MONTE VISTA— The Monte Vista School District has updated its science curriculum. Dirk Oden, curriculum coordinator, attended the Thursday, May 9 regular meeting of the board of education to present a recommended change to the science curriculum taught in the district.
“Most teachers felt they don’t currently have the resources needed to properly teach science. That’s not surprising since the last time the district updated the science curriculum was 20 years ago,” said Oden. The update process began last year and Oden and his team worked hard to determine the changes that needed to be made and how the district would work to achieve state science curriculum standards.
“There was a consensus that we wanted to work with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS),” he said. These standards give local educators the flexibility to design classroom learning experiences that stimulate students’ interest in science and prepare them for college, careers and citizenship. Oden explained how the NGSS model helps create curious students, gives them time to ask scientific questions and builds upon itself. NGSS teaches students and explores connections throughout the grade levels of the domains of science which include physical science, life science, earth and space science and engineering design.
Assisting Oden with the presentation were high school science teacher Eric Hotz and middle school teacher Lorraine Glidewell. Hotz shared videos with the board of education, which further illustrated how NGSS would be utilized in classrooms and its benefit for all students. A big component of NGSS is technology and the use of online texts, videos and tests. “Since students spend so much time on things such as YouTube, it’s hard to grab their attention. It has some really well done videos that I think will work on most students,” said Hotz. He then proceeded to show a video about a volcano that erupts blue lava. The video went on to explain the cause of the blue hue is due to sulfur. Hotz also showed a video that explained how NGSS works for each student and tailors their experience according to their specific needs and increases in difficulty or identifies where students may be struggling.
Glidewell then demonstrated the in-classroom hands-on approach that teachers will also take. She had the board of education members participate in an activity which she had done in her middle school classroom earlier in the day. Taking an old record disc and using a needle and paper cone, she showed how sound can come out of the record. She then proceeded to demonstrate how asking certain questions can help the students develop scientifically inquisitive minds.
The updated science curriculum can be viewed in more detail by visiting the Monte Vista School District website, www.monte.k12.co.us. The board of education unanimously approved the update and associated necessary budget.