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- Why the Big Bang?- Students investigate sound, light, and other waves to understand how scientists interpret them to find evidence of the origin of the universe.  As the unit progresses, students develop a categorization process for stars, and investigate the Doppler Effect as it relates to our expanding universe.
Unit 2- 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.
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- 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 5- 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.

In Biology,
Unit 1- Matter and Energy in Living Systems- Students consider what must occur after the devastation of a forest fire in order for life to reestablish itself. This includes understanding the importance of carbon in organic molecules, the role of respiration and photosynthesis in living things and ecosystems, and how they play a role in cycling carbon.
Unit 2- Ecosystem Dynamics- Students are asked to consider the impact of the reintroduction of Yellowstone’s wolves on the ecosystem’s dynamics. Students learn about energy flow, homeostasis, and populations. Students also investigate the factors affecting systems from the micro to the macro level, and ultimately develop a model of the wide range of interactions and changes that can occur when a new organism enters an ecosystem.
Unit 3- Inheritance and Variation- Students consider the Roloff family and how such a variety of traits can exist in one family. Students first study DNA’s structure and role as the genetic instructions of the cell and the organism as a whole. They look at the role of cell division processes and protein synthesis in an organism’s function and ability to reproduce. They then study the various mechanisms of genetic inheritance and expression, as well as the role the environment can play, before constructing an explanation for the Roloff family’s traits.
Unit 4- Natural Selection- Students study the silent crickets of Hawaii, and the forces involved in the long term changes of a species or population. Topics include a deepening of their understandings of ecological interactions and the effects of disturbances, as well as the development of adaptations and their effect on reproductive success.
Unit 5- Sustainability- Students are presented with images of coral reef destruction and consider both the human and natural causes that lead to large scale impacts on organisms and ecosystems, sometimes resulting in extinction. Students then consider how humans can play a role in remediation and improving ecosystem sustainability and biodiversity, developing their own prototype of an ecosystem improvement product.

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]