Science: Curriculum Project Team

Science Instructional Resources Review

The Beaverton School District is currently involved in the Phase II Science Instructional Resources Adoption Process for K-8.

The community is invited to review the Elementary and Middle School resources being considered for adoption by the Science Project Team and to provide their input.

The review/input period is November 30, 2019 through January 5, 2020

K-8 Resources Review

Elementary Science Instructional Resources

Elementary Science Adoption

In the spring of 2019, 54 elementary teachers conducted classroom pilots. 16 elementary schools piloted the top four instructional resource options the Teacher Cadre and Project Team had selected for further consideration after their initial review of available publishers in May-September of 2018. The four resources that were chosen were Building Blocks of Science from Carolina Biological, Amplify Science from Amplify, STEMscopes from Accelerate Learning, and the BSD K-2 units. The pilot teachers and TOSA team collected multiple sets of data on each curriculum piloted, including teacher survey feedback, classroom observations, student interviews, and a pre/post common assessment for each grade level.  After analyzing the data, the Project Team eliminated STEMscopes from further consideration due to low performance across data sets. Amplify had mixed results, and while the Project Team did not completely eliminate it, its results were not strong enough for consideration moving forward. They voted to consider it only if remaining options were not viable. The Project Team also voted to table considering our own BSD units due to their incomplete status, the time it would take to complete them (at least 3 years), and their not being translated into Spanish. The remaining instructional resource from these pilots was Carolina Biological’s Building Blocks of Science.  

In September of 2019, the Project Team was made aware of a newly published curriculum, called Twig Science, which is on the California science adoption list. Upon review of this resource by both the Teacher Cadre and the Project Team, it was found to be promising enough to merit a pilot and further consideration. Teachers are conducting parallel pilots of Carolina and Twig Science between October and December 2019, in 37 classrooms in each grade PK-5.  We will be evaluating these pilots as well as stakeholder feedback in January 2020, after which the Project Team hopes to decide on a recommendation to the School Board.

Elementary Instructional Materials for Public Review

Carolina Biological’s Building Blocks of Science:

Twig Science:

  • Link to Twig Science Access

  • Username (use for login email):

  • Password: brightstar

Please share your feedback on these instructional resources via this Elementary Instructional Resource Feedback Form. Form responses will be shared with the Project Team as they consider their recommendation to the School Board.

Middle School Science Instructional Resources

Middle School Science Adoption

The Teacher Cadre spent multiple days between spring and winter of 2018 reviewing the available published instructional resources that passed state or national criteria for alignment of the NGSS (including all the programs that met adoption criteria on the ODE adoption list). From that longer list, they narrowed down to three top candidates: IQWST, Amplify Science, and STEMScopes. In the winter of 2019, 30 middle school teachers at all three grade levels piloted units from those publishers. Data was collected during the pilots and the Project Team reviewed it.  Across every measure, IQWST had the strongest outcomes, including student pre/post assessment growth, teacher feedback, student feedback (interviews and surveys), and classroom observations. The Project Team voted unanimously to continue considering IQWST with classroom confirmation tests in fall of 2019, taking Amplify and STEMscopes off the table. Currently, we are confirmation testing IQWST in 11 classrooms. Additionally, the Teacher Cadre was able to review the curriculum further and have continued their support of its adoption.  The Project Team is expected to vote on IQWST in January 2020, after the confirmation test units have been completed and their results analyzed.

Middle School Science Instructional Materials for Public Review:

Password: BSD1920

Please share your feedback on these instructional resources via this Middle School Science Instructional Resource Feedback Form. Form responses will be shared with the Project Team as they consider their recommendation to the School Board.

Phase I

Phase I of the Science curriculum, which includes grades 9-12, was adopted by the School Board on May 20, 2019. The adoption process followed the procedures outlined in the Instructional Materials Selection Administrative Regulation II/IIA-AR. Phase II will include K-8.

High school science class

Science Curriculum Project Team - Phase I

Best Practices in Science Instruction

The Science Best Practices document summarizes research-based strategies for science instruction in alignment with the 5 Dimensions (5D™)* of Teaching and Learning. This document was constructed and reviewed based on instructional practices from research and various professional resources by science content specialists as well as expert teachers, representing the entire K-12 grade range. It is our belief that through the implementation of these practices, we can achieve our mission and vision for K-12 science education in Beaverton.

