The Office of K-12 Science supports the curriculum, assessment, staff and resources for the science programs in grades K – 12 as well as the William H. Brish Planetarium and the Claud E. Kitchens Outdoor School (Fairview Outdoor School).
The Washington County Public Schools science curriculum uses the Maryland College and Career Ready Standards (MDCCRS) and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The curriculum includes grade-specific standards that balance science understanding and procedural skill. The science curriculum includes the integration of the three dimensions of the Next Generation Science Standards. The Next Generation Science Standards span all grade levels and describe ways in which students interact and engage with science.
The three dimensions include the Disciplinary Core Ideas, Crosscutting Concepts and Science and Engineering Practices. All three dimensions follow a conceptual progression of understanding beginning in the primary grades and becoming more sophisticated in the intermediate grades.
- Students will think like scientists by using the Crosscutting Concepts to develop an understanding of the natural and design world. The Crosscutting Concepts include: a) patterns, b) cause and effect, c) systems and system models, d) structure and function, e) energy and matter, f) stability and change, and g) scale, proportion and quantity.
- Students will work like scientists by engaging in the Science and Engineering Practices. Students are expected to demonstrate grade-appropriate proficiency with a) asking questions, b) developing and using models, c) planning and carrying out investigations, d) analyzing and interpreting data, e) designing solutions, f) engaging in argument from evidence, and g) obtaining, evaluating and communicating information. Students are expected to use these practices to demonstrate an understanding of the Disciplinary Core Ideas.
- The Disciplinary Core Ideas are developed within four areas: physical sciences; earth and space sciences; life sciences; and engineering, technology and applications of science.
- Transfer Goal 1: Select and evaluate reliable sources of information to address real-world issues.
- Transfer Goal 2: Use critical thinking, inquiry and modeling to analyze ideas and phenomena to solve problems.
- Transfer Goal 3: Design and conduct an authentic scientific investigation in order to collect and analyze data.
- Transfer Goal 4: Communicate the results of an investigation using claim, evidence and reasoning.