The newly adoption Seattle Public Schools K-5 science curriculum is Amplify Science. It is the product of a collaboration between the University of California, Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science and the instructional technologists at Amplify, with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Institute of Education Sciences, and the National Science Foundation.
Since their release in 2013, the Next Generation Science Standards (Next Generation Science Standards) have raised the bar for science education. Moving the focus of instruction away from memorization and toward active engagement and critical thinking, the standards aim to teach students to think like scientists and engineers and grapple with core scientific principles, in addition to supporting deep learning of concepts that cut across science domains. Amplify Science has been designed from the ground up to meet the Next Generation Science Standards and respond to the instructional shifts called for by the National Research Council’s Framework for K-12 science education (2012).
Amplify Science Instructional Model
Amplify Science’s instructional model allows students to access their prior knowledge and to connect past learning experiences to the present. Students have the opportunity to ask questions and define problems about the natural and designed world, design investigations in which they collect and analyze trends and patterns in their data, engage in argument form evidence in both writing and through discourse with their peers, develop conceptual scientific models of physical phenomena, and to communicate their findings from their investigations.
Learn More about the Amplify Science K-8 Curriculum
The Amplify Science curriculum was constructed to develop deep science knowledge and understanding, not merely touching on each science standard, but allowing for a depth of coverage in a variety of learning style for each. The program’s system of assessments provides an innovative means of supporting all students in developing this deep understanding. By aligning instruction to focused, meaningful, and standards-based learning goals every student is achieving the level of understanding required by each unit.
Assessment opportunities include:
- Pre-Unit Assessment: Drawn and written responses (K–5). We want to know what understanding students are bringing to the classroom.
- On-the-Fly Assessments: Are designed to help a teacher make sense of student activity during a learning experience (e.g., student-to-student talk, writing, model construction) and to provide evidence of how a student is coming to understand core concepts and developing their use of the other dimensions in our state standards.
- End-of-chapter assessments: Variety of tasks, intended to assess student progress, occurring at the end of each chapter. Examples include written scientific explanations, argumentation, developing and using models, and designing engineering solutions.
- Student Self-Assessments: One per chapter; brief opportunities for students to reflect on their own learning, ask questions, and reveal ongoing thoughts about unit content.
- Critical Juncture Assessment: Occurring toward the end of each chapter (K–5), these help teachers to ensure all students are ready before moving on to a new phase of instruction.
- End-of-Unit Assessment: Targeted conversations (K–1), written responses (grades 2–5). These assessments for each unit are designed to provide valid, reliable, and fair measures of students’ progress and attainment of three-dimensional learning.
- Investigation Assessments: Embedded in one unit at each grade level, these summative assessments provide students with an open-ended opportunity to show what they’ve learned by planning and conducting their own scientific investigation of a scientific phenomenon. Across K-5, these assessments occur in the units: Sunlight and Weather(Kindergarten); Light and Sound (Grade 1); Plant and Animal Relationships (Grade 2); Balancing Forces (Grade 3); Vision and Light (Grade 4); and Patterns of Earth and Sky (Grade 5).