*“The 5D™ instructional framework provides a common language of instruction that defines teaching and learning along five dimensions: purpose, student engagement, curriculum and pedagogy, assessment for student learning, and classroom environment and culture.”


“The purpose of science education is to develop students into scientists, not just people who know about science.” This is accomplished by integrating disciplinary core ideas, science and engineering practices, and cross-cutting concepts while challenging students to use critical thinking and science practices as tools to understand science content.

Standards: Context-rich performance expectations as laid out by the NGSS across the three dimensions; Disciplinary Core Ideas, Cross Cutting Concepts, and Scientific Practices.
  • Units of study: Each unit of study integrates the standards across disciplinary core ideas, science and engineering practices, and cross-cutting concepts.
  • Tasks: The task is meaningful and relevant to students; place-based phenomena is used.
Learning Targets and Teaching Points: Content knowledge or skills to be obtained that group together common themes across multiple standards
  • Assessment: Student tasks develop student conceptual knowledge and science practices for learning (formative assessment) or assess learning of student conceptual knowledge and science practices (summative assessment).
  • Learning Targets: Beaverton’s Academic Learning Targets (ALTs) and supporting targets (ASTs) are inclusive of all three dimensions of the NGSS (science and engineering practices, disciplinary core ideas, and crosscutting concepts)
  • Application: Learning targets facilitate and assess a student’s ability to communicate what they have learned and can describe how it is meaningful/applicable in their life.
  • Student Ownership: Students can demonstrate understanding of learning targets which are written with student-facing language.
  • Student Self-Assessment: The criteria for success are clear to students and the performance tasks provide evidence that students are able to understand and apply learning in context.
  • Differentiation: Learning targets allow for flexible differentiation to meet the needs of individual students.
  • Revision and Improvement: Lessons provide students opportunities to clarify their own work, ask questions and make decisions on their own practices especially with regard to perceived failures and misconceptions resulting in revisions or a follow up investigation.

Student Engagement

Engagement is strongest when it builds on student’s curiosity about the world around them and they are encouraged to think, wonder, and participate in the science practices.Engagement is evident when students are working collaboratively to create their own explanations, models and solutions to real world phenomena and problems.

Intellectual Work: Students’ classroom work embodies substantive intellectual engagement. Students take ownership of their learning to develop, test and refine their thinking.

  • Cultural Context: Implementing culturally responsive instruction; Build on students’ cultural and linguistic strengths. Integration of students’ cultural assets into instruction increases active engagement and thus empower students in their own learning.

Engagement Strategies: Engagement strategies capitalize on and build upon students’ academic background, life experiences, culture and language to support rigorous and culturally relevant learning. Engagement strategies encourage equitable and purposeful student participation and ensure that all students have access to, and are expected to participate in, learning.

  • Student-centered Scientific Engagement: Students are using scientific practices such as inquiry, building explanations for phenomena, engineering design to solve problems, etc. Students are actively developing, testing and refining their thinking. (workshop model)
  • Engagement First: It comes before and inspires the content; building on curiosity, hands-on experiences and student personal and cultural knowledge is the foundation for inquiry and model development.

Talk: Student talk reflects discipline-specific habits of thinking and ways of communicating. Student talk embodies substantive and intellectual thinking.

  • TALK: Talk is student centered, i.e. 80% student talk to 20% teacher talk, with academic language support and intentional planning for rigorous academic discourse.
  • Discipline Specific Communication: Students become adept at expressing themselves using scientific thinking and language.

Curriculum & Pedagogy

Students are engaged through meaningful phenomena and shared experiences that reflect the collaborative practice of science and engineering as experienced in the real world. The curriculum provides opportunities for teachers to tailor the instruction with respect to individual needs and background knowledge of their students.

  • Curriculum: Curriculum and instruction engages all students in authentic and meaningful scenarios that reflect the practice of science and engineering as experienced in the real world and provide students with a purpose.
  • Phenomena Based Materials: Instructional materials should be based on topic specific phenomena. Materials cultivate students to construct explanations or design solutions to problems through student driven inquiry.
  • Collecting and Analyzing Data: Instructional materials should engage students in questioning, collecting and analyzing data, designing investigations, and creating explanations based on evidence.
  • Engineering Design: Instructional materials reflect the need for students to acquire engineering design practices and concepts alongside the practices and concepts of science.
  • Promoting Scientific Communication: Materials should support discourse and the types of conversations that students need to support their sense-making and engagement in science.

