Tips From an Orange County Science Tutor: Understanding Common Core Science: Grades 6-10
Southern California parents are wondering what will be expected of their children as they go through Common Core from kindergarten through 12th grade. There are many new things to learn about, and it’s important for parents to know if their young learner is where they need to be academically for their particular grade or age group. Considering all the information out there, it’s easier to learn about it if it’s broken down into smaller parts. One of the things Common Core emphasizes is English Language Arts Standards as they relate to science and technical subjects. So what exactly does this mean? Aren’t English and science supposed to be two separate subjects? The Common Core essentially takes the skills of critical reading and comprehension and applies them to other subjects, in this case, science. Let’s take a look at some of the key skills students need to know and at what level (READ: “Online Research: What’s Legit?”).
1. Grades 6-8
First, students should be able to cite their source for any scientific analysis. Students should also be able to separate any prior knowledge they have about a particular technical or scientific subject from specific texts they are reading in class. They should be able to follow multiple steps when conducting a science experiment or project. These key ideas sound similar to what a English language arts student would do in English class. The same general theory is applied to other subjects. Additionally, students should be able to understand any terms or phrases that relate specifically to the subject at hand. In grade 6 through 8, students will be expected only to understand terms relevant to their particular age group. In addition to new vocabulary, science students will be expected to analyze the specific structure that an author uses in a science-specific text. Further, students are expected to understand the author’s purpose for their particular piece of writing (READ: “Tips from an Irvine English tutor: decoding literature”).
This is a lot for students to learn already, and to be successful they will have to have skills in both the written language and science itself. In addition to the aforementioned qualities, students will be expected to integrate their knowledge and ideas. Specifically, students will need to integrate information in written text and apply it to visual text (charts, graphs, etc). Also important is the ability for students to distinguish between stated fact, reasonable opinion, and conjecture. Moreover, students will be expected to compare and contrast information from any number of sources.
2. Grades 9-10
Once students have mastered science and technical subjects at the middle school level, they will need to adjust their capabilities to meet the demands high school. In addition to skills developed to proficiency by the end of 8th grade, students in 9th and 10th grade will be expected to achieved the following.
A – Attend to specific details of explanations of cited texts.
B- Figure out the central idea of a text and provide an accurate summary of that text.
C- Pay attention to special cases and deviations from a multiple step scientific procedure or experiment.
D- Learn science-specific vocabulary at the 9th and 10th grade levels.
E- Be able to determine and notate when previous experiments differ or contrast from current experiments.
If some of this information seems complicated or overly difficult, you’re not alone. The Common Core expects a lot of our students and it can feel overwhelming to both students themselves and their families who are trying to help. In addition to following any updates and changes in education news, it’s a good idea for students to locate the appropriate support while they’re still doing well in the classroom. Whether students decide to work with a study group, educational consultant, or with their families, they are more likely to be successful if they don’t have to go it alone. Also, it’s more important now than ever for parents to be in continuous communication with their child’s teacher to determine if they are meeting the standards or if they need some extra help.
Source: Common Core Standards
Is your son or daughter struggling with common core standards for science? Achieve success with the assistance of an Orange County private science tutor from TutorNerds! Call us today for more information.