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The goal of the North Carolina Standard Course of Study(NCSCS) for Science is to achieve scientific literacy. The National Science Education Standards define scientific literacy as "the knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts and processes required for scientific decision making, participation in civic and cultural affairs, and economic productivity." (p. 22)
The tenets of scientific literacy include the ability to:
- Find or determine answers to questions derived from everyday experiences.
- Describe, explain, and predict natural phenomena.
- Understand articles about science.
- Engage in non-technical conversation about the validity of conclusions.
- Identify scientific issues underlying national and local decisions.
- Pose explanations based on evidence derived from one's own work.
North Carolina students can achieve scientific literacy through an instructional program based on the Standard Course of Study for Science. The K-8 Science program includes Essential Standards and Clarifying Objectives from life, physical and earth sciences each year. The High School Program is based on discipline specific courses including Biology, Chemistry, Earth/Environmental Science, Physical Science, and Physics. Advanced courses including AP® and IB courses are encouraged.
A Framework for K-12 Science Education identifies practices and crosscutting concepts that promote a greater understanding of disciplinary ideas in science and how they are developed.
The Science and Engineering Practices are:
- Asking questions and defining problems
- Developing and using models
- Planning and carrying out investigations
- Analyzing and interpreting data
- Using mathematics and computational thinking
- Constructing explanations and designing solutions
- Engaging in argument from evidence
- Obtaining, evaluating and communicating information
These are the Crosscutting Concepts:
- Cause and effect: Mechanism and explanation
- Scale, proportion and quantity
- System and system models
- Energy and Matter: Flows, cycles, and conservation
- Structure and function
- Stability and change