Teaching Approaches & Strategies: Teaching approaches provide multiple and diverse opportunities that are student-centered to engage students in phenomena sensemaking, creation of scientific models, and authentic products.

  • Student-Centered Collaboration and Critical Thinking: The teacher acts as a facilitator while providing multiple opportunities for developing higher order cognitive skills and collaboration.
  • Phenomena Sensemaking: Teacher creates learning experiences to uncover student thinking, elicit students’ ideas, and bring to the surface misconceptions around a science phenomena through the use of probing questions.
  • Developing and Using Models: Instruction supports students creating and defending models to explain phenomena and real world events.
  • Multiple and Diverse Learning Opportunities: Teacher provides a variety of opportunities to access curriculum and expand entry points, while utilizing creativity in product form, and addresses the English Language Proficiencies.
  • Authentic Student Products and/or Actions: Teacher employs instructional practices (project based, with students contributing to scientific understanding) emphasizing current scientific issues and student identity, strengths and interests, throughout the lessons and as part of culminating project.
  • NGSS 3-Dimensions: The three dimensions of Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs), Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs), and Crosscutting Concepts (CCCs), should not be presented as separate entities but must be integrated together in instruction.

Scaffolds for Learning: Teachers need to understand their students’ strengths, challenges, culture, and background knowledge in order to tailor instruction with respect to the individual needs of students.

  • Formative Assessment: Teacher conducts ongoing formative assessments so that they have a working knowledge of where students current understanding is. Multiple opportunities in a variety of styles should be given to students to allow for mastery of learning targets.
  • Language Acquisition: Students have access to multilingual resources that are culturally relevant, can access the curriculum at their reading level, are provided audio curriculum when necessary, and the material is read out loud when appropriate. Comprehensible input is used so students have an understanding of vocabulary and language.
  • Background Knowledge: Teacher builds on background knowledge through relevant activities, and content is related to ALL student experiences. Vocabulary is scaffolded through a common phenomena that students have experienced in order to build language proficiency and provide an anchor for their learning.
  • Student Tools: Graphic Organizers and visual aids are used to help students make meaning of content. Scaffolds are used to allow all learners to access grade level curriculum as they build language proficiency.
  • Instruction: Teacher models expectation and academic language through sentence frames, student examples, and constructing meaning cards. Differentiated instruction is a blend of whole class, group, and individual instruction and provides multiple approaches to content, process, and product.

Assessment for Student Learning

The use of varied, frequent formative/self/summative assessments in science facilitates diagnostic teaching and learning of the three dimensions of the NGSS performance expectations.

Self-Assessment: Students assess their own learning in relation to the learning target

  • Students self-assess and self-reflect after assessment opportunities
  • Formative assessment will continue learning by providing qualitative feedback (talk prompts & questioning to elicit student thinking) and enabling students to take responsibility for their learning (self & peer assessment).
  • Pre & post assessments, as well as learning trajectory, are culturally responsive, valuing students’ experiences and background (increasing student accessibility and providing a space for student’s voice.)
Expectation that all students demonstrate learning through varied forms and multiple assessment opportunities.
  • Learners must be evaluated using multiple and varied forms of formative, summative, and diagnostic assessments, allowing for multiple opportunities to show learning.
  • Assessments provide opportunities to communicate understanding without constraints of language development.
  • Assessments provide various opportunities for argumentation using evidence to support claims, evaluation of discussion, explanation of phenomena, and reflection.
Assessment is standards-based and aligned to the NGSS focus on Disciplinary Core Ideas, Science and Engineering Practices, and Cross-Cutting Concepts.
  • Assessments use task specific rubrics that make the criteria for success clear to students, facilitating student self-assessment.
  • Assessments focus on making sense of phenomena, and provide opportunities for making claims and supporting claims with evidence and scientific argumentation.
  • Assessments are multi-component tasks (i.e. there are multiple questions that students can answer that pertain to a single scenario, assessing more than just what students know, but also student’s grasp of practices)

Formative Assessment & Adjustment

Embed formative assessment throughout instruction to reflect on learning, provide real time feedback on standards based learning targets, and to adjust instruction.

