Middle School Science Core Curriculum
The Middle School Science Core Curriculum is aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and embraces the strengths of project-based learning as an effective instructional model. The curriculum was designed to reflect the NGSS preferred integrated progression for middle school, in which the performance expectations for Life Science, Earth and Space Science, Physical Science and Engineering Design are integrated throughout grades six, seven, and eight.
In addition to being project-based, the curriculum utilizes a 5E Instructional Model in which teaching and learning proceeds through five different stages: Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate. Using the 5E instructional model allows students to access their prior knowledge and to connect past learning experiences to the present. Students have the opportunity to ask questions and define problems about the natural and designed world, design investigations in which they collect and analyze trends and patterns in their data, develop models of physical phenomena and communicate their findings from their investigations. This course emphasizes the use of evidence-based reasoning for scientific explanations and engineering solutions in order to communicate recommendations to address real world problems.
Curriculum development and research was sponsored by George Lucas Educational Foundation and conducted by a team from Stanford University, San Francisco Unified School District and Digital Promise.