California State Frameworks: Science

Effective science programs are based on standards and use standards-based instructional materials. Comprehensive, standards-based programs are those in which curriculum, instruction, and assessment are aligned with the grade level-specific content standards (kindergarten through grade eight) and the content strands (grades nine through twelve). Students have opportunities to learn foundational skills and knowledge in the elementary and middle grades and to understand concepts, principles, and theories at the high school level. Students use instructional materials that have been adopted by the State Board of Education in kindergarten through grade eight. For grades nine through twelve, students use instructional materials that are determined by local boards of education to be consistent with the science standards and this framework.

A California Standards Test in science is now administered at grade five, reflecting the cumulative science standards for grades four and five. Therefore, science instruction must be based on complete programs that cover all the standards at every grade level. The criteria for evaluating K–8 science instructional materials (see Chapter 9) state: “All content Standards as specified at each grade level are supported by topics or concepts, lessons, activities, investigations, examples, and/or illustrations, etc., as appropriate.”

1. All high school science courses that meet state or local graduation requirements or the entrance requirements of the University of California or The California State University are based on the Science Content Standards. All students take, at a minimum, two years of laboratory science providing fundamental knowledge in at least two of the following content strands: biology/life sciences, chemistry, and physics. Laboratory courses in earth sciences are acceptable if prerequisite courses are required (or provide basic knowledge) in biology, chemistry, or physics.

2. Every high school laboratory science course is based on the content standards and ensures that students master both the content-specific standards and Investigation and Experimentation standards.

3. Every science program ensures that students are prepared to be successful on the California Standards Tests.

Effective science programs develop students’ command of the academic language of science used in the content standards

Effective science programs continually engage all students in learning and prepare and motivate students for further instruction in science.

Effective science programs use technology to teach students, assess their knowledge, develop information resource

Scientific progress is made by asking meaningful questions and conducting careful investigations. As a basis for understanding this concept and addressing the content in the other three strands, students should develop their own questions and perform investigations. Standard set: Investigation and experimentation- Elementary Questions that are testable in science are founded on factual information and are based on observations. Students will:
a. Classify objects (e.g., rocks, plants, leaves) in accordance with appropriate criteria.
b. Develop a testable question.
c. Plan and conduct a simple investigation based on a student-developed question and write instructions others can follow to carry out the procedure.
d. Identify the dependent and controlled variables in an investigation.
e. Identify a single independent variable in a scientific investigation and explain how this variable can be used to collect information to answer a question about the results of the experiment.