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A Framework for K-12 Science Education Changes, Challenges, and Charges

A Framework for K-12 Science Education Changes, Challenges, and Charges

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A Framework for K-12 Science Education Changes, Challenges, and Charges

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  1. A Framework for K-12 Science EducationChanges, Challenges, and Charges Summary created by: Fred Ende Regional Science Coordinator Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES

  2. What It Is • The Framework is a document that: • Serves as the first step towards new science education standards • Attempts to utilize forward momentum of common core standards and the need for new science standards to further the nation’s science education • Looks to incorporate engineering content and practices with those of “pure” science • Was created through the partnership of the NRC, AAAS, NSTA, and feedback from hundreds of teachers, administrators, and science organizations

  3. What It Isn’t • The Framework is not: • A “standards” document • Legislation in any way, shape, or form • A set of curricula

  4. Framework Structure • The Framework is broken into a number of parts: • Framework Vision and Focus • Scientific and Engineering Practices • Crosscutting Concepts • Disciplinary Core Ideas • Recommendations for Use

  5. Vision and Focus • The committee charged with creating the framework aims to improve science education in three distinct ways: • Strive for pedagogy and learning built on the idea of developmental progressions • Knowledge/practices are “spiraled” by grade band • Push for limited number of core ideas with greater depth • Emphasize that science learning requires knowledge and skills

  6. Scientific and Engineering Practices • Why focus on practices? • Helps students and teachers see science practices as more than just those of experimentation • Removes the misconception that there is one “scientific method” • Allows for a common vocabulary when striving for greater inquiry-based learning

  7. Scientific and Engineering Practices • Practices Included by Framework Designers: • Asking Questions and Defining Problems • Developing and Using Models • Planning and Carrying Out Investigations • Analyzing and Interpreting Data • Using Math, IT, Computer Tech, and Computation • Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions • Engaging in Argument Using Evidence • Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Info

  8. Crosscutting Concepts • What are they? • A crosscutting concept is an idea that bridges discipline boundaries (ex. stability vs. motion) • Why include them in the Framework? • Crosscutting concepts better help students connect ideas from one discipline to another and help learners see the relevance and “worldview” of information being explored.

  9. Crosscutting Concepts • Crosscutting Concepts identified by the committee: • Patterns • 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 • Interdependence of Science, Engineering, and Technology • Influence of Science, Engineering, and Technology on Society and the Natural World

  10. Core Ideas • Limited number of key science and engineering concepts broken down into four areas. • Physical Sciences • Matter • Motion and Stability • Forces and Interactions • Waves and Applications in Technology • Life Sciences • Molecules to Organisms: Structure/Processes • Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, Dynamics • Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits • Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity

  11. Core Ideas • Earth and Space Sciences • Earth’s Place in the Universe • Earth’s Systems • Earth and Human Activity • Engineering, Technology, and Science Applications • Engineering Design • Links Among Engineering, Technology, Science, and Society

  12. What’s So Special About These Core Ideas? • Committee members crafted core ideas to be overarching to allow for depth over breadth • Each core idea includes a fundamental question • “How can one explain the structure, properties, and interaction of matter?” • Each core idea contains two to five components that are necessary understandings for fully answering the overarching question • Developmental understandings are explained by “grade bands;” descriptions of appropriate mastery and “boundary” concepts are supplied

  13. Recommendations for Use • Provides feedback on how Core Ideas, Practices, and Crosscutting Concepts might be integrated in classrooms • Discusses the changes our education system would need to make to allow the ideas of the Framework to be realized • Discusses diversity and equity issues/concerns • Provides guidelines for standards developers and next steps

  14. What This Means for Districts • Framework is currently in an “information” phase and will be used by Achieve, Inc. to create standards. No implementation of anything is necessary yet. • Standard release date scheduled to be sometime between 2012 and 2013. New York is a “state leader.” • It is recommended that district level/building level staff “check-in” regularly on progress ( • Educators can utilize the framework to guide and reaffirm their current practices. • District representatives should utilize the Framework to engage in discussion about their current science curriculum. • How does our teaching of content and practices relate to the Framework’s core ideas, crosscutting concepts, and science and engineering practices? • How well do we emphasize spiraling and content progression? • How well do we meld science and engineering?

  15. What This Means for Districts

  16. References • Achieve, Inc. (2011). Achieve Inc. Retrieved from: • Gardner, M. (Director). (2006). Science 21: Science for the 21st Century (Grades K-6). Yorktown Heights, NY: PNW BOCES. • National Research Council. (2011). A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas. Retrieved from: • NSTA Learning Center. (2011). A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Retrieved from: