February 7, 2012

Making the NC Science Standards Manageable

For many many years North Carolina (my great state) has used a 4-topic system for K-5 science goals. Each grade level consisted of 4 topics. For instance, third grade has been soil, plants, skeletal & muscular systems, and the Earth/sun/moon system. Having only 4 topics made instruction easier to organize. If the year is divided among 4 quarters, the teacher simply taught one unit per quarter. However NC teachers will be implementing new standards next year and these standards do not follow this handy format. Some grade levels have as many as 7 topics!

When these standards were released many of us could feel the water rising above our heads - we have a hard enough time teaching 4 topics in one year, how will we ever be able to teach 7!? I began to fear that increasing the amount of material would lead to broader instruction and that we would lost truly deep understanding.

Then, at the NC Science Teachers Association conference this fall a fifth grade teacher mentioned that she was planning to reorganize the 7 topics at her grade level so that they fit together in 4 units. She reasoned that several topics are related and can be taught together. LIGHT BULB! 

So I pulled out the standards and started working. Before you knew it, I had rearranged the objectives at every grade level K-5. Below is my 4-topic organization for the NC Science Essential Standards. I hope some NC teachers somewhere find it helpful!

Want to download, save, and/or copy the document? No problem! Simply click here and it's all yours =)
~ Amanda

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