Basic life sciences (e.g. biology) and physical sciences (chemistry, physics, etc.) are required at most high schools. These classes often include lab components that allow students to perform hands-on experiments

Most states require two to three years of science coursework in high school.

These may include :
  • Biology (typically has advanced class options)
  • Chemistry (typically has advanced class options)
  • Earth or Space sciences
  • Physics (typically has advanced class options)

Science NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards)

Curriculums and books for Science are based on the newly formed NGSS. The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are based on the “Framework K–12 Science Education” that was created by the National Research Council. They have three dimensions that are integrated in instruction at all levels.

The first is core ideas, which consists of specific content and subject areas. The second is science and engineering practices. Students are expected not just to learn content but to understand the methods of scientists and engineers. Specific science and engineering practices that the Framework identifies as essential for all students to learn are identified and described in Appendix F of the

Next Generation Science Standards. These practices are asking questions and defining problems; developing and using models; planning and carrying out investigations; analyzing and interpreting data; using mathematics and computational thinking; constructing explanations and designing solutions; engaging in argument from evidence; and obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information. The third is cross-cutting concepts: key underlying ideas that are common to a number of topics. The NGSS give equal emphasis to engineering design and to scientific inquiry. In addition, they are aligned with the Common Core State Standards by grade and level of difficulty.

The standards describe “performance expectations” for students in the area of science and engineering. They define what students must be able to do in order to show competency.

An important facet of the standards is that teaching of content is integrated with teaching the practices of scientists and engineers. This is a change from traditional teaching, which typically either dealt with these topics separately or didn’t attempt to teach practices. According to NGSS, it is through the integration of content and practice “that science begins to make sense and allows students to apply the material.

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