To quote Albert Einstein, the goal of education is “to produce independently thinking and acting individuals.” The purpose of science education is to produce individuals capable of understanding and evaluating information that is scientific in nature and of making decisions that incorporate that information. Science offers students the ability to access a wealth of knowledge and information which will contribute to an overall understanding of how and why things work the way they do.
AHSD25 provides students with science instruction beginning in Kindergarten and continuing through their 8th grade year. Elementary students experience science through Science Companion. Throughout a year of study, K-5 students will cover three units: a life science, an earth science, and a physical science unit. Middle school students cover four different branches of science in a year: physical science, chemistry, life science, and earth science through the IQWST curriculum.
In February 2014, Illinois adopted Illinois Learning Standards for Science (ILS-Science), which and are based on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). To see the complete scope and sequence for NGSS, please feel free to visit the NGSS website.
The ILS-Science are designed to help students acquire a deep understanding of core science and engineering content and ideas as well as experience applying that knowledge in any context. Students will demonstrate their scientific proficiency by engaging in practices that demonstrate the ability to apply scientific concepts.
All Kindergarten through grade 5 students experience science through the Science Companion curriculum. The core philosophy behind Science Companion is inquiry-based, student-centered learning, as students learn best while doing science rather than merely reading about science.
The student becomes a problem solver, builds the capacity to make observations, develops explanatory models based on their data, seeks and considers concepts and ideas related to those models, and sees new applications for them. In essence, the student becomes a junior scientist. (Chicago Educational Publishing Company, 2013).
The “I Wonder” Circle® is at the heart of Science Companion’s approach to inquiry-based science learning, providing an enticing visual of the process of doing science.
I Wonder: notice, ask questions, state problems
I Think: consider, gather information, predict
I Try: experiment, model, test ideas, repeat
I Observe: watch, examine, measure
I Record: record data, organize, describe, classify, graph, draw
I Discover: look for patterns, interpret, reflect, conclude, communicate discoveries
Middle School: All middle school students experience science through IQWST™. Through IQWST™ students investigate questions relevant to their lives by conducting investigations; collecting and analyzing data; developing and using models to explain phenomena, and engaging in argument from evidence in a literacy and discourse-rich environment.
By referencing real-world science with which students are familiar or have personal experience, science learning has value to diverse students who can apply what they are learning to their everyday lives. Our learning-by-doing pedagogical approach engages students as active learners and makes science come alive in ways that research has shown best support the broad range of learners found in every classroom (Activate Learning, 2015).