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SCIENCE FAQ

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GENERAL FAQ

ELEMENTARY SCIENCE FAQ

MIDDLE GRADES FAQ

HIGH SCHOOL SCIENCE FAQ

GENERAL FAQ


How can I get regular updates from DPI?

Join a listserv for announcements pertaining to K12 science.
We offer the following listservs:
Science Supervisors
Elementary Science
Middle Grades Science
Please contact Victoria Ewing victoria.ewing@dpi.nc.gov to join. Check our DPI Science Community page at NC Wise Owl http://science.ncwiseowl.org/. We post announcements and draft documents here.


Where can I find information regarding EOG/EOC testing policies and procedures?

Information is available on EOG and EOC tests including test specifications, sample test items, and calculator requirements on the DPI Accountability web site. You can access this information at the following web sites:

End of Grade Tests (5th grade and 8th grade Science)
www.ncpublicschools.org/accountability/testing/eog

End of Course Tests (Biology, Chemistry, Physical Science and Physics)
www.ncpublicschools.org/accountability/testing/eoc


How can I keep in touch with the Science Education Community in North Carolina?

Join the NCSciteach list serve. Hosted at NCSU this list serve provides information about a variety of professional development opportunities for teachers, grants, student contests, and more.

To subscribe:

  1. Visit http://lists.ncsu.edu/cgi-bin/mj_wwwusr
  2. Type ncsciteach in the mailing list box.
  3. Enter your email address on the next page and click subscribe.
  4. If you do not receive a confirmation, please e-mail John Park at john_park@ncsu.edu

Join the North Carolina Association of Science teachers (NCSTA) http://www.ncsta.org/index.html and the North Carolina Science Leaders Association (NCSLA) http://www.ncsla.net/

Check the news and resources at the NCSU Science House website: http://www.science-house.org/


What resources are available for science teachers to assist Limited English Proficient (LEP) students who are learning English as a Second Language?

Chapter 7 in The Help! Kit: A resource Guide for Secondary Teachers of Migrant English Language Learners has scenarios, strategies, and suggestions: http://escort.org/files/active/0/Chap7.pdf

Charlotte-Mecklenberg Schools has several resources for content teachers working with LEP students. These teaching tips cover all subjects and all grade levels. Explore this website for ideas: http://documents.cms.k12.nc.us/dsweb/View/Collection-1771

The Utah State Office of Education is another excellent resource for strategies to work with LEP students. Review their website: http://www.usoe.k12.ut.us/curr/science/core/kinder/strdrft2.htm

ERIC Digest: Teaching Science Effectively to Limited English Proficient Students http://www.ericdigests.org/1993/science.htm

For additional resources check DPI's ESL Website under "Instructional Resources". http://community.learnnc.org/dpi/esl/archives/2007/08/resources_for_c.php


I have a Limited English Proficient (LEP) student in my class. This student has been in U.S. schools less than 24 months. The student's English language proficiency is at the novice or intermediate low level. I doubt that this student can pass the EOG/EOC exam. What options are available for this student?

This student may be eligible for the NCCLAS, an alternative assessment which is available to certain LEP students. This is a portfolio-type assessment that levels the playing field for LEP students by using the teacher's daily instructional activities and assessments to demonstrate the student's score for each biology objective. Contact your LEP Coordinator about this or the ESL Consultants, Joanne Marino, joanne.marino@dpi.nc.gov or Glenda Harrell, glenda.harrell@dpi.nc.gov.


What is an MSP Grant?

The Mathematics and Science Partnership (MSP) program (Title II, Part B, of the No Child Left Behind Act) provides funds to states through a formula that takes into account its student population and poverty rates. States are required to hold competitions and make awards to projects that improve the content knowledge of teachers and increase student learning in mathematics and science. To learn more about North Carolina's MSP grants, please contact Bevery Vance Beverly.Vance@dpi.nc.gov .


What science contests are available for North Carolina Students?

North Carolina students participate in many contests and are often winners at the national level. These are great for motivating students and developing their scientific skills. These contests are generally open to public, charter, private and home school students. Follow the links below to find just a few of the many contests our students participate in:


What Resources are available to support laboratory science safety?

Each of our high school science support documents has a detailed section with safety resources. Further web resources are given here. NIOSH CDC School Chemistry Laboratory Safety Guide http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2007-107/ NC Department of Labor Guide to School Safety and Health http://www.nclabor.com/osha/etta/indguide/ig21.pdf ( pdf, 415 KB ). North Carolina School Science Facilities Planner - This is a helpful guide when designing or remodeling science classrooms, laboratories and prep rooms. It includes important information about safe science facilities. http://www.schoolclearinghouse.org/pubs/SCIENCE.PDF ( pdf, 1.55 MB ) Council of State Science Supervisors (safety downloads)

  • Secondary http://www.csss-science.org/downloads/scisafe.pdf ( pdf, 242 KB )
  • Elementary http://www.csss-science.org/downloads/scisaf_cal.pdf ( pdf, 1 MB )
NSTA Position Statements http://www.nsta.org/about/positions.aspx#list Statements that particularly relate to safety include:


ELEMENTARY SCIENCE FAQ


Where can I get information about the fifth grade EOG science test?

