In 2016, the State Board of Education set out to change the way students learn science by adopting the Science Framework for California Public Schools. The new framework is designed to help students deepen their knowledge in four disciplines rather than having shallow understandings on many topics. It also emphasizes what students do with their understanding of science is more important than what they know. This significant shift in the curriculum can revolutionize how students learn and practice science, but it is crucial to prepare K-5 teachers for this transition. However, according to a recent national study, only 33% of third-through fifth-grade teachers felt they are “well prepared” to teach science.
In this white paper written for the California School Board Association’s 2019 Policy and Program’s Annual Review, Peggy Harte, who is a CCS Innovation Fellow at our Center, provides an in-depth explanation of why it is important to train elementary school teachers in the instructional shifts built into NGSS and describes the available resources and materials that can help make this process more effective. This broad recommendation provides a major impetus for our work with educators on youth-focused community and citizen science.