EnvIowa Podcast: Next generation science standards come to Iowa

(Jonnie 5 Apparel)
Jenna Ladd | September 29, 2016

The University of Iowa Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research is proud to present the first episode of its new monthly podcast, EnvIowa. Each month, EnvIowa hosts Jenna Ladd and Jake Slobe will discuss environmental news, research, and initiatives that affect Iowans.

To kick off season one, EnvIowa discusses the coming introduction of new science standards to schools across the Hawkeye state with Scott Spak, assistant professor of urban and regional planning and civil and environmental engineering, and Ted Neal, clinical science instructor at the University of Iowa. The podcast explores the ins and outs of the Next Generation Science Standards, what researchers know about how climate science is currently being taught in the state, and how the new standards will enhance learning for students.

Listeners can access the podcast below or find it on iTunes.

Next month we will discuss the upcoming Climate Festival with University of Iowa associate professor of chemistry, Besty Stone.

New science standards approved for Iowa K-12 schools

(Danny Nicholson/Flickr)
(Danny Nicholson/Flickr)

Nick Fetty | August 7, 2015

The Iowa Education Board voted unanimously Thursday to implement new science standards for K-12 public schools in the state.

Iowa is the 15th state to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) which “spell out science-based knowledge and skills that students should possess at each grade level.” The new standards focus less on memorization and more on other skills such as “analyzing data, developing a model and constructing a logical argument.” Students will also now be required to take an engineering course, previously offered only as an elective.

The adoption the new standards met some resistance by an Iowa House bill which aimed to block the new standards for “miss[ing] some key math and science concepts, present[ing] evolution as scientific fact and shine[ing] a negative light on human impacts on climate change.” The bill was defeated earlier this year.

A study by the American Society of Human Genetics found that the NGSS were effective at covering 10 out of 19 core genetics concepts compared to previous state standards that only covered about five core concepts.

Last year Wyoming became the first state to block the NGSS. The Wyoming state legislature has since lifted the block though the state’s Board of Education has yet to implement the standards.

Iowa along with 26 other states and the National Academy of Sciences teamed up in 2013 to develop the NGSS.

Other states that have adopted NGSS: Arkansas (for middle school), California, Delaware, Kansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia, as well as the District of Columbia.