Every teacher needs to be vigilant when creating lesson plans in order to meet state and national science education standards. With the No Child Left Behind Act guiding the way, you need to be familiar with and utilize these standards to meet all requirements.
- Find your state and national science standards. In order to teach the correct material, you must first be familiar with the standards themselves. Each grade level has particular standards that need to be met. A list of national science standards can be found online at Education World Science Standards (see link) and there is also a link to state standards on that page as well. Most standards are very broad and cover a large range of topics, so there is a lot of leeway for creativity.
- Work with your available textbook. Most current teacher's editions have all of the standards outlined and lessons already planned that meet the standards. A lot of textbooks also have companion websites for more ideas and enhancements to the lessons in the textbook. If your teacher's edition does not have these helpful tips, you will need to match standards from the list you found in the last step to what you are planning to teach in the class.
- Search the internet for lesson plans. Many teachers post their ideas and projects online, as do science-oriented websites. You can easily download them or tweak them to fit your needs.
- Do lots of hands-on activities. The big push right now in science education is hands-on lab experiments or activities. These types of projects can be fit into most any standard, and can take care of the "science by inquiry" standard if taught properly.
- Enlist colleagues for help. There is no better resource than other teachers. The other science teachers in your school are striving to meet the same standards you are. Ask them how they meet their goals and ask to see some of their lesson plans. Observation of their classrooms or a brief brainstorming meeting for ideas about lessons will get you started.
As education moves more and more towards using standardized tests to measure ability, it will be necessary for you to incorporate all of the necessary standards into your lessons. You may be surprised with how well your lessons already match the standards. With a little bit of revision and tweaking, you will be meeting all of the standards without a problem.