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New standards getting kids in California excited about science

LA School Report | December 4, 2015



hechinger_logoOn an early October morning, a mix of six kindergarten and third-grade teachers walked into Andrea Easley’s third grade classroom in Tracy, California to teach a science lesson. Students stared eagerly at the newcomers as Easley positioned herself the front of the classroom.

“Today we are going to do another experiment,” Easley said.

“Yay!” the third graders cheered, some jumping out of their chairs in excitement.

Most of the teachers who were with Easley that day had never witnessed that kind of reaction from students when it came to learning science.

Three weeks earlier, 12 teachers, including the six in Easley’s classroom, had met to plan their first lesson as part of California’s Next Generation Science Standards pilot program. They split into two groups and chose two classrooms — one kindergarten and one third grade — in which to collectively teach a science lesson.

The pilot program in California, now in its second year, was developed and directed by the K-12 Alliance, the science and math arm of the research non-profit WestED. The Alliance is training the teachers in the standards and overseeing the planning and implementation of lessons.

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