News & Announcements
2018 Science Standards of Learning Approved by the Board of Education
On October 18, 2018, the Virginia Board of Education approved the 2018 Science Standards of Learning. The Standards of Learning are a critical communication with the citizens of the Commonwealth, parents, the business community, and higher education, in that these standards convey expectations and intended outcomes for K-12 education. The expectation is that students achieve these outcomes as they learn science content and engage in Science and Engineering Practices.
- 2018 Science Standards of Learning-This is a Word document.
- 2018 Summary of Changes from 2010 Science Standards-This is a Word document.
For more information, refer to Superintendent's Memo 172-18 and the Science Standards of Learning (SOL) Review Timeline and view the videos on the 2018 Science Standards of Learning YouTube playlist with VDOE Science Coordinator Anne Petersen.
Science Content Guidelines
Content guidelines are in the process of being constructed for all Biology II and Earth Science II courses. The intention of the content guidelines are to inform instruction and to ensure that the content is covered equitably across the Commonwealth.
The Science Standards of Learning identify academic content for essential components of the science curriculum at different grade levels. Standards are identified for kindergarten through grade six and for a core set of middle and high school courses – life science, physical science, Earth science, biology, chemistry and physics.
In addition to the standards, curriculum frameworks, enhanced scope and sequence guides, test blueprints and released tests, the following K-12 science instructional resources are available.
2018 Science Standards of Learning: Science and Engineering Practices
The Science and Engineering Practices reflected in the 2018 Science Standards of Learning describe behaviors that scientists engage in as they investigate the natural world and the practices that engineers use as they design and build models and systems.
Science utilizes observation and experimentation along with existing scientific knowledge, mathematics, and engineering technologies to answer questions about the natural world. The scientific method, which includes systematic observation, measurement, and experimentation as well as the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses, is used as scientists investigate the natural world.
Engineering employs existing scientific knowledge, mathematics, and technology to create, design, and develop new devices, objects or technology to meet the needs of society. Engineers apply science and mathematics as they engage in the Engineering Design Process.
By utilizing both scientific and engineering practices in the science classroom, students develop a deeper understanding and competences with techniques at the heart of each discipline.
The Standards of Learning (SOL) for Virginia Public Schools establish expectations of what students should know and be able to do at the end of each grade or course in English, mathematics, science, history/social science and other subjects. The SOL in certain disciplines support Environmental Literacy explicitly and in others implicitly.
Environmental Literacy offers connections to the Virginia Standards of Learning, school programs in action, teaching resources, grant programs, and more.
Green Ribbon Schools
The U.S. Department of Education recognizes Green Ribbon Schools where staff, students, officials and communities have worked together to produce energy efficient, sustainable and healthy school environments and to ensure the sustainability and environmental literacy of graduates.
Science Update Email
Teachers, principals and science coordinators are encouraged to register to receive the VDOE Science Update distributed by the science office about twice a month. Copies of recent emails are available as Word files.
Teaching & Learning Resources
- ESS Sample Lesson Plans – Align instruction with the 2010 Science SOL by providing examples of how the knowledge, skills and processes found in the SOL and curriculum framework can be presented to students in the classroom.
- Practices for Science Investigation Progression (PDF) – The Practices for Science Investigation Progression chart identifies the grade level at which specific science skills/practices are formally introduced and how they progress throughout the 2010 Science Standards of Learning.
- Science Standards of Learning Crosswalk Between the 2010 and 2003 Standards
- Lessons From the Bay – Activities and projects for grades 3-6 related to protecting and restoring the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The Lessons from the Bay are currently being revised. If you would like the materials before they are posted again, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Virginia Animals and their Habitats – A model comprehensive, cross-curricular second-grade unit that addresses 40 grade-two Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) in science, mathematics, English, and history and social science.
- Project PROMISE – Hands-on, problem-based, inquiry-based K-3 science curriculum and related professional development resources.
Middle & High School School
- Virginia BIOSTEM Resources – The Virginia BioSTEM Resources project offers middle and high school educators a range of bioscience and technology resources they can use with their students.
- Energy in Virginia – Curriculum guide and supporting materials related to the Grade Six Science Standards of Learning energy standards.
