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    Science Adoption Update: Field Test and Next Steps
    Posted on 03/23/2019

    Science Adoption Update: Field Test and Next Steps

    Seattle Public Schools Science is currently in a curriculum adoption process for grades K-12 governed strictly by Board Policy 2015. This process will provide new instructional materials, professional development, and classroom supports for science learning across the district.

    As part of Stage 2 of the adoption process, 32 schools and 62 teachers conducted field tests (field test map) of the instructional materials that were selected by the adoption committees as finalists in December 2018. Each committee is comprised of teachers, students, administrators, STEM industry professionals, parents, and community members from Seattle’s diverse communities. The members have given between 65 and 80 hours of their time since last June in support of this effort.

    The finalists were selected for advancement to the field test phase following a rigorous review of each candidate program using the Science Instructional Materials Review Criteria rubric (K-5; 6-8; 9-12) which was drafted and developed by the Adoption Committees. The committee members identified five critical categories for evaluation in their review criteria: Standards Alignment, Assessments, Inclusive Educational Practices, Evaluation of Bias Content, and Instructional Planning and Support.

    Classroom teachers implemented the instructional materials in their classrooms as part of the field test, teaching one unit from one of the selected finalist programs. All field test teachers received professional development to prepare them to teach the unit. During the field test process, science department staff visited the classrooms to observe science instruction and interviewed the teachers and students. Teachers collected pre-unit and post-unit assessment data as evidence of student growth. All students participating took a survey to give feedback on the effectiveness of the materials to their learning. Families were then informed of teacher participation in the field test through district and building-level communications.

    To help describe what field tests could look like in a classroom, the observations below offer illustrations from one elementary setting, one middle school setting, and one high school setting. Please note that these are snapshots and are not comprehensive summaries.

    TCi, Bring Science Alive! at Queen Anne ElementaryLearning objectives listed on whiteboard in Colando’s classroom

    Julie Colando’s 4th grade class at Queen Anne Elementary field-tested TCi’s “Earth’s Changing Surface” unit. Students were asked to connect phenomenon they see to science and explain the phenomenon from a scientific perspective. In the lesson, students were introduced to earthquake tables and explored hands-on learning by using straws, flour, and other items to investigate natural events.

    Pictured: Learning objectives listed on whiteboard in Colando’s classroom

    Amplify Science at Denny International Middle SchoolJordyn Frost teaches class at Denny

    Students in Jordyn Frost’s 7th grade science class field-tested the Amplify “Science Phase Change” unit which focused on how molecular attraction changes as thermal energy is added or removed. To help students visualize the forces of attraction between molecules, Frost gathered students at a table and held up two beakers in each hand. One beaker had a block of ice, while the other beaker contained dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide). Before she poured water into each beaker, she asked students which beaker would demonstrate that molecules were forced to attract and repel. Students then had an opportunity to design and conduct their own hands-on investigation using the materials provided in the demonstration.

    Pictured: Jordyn Frost at Denny

    Chem A (Teacher-Developed Curriculum) at Franklin High SchoolStudent science notebook

    Joshua Toshima-Boyd’s students studied the “Nuclear Chemistry” unit from the Chem A (Teacher Developed) curriculum. To help students make connections to their learning, the lesson introduced students to familiar historical events. Students read, discussed, and observed impacts of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing and discussed the negative impact that nuclear energy can have on humanity. They further discussed the advantages of nuclear energy, and how when harnessed properly, it can become a reliable energy source.

    The curriculum, particularly the nuclear chemistry unit, involved student-led discussion groups. There was an emphasis on connecting fundamental concepts of nuclear chemistry with real-world phenomenon and using scientific reasoning to explain their viewpoints.

    Pictured: Student Workbook from Franklin High School

    Next steps in the Science Adoption Process:

    1. The respective adoption committees (K-5; 6-8; 9-12) select a finalist candidate to recommend to the Superintendent for adoption.
    2. A Board Action Report will be presented to the Instructional Materials Committee (IMC).
    3. The IMC will then submit recommendations to the School Board.
    4. The recommendations will be introduced at a School Board meeting, where the board will provide feedback and ask for follow-up clarification before voting to approve the adoption committees’ recommendations.

    For more information about the K-12 Science Adoption, please visit the Science Adoption page.