Science

Curriculum Overview

PUSD bases its core instruction on California State “Standards and Benchmarks” for each academic curriculum, including Science. The following is an excerpt from the introduction to Science Framework and Standards from the California State Board of Education.

Please click here to learn more about Science standards for each individual grade level.

Glenn T. Seaborg, one of the great scientific minds of this time and of all times, chaired the California Academic Standards Commission’s Science Committee. In “A Letter to a Young Scientist,” Dr. Seaborg said, “Science is an organized body of knowledge and a method of proceeding to an extension of this knowledge by hypothesis and experiment.”1 The National Science Education Standards reflects this view of science and the balance between the “body of knowledge” and the “method” of scientific inquiry.2 The standards provide the opportunity to make substantial and significant improvements in California’s education system.

The standards include grade-level specific content for kindergarten through grade eight. A significant feature is the focus on earth sciences in the sixth grade, life sciences in the seventh grade, and physical sciences in the eighth grade. The standards for grades nine through twelve are divided into four content strands: physics, chemistry, biology/life sciences, and earth sciences. An Investigation and Experimentation strand describes a progressive set of expectations for each grade from kindergarten through grade eight, and one set of Investigation and Experimentation standards is given for grades nine through twelve.

The elementary and middle school standards provide the foundational skills and knowledge for students to learn core concepts, principles, and theories of science at the high school level. The standards are organized in sets under broad concepts. This organization is intended to help the reader move between topics and follow them as the content systematically increases in depth, breadth, and complexity through the grade levels.


1 Gifted Young in Science: Potential Through Performance. Edited by Paul Brandwein and others. Arlington, Va.: National Science Teachers Association, 1989.

2 National Academy of Sciences, National Science Education Standards. Washington, D.C.: National Academy of Sciences, 1995.

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