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January 22, 2017

click to go to advanced search pageclick to go to A to Z Web site index pageEmpowering all students to succeed in the 21st century mission statement
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Science

Instructional Administrators for Science

Middle School level: Beverly Bisnett-Jenks

High School level: Michael Piscitelli


Science -- the study of the natural world -- is both useful and rewarding in its own right. It provides a sense of the order in the universe and is one of civilization's major intellectual achievements. It is fueled by the same creativity required for art, music, or literature. It relies on curiosity, objectivity and healthy skepticism. Our K-12 science program seeks to transmit to students this view of science by the active involvement of students in their learning.

In 1996 the National Research Council published the National Science Education Standards. These are matched to our New York State Standards and core curriculum at each level. The National Science Teachers Association defined the goal of science education "as the development of scientifically and technologically literate individuals who understand how science, technology, and society influence one another and who use this understanding in their everyday decision making." We support this goal in its generic sense. In keeping with this goal, our science curriculum is generally intended to help students:

Understand what science and technology are, and how they interact with one another and with society, and

Use this understanding to solve problems and make decisions at home, in school, in the neighborhood, and in the community.

One instructional emphasis is to teach science as investigation and research which leads to the understanding of real scientific/technological/societal problems that have relevance in students' lives. Our science program provides foundational concepts and scientific reasoning skills which are common to all sciences and are necessary for individuals to function successfully in a complex technological society. The program provides experiences in the physical, biological, and earth sciences, as well as in the application of the knowledge of these sciences. The historical development of the sciences is another important aspect of our program. The scientifically literate student had (1) the background necessary for understanding our technological society and (2) the foundation tools for further study in science.

Students are involved directly in many learning processes; these relate not only to the inquiry and problem solving skills of science, but also to those integrated from the areas of language arts, math, and social studies. Teachers tailor learning opportunities to learning needs. They encourage collaboration, respect for diverse ideas, and other values that are consistent with scientific inquiry.

Science instruction is based on content, process skills, the nature of science and attitudes. The content is developmentally appropriate, aligned to the NYS Elementary Level and Middle Level Science Core Curricula. Science instruction emphasizes “big ideas” not discreet facts and builds on prior student knowledge.

In order to accomplish the ideas previously stated the following elements are essential:

The science program is a balance between content, skills and attitudes, all of which are necessary for effective problem solving.

The content, skills, and attitudes will spiral through each level of the program with increasing complexity.

Other areas of curriculum will be integrated with our science program.

Students will be actively involved in the learning process. Science concepts will be learned by hands-on activities which incorporate content, skills, and attitudes.

It is necessary to teach students how to learn, not just the large volume of facts that are known.

Teachers will be models for problem solving and open-ended inquiry. They will be guides to the process of learning.

Assess student understanding on an ongoing basis.

Through Guilderland's K-12 science program, students will know how to solve problems, using their knowledge and creativity in mutually beneficial ways; will understand how science, technology, and society influence one another; and will use this understanding in their everyday decision making.

Elementary Science Program

The Guilderland Central School District offers an elementary science program called STC or Science and Technology for Children. The program builds on the New York State Mathematics, Science and Technology learning standards as well as the National Science Education Standards, published by the National Research Council. The standards call for a new vision of science literacy for all students.

The STC curriculum was developed by the National Science Resources Center (NSRC), a nonprofit organization jointly operated by the Smithsonian Institution and National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering and Institute of Medicine. The heart of the program is kits developed by teachers in collaboration with scientists. The curriculum is structured on the basis of scientific reasoning skills. The STC curriculum aligns with Guilderland’s philosophy that children learn science best when the content is developmentally appropriate.

The sequence begins in kindergarten and grade 1 where students focus on observing, measuring and identifying properties. By grade 2 they begin to recognize patterns and cycles. By grade 4, where the Grade 4 New York State science test is given, students are able to identify science concepts, cause-and-effect relationships and to integrate science process skills. Students are involved in rich hands-on activities with each kit. Classroom explorations are done in groups of two to four children. To reinforce learning, children reflect on their findings, record them in their science journals, and discuss them with their classmates. Finally, students apply their new learning to other areas of the curriculum.

Kits used:

GRADE KIT
Kindergarten Solids & Liquids
Grade 1 Changes and Organisms
Grade 2 Soils and Butterflies and Balancing and Weighing
Grade 3 Plant Growth & Development and Rocks & Minerals
Grade 4 Chemical Tests and Electrical Circuits
Grade 5 Microworlds and Human Body

 

Teachers attend summer training on science content, teaching methods, and assessment. The curriculum allows teachers the flexibility to integrate a great deal of literature and writing. In the 21st century a person must be armed with a science overview to adapt to the extraordinary changes that will occur, to be employed by the new industries that will emerge, and to participate in the decisions that society will make. The key is education and programs such as STC to give every student science content and science process to develop scientific literacy.

High School Science Program

Visit the link below to learn more about the high school science program:

High school science program

 

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