K-12 Science Curriculum Standards Overarching Big Ideas

Science Process Standards
That Are Universal to All Grades and Strands


1. Development of scientific information literacy by

  • demonstrating mastery of appropriate scientific vocabulary;
  • recognizing the need to support conclusions with scientific evidence;
  • learning to identify and critique multiple points of view
  • learning to ask a meaningful research question
  • learning to access library resources effectively


2.   Development of critical and creative thinking skills and understanding of the process of scientific inquiry to solve practical problems and to create models of scientific phenomena.  This includes the skills of:

  • observation and recording of observations
  • posing testable questions
  • making meaningful predictions
  • developing hypotheses
  • designing a controlled experiment
  • identifying sources of error
  • collecting, organizing, interpreting, and analyzing data
  • forming meaningful conclusions and suggesting appropriate next steps
  • engineering design process

 3.  Development of appropriate participatory skills

  • Cooperation and communication in the practice of scientific inquiry;
  • Demonstration of an awareness of laboratory safety and of appropriate procedures and behavior in the laboratory and classroom. 

4.  Development of effective scientific problem-solving skills, which include:

  • producing and interpreting graphs
  • creating and interpreting maps
  • creating and interpreting diagrams
  • creating and interpreting models

5.  Competent use of computers and other technology.   Students will access current technology to:

  • collect and organize data
  • present data
  • graph data
  • analyze data
  • solve problems
  • access databanks for scientific research

Science Content Standards
That Are Universal to All Grades and Strand

Mastery of scientific concepts, demonstrated through assessment of student work. 

    A.  Earth and Space Science

  • origin, structure and physical phenomena of the earth and the universe
  • the nature and interactions of oceans and the atmosphere
  • earth processes, including plate tectonics, changes in topography over time, and the place of the earth in the universe


    B.    Life Science (Biology)

  • the diversity, complexity, and interconnectedness of life on earth
  • biological evolution and adaptations of organisms
  • structure and function of living systems
  • cellular biology
  • reproduction and heredity
  • populations and ecosystems;  human impact


    C.    Physical Sciences  (Chemistry and Physics)

  • composition, structure, properties and reactions of matter
  • relationships between matter and energy
  • chemical reactions
  • forces and motion
  • energy transformations


    D.  Technology/Engineering

  •         materials and manufacturing
  •         energy sources and use
  •         technological design
  •         tools and machines


    Note:  The above concept list draws from the following:  the current Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Curriculum Frameworks;   the Benchmarks for Science Literacy: Project 2061 of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1993); the National Science Education Standards of the National Research Council (1996); and the ARHS Science Learning Expectations. 



    2.  Application of mathematical concepts into scientific problem-solving.


    3.  Development of an awareness of personal, community, and

         environmental responsibility, emerging from an understanding of

         current scientific knowledge and methods.


    4.  Development of an understanding of the contributions Science makes

        to the human community, and an awareness of the many different

        vocations available in the sciences.


    Leverage Points


    Elementary School:

    • Scores on the 5th grade Science MCAS exams
    • Scores on the Earth and Space Science questions on the 8th grade Science MCAS exam
    • Performance on common teacher-developed grade level assessments


    Middle School: 

    • Number of students by gender, race and socioeconomic group, who sign up for and successfully complete the accelerated science program in 9th grade
    • Scores  on the Physical and Biological Science questions on the 8th grade Science MCAS
    • Performance on common teacher-developed grade level assessments
    • Number of students by gender, race and socioeconomic group, who enter applied science fields in vocational schools in high school


    High School: 

    • Scores on the Science MCAS exams required for graduation
    • Scores on SAT II examinations in Science areas
    • Scores on AP examinations in Science areas
    • Number of students taking 4 years of Science, broken down by gender, race and socioeconomic groups
    • Number of Special Education and ELL students taking 3 years of Science
    • Number of female students taking Physics
    • Number of students, by race and socioeconomic group, taking Honors and AP Science classes
    • Number of students participating in internships in Science areas
    • Performance on common teacher-developed grade level assessments       
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