The need for scientific literacy in today’s increasingly technological world has impacted fundamental reforms in how science is taught, placing a sincere focus on the inquiry and design process. Presidential appeals for excellence in Science, combined with expressions of concern from science educators, have led to national, state, and local initiatives. In 2014, New Jersey adopted the Next Generation Science Standards with an implementation deadline of September 2016 for the secondary level. Based on the Framework for K-12 Science Education, the New Jersey Student Learning Standards - Science (i.e., Next Generation Science Standards) specify that each performance expectation must combine a relevant practice of science or engineering, with a core disciplinary idea and crosscutting concept, appropriate for students of the designated grade level. That guideline is perhaps the most significant way in which the NJSLS - Science differs from prior standards documents.
Disciplinary Core Ideas provide a scope and sequence for learning about the most important scientific concepts in one of four domains: the physical sciences; the life sciences; the earth and space sciences; and engineering, technology and applications of science. The Framework identifies seven crosscutting concepts that bridge disciplinary boundaries, uniting core ideas throughout the fields of science and engineering. The Framework uses the term “practices,” rather than “science processes” or “inquiry” skills for a specific reason: We use the term “practices” instead of a term such as “skills” to emphasize that engaging in scientific investigation requires not only skill, but also knowledge that is specific to each practice. (NRC Framework, 2012, p. 30).
Engaging in the practices of science helps students understand how scientific knowledge develops; such direct involvement gives them an appreciation of the wide range of approaches that are used to investigate, model, and explain the world. Engaging in the practices of engineering, likewise, helps students understand the work of engineers, as well as the links between engineering and science. The actual doing of science or engineering can also pique students’ curiosity, capture their interest, and motivate their continued study; the insights thus gained help them recognize that the work of scientists and engineers is a creative endeavor—one that has deeply affected the world in which they live. Students may then recognize that science and engineering can contribute to meeting many of the major challenges that confront society today, such as generating sufficient energy, preventing and treating disease, maintaining supplies of fresh water and food, and addressing climate change.
The study of science has many components which shape how instruction is provided. Students must know and be able to work with key scientific concepts. They must also be able to apply their knowledge to novel scenarios which ask students to address certain real-world issues by hypothesizing possible solutions, researching and collecting data, evaluating this data and drawing conclusions. Students must now be able to express their knowledge in both written and oral forms. Finally, students must be capable of finding information using various technological resources.
The New Jersey Department of Education has implemented a comprehensive science assessment given in the 11th grade, which will assess students’ knowledge and skills as addressed in the NJSLS-Science. The graduation requirements for science include one year of laboratory Biology, one year of laboratory Chemistry/Physics/Environmental Science, and a third year of laboratory science. To meet these requirements, students will select an appropriate level of Biology in 9th grade followed by their choice of two of the following – Chemistry, Physics or Environmental Science. Advanced Placement classes, as well as other science electives, can be taken starting in Grade 10. Students interested in careers in Biotechnology, Health Sciences, or Environmental Sustainability can also select courses in one of the new Career Pathways. Finally, students in 9th grade who are interested in conducting authentic research can apply for the three-year Science Research Program, which includes AP Seminar and AP Research. Science course offerings aim to provide students with an impressive record of lab sciences for college admissions officers to consider, while, at the same time, affording students the flexibility to choose a course of study that meets their own interests and fits with their career plans.
There can be courses where students may have proficiency in the content from prior or out-of-school programs or experiences. If a student seeks to enroll in a course and has not taken the required pre-requisite at Livingston High School, the student must demonstrate his/her comparable proficiencies to the department supervisor. Students may not enter into a course without successful completion of a required pre-requisite or department supervisor approval. Upon supervisor approval, students will be notified if they are permitted to enter into the requested course.
Mr. Brian Carey
7 - 12 Supervisor
Phone: 973-535-8000, x7365