Information regarding the 5th grade EOG science test can be found at http://www.ncpublicschools.org/accountability/testing/eog/science/ The science testing consultant is Sarah Reives. Her contact information is: Sarah.Reives@dpi.nc.gov 919.807.3807. She can answer your testing question.


Are there elementary science indicators like the elementary math has developed?

The science content standards do not include indicators. The elementary science consultants and teachers from across the state have developed science strategies which will be available on the DPI website. Check the elementary resources page at http://www.ncpublicschools.org/curriculum/science/elementary/.


Is there an elementary science vocabulary list?

Although, it would not be difficult to devise a science vocabulary list, we at DPI have discouraged the idea. We prefer students to have experiences that offer opportunities to develop an in depth understanding of the concept. Inquiry science has been and will continue to be the focus of our section. With inquiry science, students will understand the meaning of the word and not just memorize the definition. So, we do not plan to include a vocabulary list with our support documents at this time.


MIDDLE GRADES FAQ


What resources are available for middle school science courses?

Please see our Middle School Science Resources at:
http://www.ncpublicschools.org/curriculum/science/middlegrades/


When I look at the Middle School Science Standard Course of Study, it is not obvious which goals and objectives are life science, physical science, and/or earth environmental science?

You are correct in this observation. The Middle School Science Standard Course of Study was written to integrate the domains of science when possible. We made a conscious decision for any focus on a domain of science to be on the physical sciences. According to the Third International Math and Science Study (TIMSS), physical science in the middle grades is where the American science curriculum falls short when compared to other countries.


Is the eighth grade science end-of-grade test cumulative or does it only cover objectives from the eighth grade Standard Course of Study?

The eighth grade science EOG is aligned with the objectives from the eighth grade Science Standard Course of Study. However, the integrated concepts taught in eighth grade build upon the objectives that should be taught in all previous grades K-7.


HIGH SCHOOL SCIENCE FAQ


What resources are available for high school science courses?

Curriculum support materials with details of the content required for each objective and a variety of other resources are available for Biology, Chemistry, Earth/Environmental Science, Physical Science and Physics. These documents also include the requirements for honors science courses and laboratory safety resources. They can be downloaded in either PDF or WORD format. Each document is linked to the Science Standard Course of Study for that individual course. They can also be ordered from DPI Publications: http://www.ncpublicschools.org/publications/

Please see our resources page at http://www.ncpublicschools.org/curriculum/science/secondary/ for more resources.


What are the Reference Tables?

The Chemistry, Physical Science and Physics Courses each have Reference Tables with physical constants, equations and appropriate charts and graphs. These Reference Tables are meant for use in classroom activities all year and are also provided for students when taking the End-of Course Tests in these courses. Earth/Environmental Science also has a Reference Table with maps and charts for classroom use. Each of the reference tables can be downloaded from the Standard Course of Study webpage for its course.


Does North Carolina require science courses to have laboratory experiences for students?

Yes, all of North Carolina's Standard Course of Study Science courses are designed to include laboratory experiences as an integral component. Further the courses taken to meet the entrance requirements for the University of North Carolina and many other Institutions of Higher Education must be laboratory based. It is up to the teacher and the local school district to determine which laboratory experiences will be most beneficial for their students given local facilities and opportunities; however, all students must be provided with laboratory experiences. The support documents recommend some appropriate laboratory experiences for each course.

Laboratory investigations and scientific inquiry are important for developing student understanding of scientific reasoning, providing a bridge to understanding of abstract topics, and developing the skills and interests needed to do science. All students should be provided multiple opportunities to participate in scientific investigations.


Which science courses are required for high school graduation?

Students in the Career Prep, College Tech Prep and College University Prep Courses of Study must take 3 Science Courses as specified:

  • Biology
  • A physical science course (Chemistry, Physics, Physical Science or the CTE course Principles of Technology)
  • Earth/Environmental Science (Standard course of Study Earth/Environmental Science, AP Environmental Science, IB Environmental Systems or a locally designed course. Any course taken to meet this requirement must address each of the goals of the Standard Course of Study for Earth/Environmental Science. )

Biology, Chemistry, Physical Science and Physics each have a required End-of-Course Test. Principles of Technology I and II have required Post-Assessments. Further information about science graduation requirements can be found in the High School "Purpose" section of the Standard Course of Study at http://www.ncpublicschools.org/curriculum/science/scos/2004/07purpose

For students in the occupational course of study, two years of Life Skills Science satisfy the science graduation requirement. These courses of study are available through the Exceptional Children's Division at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.


