Why Change Science Instruction?
Why change the way science (and math) are taught in the United States? Check out this great infographic to see why instruction in science, technology, engineering and mathematics needs to change drastically in the United States.
Where Did They Get the Standards?
Scientific and Engineering Practices
Here is an example of the scientific and engineering practices connections to one fifth grade science standard:
There are many essential truths in science — concepts so broad, that they extend into all disciplines. These cross-cutting concepts — the things we want students to understand — are listed below.
- Cause and Effect: Mechanism and Explanation
- Scale, Proportion and Quantity
- Systems and System Models
- Energy and Matter: Flows, Cycles and Conservation
- Structure and Function
- Stability and Change
Disciplinary Core Ideas
Each science discipline has its own “truths,” things that we want students to know about a particular topic. These are listed as disciplinary core ideas, and are broken into the four main branches of science:
- Matter and Its Interactions
- Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
- Waves and Information Transfer
- From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
- Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy and Dynamics
- Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits
- Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
Earth and Space Sciences
- Earth’s Place in the Universe
- Earth’s Systems
- Earth and Human Activity
Engineering, Technology and the Application of Science
- Engineering Design
- Links Among Engineering, Technology, Science and Society
Integrated Standards and Thematic Teaching
One part of the new standards that I think will be a big bonus for teachers is the connection of related literacy and numeracy standards after each science standard, as well as related framework ideas. With these connections, it is not only easier for classroom teachers to design rich, integrated units of study based on scientific topics — it is also easier for teachers to be reassured that integrated, thematic teaching can address important literacy and numeracy goals of high-stakes testing.
Here is an example of an integrated unit based on the Grade 1 science standards:
This unit includes three performance tasks, addressing two science standards, two numeracy standards, and five English language arts standards. For each task, a task table outlines key vocabulary, big ideas, a description of the essential task with grade-level expectations, important concepts and any foundational concepts. Components are sorted by Bloom’s Level.
To assist teachers in assessing student performance relative to the standards, sample rubrics are included for each performance task.
For Your Science Library