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Don’t Go It Alone! Many Resources are Available to Help Educators Navigate the New Michigan Science Standards

By Kathy Agee, Science Program Coordinator, GVSU Regional Math and Science Center

In November 2015, the State Board of Education adopted new standards for science.  The new Michigan K-12 Science Standards (MSS), based upon the Next Generation Science Standards, replace the standards adopted in 2006, commonly known as the Grade Level Content Expectations and High School Content Expectations for Science.

The new science standards developed out of  A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas, published in 2011. The National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences was asked to develop this framework to provide unifying guidance that could improve all students’ understanding of science. The expert committee that developed the framework used research-based evidence on how students learn and input from a wide array of scientific experts and educators. 

The framework identifies the key scientific ideas and practices all students should learn by the end of high school. Designed to make science education more closely resemble the way scientists work and think, the framework envisions that students will gradually deepen their understanding of scientific ideas over time by engaging in practices that scientists and engineers actually use. 

The 400-page Framework may be purchased, or downloaded for free at the link above.  A six-page report brief may be found here, where you will find a great explanation of the reasoning behind the new standards as well as identification of the three dimensions.

As I have studied the new standards, I have found some sites that were very helpful that I would like to share with you, and may be helpful for you to pass on to principals and parents, as we all work to encourage the natural wonder in our students, as well as improve their communication and literacy skills.

Michigan Department of Education

Michigan K-12 Science Standards
In addition to finding the link to our state standards, you will also find a Model Course Mapping Resource, Early Science and Literacy Instruction, An Overview for Principals, and more.

Next Generation Science Standards

The Michigan Science Standards are based on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Because 18 states now have their standards based on the NGSS, there are resources being developed all over the nation to equip educators to teach and assess learning.  On this site, you will find the standards (which can be highlighted by dimension) as well as connections to math and literacy.  Be sure to read the Appendices, the EQuIP (Educators Evaluating the Quality of Instructional Products) rubric for evaluating lessons, Evidence Statements (additional detail on what students should know and be able to do), helpful videos, Parent Guides (which are great for parent-teacher conferences - in English and in Spanish), plus much much more. While you are there, be sure to subscribe to the monthly newsletter for helpful updates.

National Science Teachers Association

NGSS@NSTA has a plethora of resources to help you out, including lesson plans that have been vetted by NSTA curators and bundling ideas (grouping standards.) I appreciate their concise summary documents and diagrams, among other tools.
The NSTA Press has excellent books to help you. New books often have free chapters to download, like Toward High School Biology:  Understanding Growth in Living Things.
The NSTA Learning Center has many resources to support you.
Plan on attending the Michigan Science Teachers Association (MSTA) Annual Conference, March 2-3, 2018 in Lansing.  Share your expertise at the conference!  Presenter proposals are due October 30, 2017.

The new MSS can be exciting to teach and engaging for your students.  There are many support to help you be an effective teacher.  The Michigan Math and Science Center Network has rolled out NGSX (Next Generation Science Exemplar) workshops across the state to help teachers understand how to use the new standards.  Visit the NGSX page on the RMSC site to find out about local trainings.

Be sure to read the RMSC Director's page in the issue for curricular options.  It's an exciting time to teach science.  Enjoy!

Page last modified October 13, 2017