Students will learn rigorous science content through active engagement in the Science and Engineering Practices.
It is an exciting time for science and science education. In this rapidly changing, high-technology world, students must be equipped with the content knowledge, and as importantly, the science practices and tools in order to be competitive in college and career.
WCPS is currently realigning the K-12 Science Curriculum to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), which were adopted by the Maryland State Board of Education in 2013. More information on the NGSS may be found here: www.nextgenscience.org or https://thewonderofscience.com/standards/
According to the National Science Teaching Association (NSTA):
The Next Generation Science Standards aim to eliminate the practice of “teaching to the test.” Instead, they shift the focus from merely memorizing scientific facts to actually doing science—so students spend more time posing questions and discovering the answers for themselves.
Often, students can answer specific questions about concepts they covered in class, but can't translate that knowledge in applied situations. The standards avoid this disconnect by combining knowledge with practice, teaching students to develop ideas and evaluate them according to scientific principles.
NSTA has produced a Q&A for parents to help them the understand and anticipate the instructional changes their students should be experiencing in science class. It is accessible here.
The NGSS integrate three dimensions necessary to understand science. The Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI) are the core science content that scientifically literate people should know. The Science & Engineering Practices (SEP) are the things that working scientists and engineers do as they seek to answer questions and develop solutions to problems. The Crosscutting Concepts (CCC) are the overarching ideas that students encounter in each of the scientific disciplines (Life, Earth/Space, Physical Sciences).
When students do science, they are not just memorizing a list of science facts; they are engaged in the SEP and CCC as a means to develop explanations of scientific phenomena. Science Instruction should be '3-Dimensional' engaging students equally in DCI, SEP, and CCC
Science and Engineering Practices
1. Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)
2. Developing and using models
3. Planning and carrying out investigations
4. Analyzing and interpreting data
5. Using mathematics and computational thinking
6. Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)
7. Engaging in argument from evidence
8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information
2. Cause and effect
3. Scale, proportion, and quantity
4. Systems and system models
5. Energy and matter: Flows, cycles, and conservation
6. Structure and function
7. Stability and Change
More information on the SEP and CCC may be found at the following links:
The WCPS Science Office has been providing professional development to teachers in grades PK-12 on the Framework for Science Education and the NGSS since August, 2011. This has taken the form of county-wide professional days, school- and county-level Professional Learning Communities (PLCs), Summer Academies, and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Workshops.
Opportunities for Science Teachers in Summer 2019 included workshops involving NASA, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Salisbury University, and more. WCPS Science Teachers spent time on base at NASA's Wallops Island Flight Facility, immersed in the Smith Island community of Tylerton, learning about aquaculture at the Horn Point Laboratory, searching for fossils at Calvert Cliffs and much, much more! Science teachers can contact Dr. Raygor for more information.
Supervisor of Science
Dr. Brian Raygor
Elementary Science Specialist - 3-5
Elementary Science Specialist - PK-2
Office Associate - Central Office
Mary Kay Morgan