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School District Curriculums

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 2 months ago

School District Curriculums

 


 

Introduction

This page contains current science curriculum obtained from school districts. Currently I have only two, USD 446 in Independence, Kansas and USD259 in Wichita (may be incomplete)USD446 Curriculum Director Janette Luthi noted that the district follows the state standards very closely and allows their teachers flexibility in discussing the topics therein. I have only copied the text relating to origin of man and our universe. If you want the full documents, in MS Word please contact me. I am ordering these districts as I run across them in my research.

 

The organizational format for these curriculum are divided by the Standard Name and the targeted grade range they will be presented, then by the Benchmark names associated with the standard They have an associated descriptive text that presents the school expectations of the student in mastering the benchmark.

 

Each benchmark contains a 3-column table with the following headings:

   1. Knowledge Base and Application Indicators (Indicators)

         - These are numbered 1 up for each benchmark

   2. Resources

   3. Assessments

I will strive to responaibly follow this format given the constraints of the pbwiki website environment.

 

Again, text that I want to comment on will be bolded and my comments will be in blue below each individual standard.

 

 

USD 446, Independence

 

Science Standards 3: LIFE SCIENCE (Between grades 9 and end of 12th)

"As a result of their activities in grades 9-12, all students will develop an understanding of the cell, molecular basis of heredity, biological evolution, interdependence of organisms, matter, energy, and organization in living systems, and the behavior of organisms."

  • Benchmark 2: Students will demonstrate an understanding of chromosomes, genes, and the molecular basis of heredity.

Indicator 6. Mutations occur in DNA at very low rates. EXAMPLES: Some changes make no difference to the organism or to future generations. Phenotypic changes can be harmful; some mutations enable organisms to survive changes in their environment.Only mutations in the germ cells are passed on to offspring and therefore can bring about beneficial or harmful changes in future generations.

Resources: Textbook, video

Assessments: Test

 

  • Benchmark 3: Students will understand the major concepts of the theory of biological evolution.*

*Understand: "Understand" does not mandate "belief." While students may be required to understand some concepts that researchers use to conduct research and solve practical problems, they may accept or reject the scientific concepts presented. This applies particularly where students' and/or parents' beliefs may be at odds with current scientific theories or concepts. See Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science, National Academy of Sciences, 1998, page 59.

The publication entitled "Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science" is controversial! Take a look under the page Books on Evolution.

 

Indicator 1. That the theory of evolution is both the history of descent, with modification of different lineages of organisms from common ancestors, and the ongoing adaptation of organisms to environmental challenges and changes (modified from Futuyma, et al., 1999).

Resources: Video

Assessments: Class Discussion

Indicator 2. That biologists use evolution theory to explain the earth’s present day biodiversity—the number, variety and variability of organisms. EXAMPLE: Patterns of diversification and extinction of organisms are documented in the fossil record. The fossil record provides evidence of simple, bacteria-like life as far back as 3.8+ billion years ago. Natural selection, and other processes, can cause populations to change from one generation to the next. A single population can separate into two or more independent populations. Over time, these populations can also become very different from each other. If the isolation continues, the genetic separation may become irreversible. This process is called speciation. Populations, and entire lineages, can go extinct. One effect of extinction is to increase the apparent differences between populations. As intermediate populations go extinct, the surviving lineages can become more distinct from one another.

Resources: Textbook, video

Assessments: Class Discussion

Indicator 3. That biologists recognize that the primary mechanisms of evolution are natural selection and genetic drift. EXAMPLE: Natural selection includes the following concepts: 1) heritable variation exists in every species; 2) some heritable traits are more advantageous to reproduction and/or survival than are others; 3) there is a finite supply of resources required for life; not all progeny survive; 4) individuals with advantageous traits generally survive to reproduce; 5) the advantageous heritable traits increase in the population through time.

Resources: Textbook

Assessments: Class Discussion

Indicator 4. The sources and value of variation. EXAMPLES: Variation of organisms within and among species increases the likelihood that some members will survive under changed environmental conditions. New heritable traits primarily result from new combinations of genes and secondarily from mutations or changes in the reproductive cells; changes in other cells of a sexual organism are not passed to the next generation.

Resources: Textbook

Assessments: Class Discussion

Indicator 5. That evolution is a broad, unifying theoretical framework in biology. EXAMPLES: Evolution provides the context in which to ask research questions and yields valuable insights, especially in agriculture and medicine. The common ancestry of living things allows them to be classified into a hierarchy of groups; these classifications or family trees follow rules of nomenclature; scientific names have unique definitions and value. Natural selection and its evolutionary consequences provide a scientific explanation for the fossil record that correlates with geochemical (e.g., radioisotope) dating results. The distribution of fossil and modern organisms is related to geological and ecological changes (i.e. plate tectonics, migration).

Resources: Textbook

Assessments: Class Discussion

 

Well, we have a lot here to discuss! The terms used in this standard are simply stated but most, if not all, relate to unverified and disputed concepts. I have started putting these terms in the Definitions page.

