Teachers modify science course pathway starting 2020-2021

Elaina Seybold and Madison Duong

This year, the LBHS science pathway changed to provide students with an integrated science experience and education. This alteration satisfies the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), which are expectations that students K-12 have to follow starting the 2020-2021 school year. The new science pathway will affect a student’s entire science course path starting their freshman year.

“It’s amazingly exciting because this is the first year we’ve implemented the integrated freshman course. I am working with Mr. Sogo and Mrs. Merritt. The three of us teamed up to really make Integrated Science 1 an exciting course,” said biology teacher Alonda Hartford. 

All LBHS science teachers have collaborated in the development of the new science pathway.  Furthermore, all science teachers have worked diligently to provide materials such as lab kits for experiments. Widespread access to materials is especially crucial during quarantine and distance learning when students can’t share class resources. 

“It seems like the activities were well planned out,” said freshman Kaylyn Stringham. “We got all of our materials in advance, and so far, we have used almost all of them. I think they were pretty well thought-out considering the change in curriculum from this year to last year.”

This year, all freshmen begin with Integrated Science 1 (IS1), a physical science course. Previously, the LBHS science pathway was Biology, followed by Chemistry, then Physics. Now, the new path is IS1, IS2, then IS3. Additional courses and AP classes will be available starting junior year for students based on their interests and future career goals.

“It is, for sure, different than any other science course I have taken, which is cool because it is a new experience,” said freshman Savi Easton.  

A typical day in science moves beyond textbooks and assessments and involves more investigation, according to different students’ opinions. They can also learn more content with the absence of frequent tests.

“The day-to-day content is very hands onーsomething I enjoy and think is fun,” said freshman Julianna Franconi-Krychman. “Rather than just taking notes or listening to a lecture, we get to build and learn things on our own.” 

However, some have not enjoyed the new content.

“I am not really interested in this curriculum. I would rather take biology because studying life and organisms is more interesting to me than coding,” said Stringham.

Fortunately, junior year will provide students the opportunity to pursue biology and other specific sciences at a deeper level.

The teachers spent several years perfecting the pathway with curriculum that teaches kids how to think like scientists. Despite a sudden change of plans due to distance learning and the new trimester schedule, the science department was still able to provide quality education and an interactive experience.   

“What I’m most excited about in regards to the new NGSS pathway is that students will start with a foundation in physical science. That will form the basis for their biology science and even higher level sciences afterwards,” said Hartford.