Using TEKS in Texas Science Curriculum

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

If you are a teacher in Texas who works with the science curriculum, it can be helpful to have a broad view of how the TEKS science standards work. This lesson provides you with an overview oriented toward helping you make the most of TEKS for science.

The TEKS View on Science

Do you teach science in the state of Texas? If so, then you understand how important it is to align your curriculum with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, or TEKS. No matter what grade you teach, TEKS has some overarching views in relation to science that can be helpful to understand. This lesson examines the four major categories in TEKS science content as well as the TEKS perspective on scientific processes. The purpose of this lesson is to help you understand how you can make use of TEKS in your own science curriculum.

Before getting into the details, it is important to understand that TEKS thinks of science in terms of content and process standards. Content standards deal with facts and concepts that students are meant to understand after completing a particular grade. Process standards deal with habits of mind and investigation. To teach TEKS well in your science classes, you will want to think about how you can embed process standards into content instruction. For instance, when teaching the life cycle of the butterfly, take the opportunity to teach your students skills of observation and recording. If you are teaching about chemical changes, also teach your students how to accurately and compellingly present their findings and conclusions. By interconnecting content and process, you have a better chance of meeting the TEKS standards and teaching your students how scientific work actually occurs.

Matter and Energy

In the elementary and middle grades, TEKS puts a great deal of emphasis on matter and energy. In high school, matter and energy is usually understood as part of the chemistry curriculum. Therefore, when you teach your students about matter and energy, you should understand that you are preparing them to work with chemistry.

Teaching students about matter and energy means teaching them to observe and classify objects in the world around them and how these objects impact one another. Therefore, when you teach matter and energy, you are also teaching observation skills and skills for recording and analyzing findings. The specific content that you teach under matter and energy will vary depending on the grade, and it can also be helpful to understand what students have learned about matter and energy in previous years so that you can build on what they already know.

Force, Motion, and Energy

TEKS also sees a great deal of importance in force, motion, and energy in the elementary and middle grades. In the secondary grades, this transforms into physics. Therefore, consider your instruction in force, motion and energy as preparation for later study of physics.

Teaching students about force, motion, and energy means helping them understand how force impacts objects and how and why objects move in particular ways. These units will often focus on understanding different kinds of energy as well as how one kind of energy can transform into another. Teaching students about force, motion, and energy gives them opportunities to ask questions and develop simple investigations or experiments for testing hypotheses.

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