"An understanding of science makes it possible
for everyone to share in the richness and excitement of comprehending
the natural world. Scientific literacy enables people to use scientific
principles and processes in making personal decisions and to participate
in discussions of scientific issues that affect society. A sound grounding
in science strengthens many of the skills that people use every day,
like solving problems creatively, thinking critically, working cooperatively
in teams, using technology effectively, and valuing life long learning." National
Science Education Standards, p. ix
Museum of Minnesota
120 W. Kellogg Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55102
What Should I Look for in the
Science Program in My Child's School?
Parents often ask, What can I do to support good science education?
One of the most helpful things parents can do is support not only their
student, but also the schools and teachers in their district. Be involved
in your child's course choices and know what goes on inside the classroom.
Look around. There are several things that are evident in standards-based
teaching and learning environment:
Instruction is "hands-on, minds-on" with
students using materials to experience active science.
• There are adequate and safe facilities, equipment and materials for science
• There are clearly stated goals for the science program, science units
and science lessons.
• Textbooks are used as references rather than the main source of science
Students are encouraged to ask questions about the world around them
and practice science skills.
• Students' science experiences teach them to connect science concepts to
their experience, see how human nature influences science, and explore how science
and technology affects their lives.
• The science classes include activities that engage students in applying
their science skills and understandings to examine social issues, solve real
problems and make decisions.
• Students have the opportunity to use a variety of equipment and technology
in their scientific investigations.
Students learn how to find out and make up their own minds by experimenting
and investigating how the world works rather than just memorizing facts.
• Students are learning how to conduct scientific inquiry and use data to
explain their conclusions.
• The process of investigation and explanation is just as important as knowing "the" answer.
Students' science learning experiences are activity centered and use
a mix of whole-class activities, large group presentations, working in
groups, and individual activities.
• Students talk about science, sharing ideas, predictions and explanations
with each other as well as the teacher.
• There are op Students have many ways to show their science learning, such
as doing projects or teaching others, not just taking paper-and-pencil tests.
• The Minnesota Graduation Standards provide the focus of instruction and
• Assessments match state and local standards and are used appropriately
to plan instruction and evaluate understanding.
All students, regardless of age, gender, cultural or ethnic background,
disabilities, aspirations, or interest and motivation are provided the
opportunity to actively learn challenging science.
• Teachers expect all students to succeed, help them set high goals for
themselves, and listen to students' explanations of their ideas.
• Learning science is considered important for all students. portunities
for students to learn about and explore the natural world in their community.
Students have frequent and consistent opportunities to participate in
active science learning.
• Students have science experiences and activities every day.
• Students are being taught science every year, beginning in kindergarten
and continuing until high school graduation.
• Students study life science, earth & space science, and physical science
in their science program.
Teachers have opportunities to improve their science teaching through
workshops, courses, planning sessions, coaching, and scheduled time to
• Teachers have access to the training and resources needed to implement
the Minnesota Graduation Standards in science.
• Teachers are confident teaching "hands-on, minds-on" science.
Teachers plan instruction that builds on what students know and think
to increase students' scientific understanding.
• Teachers use the Minnesota K-12 Science Framework to plan curriculum that
is challenging, engaging and age appropriate.
• There are resources and opportunities for students to do at-home science
What can I do to support good science education?
• Learn about and investigate the natural world with your child. You don't
have to know all the answers.
• Instill in your child the belief that he/she can succeed in science and
that hard work pays off.
• Encourage your child to read about science and scientists and provide
opportunities for them to explore science in your community.
• Learn to recognize a standards-based K-12 science program.
• Talk with your child's teacher about their needs, concerns, and expectations
for students in science.
• Volunteer to help in the classroom during science activities and learn
with your child.
• Advocate for the resources necessary for a standards-based K-12 science
• Learn about the Minnesota K-12 Science Framework and the Minnesota Graduation
Standards in science and how they are used in the school's science program.