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K-12 Science Scope and Sequence

Determining a Scope and Sequence for K-12 Science

pencil on paper iconThe standards set clear and specific goals for teaching and learning, but they are not meant to serve as curriculum. Instead, standards should help school districts to develop curriculum units that focus on having students investigate phenomena and solve problems. Notably, PI 8 says that districts must have a clear curriculum plan (aka scope and sequence) for science in grades K-12: 

"Each school district board shall develop, adopt and implement a written school district curriculum plan which includes the following:  A kindergarten through grade 12 sequential curriculum plan in each of the following subject areas: reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, science, health, computer literacy, environmental education, physical education, art and music... Each sequential curriculum plan shall specify objectives, course sequence, course content, resources, an objective process of determining whether pupils attain the specified objectives, and an allocation of instructional time by week, semester and school term. The school district board shall establish in the school district curriculum plan the allocation of instructional time, by week, semester and school term, among all subject areas."

Here are several resources to support districts in developing this K-12 scope and sequence: 

Appendix K of the NGSS - This includes sample course pathways, both integrated and discipline specific, for middle and high school. As noted in this document, “there is no conclusive research that identifies the ideal sequence for student learning.” Many Wisconsin middle schools have integrated science, and many are discipline specific. 

WSS K-12 topics document split up by specific elementary grades instead of grade bands - Credit goes to Rosholt educators Cindy Byers, Megan Boldig, Erin Pliska, Linda Mezich, Renee Eron, and John Parks, along with Amy Jonas of CESA 5. The middle and high school delineation of standards is up to local control; this document is just one example of how that might look.

NGSS Scope and Sequence Bundles - This resource from Achieve bundles the Performance Expectations into themed units and topical units of study for each year of science K-12. The DCIs, CCCs, and SEPs are also called out in the full grade level documents, as are the evidence statements. 

California Rationale for an Integrated Model at the Middle School - California educator Robert Sherriff shares why their state standards committee unanimously voted for an integrated model.

Statewide Science Survey Results - This survey was sent out across Wisconsin during fall 2017 to gather information about standards usage, instructional materials, high school course sequences, professional development opportunities, elementary science structures, and teacher recruitment. It's anonymous, but provides some ideas as to what other districts are doing. 

What about advanced content? - Not all students will elect to pursue more advanced science courses such as advanced placement. The science standards do not represent the level of achievement expected in these higher level courses. Rather, they try to capture the knowledge and skills expected of all students to be a scientifically literate citizen.

Topics Version of NGSS – If you open up the standards at each grade on this page, you can find the standards organized into big-picture topics that could become the basis for units at each grade. 

Standards vs curriculum - The standards set clear and specific goals for teaching and learning, but they are not meant to serve as curriculum. Instead, they should help school districts to develop curriculum units that focus on having students investigate phenomena and solve problems. 

For questions about this information, contact Kevin Anderson (608) 266-3319