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.
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.
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,
We believe that science teaching should
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.