Tolland Public Schools recognizes the importance of a strong, aligned K-12 Science program, and embraces the Next Generation Science Standards. The NGSS is organized into grade level Performance Expectations that weave Disciplinary Core Ideas (content), Science and Engineering Practices (skills), and Cross-cutting Concepts (overarching scientific principles) together, requiring teachers to facilitate students' learning of science by allowing them to "do" science. The high school Performance Expectations are organized into units, each with one or more anchoring phenomena that engage and excite students to learn scientific concepts and employ scientific and engineering practices in order to fully explain the phenomenon or meet a design challenge.
     In order to fully meet the NGSS Performance Expectations for high school, it is recommended that students take the three courses listed below. This will prepare students for the CT NGSS Science Assessment in the spring of grade 11. Tolland High School also offers a number of elective courses, and multiple opportunities for AP and UCONN aligned courses- including Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. 

In Integrated Science, 
Unit 1- Impacts on Earth’s Resources- Using a water bottle as the central phenomenon, students consider various aspects of our impact on the earth. Students consider the availability of water in different parts of the world, issues with extracting and polluting water, the energy, water, and resources involved in making a water bottle, and it’s impact when it is disposed of. Ultimately, students investigate drought ridden regions of the world and propose solutions to help relieve the effects of the natural hazard.
Unit 2- Global Climate Change- This unit examines several sub-ideas of global climate change: climate change factors, climate feedback systems, examination of geoscience data, and proposing solutions to mitigate climate change. Students engage in a wide variety of experiences to gain an understanding of the natural climate system, how this system is changing due to human activities, and how technology and engineering can help us learn more about problems and solutions associated with climate change.
Unit 3- Earth’s Interactions- Students deepen their initial understandings of plate tectonics, and the constructive and destructive forces that have played a role in molding earth’s features. Students will construct models of these events and forces across earth’s history, using the variety of evidence scientists examine to determine the time scales of these events.
Unit 4- Planetary Motion- Students are introduced to the Apophis asteroid, an asteroid that could impact earth in the near future. Students explore the various forces and laws of motion involved in calculating and predicting orbits, including Kepler’s laws, Newton’s Laws, momentum, and collisions. Students will also consider the difficulty involved in landing something on Apophis that could affect its orbit.

In Biology,
Unit 1- Matter and Energy in Living Things- Students are presented with a closed living system and asked how the system sustains itself over time. This phenomena includes the understanding of biomolecules, photosynthesis, cellular respiration, and other biogeochemical cycles on planet Earth. Students also learn how humans influence these cycles. 
Unit 2- Ecosystem Dynamics- Students are asked to consider the impact of the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park. Students learn about the flow of energy, predator-prey relationships, carrying capacity, and keystone species.  They also learn about invasive species and their negative impacts on ecosystems. Students take what they learned from ecosystems and apply it to body systems where they focus on homeostasis and feedback loops.  
Unit 3- Inheritance and Variation- Students learn about our DNA "blueprint" and how it carries the instructions for our cells. They work through the process of protein synthesis and its role in cell differentiation. Students learn about different types of DNA mutations and research genetic disorders. They then look at the role of cell division and an organism's ability to reproduce. We wrap up the unit talking about genetic inheritance and the role the environment can play in gene expression. 
Unit 4- Natural Selection- Students are challenged with understanding how organisms that are better suited for their environment survive and pass on their genes through a hands on bird beak lab and other examples. Students will be presented with supporting evidence for evolution. To conclude the class students will learn about the history of human evolution.

In Che
Unit 1- Where Did the Elements Come From?- Students consider a supernova and how it relates to chemistry by studying fusion and fission reactions, their role is creating or destroying elements, the properties of stars, how we analyze the light from stars to determine what they are made of, and how the periodic table represents the trends and properties of the various elements.
Unit 2- Bonding- Students are engaged through an investigation of stains and stain removal to generate questions about chemical properties. Throughout the unit students study compound properties, the connection between molecular structure and function, intermolecular forces and bonding, the properties of water, and the effect of temperature on molecules. Students are then challenged to remove a stain using their learning from each of these topics.
Unit 3- Chemical Reactions- Students are challenged to maximize the effectiveness of a model “airbag” using their understanding of chemical reactions, stoichiometry, factors affecting reaction rates, and energy transfer. Students must work within the constraints of the model airbag in order to have their model reach its peak effectiveness.
Unit 4- Applied Chemistry- Students apply chemistry concepts to a wide range of topics including: gas laws and kinetics to weather and climate; energy sources and conversions to alternative energy and efficiency in appliances; specific heat, combustion, and enthalpy to efficient heating. Students utilize their learning to design a green living space with a low environmental impact.

For further details and information about the NGSS, see the links below.
NGSS K-12 Performance Expectations- Organized by grade level and core ideas
Science and Engineering Practices Learning Progressions- details about each of the 8 practices, as well as how these important skills are expected to develop during the course of a student's K-12 education.
Cross-cutting Concept Learning Progressions- details how students develop an understanding of these key scientific principles across disciplines during the course of a student's K-12 education.

Mark Ruede
Curriculum Supervisor of Science
[email protected]