Academic Support for Science

Academic Support for Science: Grade Overviews

Science Overview

In Kindergarten through 2nd Grade, the standards and performance indicators for the science and engineering practices and core science content emphasize students making observations and explanations about phenomena they can directly explore and investigate.Science is a way of understanding the physical universe using observation and experimentation to explain natural phenomena. Science also refers to an organized body of knowledge that includes core ideas to the disciplines and common themes that bridge the disciplines. The Science Programs of the School District are anchored in an inquiry approach to science learning. Students from Kindergarten through 12th grade participate in hands-on investigations in order to develop a deeper understanding of science concepts.

Science instruction is guided by the South Carolina Science Standards. All district curricula are aligned with the SC standards which are tested through the Palmetto Achievement Challenge Tests (PASS) in grades 4-8. Test questions will measure the practice and/or the core content of the performance indicator. In addition, most performance indicators may be assessed with items that utilize any of the science and engineering practices. Items may also assess students’ understanding of the core content without a science and engineering practice. Click on the links below to access additional information:

SCPASS Science

Science Standards and Supporting Documents

The high school course standards and performance indicators for Biology 1 will be used as the basis for the state-required End-of-Course Examination Program (EOCEP) for Biology 1. Click on the links below to access additional information:

End-of-Course Examination Program (EOCEP)

Framework for the New SC Science Standards:

The new SC Academic Standards and Performance Indicators for Science (2014) are rooted in three components:

  1. Core Discipline: the content (Earth and Space, Life, Physical)
  2. Cross-cutting Concepts (themes which connect the core disciplines)
  3. Science and Engineering Practices or SEPs (practices that emphasize how scientists and engineers use both skills and content simultaneously)

Disciplinary Core Ideas:

Earth Science:

  • Astronomy, Geology, Weather and Climate, Environments (Abiotic Factors)

Life Science:

  •  Adaptations

Physical Science:

  • Chemistry, Physics, Matter, Energy, Forces and  Motion

Student experiences should be structured as they begin to learn the features of a scientific investigation and engage in the practices of science and engineering.

Cross-cutting Concepts:

  1. Patterns
  2. Cause and Effect: Mechanism and Explanation
  3. Scale, Proportion, and Quantity
  4. Systems and System Models
  5. Energy and Matter: Flows, Cycles, and Conservation
  6. Structure and Function
  7. Stability and Change

These cross-cutting concepts represent thematic elements of science that students should come to recognize across all science content and standards they learn both within and across grade levels.

Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs):

Asking questions (science) – Defining problems (engineering)

Developing and using models

Planning and carrying out investigations

Analyzing and interpreting data

Using mathematical and computational thinking

Constructing explanations (science) – Designing solutions (engineering)

Engaging in argumentation

Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

Construct devices or design solutions

Elementary Science:

Student experiences should be structured as they begin to learn the features of a scientific investigation and engage in the practices of science and engineering.In Kindergarten through 2nd Grade, the standards and performance indicators for the science and engineering practices and core science content emphasize students making observations and explanations about phenomena they can directly explore and investigate. Student experiences should be structured as they begin to learn the features of a scientific investigation and engage in the practices of science and engineering. The seven cross-cutting concepts (patterns; cause and effect; scale, proportion, and quantity; systems and system models; energy and matter; structure and function; and stability and change) are reinforced in the appropriate context of the core science content through hands-on instruction in the classroom.

In 3rd Grade through 5th Grade, the standards and performance indicators for the science and engineering practices and core science content emphasize students becoming more sophisticated in describing, representing or explaining concepts or ideas. Students use their experiences from structured investigations in Kindergarten through 2nd Grade to begin planning their own investigations to answer scientific questions. The seven cross-cutting concepts (patterns; cause and effect; scale, proportion, and quantity; systems and system models; energy and matter; structure and function; and stability and change) continue to be reinforced in the appropriate context of the core science content through hands-on instruction in the classroom.

Middle School Science:

In grades six through eight, the standards and performance indicators for the science and engineering practices and core science content, transition students to developing and planning controlled investigations to create more explicit and detailed models and explanations.In grades six through eight, the standards and performance indicators for the science and engineering practices and core science content, transition students to developing and planning controlled investigations to create more explicit and detailed models and explanations. The seven cross-cutting concepts (patterns; cause and effect; scale, proportion, and quantity; systems and system models; energy and matter; structure and function; and stability and change) are reinforced in the appropriate context of the core science content through hands-on instruction in the classroom. Science in the middle school provides students with the foundation to be successful in high school science courses, by providing a range of content in the life, earth, and physical sciences.

High School Science:

In grades nine through twelve, the standards and performance indicators for the science and engineering practices and core science content for the high school courses transition students to developing more abstract models and explanations to understand concepts in greater detail and sophistication as they build from experiences in kindergarten through grade eight.In grades nine through twelve, the standards and performance indicators for the science and engineering practices and core science content for the high school courses transition students to developing more abstract models and explanations to understand concepts in greater detail and sophistication as they build from experiences in kindergarten through grade eight. The seven cross-cutting concepts (patterns; cause and effect; scale, proportion, and quantity; systems and system models; energy and matter; structure and function; and stability and change) are reinforced in the appropriate context of the core science content through hands-on instruction in the classroom.

These courses should not only serve as the foundation for advanced studies at the secondary level and in institutions of higher education but should also provide students with the science skills that are necessary for informed decision making regarding scientific societal questions and to lay the foundation for skills necessary for science related technical careers.

Biology:

Teachers, schools, and districts should use these standards and indicators to make decisions concerning the structure and content of Biology 1 courses. All biology courses must include instruction in the practices of science and engineering, allowing students to engage in problem solving, decision making, critical thinking, and applied learning. All biology courses are laboratory courses requiring a minimum of 30% hands-on investigation. Biology laboratories will need to be stocked with the materials and equipment necessary to complete investigations.

The academic standards and performance indicators for Biology 1 should be the basis for the development of classroom and course-level assessments. In addition, the academic standards and performance indicators for Biology 1 will be the basis for the development of the items on the state-required End-of-Course Examination Program (EOCEP) for Biology 1.

Chemistry:

Teachers, schools, and districts should use these standards and indicators to make decisions concerning the structure and content of Chemistry 1. All chemistry courses must include instruction in the practices of science and engineering, allowing students to engage in problem solving, decision making, critical thinking, and applied learning. All chemistry courses are laboratory courses requiring a minimum of 30 % hands-on investigation. Chemistry laboratories will need to be stocked with the materials and equipment necessary to complete scientific investigations.

Physics:

Teachers, schools, and districts should use these standards and indicators to make decisions concerning the structure and content of Physics 1. All Physics courses must include instruction in the practices of science and engineering, allowing students to engage in problem solving, decision making, critical thinking, and applied learning. All Physics courses are laboratory courses requiring a minimum of 30 % hands-on investigation. Physics laboratories will need to be stocked with the materials and equipment necessary to complete investigations.

Earth Science:

Teachers, schools, and districts should use these standards and indicators to make decisions concerning the structure and content of an Earth Science course. All Earth Science courses must include instruction in the practices of science and engineering, allowing students to engage in problem solving, decision making, critical thinking, and applied learning. All Earth Science courses are laboratory courses requiring a minimum of 30% hands-on investigation. Earth Science laboratories will need to be stocked with the materials and equipment necessary to complete investigations.

Contacts

Chris Burras
Academic Specialist for K-12 Science/STEM
cburras@greenville.k12.sc.us | (864) 355-5395

Science Materials Center

Cindy Kerns, Clerk
355-5192
ckerns@greenville.k12.sc.us