Science At Cushing School
What does the Massachusetts Curriculum Framework Tell Us About Science
The Science and Technology Curriculum Framework was revised in May
2001. The Science and Technology Framework presently cites nine (9)
Significant science and technology learning
builds on students' curiosity and intuitions.
Investigations and problem solving are central
to science and technology education.
Students learn best in an environment that
acknowledges, respects and accommodates each learner's background,
individuality, and gender.
Assessment in science and technology is an
opportunity for student learning, a tool for guiding instruction,
as well as a way to document
Science and technology connect with other
disciplines and have a particularly integral relationship with mathematics.
A comprehensive PreK- 12 Science and Technology
program includes all sciences every year. Emphasis on the underlying
principles of each
discipline and their connections across the domains of science
Science and Technology study in PreK - 10
becomes differentiated in grades 11 and 12 based on students' interests
and career goals.
Communication and collaboration are essential
to teaching and learning in science and technology.
Access to the expertise of others is needed
in order for teachers to implement the cross-domain and interdisciplinary
Additionally, the framework outlines the strands that are supported
by specific learning standards for grades PreK-4, grades 5-8, grades
9-10, and grades 11-12. The general strands at all grade levels are:
Inquiry: Lifelong learners are able to use
the methods of inquiry to participate in scientific investigation
and technological problem solving.
Domains of Science: Lifelong learners are
able to understand and apply the principles, laws and fundamental
understandings of the natural
Technology: Lifelong learners are able to
understand and apply the design process and the use of technology
Science, Technology, and Human Affairs: Lifelong
learners understand questions and problems of science and technology
in the context of
The learning standards in each strand are organized by grade span
and provide specificity with regard to what the student should know
and be able to do at each of the grade spans. The heart of the Science
and Technology Framework is inquiry! Students are constantly asked
to become involved exploring questions such as "Why did that happen?", "Why
didn't that work?", "What did you observe?", "Who
benefits from these results?", etc. Our students are asked to
be directly involved with their learning not relying on just books
and known facts, but rather understanding those facts by becoming actively
involved in hands-on experimentation and discussion of results.
How Do We Apply the Framework in Scituate?
The Harcourt Science Program provides our students with the opportunity
to investigate the natural world, actively learn about interesting,
relevant, and exciting science ideas, and link science to mathematics,
writing, technology, and all other aspects of the elementary curriculum.
Harcourt Science meets the goals and objectives of the National Science
Education Standards (upon which the state framework was developed)
Providing at each grade level standards-based
life, earth, and physical science content
Asking students to participate in a hands-on
investigation utilizing the tools and processes of scientific inquiry
in every lesson
Featuring the history and nature of science
and the work of scientists
Assessing students in a variety of methods
Harcourt Science asks our students to observe, compare, classify,
order, communicate, plan and conduct simple investigations, measure,
predict, infer, draw conclusions, use time and space relationships,
hypothesize, formulate and use models, identify and control variables,
and experiment! Our students will be extremely busy during science
class! Our classrooms will not be quiet learning areas, but rather
active and noisy (productive noise)! Yes, inquiry will be the basis
of our science curriculum, right in line with the state framework.
What Are the Topics at the Various Grade Levels?
Harcourt Science covers the following topics:
Life Science: Grades K-4
Life Science: Grades 5-6
Structure and function in
- Regulation and behavior
Earth Science: Grades K-4
Earth Science: Grades 5-6
Physical Science: Grades K-4
Properties of objects and materials
Position and motion of
Light, heat, electricity, and magnetism
Physical Science: Grades 5-6
Harcourt Science is in place in your child's classroom! We have identified
the must do units for each grade level (1 per area of science). You
may see family letters from the Harcourt Program entitled "Home-School
Connection" which describes the chapter contents, defines the
science process skills involved, and Science Fun Facts. You will probably
see various science assessments from the Harcourt program (chapter
reviews, chapter performance tasks, project evaluation checklists,
project summary sheets, and self-assessments).
If you have specific questions about the program, please speak with
your child's teacher or the Curriculum Leader for Cushing School.