Introduction


History

During the 2010-2011 school year, a science curriculum team was charged with articulating a standards-based curriculum for the Yarmouth School District.  This group analyzed the Maine Learning Results in addition to looking at national standards.  A state science assessment, administered each May to students in grades 5, 8, and 11, assesses how well our students meet these state expectations.  More importantly, the number of students demonstrating interest in pursuing science degrees after graduation from high school and the ability of students to engage in discourse about science concepts affecting their lives provides measures of the success of our schools in teaching science. 

The written curriculum utilizes a template that adheres to the principles of Understanding by Design (Wiggins & McTighe, 2006).  While this template requires some details regarding assessment and instructional methods, it is not meant to promote instruction that is devoid of individuality or creativity.

The resulting document is intended to provide guidance to both veteran and new teachers and to provide a focus for dialogue.  Some sections will be augmented over the next few years as teachers add details to the scope and sequence and the more detailed unit overviews.  

Mission Statement

The mission of the Yarmouth science program is to engage all students in a study of the natural and applied sciences, allowing them to construct knowledge and build skills that are essential to meet the challenges of an increasingly technologically complex and changing global society.

Epistemological Foundations

The foundations for the science curriculum is consistent with the vision for science education provided in the AAAS Benchmarks for Science Literacy (1993), the National Science Education Standards (National Research Council, 1996) and a more recent publication of the National Research Council, Ready, Set, Science (2007).

We believe that science teaching should

  • Empower students to be participating citizens in a democracy.
  • Enable students to be inquisitive, think critically, frame productive questions, link ideas with evidence, and employ these skills in all areas.
  • Provide a foundation for the development of oral and written language skills.
  • Model how science is really done engaging children in the wonder and study of the natural world.
  • Include reading that supports but does not define the instruction in science.
  • Challenge students to find patterns in data.
  • Build confidence to reason scientifically and allow children to engage in a wide range of subtle and complex reasoning skills
  • Provide students with concrete experiences upon which to build understanding of more abstract conceptual learning; often employing a learning cycle approach with exploration preceding concept-development followed by application.
  • Engage students in discussion, conjecture, decision-making, and argumentation with evidence.


All of these beliefs are based on a constructivist model of science teaching. We learn best when we construct our own knowledge. Learning science is something students do, not something that is done to them.


Subpages (1): Scope and Sequence