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Quillen Chair of Excellence in Education

Clemmer College


Becoming the Change: A Critical Evaluation of the Changing Face of Life Science, as Reflected in the NGSS

Larry L. Bowman, Jr. and Aimee L. Govett, East Tennessee State University

Science Educator

Twenty-six states voluntarily partnered to provide leadership and guidance to states for the purpose of adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). However, a need exists to examine the NGSS versus state standards to better understand changes in curriculum and instruction to make their implementation successful for all states. The present study correlates a set of state science standards from the NGSS leadership team (Tennessee) to the NGSS for High School Biology/ Life Sciences, as a model, and examines the changes from a traditional biology curriculum to a dynamic set of standards that teach the technical skills and critical thinking needed in these scientific fields. The NGSS addresses a move from dated scientific quandaries and proposes standards supported by cutting edge scientific research and literature. Partnerships between scientists and educators allow for the information exchange necessary to implement the changes in scientific research in K-12 instruction. Professional development opportunities that include direct partnerships with scientists foster the continued understanding and skills required to teach science.

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Changes to the TN Middle Grades Science Curriculum According to NGSS

Larry L. Bowman, Jr. and Aimee Lee Govett, East Tennessee State University

Tennessee Educational Leadership Journal - March 2014

The Framework for K-12 Science Education (July 2011) developed by the National Resource Council (NRC) draws on current scientific research and the ways students learn science effectively. This laid the foundation for Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) released in Spring 2013. Tennessee was one of the 26 lead state partners to provide leadership to the standards writing team and to provide guidance as states deliberate on the adoption and implementation of the NGSS. We propose that the transition from current State science standards to NGSS demonstrates a extensive consensus on what all students should know and be able to do at specific K12 grade levels and what topics can be postponed or excluded on the premise of developmental readiness. In order to facilitate this work, one of the STEM Fellows, Larry Bowman (author), created a series of 18 posters showing correlations between the current Tennessee Science Education standards (Huffman, 2009) and NGSS (Achieve, 2013). This article specifically addresses the NGSS Middle Grades Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs) as compared to the existing 6-8 Science Standards from the Tennessee Science Curriculum Framework. Some Grade Level Expectations (GLEs) for Middle Grades Science have been relocated to other grade levels, and others have been introduced. The term Middle Grades is used for students 10 to 15 years of age covering the critical years when children are transitioning from concrete operational to formal operational stages. (Piaget and Inhelder 2013).

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