Paper No. 16
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


BECHTEL, Randy, NC Geological Survey, 1612 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1612,

K-12 teachers use the state-level curriculum to identify topics to be covered during the school year and to design their classes including pacing guides (schedule). For the past 15 years state-level curricula development has been guided by the National Science Education Standards from the National Research Council (NRC) and Benchmarks for Science Literacy from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Recently, the N.C. Department of Public Instruction revised its science curriculum by replacing the 2004 Standard Course of Study with the 2009 Common Core State Standards and Essential Standards for implementation in the 2012-13 school year.

The national guidelines for states are also currently being revised to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The NGSS is in the process of development by the NRC, the National Science Teachers Association, the AAAS and the non-profit organization Achieve. Although each individual state is empowered to adopt/not adopt the updated standards, N.C. is one of 26 lead states involved in the development and assessment of these new standards. Possible adoption and implementation of these standards in a few years would be in line with the next scheduled 2014 state update. The state science curriculum, NGSS and initiatives such as Race to the Top and STEM can affect both the science content in classrooms and the support teachers/schools receive.

Teachers at all levels are confronted with limited class time for all subjects. Science competes with other subjects. Earth science competes for class time with other sciences. Within the Earth sciences, the geosciences compete for time with meteorology and oceanography. A clear-cut path to using geoscience information in the classroom is essential. This pathway is through correlating content to the curriculum and then clearly stating that correlation. Through dialogue and collaboration with K-12 teachers, school science supervisors and school administrators our nation will produce a more “geoscientifically” literate public, increase the visibility of geoscience in science education and provide a career path for students interested in our science. This research demonstrates the similarity and differences between the current state-level and national guidelines.