The COVID-19 pandemic is resulting in widespread and ongoing changes to how the K–12 education system functions, including disruptions to science teaching and learning environments. This guide describes what high-quality science and engineering education can look like during this time of great uncertainty. It includes guidance—with an emphasis on the needs of district science supervisors, curriculum leads, and instructional coaches—about how K–12 science and engineering learning experiences can
The guide is based on reports from the Board on Science Education at the National Academies that focus on teaching science and engineering in grades K-12. It also incorporates input and examples from educators from educators across the country.
The guide identifies 4 principles to guide the decisions about how to adapt science instruction
Principle 1: Maintain a focus on the Framework’s vision for high quality science and engineering education. This includes:
Principle 2: Prioritize relationships, equity and the most vulnerable students.
Principle 3: Families and communities are critical assets for science and engineering learning
Principle 4: Adjusting to changing learning environments and recovering from disrupted learning as an ongoing process that takes time.
Equity and the health, well-being, and connections among students, families, and teachers need to be given high priority. Although these issues are not specific to science and engineering, they have deep implications for science and engineering education.
In order to maintain the health of students, teachers, and their communities, school districts are implementing measures that dramatically change the learning environment. This includes a wide variety of combinations of remote and virtual environments with classroom-based learning, including going completely virtual. Whatever the model, creating high quality science learning experiences for students is paramount.
Teaching and learning during a pandemic very likely comes with challenges related to instructional time and the use of remote and virtual learning. It is important to ensure that the modifications are guided by a focus on what makes a learning experience effective rather than on simply “covering content”. High expectations for all students need to be maintained, supporting high-quality educational experiences that empower students.
Assessment is a critical aspect of education, even as the context of instruction is changing. In this time of transition and blended learning environments, assessment used for the purpose of accountability is likely to be less useful and less equitable. Classroom-based assessment, however, remains important.
Educators at all levels of the K-12 school system are working hard to address the current challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, trying to keep students and staff safe while also supporting student learning. They do not need to work alone. Collaboration and partnerships of all kinds can help them in their efforts.
*Chapter links coming soon.