Paper No. 1
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM
EARTH AND SPACE SCIENCES AND THE NEXT GENERATION SCIENCE STANDARDS
Geosciences in America have long labored under the educational challenge that most Americans receive minimal formal geoscience education after middle school, where the material must be taught at a cognitive level that is insufficient to satisfactorily convey the complexities of our field. This may no longer be the case if the new K-12 Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are implemented by a large number of states. The NGSS, organized by Achieve, Inc., and in collaboration with 26 participating states, represent internationally benchmarked educational standards that emphasize an integration of science content, practices, and crosscutting ideas. Among the many advances over previous science standards is the recommendation for a full year’s worth of Earth and space science in high school, in addition to the traditional year of Earth and space science in middle school; this represents a sweeping change from the established scope and sequence, which dates back to 1893. Part of the justification for this departure comes from the recognition of the many important Earth science issues that face now humanity, such as human impacts, changing global climates, natural hazards (sometimes exacerbated by anthropogenic impacts), and dwindling mineral, water, and energy resources. In the first draft of the NGSS, released in May, 2012, significant emphasis is given to these topics, especially to issues surrounding human sustainability in the context of the increasing effects of human population growth and industrialization on climate and other Earth systems. A second draft of the NGSS will be released for public comment in the fall of 2012, and the final version will be released in 2013.