L-W Advances Area-Wide Initiative to Revise Science Curriculum
Monday, April 20, 2015

More than 50 science teachers from Lincoln-Way High School District 210 and area elementary and middle school districts came together today to continue their work to realign science curriculum to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

This is the final in a series of workshops hosted this year that is transforming science curriculum with a refined focus around STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).

Schools across the country are making a shift in how science is taught to give students more critical-thinking and problem-solving skills now required in STEM-based career fields, said Tim Reilly, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum.

The realigned curriculum will be implemented by the fall of 2016.

You dont see this kind of unified curriculum-writing in most communities, said Reilly. We are fortunate to have such dedicated science teachers who are working together to ensure that our vision for science is implemented progressively across classrooms from kindergarten to high school.

These new standards require each grade level to have some accountability (K-12) in teaching kids across three science domains: engineering practices, science content and crosscutting concept.

During the workshop, teachers participated in a variety of training exercises, including discussing the three science domains and how they would apply to science lessons for each grade level.

Lincoln-Way East science teacher Julie Widinski presented on converting a traditional science lab into an inquiry-based science lab. Participants also discussed hands-on classroom activities based on Next Generation Science Standards including a middle school lesson that encourages students to explore the possibilities of crossing the Mississippi river in one step, predicting water flow and drainage patterns, and building a model of a watershed.

The result of our professional collaboration will be an improved learning experience for all of our students, said Gary Henderson, science department chair for Lincoln-Way West. Im confident that our effort will lead to more students becoming interested in pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and math.