In 2011, the National Research Council released A Framework for K-12 Science Education, which set forth guidance for science standards development
based on the research on how students learn best. This extensive body of research suggests students need to be engaged in doing science by engaging the same practices used by scientists and engineers. Furthermore, students should engage in science and engineering practices in the context of core ideas that become ever more sophisticated as students move through school. Students also need to see the connections of these disciplinary-based core ideas to the bigger science concepts that cross disciplinary lines. The proposed Michigan standards are built on this research-based framework. The framework was used in the development of the Next Generation Science Standards, for which Michigan was a lead partner.
Michigan’s science standards are organized by grade level K-5, and then by grade span in middle school and high school. The K-5 grade level organization reflects the developmental nature of learning for elementary students in a manner that attends to the important learning progressions toward basic foundational understandings. By the time students reach traditional middle school grades (6-8), they can begin to build on this foundation to develop more sophisticated understandings of science concepts within and across disciplines. This structure also allows schools to design local courses and pathways that make sense for their students and available instructional resources.