Frequently Asked Questions for Science

Revised Science Standards and Model Curriculum

Science Graduation Requirements


Revised Science Standards and Model Curriculum

    What does the model curriculum include?
    The model curriculum includes content elaboration,; expectations for learning with associated cognitive demands, and visions into practice which provide examples for the classroom. The model curriculum embeds scientific practices, engineering and technology, and skills with science content.

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    When should I begin using the revised standards?
    Implementation can be transitional, but must be in place prior to the assessment implementation (2020-21). Students will be assessed using the revised science standards and model curriculum in the 2020-21 academic year. For more information, view the suggested transition timeline on the Science Transition Tools webpage. 

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    Why are the Revised Science Standards and Model Curriculum found in one document?
    The model curriculum contains the science practices and the engineering and technology components of science. These cannot be taught in isolation and are considered to be part of the standards document.

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    Are the revised science education standards aligned to national work?
    • The revised standards are closely aligned with the current National Science Education Standards, Project 2061, and recommendations from professional organizations such as National Science Teachers Association.
    • The revised standards are closely aligned with the science standards of countries that consistently and significantly outperform the United States on international assessments of student performance in science.
    • The revised standards are closely aligned with, “A Framework for K-12 Science Education” which is the basis for the development of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).
    • Resources developed for NGSS can be used to support Ohio’s Learning Standards for Science.

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    What can be done in the short term?
    • Become familiar with the revised standards.
    • Integrate science practices with content from Pre-K through high school.
    • Develop students’ ability to use science practices (problem-solving, data collection and analysis, inquiry, investigation, etc.) and apply science to the real-world.
    • Use resources that connect the science in the classroom to the outside world, adding relevance to what is being taught. Introduce technological and engineering design and science processes as ways to model and apply science.
    • Develop lessons that allow the student to design and implement investigations (not just following procedural instructions), using the learning cycle (the 5Es).

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    What tools are recommended to help in the transition to the revised science education standards?
    • A Science Resource and Materials Filter that helps school districts, schools, or teachers choose high quality science resources for their classrooms.
    • A “Blank” Science Eye of Integration that is designed to assist teams of teachers in developing meaningful projects or investigations that include other disciplines and universal (21st Century) skills. A completed Eye of Integration for 7th grade is provided as an example.
    • Addition tools will be developed upon the adoption of the Model Curriculum.

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Science Graduation Requirements

    What is the minimum time requirement for one unit of science "with inquiry-based laboratory experience?"
    "With inquiry-based laboratory experience" indicates that there will be student-centered, problem-solving components throughout the course. While this could be accomplished within the minimum 150 hours for one unit of a laboratory course, under the current language of ORC §3313.603C, this also could be accomplished within the minimum 120 hours for one unit.

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    What science courses do students need to take in the Ohio Core?

    ORC §3313.603(C)(5) requires students to earn three units with inquiry-based laboratory experience that engages students in asking valid scientific questions and gathering and analyzing information. This includes the following or its equivalent:

    • One unit of physical sciences;
    • One unit of life sciences; and
    • One unit of advance study1 in one or more of the following sciences:
      • Chemistry, physics or other physical science;
      • Advanced biology or other life science; or
      • Astronomy, physical geology or other earth or space science.

    An advanced course contains content beyond that required by the OGT and is designed around benchmarks at the 11th and/or 12th grade Ohio Academic Content Standards in Science.

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    What is “inquiry-based” instruction in science?

    Scientific inquiry is "the diverse ways in which scientists study the natural world and propose explanations based on the evidence derived from their work. Scientific inquiry also refers to the activities through which students develop knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas, as well as an understanding of how scientists study the natural world."2

    "Inquiry-based" instruction in science is an active way for students to obtain scientific knowledge that involves all of the following in one way or another:

    • making observations and describing objects and events;
    • identifying and asking valid and testable questions to guide scientific investigations;
    • examining books and other sources and learning from lectures or discussions to gather information to see what is already known;
    • reflecting on appropriate scientific practices and procedures during the planning, designing and conducting of investigations;
    • using tools to gather, analyze and interpret data;
    • using technology and mathematics to improve investigations and communications;
    • organizing, evaluating and interpreting observations, measurements and other data;
    • reviewing what is already known in light of experimental evidence;
    • developing hypotheses and alternative explanations, proposing answers, suggesting models and providing predictions;
    • evaluating a variety of assumptions and conclusions and revising explanatory models using logic and evidence;
    • communicating ideas, results of investigations and scientific arguments to others for discussion and evaluation.

    The componentslisted above should not be considered as a fixed sequence of steps in instruction. Different kinds of inquiry suggest different kinds of investigations for students to conduct.4 The components of scientific inquiry listed above encompass the teaching strategies expected in an inquiry-based, laboratory experience science course (and science laboratory course for districts using that means of scheduling classes). Scientific inquiry also is a set of abilities to be developed and concepts to be understood by students.


    2 National Research Council (1996), National Education Standards, Washington, DC: National Academy Press, p 23.

    3 Adapted from the following documents: American Association for the Advancement of Science (2001), Atlas of Science Literacy, Project 2061, Washington DC: American Association for the Advancement of Science and National Teachers Association, p 16-17; National Research Council (1996), National Science Education Standards, Washington, DC: National Academy Press, p 23; Ohio Academy of Sciences (2006), “ What is Science?”, Ohio Journal of Science 106 (4): p 130; (2007).

    4 National Science Teachers Association statement on scientific inquiry: http://www.nsta.org/about/positions/inquiry.aspx

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    What are the differences between a "laboratory experience" and a "laboratory course?"
    All science instruction must be inquiry-based and include "laboratory experience." A laboratory experience should reflect the Cognitive Demand categories Demonstrating Science Knowledge and Designing Technological/Engineering Solutions Using Science Concepts and guide students as they collect, analyze and interpret data while conducting scientific investigations. A district may choose to provide that instruction in a standard course that meets at least 120 contact hours for issuance of one credit or in a "laboratory" course that meets at least 150 contact hours for issuance of one credit. Regardless of the approach taken, the instruction must be inquiry-based, provide laboratory experience and align with Ohio's Learning Standards for Science.

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Last Modified: 11/2/2018 11:28:04 AM