Following the release of the Framework for K-12 Science Education (Framework), the National Research Council (NRC) published recommendations for how to track national progress toward improved STEM education in a report entitled Monitoring Progress Toward Successful K–12 STEM Education (Monitoring Progress; NRC, 2013). One of the recommendations of Monitoring Progress was to identify a set of criteria that could be used to determine the degree to which widely used instructional materials promote the vision of science education described in the Framework and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). In 2014, the NSF funded BSCS to develop a set of guidelines for evaluating instructional materials that could be used for this purpose.
The session will discuss how the NRC Science Education Framework and Next Generation Science Standards call for changes in science teaching and curriculum materials. The Framework and NGSS present two major evolutions in standards that challenge current widely used curriculum materials and the way science is often taught in classrooms: (1) organizing learning around core explanatory ideas; and (2) engaging students in scientific and engineering practices to develop and apply these explanatory ideas.
Project Exploration’s youth programs allow students to explore a variety of scientific disciplines alongside scientists. Project Exploration targets students who are open-minded and curious, regardless of academic standing. All of the youth programs are free, eliminating the cost barrier that prevents low-income students from accessing dynamic out-of-school time science programs. Project Exploration works with more than 300 Chicago Public School students each year.
WISE is a research-based digital learning platform that fosters exploration and science inquiry. Standards-based WISE projects are specifically tailored for classroom use, and revolve around key conceptual difficulties that students encounter in biology, chemistry, physics. WISE gives teachers powerful tools to customize projects and watch student work unfold online in real-time. WISE inquiry projects are based in the knowledge integration concept, the process of synthesizing multiple knowledge models in a common representation.
WISEngineering (http://www.wisengineering.org) is a free online learning environment that supports learning science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) concepts through engineering design projects.
The mission of the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center (SEEC) is two-fold: to provide a high-quality educational program for young children and to advance educational opportunities for all children by sharing SEEC’s expertise on a national level, thereby furthering the education mandate of the Smithsonian Institution (SI).
This project is funded by the National Science Foundation, grants # 0822241, 1449550, 1650648, and 1743807. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in these materials are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.