- Virginia Science Activities, Models & Simulations (SAMS) – Activities, models and simulations correlated to the 2010 Science Standards of Learning and Curriculum Framework.
- Using Significant Digits in Chemistry (PDF) – This technical assistance document provides some basic rules for determining significant digits and using significant digits in calculations.
- GreenSTEM@VCU – Lesson plans and videos integrating science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education with a focus on energy and the environment using service-learning techniques for middle school science, mathematics and technology teachers.
- Technology Sparks, Ideas for Teachers: Integrating Technology with the Virginia Standards of Learning (PDF) – Resources and suggestions for incorporating technology into sixth-grade science, life science and physical science.
- LENS Project Cornerstone Assessments
- Manuals available from ACS Chemical Science Safety in the classroom include:
- Safety in the Elementary Classroom (Grades K-6)
- Chemical Safety for Teachers and Their Supervisors (Grades 7-12)
- Guidelines and Recommendations for the Teaching of High School Chemistry (Grades K-12)
- Manuals available from OSHA Laboratory Safety Documents include:
- Laboratory Safety Guidance
- Chemical Hygiene Plan Fact Sheet
- Working with Small Animals Quick Facts
- CDC School Chemistry Laboratory Safety Guide
- Manuals available from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries include:
- Wildlife in the Classroom: What is Required to Display Wildlife in the Classroom
- Elementary & Secondary Wildlife Display Reporting Form
- Safety Observation Tool (Word)
- Science Safety Self-Assessment Checklist (Word)
- SOL Practice Items – Practice items provide examples of the new content and increased rigor of the 2010 Science SOL.
- Released SOL Tests – Released SOL tests in all subjects.
- Science SOL Test Blueprints – Much like the blueprint for a building, a test blueprint serves as a guide for test construction. The blueprint indicates the content areas that will be addressed by the test and the number of items that will be included by content area and for the test as a whole. There is a blueprint for each test.
- Ancillary Test Materials – Includes Periodic Table of the Elements
- Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching – The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) is the highest recognition that a kindergarten through 12th-grade mathematics or science teacher may receive for outstanding teaching in the United States.
- Virginia Association of Science Teachers (VAST)
- National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)
- Virginia Science Education Leadership Association (VSELA)
- Meaningful Watershed Experience – The 2014 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement, signed by Governor Terence McAuliffe on June 16, 2014, commits the Commonwealth to meet the goals and outcomes set forth in the multijurisdictional compact. The education Goal and Outcomes of the Agreement extend to all localities and watersheds of the Commonwealth and the target of environmental literacy for all students by graduation. One goal is to continually increase students’ age-appropriate understanding of the watershed through participation in teacher-supported, meaningful watershed educational experiences and rigorous, inquiry-based instruction, with a target of at least one meaningful watershed educational experience in elementary, middle and high school depending on available resources. These experiences connect standards-based classroom activities with hands-on field investigations. The following resources will assist teachers in meeting this requirement:
- Bay Backpack– Chesapeake Bay watershed-related lesson plans and activities, field studies, and professional development opportunities
- Chesapeake Bay Foundation – SOL-aligned curricula and professional development
- Department of Game and Inland Fisheries – wildlife and fisheries resources for students and teachers
- Science Museum of Virginia – information for planning field trips to the museum
- Science Museum of Western Virginia – educational programs for students and professional development for teachers in grades K-12
- Virginia Department of Forestry – conservation education information for students
- Virginia Living Museum - information on activities in the museum and outreach programs
- Virginia Museum of Natural History – information on professional development opportunities for teachers and resources for students including Virginia Science Standards Institute and Virginia Science Institute for STEM Education information and materials
- Virginia Naturally School Recognition Program – information on the commonwealth's official environmental education school recognition program
- Virginia Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom – educational program to increase agricultural literacy in grades K-8
- Science Matters – professional development and networking opportunities from the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)
- NASA – space-related educational resources for teachers and students
- Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching – information on the highest recognition that a K-12 mathematics or science teacher may receive
- Virginia Junior Academy of Science – information for programs and competitions for the advancement of science in grades 7-12