"Today more than ever before, science holds the key to our survival as a planet and our security and prosperity as a nation" (Obama, 2008).
Scientific literacy assumes an increasingly important role in the context of globalization. The rapid pace of technological advances, access to an unprecedented wealth of information, and the pervasive impact of science and technology on day-to-day living require a depth of understanding that can be enhanced through quality science education. In the 21st century, science education focuses on the practices of science that lead to a greater understanding of the growing body of scientific knowledge that is required of citizens in an ever- changing world.
Mission: Scientifically literate students possess the knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts and processes required for personal decision-making, participation in civic and cultural affairs, and economic productivity.
Vision: A quality science education fosters a population that:
• Experiences the richness and excitement of knowing about the natural world and understanding how it functions.
• Uses appropriate scientific processes and principles in making personal decisions.
• Engages intelligently in public discourse and debate about matters of scientific and technological concern
• Applies scientific knowledge and skills to increase economic productivity.
Intent and Spirit of the Science Standards
"Scientific proficiency encompasses understanding key concepts and their connections to other fundamental concepts and principles of science; familiarity with the natural and designed world for both its diversity and unity; and use of scientific knowledge and scientific ways of thinking for individual and social purposes" (American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1990).
All students engage in science experiences that promote the ability to ask, find, or determine answers to questions derived from natural curiosity about everyday things and occurrences. The underpinning of the revised standards lies in the premise that science is experienced as an active process in which inquiry is central to learning and in which students engage in observation, inference, and experimentation on an ongoing basis, rather than as an isolated a process. When engaging in inquiry, students describe objects and events, ask questions, construct explanations, test those explanations against current scientific knowledge, and communicate their ideas to others in their community and around the world. They actively develop their understanding of science by identifying their assumptions, using critical and logical thinking, and considering alternative explanations.