 

history of descent with modification:

   How many know what the history of descent is? It relates to the science(?) of Phylogenies, a study of how all life forms evolved from a single descendent.

documented in the fossil record

   The fossil record is not proven accurate in many ways. It only validates evolution if interpreted in the 'proper' way.

speciation

   Speciation is the evolutionary process by which new biological species arise. (Wikipedia)

genetic drift

   This is not an easy subject to master. It deals with alleles (any one of a number of viable DNA codings of the same gene)and their potential to change over time in the genetic code. Pretty deep stuff for high school.

unifying theoretical framework in biology. I would agree that it is a theory but how it unifies is yet to be defined. I cannot find any definition, thus this is a statement of import with no logic, evidence or discussion to back it up.

The Life Science benchmarks indicate that the textbook and for some a video should be used as a 'resource' however, these are not identified.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Science Standards 4: EARTH AND SPACE SCIENCE (By end of 12th grade)

"As a result of their activities in grades 9-12, students will develop an understanding of energy in the earth system, geochemical cycles, the formation and organization of the earth system, and the organization and development of the universe."

 

  • Benchmark 3: Students will develop an understanding of the origin and evolution of the dynamic earth system.

 

Indicator 1. The geologic time scale and how it relates to the history of the earth.

Resources: Models, samples

Assessments: Large and small group discussion

Indicator 2. Rock sequences, fossils, and radioactive decay and how they are used to estimate the time rocks were formed.

Resources: Samples, charts

Assessments: Large and small group discussion

Indicator 3. Earth changes as short term (during a human’s lifetime), such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, and as long term (over a geological time scale), such as mountain building and plate movements.

Resources: Charts, graphs

Assessments: Large and small group discussion

Indicator 4. The dramatic changes in the earth’s atmosphere (i.e. introduction of O2) which were affected by the emergence of life on earth.scale), such as mountain building and plate movements.

Resources: Reference books, technology

Assessments: Large and small group discussion

Indicator 5. The rock cycle describes the formation of rocks.

Resources: Samples, models, charts

Assessments: Large and small group discussion

I understand that there are issues with the geologic time scale regardless of the method used. I assume that the geologic time scale is derived from methods listed in Indicator 2 and here lie the issues. I hope to discuss this topic on another page of this website.

 

I am just curious as to what the reference to technologymeans!

 

  • Benchmark 4. Students will develop an understanding of the organization of the universe, and its development.

 

Indicator 1. Organization of the universe. EXAMPLE: The sun is an ordinary star. It appears that many stars have planets orbiting them. Our galaxy (The Milky Way) contains about 100 billion stars. Galaxies are a level of organization of the universe. There are at least 100 billion galaxies in the observable universe. Galaxies are organized into large superclusters with large voids between them.

Resources: Reference materials

Assessments: Large and small group discussion

Indicator 2. Expansion of the universe from a hot dense early state. EXAMPLE: By studying the light emitted from distant galaxies, it has been found that galaxies are moving apart from one another. Cosmological understanding including the Big Bang Theory is based on this expansion.

Resources: Reference materials

Assessments: Large and small group discussion

Indicator 3. Organization and development of stars, solar systems, and planets. EXAMPLE: Nebula from which stars and planets form, are mostly hydrogen and helium. Heavier elements were, and continue to be, made by the nuclear fusion reactions in stars. The sun is a second generation star, which along with its planets was formed billions of years after the Big Bang.

Resources: Reference materials

Assessments: Large and small group discussion

Indicator 4. General methods of the exploration of our solar system and space as well as the importance of such exploration.

Resources: Reference materials

Assessments: Large and small group discussion

As noted in the State Standards, there are issues with the Big Bang, it is important to note that this also IS a theory and has limitations, worthy of study in the higher levels of education. But if questioned, I would hope examples of these limitations would be provided.

 

USD 259, Wichita

Now this one is interesting. I found it searching on the keywords "unifying theoretical framework in biology Note, this is an extremely, poorly formatted document. It must be seen to be believed!".

Web Location: http://www.usd259.com/curriculum/standards/science-biology.html

Link Title: Science Standards Biology, Wichita Public Schools

Date: Revised June, 2003"

Target Grades: Apparently K through 12!

 

Science Standards 3: LIFE SCIENCE

"All students will develop an understanding of the cell, molecular basis of heredity, biological evolution, interdependence of organisms, matter, energy, and organization in living systems, and the behavior of organisms"

  • Benchmark 3: Students will understand the major concepts of the theory of biological evolution.

 

Indicator a. That the theory of evolution is both the history of descent, with modification of different lineages of organisms from common ancestors, and the ongoing adaptation of organisms to environmental challenges and changes. 3.3.1

Indicator b. That biologists use evolution theory to explain the earth’s present day biodiversity-the number, variety and variability of organisms. 3.3.2

Indicator c. That biologists recognize that the primary mechanisms of evolution are natural selection and genetic drift. 3.3.3

Indicator d. The sources and value of variation. 3.3.4

Indicator e. That evolution is a broad, unifying theoretical framework in biology. 3.3.5

 

This district did not break the standards down my grade, as best I can tell, nor offered Resources or Assessments detail as did USD446.

 

Besides concerns I have noted for USD446, here I am unhappy with Indicators b & c. The use of the word "Biologists" in the context of the document infers 'all' of them. This is not the case. Thus these indicators are misleading.

 

Finally, There is NO attempt to insure that the teachers discuss the limitations to the theory of evolution.

 

 

 

 

To be continued 6/28/06 10:48 PM

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