Principled Procedures for Science Educators & Curriculum Decision Making

(last revision spring, 2012)

Principled procedures for a classroom are descriptions of what teachers and students will do in the classroom. They are based on beliefs and ethical considerations for the manner in which teachers and students interact with each other and everything in the classroom.


1. Teachers plan alone and with colleagues within and across disciplines and grade levels. They plan inquiry-based science programs for students by knowing developmentally appropriate multidimensional science goals and plan sequences to achieve those goals based on students' knowledge, skill, and interests.

2. Teachers continually and systematically assess students' multidimensional understanding and use of science literacy. They continually gather authentic data on students through multiple methods with their own, students and colleagues' observations of students' actions and in-actions to make inferences about their student's understandings. They analyze the information alone, with students, and colleagues and make recommendations to help students set and achieve goals, assess them, and report their progress to teachers, parents, and other interested people.

3. Teachers facilitate science literacy by using science inquiry. They model and encourage students to take responsibility for their use of scientific procedures, processes, skills, and attitudes to understand scientific ideas and the nature of that understanding in a manner that can be used responsibly in a variety of real life situations. They achieve this by using methodologies consistent with theory and wisdom of practice - such as a learning cycle. They see assessment as ongoing and integrate it into their methodology seamlessly to include diagnostic, formative, summative, and generative for all dimensions of science literacy.

4. Teachers design and manage learning environments to facilitate students collaboration to take responsibility for the understanding and learning of all members of the community by nurturing collaboration among students, structuring experiences to help students increase theirs and others scientific communication abilities, and increasing their appreciation for the skills, attitudes, and values of scientific inquiry in a variety of environments. They assure time is available for safe extended meaningful scientific investigation with different groupings of learners who seek intellectual rigor with respect of each others diverse ideas, skills, and experiences in a manner that encourages them to share the content and context of their work.


1. Teachers continually and systematically assess their teaching. They gather data of their teaching actions and in-actions from personal, student, and colleague observations. They inquire, analyze, reflect on the data, and draw conclusions to guide future actions and in-actions to improve students' understanding and ability.

2. Teachers actively participate through truly democratic means in the development of K-12 school science programs. They seek, for all K-12 educators, sufficient and consistent allocation of resources, sufficient class time for science, continual professional development, and time to plan, implement, assess, and evaluate quality science programs at every grade level.

3. Teachers are citizens who are curious and actively continue learning science by investigating and reflecting on all dimensions of science as it relates to different topics and situations. They continue to use scientific inquiry and reasoning in their daily lives to increase their personal science knowledge.

4. Teachers develop professionally alone and with colleagues an appreciation for lifelong learning and professional development through research and experiential knowledge to validate and generate new knowledge about how students learn science and teachers facilitate that learning.

Dr. Robert Sweetland's Notes ©