Teaching Standard A

Teachers of science plan an inquiry-based science program for their students. In doing this, teachers

  • Develop a framework of yearlong and short-term goals for students.

  • Select science content and adapt and design curricula to meet the interests, knowledge, understanding, abilities, and experiences of students.

  • Select teaching and assessment strategies that support the development of student understanding and nurture a community of science learners.

  • Work together as colleagues within and across disciplines and grade levels.

DEVELOP A FRAMEWORK OF YEARLONG AND SHORT-TERM GOALS FOR STUDENTS. All teachers know that planning is a critical component of effective teaching. One important aspect of planning is setting goals. In the vision of science education described in the Standards, teachers of science take responsibility for setting yearlong and short-term goals; in doing so, they adapt school and district program goals, as well as state and national goals, to the experiences and interests of their students individually and as a group.

Once teachers have devised a framework of goals, plans remain flexible. Decisions are visited and revisited in the light of experience. Teaching for understanding requires responsiveness to students, so activities and strategies are continuously adapted and refined to address topics arising from student inquiries and experiences, as well as school, community, and national events. Teachers also change their plans based on the assessment and analysis of student achievement and the prior knowledge and beliefs students have demonstrated. Thus, an inquiry might be extended because it sparks the interest of students, an activity might be added because a particular concept has not been understood, or more group work might be incorporated into the plan to encourage communication. A challenge to teachers of science is to balance and integrate immediate needs with the intentions of the yearlong framework of goals.

[See Program Standard B]

During planning, goals are translated into a curriculum of specific topics, units, and sequenced activities that help students make sense of their world and understand the fundamental ideas of science. The content standards, as well as state, district, and school frameworks, provide guides for teachers as they select specific science topics. Some frameworks allow teachers choices in determining topics, sequences, activities, and materials. Others mandate goals, objectives, content, and materials. In either case, teachers examine the extent to which a curriculum includes inquiry and direct experimentation as methods for developing understanding. In planning and choosing curricula, teachers strive to balance breadth of topics with depth of understanding.

SELECT SCIENCE CONTENT AND ADAPT AND DESIGN CURRICULA TO MEET THE INTERESTS, KNOWLEDGE, UNDERSTANDING, ABILITIES, AND EXPERIENCES OF STUDENTS. In determining the specific science content and activities that make up a curriculum, teachers consider the students who will be learning the science. Whether working with mandated

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