The Williamsville Central School District’s Science Curriculum has its foundation in the National Science Education Standards and in the New York State Learning Standards for Science. Science education involves both science content and science processes. The content of science identifies what students should know and understand. This is the declarative knowledge of science. The processes of science describe how students explore science. This represents the procedural knowledge. In other words, science is both a body of knowledge, and a process of investigating and searching for new knowledge. While there exists interconnectedness between the content and processes of science, the emphasis may vary. The district has identified both the content and processes for each grade level (K – 8) and for each science subject (9 – 12). As students move from Kindergarten through twelfth grade, they naturally progress from more process oriented science instruction to more content oriented instruction.
Scientific inquiry is a powerful and unique method for the teaching and learning of science. The National Science Teachers Association defines scientific inquiry as, “the diverse ways in which scientists study the natural world and propose explanations based on the evidence derived from their work”. Furthermore, scientific inquiry may also describe “the activities through which students develop knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas”. The New York State Learning Standards state, “The central purpose of scientific inquiry is to develop explanations of natural phenomena in a continuing, creative process”. The district supports and encourages the use of scientific inquiry methods and processes in the classroom.
The district has organized its science curriculum in a format consistent with the New York State Science Core Curricula.