National Science Education Initiatives: Overview & Applications

Instructor: Tawnya Eash

Tawnya has a master's degree in early childhood education and teaches all subjects at an elementary school.

What advancements have been made in National Science Education? Check out this lesson to see how Science Education has improved and developed ensuring students can understand the world.

National Science Education Initiatives

Isn't the goal of all educators to give their students a quality education? You want to provide students with the knowledge, information, and experiences they need to compete in an ever-changing technological world.

Improving Science Education in America has been an important initiative. It's crucial that we prepare our students to keep up with other countries and provide our children with a quality education. Science education helps students develop an understanding and appreciation for the world around them.

Adults use science, math, and information technology every day! In the work force, doctors, pharmacists, engineers, and many other professionals apply their knowledge of science. To encourage science literacy, or the use of science principles and processes to relate to issues in the world, educators need to know what and how to teach students.

Giving students science literacy will make them more comfortable in a lab setting like this one

Developing science literacy in students allows all learners to know or do essential skills and concepts under the following beliefs:

  • View science, math, and technology as interdependent
  • Understand key concepts and principles of science
  • Are familiar with the natural world and its diversity and unity
  • Uses scientific knowledge and ways of thinking in personal and social situations.

Let's take a closer look at three main initiatives for science education.


The image suggests some of the major ideas and topics that are covered under each of the three national science education initiatives.

Science Education Initiatives

National Science Education Standards

Looking at science literacy worldwide, allows for all students to receive a quality education to prepare them for the future. The National Science Education Standards provide specific skills and concepts for different age groups: K-4, 5-8, and 9-12. Broken into these grade levels, they provide developmentally appropriate content.

The following categories of standards differ in complexity and rigor across grade levels:

  • Unifying concepts and processes in science
  • Science as inquiry
  • Physical science
  • Life science
  • Earth and space science
  • Science and technology
  • Science in personal and social perspectives
  • History and nature of science

Science for All Americans

The standards provided in the book, Science for All Americans, provides suggestions as to what to teach students in preparing them to be successful American citizens. It lists a range of broad categories in science, math, and technology for students by the end of 12th grade.

Take a look at the main categories in Science for All Americans:

  • Nature of Science - belief that world is understandable
  • Nature of Math - patterns and relationships
  • Nature of Technology - draws and contributes to science
  • Physical Setting - Earth, processes, matter, energy transfer, motion, etc.
  • Living Environment - diversity, heredity, cells, interdependence, evolution, and more
  • Human Organism - identity, functions, learning, and health
  • Human Society - cultural effects, behaviors, social change, economic systems, and global interdependence
  • Designed World - agriculture, manufacturing, health technology, etc.
  • Math World - numbers, shapes, symbols, uncertainty, reasoning

Educators will also focus on Historical Perspectives, Common Themes, and Habits of Mind as part of the standards.

Benchmarks for Science Literacy

Benchmarks for Science Literacy was published as a companion to Science for All Americans. This book focuses on the exact same concepts and principles except it breaks the categories down into more specific benchmarks by grade-level: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12.

For example, when looking at Common Themes, by the end of fifth grade, students should know concepts such as geometric figures, number sequences, graphs, number lines, and maps. They need to understand how oral and written descriptions can be used to represent things in the real world.

In the Classroom

The standards and benchmarks set forth should ignite a passion for science and develop science literacy in all students. With the appropriate instruction from educated, enthusiastic teachers, students will appreciate and apply their knowledge of math, science, and technology to understand the world.

To ensure the success of all of your students, there are various ways to incorporate these initiatives into your curriculum, instruction, and assessments.


As schools strive to educate children with the best practices, they should base their curriculum off of the ideas in the National Science Education Standards and the Benchmarks for Science Literacy. These resources should be used as a guide for a school to create their own curriculum and resources for a more coherent, consistent approach to science literacy.

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