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M. Szesze, S. Kahl, D. Janney (Montgomery County Public Schools)
In the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), the science curriculum is undergoing a comprehensive systemic review in an effort to revise the system's curriculum and the entire instructional program. As a part of this overall effort, MCPS has developed a framework for the astronomy curriculum that includes a rationale, essential indicators, and blueprints. The school system is partnering with the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center to involve professional astronomers/space scientists as content advisors to ensure science content accuracy and currency. Through this partnership, many NASA developed educational materials have been made available to the school system to assist with the instructional sequences. This new policy has resulted in the development of a clear and coherent astronomy curriculum for grades K-8. The blueprint is written in the form of a set of indicators which identify the exact skills and knowledge that need to be taught at each grade level so that students will meet and exceed state, national, and international standards. Each blueprint also includes the enduring understandings and essential questions that students should focus on for that specific unit of study, a proposed instructional sequence, and assessment and differentiation ideas. Using these blueprints, teachers will create curriculum guides that include model lessons, model assignments, concept maps, resources, assessment samples, and strategies for differentiating the curriculum to meet the needs of a wide range of learners.
In addition, a 45 hour certification training course is being developed to train in service teachers in a wide range of space science disciplines from seasons to cosmology. The course is being developed and will be taught by a team composed of space scientists and master educational trainers. Pilot testing of the curriculum and the training course will begin in Fall 2002.
If the author provided an email address or URL for general inquiries,
it is as follows:
Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 34, #3< br> © 2002. The American Astronomical Soceity.