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K-12 science instruction poised for change

Final draft of Next Generation Science Standards released; states must decide whether to adopt them

The new standards aim to prepare students to be better decision-makers about scientific and technical issues and to apply science to their daily lives.

Science teaching in at least some of the nation’s classrooms is about to undergo significant changes as states adopt a new set of K-12 science standards.

The voluntary, rigorous, and internationally benchmarked standards are designed to get students thinking like scientists, and they place new emphasis on engineering at the elementary level. That will mark a big shift for teachers who’ve never taught engineering principles before, observers say.

The new standards also call for schools to address the sensitive topic of global climate change—something that could hinder their adoption in more politically conservative states.

(Next page: The specifics)

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