Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center supports new science education framework

Teachers aiming to meet new federal standards for science education have a new resource at the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC).

The center has developed a report to help K-12 teachers manage a new federal framework that emphasizes crosscutting concepts and integrates engineering into science classrooms.

The center’s work will support educators implementing the National Research Council’s “Framework for K-12 Science Education.” That framework forms the basis for the next generation science standards scheduled for release in 2013.

“The framework places new demands on teachers, and they will need professional development and new curricula to meet those demands,” said Joyce Parker, MSU assistant professor of geological sciences and GLBRC education and outreach team member. “GLBRC is offering both of those to teachers.”

The framework takes an innovative approach to science education standards by identifying student performance expectations in three dimensions: science and engineering practices, crosscutting concepts and core ideas. It also emphasizes covering fewer key ideas in more depth, including current societal issues.

Established by the U.S. Department of Energy in 2007, the GLBRC conducts the basic research that generates technology to convert non-food, or cellulosic, plant biomass to biofuels. The center offers a variety of materials to support science education, including classroom activity packages and programs.