What is Earth/Environmental Science? What courses can be used to meet this requirement?

Earth/Environmental Science is a NC Standard Course of Study Science course designed to focus on the study of Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences. Earth systems are foundational for understanding environmental sciences and issues. To satisfy the requirement students must take the Standard Course of Study Earth Environmental Science course or a locally designed/designated course such as AP Environmental Science, or IB Environmental Systems. Any course designated to satisfy this requirement must include all of the competency goals designated in the Earth/Environmental Science course in the Science Standard Course of Study. This means that a district must review any locally designed course being used to meet the graduation requirement to be sure that all of the competency goals designated in the Standard Course of Study for Earth/Environmental Science are being met. This should be clearly documented in the course outline or syllabus. Generally AP Environmental Science teachers need to supplement the AP curriculum with some local geology and with an astronomy unit. An online course would need to be reviewed in the same way.


Which science courses are needed to qualify as an NC Academic Scholar?

The complete program requirements for the North Carolina Academic Scholars Program can be found on-line at: http://www.ncpublicschools.org/curriculum/scholars

Students who entered 9th grade for the first time in or before 2002-2003 are required to have 3 science credits including Biology, Chemistry, Physics or one other advanced science in lieu of Physics for the NC Academic Scholars program. For graduation these students must also have an Earth/Environmental Science course.

Students who enter the ninth grade for the first time in or after 2003-2004 are also required to have 3 sciences for the NC Academic Scholars program: Biology, a Physics or Chemistry course, and an Earth/Environmental Science course.


My child took Earth/Environmental Science in eighth grade. Why does he need another high school course?

North Carolina graduation requirements include a high school course in Earth/Environmental science. If your child took Earth/Environmental Science in 8th grade, he or she should be prepared for a more advanced Earth/Environmental Science course (Such as AP Environmental Science) in high school.


In what order should students take the high school science courses?

A wide variety of high school science course sequences may be used to meet the needs of individual students, schools and districts. Traditionally no one sequence has been recommended because the sciences have been treated as separate disciplines. Currently there is disagreement among scientists and science educators about which sequences are best. Neither Benchmarks for Science Literacy (American Association for the Advancement of Science - Project 2061, 1993) nor the National Science Education Standards (National Research Council, 1996) recommend a particular sequence, although both recommend that curriculum materials and teachers make more connections between different science disciplines and between the sciences and other disciplines. North Carolina does not have a required sequence because the K-8 Standard Course of Study should prepare students to take any of the standard level high school science courses. Most schools offer Chemistry and Physics later in the high school years because of the increased mathematical skills required for success in these courses. For further information about high school course sequence please see the High School Science Sequences section of the Standard Course of Study at: http://www.ncpublicschools.org/curriculum/science/scos/2004/08highschool


What prerequisites does North Carolina set for high school science courses?

North Carolina does not have state prerequisites for any science course. Local districts may set prerequisites but it is important to encourage all students to take rigorous science courses.


Where do I go to find out about online science courses?

On the NC DPI/Distance Learning website you will find information about a variety of on-line courses. In addition, The North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM) offers science courses (including AP Sciences) on-line and via video conferencing (NCIH).
http://www.ncpublicschools.org/distancelearning/
http://www.dlt.ncssm.edu/distance_learning/Courses.htm


Where can I find out about Honors Science Courses?

The Honors Course Implementation Guide available at: http://www.ncpublicschools.org/curriculum/honorsguide as well as in hard copy through DPI publications has general information about honors course requirements as well as a science specific section. Also each of the high school science support documents has an honors section with resources and sample activities.


Does my student need Physics?

While physics is not required for high school graduation in North Carolina it is an important course for many reasons. Physics will help students with quantitative problem solving needed for college admissions tests, college success and many occupations. Most science and health fields including those at Community Colleges require physics courses. The ACT College Readiness benchmarks recommend physics for all students. Recent research has shown that students who take physics in high school do better in college physics courses.


I still have a question about North Carolina's Science Curriculum. Who do I contact?

Science Division

Beverly Vance
Section Chief
919.807.3936

Elementary Consultants

Debra Hall
919.807.3814

Donna Kenestrick
919.807.3863

Middle Grades Consultants

Janet Bailey
919.807.3923

Benita Tipton
919.807.3933

Secondary Consultants

Jami Inman
919.807.3607

Ragan Spain
919.807.3950