Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Week 10 Memo

The authors detailed a framework that improve K-12 science education. Motivation for this new framework included many adults lacking strong bases in science. A new framework is needed that causes people to be fascinated with science while also imparting knowledge that builds upon itself over years of study. Some of the central tenants of this framework are scientific and engineering practices, crosscutting concepts, and core ideas in physical sciences, life sciences, earth and space sciences, and engineering, technology, and scientific applications.

I found the incorporation of crosscutting concepts very interesting. For example, the intricate relationship between structure and function of macromolecules in biology is also present in chemistry for simpler molecules. As a teacher, I can connect ideas across disciplines and units to help students see the big picture concepts that are sometimes more important and interesting than the little details.

With respect to the core ideas, there was a focus, again, on the broad importance of these ideas across multiple disciplines. However, the authors also focused on relating information to students' interests and life experiences, which I intend to do as a teacher to motivate uninterested students. Allowing these ideas to be teachable over multiple levels also helps answer the question "when will I need to know this?" by focusing on using past knowledge in new contexts that are, hopefully, more interesting to students due to increased difficulty.

The overall focus of depth over breadth in the new framework strikes me as an excellent move. Of course, breadth and depth would be ideal with unlimited time to teach, but simply glossing over concepts does not "stick" in students' minds. Rather, deep, rich understanding is what will connect with students and linger in their long-term memory.

Some of the guiding assumptions of the framework are that children are born investigators, a focus on core ideas and practices is key since it promotes depth over breadth, that understanding develops over time, both knowledge and practice are necessary, and connections to students' lives is key as is promoting equity.
I connected with the focus on practice as well. Students are often taught that there is simply one scientific method or one correct way to do things, but teaching multiple practices, as I intend to do, can help show students the multitude of ways of achieving excellent responses.


  1. This is extremely true, and with today's society, there are multiple ways to do many things so there also should be multiple ways to learn science.

  2. I liked your discussion of depth over breadth-- while I agree that ideally we could have both, I think this method kind of addresses how breadth and depth can exist simultaneously. Breadth can happen over the course of a student's education (K-12), while each year of schooling can explore one the core ideas of science in more depth.