Building upon previous research and frameworks, the Conceptual Framework for New K-12 Science Education Standards is a new framework focused on improving science education, striving to create an educated and active generation of individuals. This framework emphasizes continuous and systematic instruction in the sciences, delving deeper into a limited set of conceptual topics, and providing opportunities for students to apply the concepts learned inside the classroom to the world around them, a concept touched upon earlier by researcher, Reiser, when he discussed this framework. The framework is composed of three dimensions: scientific and engineering practices, crosscutting concepts, and core ideas in the areas of physical sciences, life sciences, earth and space sciences.
· Science is NOT a static subject but an activity-focused endeavor:
Science requires continual, active investigation and revision and building off of previous knowledge
Understanding how science forms requires practice
· Making science meaningful and applicable is critical for student success, understanding, participation, and interest in the sciences
· Using scientific and engineering practices is essential to understand cross-cutting concepts
Several of our past readings have touched upon this theme of science as an engaging and active process that requires constant investigation and revision. The framework focused on the processes of modeling, explaining, critique, and argumentation to come to new knowledge and understanding, a concept that we are all very familiar with. Sampson and Gleim, in their article on ADI focused on this process, pointing out that by collaborating and making each other’s explanations and argumentations explicit, students look at their own reasoning and way of thinking to revise their argument and come to a greater consensus. This was greatly seen in the similarities and differences regarding science and engineering practices, which I thought was interesting. I had always considered engineering a science and therefore made little distinction between the two. However, I did always view engineering research as a more “hands-on” science, or, as the framework puts it, one that has “immediate practical application” (47). Thus, what would an engineering classroom look like? How would it differ from a science classroom? Furthermore, I liked how the reading talked about the two varying purposes of argumentation. While science argumentation focuses on coming up with a simple, single coherent theory for a wide range of phenomena, engineering argumentation focuses on coming up with the best productive designs tailored to certain specifications and choosing among them based on other reasons. The framework mentions using “models” in both science and engineering classrooms, but what are some specific models for each? How much “practical application” would students be able to achieve in an engineering classroom? What would these practices look like in the younger grades?
One issue that was briefly touched upon that we have not discussed was equity-giving students the materials and support they need to succeed. With a diverse student body of various cultures and communities, providing equity to all students is essential as well as utilizing the unique and diverse experiences each student brings to the classroom. Specifically, the framework provided specific examples of the contributions students bring, such those in rural areas who interact daily with plants and animals may have a greater grasp of biological processes than other students. I really liked how they included an example because oftentimes the “benefits of diversity” are just left up to the imagination and examples are never provided. Continuing off of this example, I would like to see how different cultures could also be brought into the practice and learning of science.