Science Class is a Bit Different this Year


Even though some people may not like the change in the curriculum, everyone likes the smell of clean new books!

Lancy Shi, Editor

Taking a science course is a requirement for graduation, so every student has a pretty good idea of what to expect when walking into class on their first day. Normally, we follow the teacher as they guide us through each unit by making us take notes, do labs, and complete tests. 

This year, however, “California is one of a number of states that in recent years adopted what are called ‘Next Generation Science Standards” (latimes). These new standards are supposed to teach students “to be critical consumers of information and capable problem solvers” (latimes). This is a huge deal to both students and teachers because we are all equally clueless. No one knows for sure if this new curriculum will actually benefit students as it claims to do, so we’re all sort of taking a shot in the dark here. 

To get a better understanding of this change, I interviewed Mr Pietsch, who teaches living earth (formerly known as biology). Out of all the science teachers, he is the only one who has already begun implementing this new curriculum. When asked about this, Jason Pietsch (staff) mentions that “the most challenging part of the new curriculum is that it’s completely different for me and the students from what we’ve done the last 25 years. It’s centered more around students’ questions than teacher provided information.”  

After three weeks of following these new guidelines, he is still very unsure of what the result will be. Mr Pietsch said that it’s hard to gauge if the students are understanding anything because they don’t do notes anymore. Instead of the formulaic structure of notes followed by student questioning, this new curriculum is entirely centered around the questions. It’s a more hands-on approach, and it is supposed to train students to ask questions and think like a scientist through classroom discussions. Instead of merely retaining necessary scientific knowledge, it’s more about training your brain. 

As many of you know, this isn’t the only change in the Californian public school system. Our bell schedules and start times have also been altered to seemingly benefit the students, which… is quite debatable amongst the students. With so many new additions to our already hectic school life, I’m sure everyone is still trying to find their footing. Just remember that you are not alone if you find yourself lost in your science class. Change is an essential part of life, and understanding how to adapt to that change is what’s really going to stimulate growth and development. The most important thing is to keep your head up high and believe in yourself! We’re all in this together!