"Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder." EB White
Our youngest learners are full of curiosity and wonder and our K-12 Science Curriculum is designed to engage students in sense making as they explore our natural and designed world. The K-12 Science Curriculum aligns to the New Jersey Student Learning Standards for Science (taken directly from the Next Generation Science Standards). These standards are comprised of three dimensions:
- Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs) include the content that students are responsible for knowing by the end of each grade level. These core ideas are found in life science, physical science or earth and space science.
- Engineering and Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs) are the behaviors and skills in which students engage as they explore the Disciplinary Core Ideas and do the work of scientists and engineers. These practices are as important as the DCIs at the elementary level. It is through the practices that students learn to become active participants in their learning. The eight practices include asking questions and defining problems, planning and carrying out investigations, developing and using models, constructing explanations and designing solutions, engaging in argument from evidence, analyzing and interpreting data, using mathematics and computational thinking and gathering, evaluating and communicating information to others.
- Cross Cutting Concepts (CCCs) are the big ideas that cut across all sciences and engineering domains. They help students see connections learning between and among the sciences and other fields. The CCCs include patterns, cause and effect, scale, proportion and quantity, systems and systems models, energy and matter, structure and function and stability and change.
In grades K through 5 there are three science units, each unit is grounded in an anchoring phenomenon which guides the learning for the unit. Students collaborate with their classmates as they engage with the DCIs, Practices and CCCs to make sense of their learning and achieve the Performance Expectations for each standard. Science is taught in alternating units, splitting the instructional year with social studies.
In grades 6 through 8, students have science every day and explore the topics of Physical Science, Life Sciences and Earth Sciences. These topics will be presented in the form of real-world phenomena central to the Next Generation Science Standards. Through the progression of the grades, students will work to explain these real-world phenomena using scientific knowledge, engineering practices, and cross-cutting practices to develop usable knowledge across the science disciplines. Beginning in 6th grade, there are classes offered at different academic levels. In these three grades, students who qualify through the district’s criteria, are eligible to take the Enrichment (E) course.