Elementary Science

How Is the Common Core Affecting Science Instruction in Elementary Classrooms?

I know that in Vermont, implementation of the Common Core in ELA and Mathematics is an expectation. I am sure that it must be having some affect on science instruction. I am wondering what other elementary teachers from other states think about this?

Kathy Renfrew
Kathy Renfrew
33445 Activity Points

Hi Kathy, We are also implementing the Common Core in North Carolina. The common core ELA and Math standards differ significantly from our previous grade level state standards, so teachers here have been working hard to rework lesson plans and revamp activities to align with the common core. Since the curriculum has shifted significantly, we also hosted "Curriculum Night" at the beginning of the school year. Each grade level team at our school met with parents and presented an overview of the new curriculum. Each parent also received a grade-level specific book (about 20 pages) that details the curriculum and standards for each subject area. Our school is near Ft. Bragg and our student population is transient with students who will move several times during their K-12 years. Most of the teachers and parents at our school are happy that we are transitioning to a common core system. Although it's a significant amount of work to revamp lesson plans and activities this year, we all realize that this will help elevate the educational opportunities for our students nationwide.

Maureen Stover
Maureen Stover
40810 Activity Points

Missouri is not quite as active as other states in implementing Common Core Standards, but it is getting there slowly. It sounds like teachers in states that have adopted it completely have quite a job transitioning to it! Good luck to all of you.

Betty Paulsell
Betty Paulsell
48540 Activity Points

I can't speak officially for Hawaii's transition to common core regarding the integration of science, but I can speak about what is happening at my elementary school. Since the Hawaii State Assessment has a component for science testing at the 4th grade (as well as periodic NAEP testing), the third and 4th grade teachers make a conscientious effort to keep up with the content instruction. Since the CCSS address language arts/reading skills within the context of non-fiction text, my 4th grade colleagues and I have been trying to have students become more interactive with the science texts by turning the textbooks into strategic reading skills. Yes, my school does have a significant English Language Learner population, too, but we're trying to move to a more inclusion model for ELL as well as special education/resource instruction. I've been more inclined to use the information of the science content to have students produce interpretations of what it means. (E.G. after reading about the parts of the plant, draw a picture, labeling the form and function of the parts). Everyone is going to have to pull together to interpret what common core influences have on science instruction. All in all, I believe that it could make our students better technical readers and eventually, writers.

Lori Towata
Lori Towata
2805 Activity Points

When we moved back to TN from WA, I was thrilled to learn that TN now includes science scores in their value-added calculations and towards meeting AYP. I'm wondering how many other states have also made this move? Anyone?

Kendra Young
Kendra Young
16980 Activity Points

Lori and Kendra, Your posts give me hope that science will continue to be taught in elementary school. I am hoping that there is a resurgence of science instruction in elementary schools. Ten years ago, there was much more excitement about science instruction. Maybe the release of the Next Generation Science Standards in the spring will help people regain their passion for science and understand how important it is for elementary schools to be introducing science to their students. I also do think that the CCSS gives teachers permission to work with text about science which is very cool, BUT...I do not want anyone to believe that reading and writing about science can take the place of Students "doing science." Kathy

Kathy Renfrew
Kathy Renfrew
33445 Activity Points

Kathy, You've just hit the nail on the head. So many times this year I've heard, "Just use books about science in your guided reading groups." There's nothing wrong with this, but teaching science goes much further than that. I've also heard, "Well, I think the science is the easy part because all they have to know is content - just facts - they either know the answer or they don't." There are so many teacher-held misconceptions about what it means to teach science, I'm afraid we have a bumpy road ahead. Thanks for your insight! Kendra

Kendra Young
Kendra Young
16980 Activity Points

Just an idea... I like the way Kendra stated that Common Core cannot take the place of students doing Science. What about using Common Core's writing standards to enhance Science? Students could come up with their own hypothesis or for lower grades, prediction and use their evidence as support to prove why their hypothesis/ prediction is accurate or not. They could develop their own writing piece off of the experiment that they have completed. Our second grade standard for writing states, "Text Types and Purposes 2.W.1 Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic, state an opinion, supply reasons that support the opinion, use linking words (e.g., because, and, also) to connect opinion and reasons, and provide a concluding statement or section. 2.W.2 Write informative/explanatory texts in which they introduce a topic, use facts and definitions to develop points, and provide a concluding statement or section." I am not sure which standard would be the best choice. Any suggestions? Is one's outcome of an experiment an "opinion" or is it a true fact? I could see my second graders coming up with an outcome that could be an "opinion" or just incorrect. ha ha! :S

