Science Department

Science Technology Engineering Arts Mathematics  

Engage. Connect. Transform.

The Ann Arbor Public Schools provides a comprehensive science program in the domains of life, earth, and physical sciences. In support of career, college and civic readiness, the Science Department aims to develop students with the knowledge, skills and dispositions to engage in the following science and engineering practices.
  • Asking questions (science) and defining problems (engineering) 
  • Developing and using models 
  • Planning and carrying out investigations 
  • Analyzing and interpreting data 
  • Using mathematics and computational thinking
  • Constructing explanations (science) and designing solutions (engineering) 
  • Engaging in argument using evidence 
  • Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information
Ann Arbor Public Schools is in the process of implementing the new Michigan Science Standards adopted in 2015, with an anticipated completion date of spring 2020. At that time, the Science program will align with new state assessments based on the Michigan Science Standards.
What are the Michigan Science Standards (MSS)? 
The K-12 Michigan Science Standards, based on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), include every grade and every scientific discipline, setting expectations for what students should know and be able to do in science.
A major difference between the MSS and current Grade Level Content Expectations (GLCEs) is three-dimensional (3D) learning. 3D learning refers to the thoughtful and deliberate integration of three distinct dimensions: 1) Scientific and Engineering Practices; 2) Disciplinary Core Ideas, and 3) Crosscutting Concepts.
Through 3D learning, the MSS emphasize that science is not just a series of isolated facts. This awareness enables students to view science more as an interrelated world of inquiry and phenomena rather than a static set of science disciplines. 
The MSS represent a fundamental shift in science education and require a different approach to teaching science than has been done in the past. Teachers will use a range of strategies to engage students and create opportunities to demonstrate their thinking and learning.  

How will science education change with the MSS? 

Science education will involve less:

1. Learning of ideas disconnected from questions about phenomena
2. Teachers providing information to the whole class
3. Teachers posing questions with only one right answer
4. Students reading textbooks and answering questions at the end of each chapter
5. Worksheets
6. Oversimplification of activities for students who are perceived to be "less able" to do science and engineering 

Science education will involve more:

1. Systems thinking and modeling to explain phenomena and to give a context for the ideas to be learned 
2. Students conducting investigations, solving problems, and engaging in discussions with teacher guidance
3. Students discussing open-ended questions that focus on the strength of the evidence used to generate claims
4. Students reading multiple sources, analyzing and developing summaries of information
5. Student writing of journals, reports, posters, and media presentations that offer explanations and arguments
6. Provision of support so that all students can engage in sophisticated science and engineering practices
*Numbered information above is from:National Research Council (2015).Guide to Implementing the Next Generation Science Stand- ards.Committee on Guidance on Implementing the Next Generation Science Standards. Board on Science Education. 
The Science Department is in the process of implementing these changes with the transition to the new MSS. The links below identify standards on which students will be assessed through the 2016-2017 school year.
 Amy Deller-Antieau
District Science Department Chair
Rose Marie Callahan
Elementary Science and
Mathematics Coordinator