Because some people are more than uncomfortable with the current established views of such things as evolution and climate change, they cling to the belief that those scientific facts aren’t any more real or settled than, say, the old view that the Earth was the center of the universe or that disease was caused by demons.
Galileo proved that Aristotle was wrong, this school of thinking goes, so why shouldn’t we assume that, say, Darwin was wrong, too?
That was the argument that the Utah State School Board wrangled over, for eight months of review by a committee of experts and, on Thursday, five hours of patiently suffering through a great deal of anti-intellectual dogma before voting to approve a new set of science standards for students in the state’s public elementary and high schools.
Click here to read the full editorial in The Salt Lake Tribune (June 10, 2019)
Who knew that the table game Mouse Trap has seven subsystems? After a class period of exploration, sixth-graders in Greg Busse’s class not only knew about subsystems, they could identify where each started and ended in the game.
Early in the semester, students were asked to use the game, where the object is to successfully move a mouse-shaped piece along a Rube Goldberg-type path, to learn about subsystems and identify “contact points” where the mouse needs to find energy to move from one phase to the next.
Students divided into groups to identify boundaries of one of the seven sections of the path. Each section — or subsystem — was identified as the point at which the mouse found energy to connect it with the next section of the path.
The hands-on exercise readied them for upcoming science classes, during which they were to be divided into groups and presented with a situation. Students then were expected to identify problems and find questions needing answers, apply scientific techniques to find the answers and share the results.
Busse was utilizing for the first time this school year the MiSTAR curriculumdesigned for sixth through eighth-graders. “The idea is to have students come up with the questions and then the answers by themselves,” he said.
The Alaska State Board of Education unanimously approved new science standards on Friday, which are much more detailed about topics like climate change and evolution than the ones previously recommended for schools.
It’s been more than a decade since the state reviewed how science is taught in the classroom.
The new standards are based on a model called Next Generation Science Standards, which encourages more hands-on learning. Dozens of other states have already adopted a framework of these new standards.
All of the public comments at the meeting were in support of adopting the change.
However, this doesn’t mean all students across the state will get the same science lessons. It’s still largely up to the school districts to decide how to incorporate the new material.
Click here to listen to the story on Alaska Public Radio (June 10, 2019)
Step into Godwin Heights (Michigan) High School biology teacher Cory Klocko’s classroom on any given day, and you’re bound to see few eyes on the teacher. Rather, you’ll see students discussing, hypothesizing and testing their theories to answer questions such as “Why is Addie sick?”
Addie is a character in one of three narratives provided by the Next Generation Science Standards storyline curriculum embraced this year by Klocko and his colleague, biology teacher Derek Stoneman.
Memorizing facts is one thing, but understanding concepts is quite another. Thanks to the three storylines, which cover an entire year of biology curriculum, students are ditching the flashcards and homework and finding that biology is pretty cool when it revolves around telling stories.
As one storyline goes, Addie gets sicker over time and antibiotics aren’t helping. Students have to figure out why, and the solution requires learning about bacterial evolution, growing bacteria on an agar plate and understanding antibiotic resistance, among other things.
Less Memorization, More Assimilation
The new curriculum is unlike anything Madison Hall, a 10th-grader in Klocko’s Biology class, has ever seen.
“The teachers let the students find the answers as a class without telling them the answer directly, and help steer the students in the right direction to understand the material,” Madison explained.
Click here to read the full story featured on School News Network (Kent, Michgian, Independent School District) May 31, 2019
A State School Board committee on Friday approved new science standards for Utah public school students in grades K through five and nine through 12, but not before some pushback on the teaching of evolution and climate change.
Except for some slight tweaks, the proposed standards were approved by the Standards and Assessment Committee and will be considered for adoption at an upcoming State School Board meeting.
The effort to update the standards started in late 2017, said Ricky Scott, science education specialist for the Utah State Board of Education. Friday’s committee hearing came after a lengthy process to update and write new standards and a 90-day review period, which included six public hearings.
Dawn Monson, president of the Utah Science Teachers Association, urged the committee’s approval of the new standards.
“Students need the opportunity to experience and question. This is what the SEED standards (Utah Science with Engineering Education standards) are. It’s not about content but it’s about pedagogy. The students need an opportunity to be the scientist,” Monson said.
But others pushed back against the new standards.
Click here to read the full story in the Deseret News (May 24, 2019)
Congratulations to Maine. Governor Janet Mills signed LD 283, which contained the revised science and engineering standards in the Maine Learning Results. The revised standards are an adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards. The signed bill is currently going through the Maine Administrative Procedure Act to officially become law through the Secretary of State’s office. It is anticipated that the law will take effect near the end of this school year.
FLINT, MI– A $74,000 grant from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration has been awarded to Flint for the development and implementation of water quality monitoring program for the city’s river.
The program, Flint River Green Bridges, is an expansion of the city’s existing Flint River Green program that’s implemented in 22 local school districts and reaches 1,200 students each year.
The expansion will engage hundreds of local students and bridge careers, curriculum, classrooms and communities, according to a press release. This is the coalition’s first federal grant.
“This will be a great opportunity to meet the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) while giving students a chance to think critically about water quality issues,” James Hall, an 8th grade science teacher at Hamady Middle School stated in a press release.
The 18-month project is a partnership with the University of Michigan-Flint’s Discovering PLACE, the Flint hub of the Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative, which will enhance teacher training and support the implementation of outdoor field research.
“This new curriculum will allow teachers to not only meet the NGSS and state standards, but will also allow classrooms to actively engage in place-based learning through activities and action projects,” Tammy Wylie, a 7th grade science teacher at Hamady Middle School stated.
Click here to read the full story in MLive (May 1, 2019)
Imagine you have to take a big state science test. It’s full of questions about life science, earth science, physics and chemistry.
But wait — you haven’t taken all those courses in high school yet.
That’s what some high school students and younger kids, in Kern County and across the state, may face when they take the new online California Science Test for the first time this spring. It comes after the state passed new Next Generation Science Standards in 2013.
West High science teacher and department chairwoman Carrie Newman said one of the biggest challenges with the new assessment is it tests students in all the sciences. The Kern High School District requirement is only two years of science, so many students don’t go on to take physics or chemistry.
“It’s a little troublesome because they’re taking a test on subjects most of them haven’t taken classes in,” Newman said. “It’s unfair to expect them to know everything.”
Click here to read the full story in The Record (Bakersfield, CA, April 4, 2019)
Local students aren’t learning science by the book anymore.
Instead of memorizing facts or filling out worksheets, Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) students are building their own solar water heaters or extracting DNA from strawberries. The projects serve as a jumping-off point for collecting and analyzing data, making graphs and writing about concepts. After making solar water heaters, students at Will Rogers Elementary School collected temperature data to understand which materials in the heaters made the water heat up the most and wrote scripts of commercials to sell their heaters.
“We’re looking at practices scientists really use every day, like asking questions, using tools and analyzing data,” said Dr. Irene Gonzalez-Castillo, director of curriculum and instruction.
SMMUSD has been working to incorporate the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) since 2016 and set a three-year plan in motion last fall.
Click here to read the full story in the Santa Monica Daily Press (April 15, 2019)