Seattle Public Schools



SPS K-12 Science

Mission Statement

Our mission is to do our part in providing all SPS K-12 science classrooms with a common NGSS-aligned core scope and sequence that is engaging, authentic, culturally relevant, rigorous, and technology-based in order to provide EVERY child with equitable opportunities to become critical thinkers, problem solvers, and independent learners in science.  

SPS Adopted Common Curriculum

The adoption of a common curriculum and a consistent, standardized unit scope and sequence at grades 6-8, as well as at K-5 and 9-12, has provided equitable access to the rigorous, robust, and culturally relevant science pedagogy called for in the WA State Science Standards for all students, and provides a baseline of high expectations in every science classroom. This commitment to standards-alignment at grades K-12, including learning progressions of core science ideas and practices, will ensure that students in Seattle Public Schools have the foundational underpinnings needed for success in science as they move from elementary to middle school, and from middle school to high school and will no longer experience redundancies or gaps in their science learning. 

Standards Aligned Science Curriculum

Our curriculum is based on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) that were adopted by Washington state in 2013. Our courses are researched, field-tested, and evaluated in classrooms by small teams of expert teachers, university science educators, and scientists. Teachers are trained on using the appropriate curricula through year-round professional development. In addition, the curricula represent a shift in pedagogy towards three-dimensional learning described in the NGSS.

Historically, science teaching has been focused primarily on content, but NGSS recognizes that 21st century skills involve a deep understanding of Science and Engineering Practices, Disciplinary Core Ideas (content), and Crosscutting Concepts that apply to all scientific disciplines. This shift in practice moves us towards a pedagogy that focuses on “figuring out instead of telling about.”

In order to do this, units are centered around puzzling scientific phenomena that are relevant to students’ lives. Students are then lead through a series of activities that help them understand the science around the phenomenon.

Because this represents a significant shift in practice for even our most experienced teachers, there are year-round professional development opportunities for teachers of all our core science classes.

Using Digital Platforms in Science

Technology in the science classroom should be used to transform learning and teaching through grade-appropriate, meaningful integration that enables teachers to increase 1-to-1 face time with students while providing students tools for creative discourse and sense-making, deep learning about science content, and individualized expression of their learning.

Technology is not a replacement for teacher-student interaction, but rather a tool that is used when appropriate to deepen students’ learning experiences. Teachers’ shift in practice to integrate meaningful use of technology should follow the guidelines set in the Washington State Educational Technology Standards.

These standards address Goal 3 of the Washington Basic Education Act (2008), which requires schools to “integrate technology literacy and fluency” into their curriculum.

Click the links to the right to find out more about core curriculum at each grade level.