Science is the active study of the natural and man-made world, including processes, structures, designs, and systems. Science students use their senses and tools to observe, record and analyze data about the world and to make conclusions based on evidence. Scientifically literate young people can understand basic science concepts, use skills for doing scientific investigations, solve technical problems, and design technologies for today’s world.
The Minnesota Department of Education supports science achievement for all learners by providing guidance and technical assistance on implementation of academic standards, current literacy best practices, multi-tiered systems of intervention, and science policy administration.
Standards, Assessments, and Graduation Requirements
The Minnesota K-12 Academic Standards in Science were revised in 2009 and implemented by all schools beginning with the 2011-2012 school year. The 2009 standards are scheduled to be revised again in 2017-2018.
Graduation Requirements in Science include standards and course requirements. See the Graduation Requirements page.
Student progress on the science standards is assessed by the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCAs) at grades 5 and 8, and once in high school in the year that the student completes a biology course. Information and support materials on science testing are available on the Testing Resources page.
In addition to the state science standards, there are standards for literacy in science included in the Minnesota K-12 Academic Standards in English Language Arts (2010).
Minnesota is a lead state in the development of the Next Generation of Science Standards. This is a cooperative effort of several states to provide standards that could be adopted by all states. The standards are based on A Framework for K-12 Science Education developed by the National Research Council. The framework sets the vision for science education and identifies science and engineering practices, core disciplinary ideas, and cross-cutting concepts. View the framework at the National Academies Press.
The Minnesota Mathematics and Science Academy (MSTA) is a year-long professional development program for teachers. It is delivered at regional centers throughout the state. Visit the MSTA page to learn more.
The Frameworks for Minnesota Mathematics and Science Standards is an online resource for use by educators for planning instruction, professional development, curriculum design and assessment. It provides instructional resources directly connected to each standard. It also has sections focused on best practices and standards implementation. The website is a collaboration of Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) and SciMathMN and reflects the expertise of teachers in identifying resources. View the frameworks.
getSTEM is a web portal that connects more than a thousand Minnesota educators and businesses. The website provides a sharing network, allowing schools to request materials and human resources such as equipment, volunteers, speakers and judges. Businesses, in turn, offer materials, programs, and presentations to schools. getSTEM is a collaborative project of MDE and the Minnesota High Technology Council. Visit getSTEM and get going!
The Minnesota State Fire Marshal has created a safety checklist for school science facilities and practices. View the checklist at the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. Additional safety guidelines and information are available in the Science Best Practices/Resources section of the frameworks.
The Minnesota STEM Network is a project to improve STEM education in Minnesota by addressing critical issues and forming collaborations across the state. The project is sponsored by SciMathMN. Visit the STEM Network website.
Recognition and Awards Programs
The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching are the nation's highest honors for teachers of mathematics and science (including computer science). Two teachers from each state receive the award annually. Awardees serve as models for their colleagues, inspiration to their communities, and leaders in the improvement of mathematics and science education. Honorees receive a monetary award as well as a week-long professional development opportunity in Washington, D.C. Visit the Presidential Awards website to learn more.
The National Youth Science Camp scholarship provides two 12th-grade students a free, four-week summer science and outdoor experience in the mountains of West Virginia. Scientists from across the nation present lectures and hands-on science seminars and interact informally with student delegates. The experience includes overnight expeditions into the Monongahela National Forest featuring backpacking, rock-climbing, caving, mountain biking, or kayaking opportunities. A visit to Washington, D.C., permits delegates to visit some of the nation’s premier scientific, governmental, and cultural facilities. Applications are due in February. Contact the state science specialist for more information.