New ways to teach science mean that there is a new focus on helping students see the whole picture. De Pere High School instructor Jim Schmidt knows that motivating the students by stepping back is important.
“Do they really need to memorize every part of a cell, or is it more important for them to understand how cells work within the body?”Schmidt asked.
Schmidt and other science teachers have been meeting monthly with administrators to move the school’s adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards forward. These standards require a deeper understanding of concepts rather than rote memorization. Officials are working to meet the new benchmarks by revamping the curriculum.
According to Shelly Thomas, director of curriculum and instruction, the curriculum and materials are almost ten years old and need updating, so the new standards are starting in the high school. Eventually, the entire district will move to the new standards.
“Science changes fast,” she said. “We needed to do something.”