Chapter Six: Learning Outcomes
In Level Three Science there are five strands – Interrelationships, Integrated Science, Matter, Energy, and Life – with each having general learning outcomes and specific learning outcomes. General learning outcomes identify the broad categories of knowledge, skills, and attitudes that learners are able to demonstrate after instruction. Specific learning outcomes identify the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that contribute to the general learning outcome.
Strands may be taught in any combination and in a variety of ways but the primary focus of instruction is not the specific learning outcome. The learning outcomes are to be used as tools to address the overarching general learning outcomes, the Unifying Concepts and the Foundations of Scientific Literacy. These are the principles guiding instruction and learning and take a more holistic approach to science.
Interrelationships deal with connections to the workplace and to everyday life and include decision- making and applications of science. Learners should see that matter, energy, and life are interrelated.
The Integrated Science strand consists of laboratory and mathematics skills that are common to all disciplines in science.
Matter includes topics such as the periodic table, chemical and physical changes, elements and compounds, chemical reactions, and acids and bases.
The Energy strand deals with heat and temperature, electricity, force, and motion.
The Life strand is concerned with the human body, and includes learning outcomes on cells, organs and systems, nutrition, and the reproductive system.
The order of the strands is not prescriptive and the strands do not need to be taught as separate units of study: they are merely an organizational tool. The Integration of Science strand is intended to be inherent throughout all the other strands and not to be taught on its own as a separate unit. It is the instructor’s responsibility to incorporate the specific learning outcomes of this strand into the other strands.
Summary of General Learning Outcomes by Strand
This Venn diagram represents the holistic philosophy and approach this curriculum advocates for the teaching of science. The components of the diagram are interrelated and interconnected – represented by the circular aspects of the Foundations of Scientific Literacy. The content is important not for its own sake, but for the learners’ acquisition of deeper understandings of the common themes of science (Unifying Concepts) and the Foundations of Scientific Literacy, thus enabling them to become scientifically literate. This, in turn, meets the goal of the Adult Basic Education, Level Three Science Curriculum.
Content as the Vehicle for Learning
As instructors proceed through this section, it needs to be re-emphasized that the content is the vehicle being used to teach to the bigger ideas outlined in the previous sections. What is more important for learners than knowing the content is developing the Foundations of Scientific Literacy and using the specific content as a means to address the Unifying Concepts of science.Although learners need to complete this science course with some knowledge of science, it is not the recollection of content itself that is most important but the conceptual understandings of the nature of science, how science is done, thought of, and applied to solve problems that are more valuable.
This shift in how science is taught – from pure content to conceptual understanding – is a shift toward transformational learning. Drago-Severson (2004) citing Kegan (1982, 1994) found
Instructors should recognize that scientific content involves scientific skills, abilities, processes, and habits of mind as well as scientific knowledge. Science is to be taught through a conceptual lens and in a holistic and culturally responsive manner. The instructor uses the content to allow learners to investigate their own understandings of science and build on them.
The flow chart on the following page provides a different overview of the structure and nature of Level Three Science. Although linear in structure, this diagram still represents the Foundations of Science and the Unifying Concepts as the overarching framework for learning the specific content. The specific learning outcomes within each strand address the general outcomes for each strand. These can be used to illustrate the Unifying Concepts that weave throughout all strands and build the foundations of a scientifically literate person.
Foundations of Scientific Literacy
Habits of Mind
Organization of the Document
This section explains how to use each part of the Learning Outcomes charts.
Learners will apply the skills and processes acquired in the home, at work, and in the community.
General Learning Outcome
Generic Skills: Communication (C), Interpersonal Teamwork (IT), Numeracy (N), Creative and Critical Thinking (CCT), Technological Literacy (TL), Valuing Diversity (VaD), Lifelong Learning (LL)