New Jersey Department of Education

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Curriculum & Instruction

Education research shows that one effective way to help students learn is to engage them in science investigation and engineering design by asking questions, collecting and analyzing data, and using this evidence to better understand the natural and built world. Science investigation and engineering design are heavily emphasized in A Framework for K-12 Science Education and the New Jersey Student Learning Standards for Science (NASEM, 2019). This entails a dramatic shift from the traditional classroom dynamic, and teachers need high quality instructional materials, support and guidance as they implement this approach.

The second edition of the Model Science Curriculum is built around freely available Open Education Resources. Identifying specific instructional resources in this edition is a strategic step forward from the first edition. Providing a more complete model curriculum is based on the fact that All students deserve high-quality materials. However, less than 20 percent of the materials in use in classrooms are aligned to standards.

The New Jersey Department of Education has been a part of the development of many of the resources that are included in this document. Unless otherwise noted, they have been reviewed by either the NextGenScience Peer Review Panel or EdReports[1].

Curricula based on the Framework and the New Jersey Student Learning Standards for Science should integrate the three dimensions of the NJSLS-S — Scientific and Engineering Practices, Disciplinary Core Ideas, and Crosscutting Concepts — and follow the learning progressions Framework (NAESM, 2019 and 2021). Additionally, standards-based science curricula need to provide clear guidance that helps teachers support students engaging in scientific practices to develop explanations and models. Finally, curriculum need to be developed as a multiyear sequence that helps students develop increasingly sophisticated ideas across grades K-12.

[1] EdReports.org is an independent nonprofit designed to improve K-12 education. EdReports.org increases the capacity of teachers, administrators, and leaders to seek, identify, and demand the highest quality instructional materials.

Page Last Updated: 01/11/2022

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