New York Science Standards
In an effort to provide the most up-to-date and relevant instruction, the state of New York recently implemented an overhaul of the science curriculum.
Introduced at the end of 2016, these new standards feature specific objectives and lesson goals for students of all ages.
Rather than an immediate application of these new standards, the state has adopted a three-step implementation plan that allows for a more natural transition. The three steps are as follows:
- Phase I: Initial Transition- Raise Awareness and Build Capacity
- Phase II: Transition and Implementation
- Phase III: Implementation and Sustainability
These phases are part of the 'Statewide Strategic Plan for Science' and take care to ensure that they satisfy each of the six key components of this plan which include:
- Materials and Resource Support
- Professional Development to Enhance Instruction
- Administrative and Community Support
The state does not publish specific standards for every single grade.
The elementary school grades (P-5) each have their own set of standards, although the engineering design standards are grouped together for grades K-2 and 3-5.
Standards for older students are not quite as specific for each grade level. All middle and high school grades are lumped together into two clusters known as 'MS' (6-8) and 'HS' (9-12).
The new standards introduce a diverse and extensive range of scientific concepts and ideas. Topic areas for New York public science classes include:
- Human Sustainability
- Earth's Systems
- Weather & Climate
- Structure & Properties of Matter
- Natural Selection & Adaptations
- Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems
- Forces & Interactions
As a general rule, students typically cover topics on more than one occasion. Most units begin at the lower grade levels, where students learn the fundamental ideas associated with the subject, and then there's a continuum where students acquire more knowledge at various grade levels.
The forces & interactions' topics, for example, are first introduced to kindergarten students and is then touched upon again in the third grade.
The standards also include three interrelated dimensions that make up the new P-12 science standards and ensure that the foundation of scientific learning is set. The three dimensions include the following:
- Science and Engineering Practices: This section refers to the universal investigative and scientific skills that can be used in a variety of settings. While each unit provides knowledge exclusive to a certain subject, the standards also want to ensure that students are building skills such as data analysis, pattern identification, and investigation planning that can be used in scientific inquiry, engineering, and daily life.
- Disciplinary Core Ideas: Though science covers an almost infinite number of topics, a small number of concepts and practices form the basis of all scientific understanding. Ideas such as forces and motion, ecosystem dynamics, and weather and climate are essential building blocks for a student's understanding, and the state refers to these as Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs). Each unit contains several of these DCIs as a way of explaining how a certain topic both branches into new territory and reinforces the importance of these core principles.
- Crosscutting Concepts: Science disciplines are not solitary. They often intertwine with each other and have an impact on everyday life, often in ways that students do not understand. This descriptor aims to show students how natural science makes up the world in which we live, while fields such as engineering and technology have a massive impact on both the natural and social worlds.
Science Resources for Teachers & Students
Study.com has a plethora of courses that focus on a variety of scientific topics. Take a look at the following courses, which represent just a small sample of all offerings:
|Elementary School||Middle School||High School|
|Science for Kids||Earth Science: Middle School||Earth Science: High School|
|Technology for Kids||Life Science: Middle School||Biology: High School|
|Physical Science: Middle School||Physical Science: High School|
These courses contain interactive and engaging learning tools such as video lessons and self-checking quizzes that teachers can use with their students. Students can also use these lessons on their own to prepare for an exam or just to stay sharp throughout the semester.