Natural Sciences Discussion Summary

Conley’s College & Career Ready Checklist

  • Checklist seems to reflect foundation skills but are they cross-curricular?
  • Is the checklist for a science major in particular area (e.g. chemistry), or for any student?
  • What needs to be taught, who needs to be taught, and what order is best–these are concerns across STEM.
  • How do the standards read through the lens of each science discipline?
  1. Biology:  current standards do not align with Conley (e.g. metric system).
  2. Geology:  more emphasis on process skills, less around content.
  3. Chemistry: agree with Geo group + more emphasis on strategic reading & basic math skills needed.
  • Students don’t consider the application of their learning–Conley doesn’t address this.

Teaching & Learning

  • Students need more skills in strategic reading e.g. to extract information from a text.
  • Math readiness–what is happening?
  1. Basic math skills need more emphasis, both the mechanics and conceptual understanding.
  2. Students seem to be able to handle the operation, not the application.
  3. Can math teachers use more application problems to help with this?
  • Importance of Resiliency and Practice in the sciences.
  • NYS will be releasing next generation of science standards for public comment–feedback would be helpful.

What’s Working Well

  • Providing opportunities for practice and mistake-making to build conceptual skills & ideas.
  • Reflective work:  peer review of common work.
  • Having the last question on an exam be a student question–must be reasonable, drawn from a combination of objective and subjective questions; they can use questions from areas they’ve studied
  • Student-developed materials in Optics (not teacher driven).  Working on study skills, collaborative groups and increasing confidence with math skills (triangle math hand-out).  Caution not to over-simplify.
  • Reading support:  how-to-read guides, note-taking, highlighting skills.  Use the introductory chapter as an assignment on “how to use the textbook”–scavenger hunt for how to find the features of the book.  Also, how to use non-textbook reading:  data, visuals, charts.  Working to understand non-perfect data vs. contrived (lab) data.