Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Science Education Frameworks

A big day for science literacy today as the National Research Council's Framework for K-12 Science Education was released for public consumption. A hefty 283-page document, the framework outlines a grand vision for contemporary science education and "represents the first step in a process to create new standards in K-12 science education."

The framework is organized around three main dimensions of science education:

  • Scientific and engineering practices;
  • Crosscutting concepts that unify the study of science and engineering through their common application across fields; and
  • Core ideas in four disciplinary areas: physical sciences; life sciences; earth and space sciences; and engineering, technology, and the applications of science.

While I've only just begun to absorb this massive text, I am really impressed by its scope, thoughtfulness, and organization. I hope the framework will become a primary source document for states and school districts as they create/revise their own science standards.

In browsing the earth science section of the document, the authors referenced a few sources that I think are worthy of further study as well:

To me, these documents represent some of the finest efforts to define what science literacy means. Our collective challenge is to create pathways for teachers and students to realize the grand vision of authentic, meaningful science education that has been put forth in these documents.

I'm looking forward to working with my colleagues to weave this new framework into our science education system. You can explore the framework yourself using the widget below:

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