Current federal legislation known as "No Child Left Behind education act (NCLB)" all instructional services provided to children must be of excellent quality. Well-trained professionals must teach children challenging curricula. The Guiding Principles of No Child Left Behind are the following. 1) Accountability for results - all states must implement statewide accountability systems that will set academic standards in every subject and identify strengths and weaknesses in the educational system. 2) Focus on what works - the federal government will invest in educational practices that have proven effective in increasing student performance and expect local educational and state agencies to do the same. 3) Reduce bureaucracy and increase flexibility- state and local officials will have the flexibility to find local solutions for local problems; principals and administrators will spend less time dealing with federal red tape, and more on student achievement; and
parents and guardians are empowered to make sure that their children received the best education. They will be informed about the quality of their child's education and school, and can take action based on a school's performance (NCLB, 2002).
The National Science Standards
The standards for content in science are critical in designing and implementing this curriculum. Students should develop the abilities of doing science by exposure to experiences that enhance their opportunities and engagement in the active construction of ideas and explanations. Inquiry-based science teaching will provide me with the opportunity to develop my student's abilities and understanding of science. In addition, my students should do science in ways that are developmentally appropriate according to their capabilities. In order to accomplish this I have taken into consideration the science content standards. The standards for content in science were issued by the National Academy of Science seven areas of instruction are identified as important science as inquiry, physical science, life science, earth and space science, science and technology, science in personal and social perspectives, and history and nature of science. This unit will focus on the first standard - science as inquiry and will briefly attempt to address standards C and F-- life science and science in personal and social perspectives.
Science as inquiry based requires that students plan and conduct simple investigations. In addition, it should allow students to employ simple equipment and tools to gather data and extend the senses. Furthermore students must be given the opportunity to use data to construct a reasonable explanation. Finally they must be able to communicate their investigations and explanations to others.
I am also going to include information that will allow my students to explore life science. As a result of the activities my students should develop an understanding of some of the following concepts: ecology, fragmentation, food chain, and biodiversity among others. According to the National Academy of Science, students should have a chance to increase their understanding of the characteristics of objects and materials that they encounter daily. They content that through the observation, manipulation, and classification of common objects, children reflect on the similarities and differences of the objects. As a result, their initial sketches and single-word descriptions lead to increasingly more detailed drawings and richer verbal descriptions. By observing the habitat in the city students may begin to understand that phenomena can be observed, measured, and controlled in various ways.
I will also address life science and as a result my students should develop an understanding of properties of earth life organisms, ecology and biodiversity, and changes in the environment. In the beginning, they should be encouraged to observe closely the animals and plants in their environment, note their characteristics, distinguish one from another and develop their own explanations of how things become the way they are. As students become more familiar with their sorroundings, they can be guided to observe changes, including cyclic changes, such as life cycle of animals and plants; predictable trends, such as growth and decay, and less consistent changes, such as weather and human activity impact on nature.
The Standards for Effective Pedagogy
The Center for Research in Education, Diversity, and Excellence (CREDE) researchers have provided the educational community with a consensus for practice that is comprehensive and therefore allows for flexibility in its implementation. The array of techniques that are available to teachers can be overwhelming due to its complexity; CREDE has streamlined the possibilities. Standard-based instruction would be incomplete if we only looked at student performance standards without considering the importance of pedagogical standards. Since 1999 I have used and promoted the use of the Five Standards for Effective Pedagogy (5STEP) issued by CREDE. These standards are issued as a result of the work done by educational researchers associated with CREDE. Teachers have used these standards across time and program boundaries. Separately these standards may be useful but as a unit composed of five important dimensions in teaching they are indispensable if we are to help every child reach their potential. Specifically, the standards are joint productive activity, language across the curriculum, contextualization, challenging activities, and instructional conversations (IC).
Stoll Dalton (1998), as well as many other practitioners and researchers propose that pedagogy in fact occupies a central place in accomplishing all students learning. In addition, many contend that pedagogy that is supported by a strong learning theory can in fact enhance the teachers' abilities to reach every student. "The standards for effective pedagogy are based on the socio-cultural theory, a theory of development that is ideally suited to the study of education. It provides a flexible, inclusive integrative lingua franca for social science's plethora of mini-theories and hypothesis, preserving the close fit between disciplinary theories and inquiries but uniting them into an overarching intellectual architecture (Tharp & Gallimore in, Estrada, Stoll Dalton, Tharp, Yamauchi, Page 9, 2000)."