their knowledge to different situations and applications.
  • All role types of AMT should be engaged in the classroom
  • How to approach concepts in the classroom from a practical approach i.e. how we teach driving
  • Why we need to think about student’s long-term learning
  • Start at your transfer goal and work backwards
  • Why we need student’s “doing science”
  • In “Understanding by Design” there are 3 planning techniques proposed one of which is backward design. Know your goals and plan backwards from them so that you achieve them.
  • If transfer is a goal, assessments should be performance based - apply their learning of a context to a new situtation
  • Students need regular opportunities to transfer their learning

3 Key Points:

  1. The work to integrate neuroscience understanding into the classroom has improved students results.
  2. Standard classrooms only teach acquisition. However, if you want the student to learn, you must incorporate transfer into the classroom. To get students to transfer information, you must give them many applications to apply their knowledge.
  3.  It is powerful to encourage students to understand the content in their own eyes and be able to apply it to several applications. This neuroscience approach is not only improving student learning but also reinforcing the NGSS approach to science learning.

Resources Mentioned:


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