What assessment will my child take in Science this spring?In the spring of 2017, students will be assessed on the 2014 SC Science standards. The test will be the Palmetto Assessment for State Standards in grades 4-8, which is a collection of 45-60 multiple choice items. The number of test items is dependent upon the grade level of your student. If your student is in high school and taking Biology 1, he/she will be taking the Biology End of Course examination based on the 2014 SC Science standards and 2005 Biology Standard B-5. This test is also in a multiple choice format, and will include non-scored field test items from the 2014 standards.
How can my child and I have fun and learn something new this summer?For a summer filled with quality learning together time, try one of the STEM activities recommended by TeachThought and educators with Project Lead The Way. Follow the link to 20 engaging ideas, most of which are free or require minimal resources. As always, think safety first when deciding whether an activity is developmentally appropriate for the age of your child.
How can I help my child in science this summer?
Developing a firm grasp of science concepts requires exposure to a variety of experiences. At school, we create those experiences by providing labs, field investigations, and field trips to accompany our instructional units. However, much of what children learn about science occurs in informal settings such as a visit to a local museum, a vacation at the beach, or an afternoon at home. Here are a few ideas for ways you can encourage a sense of wonder and curiosity in your child this summer. You'll be sowing seeds of success in the topics in parentheses. Who knew science could be so much fun?!!
1. Cook a meal together (physical changes, chemical reactions, energy transfer)
2. Visit an amusement park (linear & angular motion, forces, Newton's Laws)
3. Take a trip to the mountains, the beach, or a local park (ecosystems, landforms)
4. Watch a thunderstorm from a safe location (thermodynamics, the water cycle)
5. Build something together (material science, engineering, simple machines)
6. Plant a garden (needs of living things, earth materials, ecology)
What does an engineer do?
The week of February 19-25, 2017, marks National Engineers Week, a time to celebrate the role of engineers in making our world better. It is also an opportunity to show our students the pathway to a career in engineering and the variety of engineering avenues they could pursue. Many students view engineers only as builders of skyscrapers and bridges. However, other areas of engineering include materials science, nuclear, chemical, environmental, biomedical, genetic, computer, electrical, aerospace, and industrial to name a few. For more information about engineering careers and some great resources for activities you can do with your child, visit the National Society of Professional Engineers website. http://www.nspe.org/resources/partners-and-state-societies/national-engineers-week
What should my child be doing in science this year?
When the dinner time conversation turns to "What did you learn in school this week?", we hope your child will have exciting things to tell you about science class. The description should include hands-on experiences that require students to seek answers to their own questions, plan an investigation and manage materials, gather and analyze data, and formulate reasonable explanations for the results they get. You should also hear stories about discussions of current events in science, books (s)he has read about a topic of interest, research (s)he has conducted with a group of peers, and technology (s)he has used to access information. Encourage your child to tell you about new discoveries and how (s)he is using that new information to solve real problems.
What are Cross-Cutting Concepts?
Another component of the NRC's Framework for K12 Science Education is a focus on the overarching, "big ideas" that weave all strands of science together. These cross-cutting concepts provide the "why" for each lesson we teach in science. Otherwise, science becomes a disassociated list of facts and vocabulary that can become overwhelming for a student. Why do we learn about the parts of a cell? Because doing so helps us understand how individual parts are interdependent in the functioning of a larger system; just like the parts of a car engine or the air masses, temperature changes, and pressure changes that build a thunderstorm. The seven cross-cutting concepts of the Framework are
2. Cause and effect: Mechanism and explanation
3. Scale, proportion, and quantity
4. Systems and system models
5. Energy and matter: Flows, cycles, and conservation
6. Structure and function
7. Stability and change
What are Science and Engineering Practices?
One of the underlying assumptions of the NRC's Framework for K12 Science Education is that knowledge and practice go hand in hand for scientists and engineers. Therefore, if students are to be college and career ready, they need opportunities to engage in the same practices that scientists and engineers use every day. The Framework outlines these eight practices:
1. Asking questions (science) and defining problems (engineering)
2. Developing and using models
3. Planning and carrying out investigations
4. Analyzing and interpreting data
5. Using mathematics, information and computer technology, and computational thinking
6. Constructing explanations (science) and designing solutions (engineering)
7. Engaging in argument from evidence
8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information
Parents sometimes wonder, "What do teachers do in professional development?" Our science teachers are busy this year learning these practices in detail and designing new lessons to get your students active in the lab and in the field.
What are Next Generation Science Standards?
Based on the National Research Council's Framework for K12 Science Education, Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for Today's Students and Tomorrow's Workforce is a collaborative, state-led process overseen by Achieve, Inc. and funded by the Carnegie Corporation. The purpose of the project is to create a set of internationally benchmarked science standards that provide students opportunities to DO science, not just study science. The NRC framework combined the best research on how students learn science with the content and practices that are most essential for students to know to be college and career ready citizens. Though developed through a different process than the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for ELA and Mathematics, NGSS is designed to integrate with CCSS to provide meaningful, relevant learning experiences for students. For more information on the NGSS, visit their website at www.nextgenscience.org.
Why is it important for children to play outside?
Let’s Move Outside (http://www.letsmove.gov/lets-move-outside), which is administered by the Department of Interior, is part of First Lady Michelle Obama's movement to fight childhood obesity. The website provides resources to locate parks and natural areas in our region where parents can spend some stress-free, technology-free time with their child. By joining their children in the great outdoors, parents can intervene before their children become one of the following statistics:
-nearly one-third of children in America are obese
- children and teens spend an average of 7.5 hours a day in passive use of entertainment media (TV, video games, etc.)
- by kindergarten, many children have logged over 5000 hours in front of a media screen...enough time to earn a college degree
Children are healthier, happier, and more socially well-adjusted when they play outside regularly. In addition, at a recent NSTA presentation, David Mizejewski of the National Wildlife Federation reminded us that students who play outside have opportunities to practice creativity, collaborative problem-solving, and team leadership free from the structure and interventions of adults.
What is STEM?
STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics that can stand for both areas of study and types of careers. As areas of study, STEM related courses prepare students for careers in fields that require an understanding of technical vocabulary and communication, highly structured ways of collecting and reporting data, and application of mathematics and computational thinking to solve problems. In the July 2011 report "STEM: Good Jobs Now and for the Future", the U. S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration reported that while many occupations are growing at less than 10%, STEM related occupations are growing by 17%. In addition, STEM workers earn 26% more than their non-STEM counterparts.
What are Science Notebooks?
Science notebooks are tools students use to make connections among concepts they are learning, investigations they are conducting, and their collaborations with other science learners. Science notebooks also enhance reading, writing, mathematics, and communication skills. Because the information is recorded in the student's own "voice", the student is better able to make meaning of it and to use that learning in new situations.