Scottsbluff Public Schools has a new elementary science curriculum this year intended to help students make sense of the physical world around them.
PhD Science, a phenomenon-driven curriculum that explores core science concepts, is now in use in the 3rd through 5th grades, and a pilot of the K-through-2nd grade version is underway for second graders.
At Lake Minatare Elementary, Principal Jeremy Behnke told us the new offering provides hands-on opportunities in a format that varies from what was offered in the past. “We’re really changing the way we do science. Rather than the teacher standing up there (in front of the class) and always giving the content, we’re shifting that a little bit, and giving them hands-on experience followed by the content,” says Behnke. “Then the kids are discovering ‘why’, rather than the teacher telling them why.”
Behnke says educators expect the new curriculum will generate a lot of excitement and a desire to explore among the students, with a dedicated science instructor added to each school building teaching grades 2 through 5.
Following successful implementation of the current program and the lower grades pilot, district officials are expected to consider full adoption of the K-through 2nd grade version, and a pilot for 6th through 8th graders when it becomes available.