Kelly Asato
Kelly Asato
3820 Activity Points

Hi Kelly, I had to laugh when I read your comment about second grade students coming up with the conclusion about the outcome of an experiment that is an opinion. How true! ;) You asked: [i]Our second grade standard for writing states, "Text Types and Purposes 2.W.1 Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic, state an opinion, supply reasons that support the opinion, use linking words (e.g., because, and, also) to connect opinion and reasons, and provide a concluding statement or section. 2.W.2 Write informative/explanatory texts in which they introduce a topic, use facts and definitions to develop points, and provide a concluding statement or section." [/i] Here's my suggestion: To write about an experiment your students do in class, use 2.W.2. Your students can "write informative/explanatory texts" in their science notebooks using the information and data collected during the experiment. Use 2.W.1 to explore student ideas about why an experiment had a particular outcome, ways they could change and/or improve the experiment, what might happen if change variables in the experiment, etc. NSTA Press has a great book called http://learningcenter.nsta.org/product_detail.aspx?id=10.2505/9781936137404" target="_blank">Science the Write Way that has excellent suggestions for including writing in your science curriculum. Your can even download individual chapters in the Learning Center! Another great article is http://learningcenter.nsta.org/product_detail.aspx?id=10.2505/4/ss02_026_01_41" target="_blank">Writing Science - Beyond the Lab Report. Just my thoughts, but hope that helps! Maureen

Maureen Stover
Maureen Stover
40810 Activity Points

In Miami, science teachers are asked to support the Reading, Writing, and Mathematics Common Core standards without sacrificing the importance of teaching our science standards. In my lesson plans, I make sure to note the standards I am using to support the Common Core and I do make sure to implement reading of non-fiction book titles within my lessons. Experimental data is a perfect place to review those Math benchmarks. The trick is to weave it in so that everything flows.

Maritza Garneff
Maritza Garneff
4050 Activity Points

Yesterday in the mail, the Fall 2012 issue of Learning arrived. There are several Common Core Resources highlighted this issue. Here's of two of the resources that I'm interested in checking out:
Scholastic Navigating Non-fiction
Hands-on Science, Common Core Edition

Has anyone used either of these?

Thanks!
Maureen

Maureen Stover
Maureen Stover
40810 Activity Points

Yesterday in the mail, the Fall 2012 issue of Learning arrived. There are several Common Core Resources highlighted this issue. Here's of two of the resources that I'm interested in checking out:
Scholastic Navigating Non-fiction
Hands-on Science, Common Core Edition

Has anyone used either of these?

Thanks!
Maureen

Maureen Stover
Maureen Stover
40810 Activity Points

Wow! Thank you for the insightful advice! :) I will try this with my second graders. :D I will check out the articles that you suggested as well. :) I did attend one Write Way workshop, so I am curious how they will tie this into Science. :D Thank you again! :D

Kelly Asato
Kelly Asato
3820 Activity Points

Hi all, You might want to check out the thread in NGSS about Science and Common Core and thoughts about how they are integrated http://learningcenter.nsta.org/discuss/default.aspx?tid=bgIaibtava8_E

Arlene Jurewicz-Leighton
Arlene Jurewicz Leighton
42030 Activity Points

I just attended a 3-day workshop on Common Core. Since Hawaii will be picking up Common Core next school year, our schools on Kauai have already begun implementing those standards. My understanding is that Common Core will also be coming out with science standards. In the meantime though, science and social studies are getting a boost from Common Core because of Common Core's push for non-fiction literacy. 4th grade is expected to have a 50-50% curriculum of fiction to non-fiction literacy. For many teachers, that means bumping up their non-fiction instruction. This requirement screams integration. It does not mean teachers need to throw out fictional literacy but instead be far more intentional when it comes to teaching non-fiction literacy. I use my science and social studies blocks as an opportunity to improve students reading and writing. We go over text features and text structure so students can better navigate through texts. On the other hand our language arts block sometimes sounds quite a bit "sciency". Students read stories and pull out what the writer tells them explicitly. We compare these to observations. Based on these observations when can create inferences or form predictions. I try very hard to show students that science isn't just a subject, it is a way of thinking.

Denise Karratti
Denise Karratti
820 Activity Points

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