  • Teacher uses system to record student assessment data.
  • Understand students’ “learning trajectories” before assessing, to more effectively identify where & why misconceptions are likely to arise. (imagine a range of student responses to the assessment)
  • Formative assessment will continue learning by providing qualitative feedback (talk prompts & questioning to elicit student thinking) and enabling students to take responsibility for their learning (self & peer assessment).
  • Use data driven decision making to identify areas for improvement. (Data can be observations, student performance, etc.)

Classroom Environment and Culture

Students participate in phenomena based inquiry and design through productive classroom discussions, opportunities, and structures to safely share their learning and discovery. All students, without exception, are acknowledged, appreciated, valued, and respected. Teachers foster a supportive, inclusive, challenging, and caring classroom community. The classroom space provides flexible opportunities for learning and collaboration, empowering students to be independent learners.

Use of Physical Environment:
  • Set up and design a classroom that allows for individual work time, partner work and small or large groups.
  •  Promote an inquiry-based learning environment that utilizes manipulatives, visual, and graphic support (scaffolds).
  • Ensure resources, supplies, and technology are readily available for teachers and students.
Classroom Routines and Rituals:
  • Encourage student talk to increase classroom sensemaking that results in deeper understanding.
  • Provide students with time to reflect on their thinking before sharing.
  • Provide classroom routines and rituals that account for different learning styles, cultural backgrounds, and language proficiency.
Classroom Culture:
  • Foster a culture that values students’ life experiences as community assets.
  • Focus on student reasoning in class discussions rather than looking for the “right” answer.
  • Foster an environment that supports student engagement in scientific inquiry and engineering design while encouraging students to reach for new levels of expertise.

Science Project Team Report

If you need an accessible version of this report, please call 503.356.4328

BSD Science Learning Targets

Science Instructional Resources

Instructional Resources


Grade K-5 Instructional Resources

Elementary Science Instructional Resources will be recommended by the Science Curriculum Project team during Phase II of the curriculum adoption.

Middle School

Middle School Instructional Resources

Middle School will be completed in Phase II of the Curriculum Adoption Process.

High School

The Patterns High School Science Sequence is a three-year course pathway and curriculum aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The sequence consists of freshman physics, sophomore chemistry, and junior biology courses. Each course utilizes common instructional strategies and real-world phenomena and design challenges that engage students in rigorous learning experiences. The curriculum is a combination of teacher-generated and curated open-content materials.

Patterns Physics

A lab-based instructional resource for 9th grade Physics. Using the processes of scientific inquiry, engineering design, and critical thinking students discover and apply patterns in such major physics topics as motion, forces & momentum, energy, waves, and electromagnetism. An important aim of this resource is to develop and build students’ math abilities, performance in problem solving, scientific literacy, and technical communication skills that will be built upon in future science courses, college, and career. This resource addresses all required physics, inquiry, and engineering standards as well as select earth and space science standards from the Next Generation Science Standards.

Patterns Chemistry 

A lab-based instructional resource for 10th grade Chemistry. Using the processes of scientific inquiry, engineering design, and critical thinking students discover and apply patterns in such major chemistry topics as kinetic molecular theory, atomic structure, nuclear chemistry, bonding, chemical reactions, stoichiometry, equilibrium, and thermochemistry. This instructional resource builds on the skills developed in physics and expands the use of patterns to more complex functions and trends, also building on communication and technological skills. This resource addresses all required chemistry, inquiry, and engineering standards as well as select earth and space science standards from the Next Generation Science Standards.

Patterns Biology

A lab-based instructional resource for 11th grade Biology. Using the processes of scientific inquiry, engineering design, and critical thinking students discover and apply patterns in such major biology topics as ecological biodiversity, biomolecules, cells, the function and development of organisms, genomics, evolution, the carbon cycle, and matter and energy in ecosystems. This instructional resource builds on the skills developed in physics and chemistry and expands the use of statistical, technological, problem solving, and communication skills. This resource addresses all required life science, inquiry, and engineering standards as well as select earth and space science standards from the Next Generation Science Standards.


In addition to the Patterns units of instruction, the Teacher Cadre has proposed we maintain the use of the physical textbooks from our last adoption, which are still in good condition and supply. These are primarily used for homework, reference, and supplementation. These texts are:

Physics 1/STEM Physics: Hewitt Conceptual Physics
Chemistry 1: Living by Chemistry
STEM Chemistry: Chemistry by Wilbraham, et. al.
Biology 1: Biology by Miller and Levine

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Science Curriculum Project Team - Phase II