Here they are folks. Really, it was not the easiest document to locate. There is a 400 page document which I guess you could read, but I offer that the time you spent reading that document you will never get back (find it here to download). The other document is the performance expectations–this is the one I do recommend you look over (save it here). I actually like the layout even though it is hard to read at first. All the info you need is there to help you plan a lesson on a few pages. High School starts on page 51.

I’ll reiterate that the common core is NOT a panacea for changing science education. There seems to be some evidence (read about it here) that calls BS on the effect of standards. I say who cares one way or the other. The odds of the Core movement getting erased are low and my boss wants us to look them over. So if my boss likes ‘em, I like ‘em.

Any teacher can look at these and say, “How the heck am I supposed to teach from these?” And therein lies the rub–they do not help teachers teach on a daily basis. The standards need to be unpacked so that they are teachable. Unpacking is a son of a gun. I took this graduate class at Northwestern and we unpacked the National standards for energy and tried to write a week long lesson plan that reflected our unpacking–took 4 of us 5 weeks to do it. Not kidding. And no, we didn’t suck at teaching, thank you very much. The bottom line is that even with standards, there is still a tremendous amount of ambiguity for how to get there, the degree to which one actually learns the standard…check this one out on page 71, ”

Students who demonstrate understanding can: a. Construct and defend models and mathematical representations that show that over time the total energy within an isolated system is constant, including the motion and interactions of matter and radiation within the system. [Assessment Boundary: Computational accounting for energy in a system limited to systems of two or three components.]”

How does one teach to that standard? What level of math representation? Linear systems? Quadratic systems? What sub-topics are needed to meet this standard?

Is this done in one lesson? Two? Three? A month? A year? How simple can the model be? How complex? If a student memorized the conservation of energy formula, is that good enough?

And that’s me just looking at one standard for a few moments. We’ll now see a cottage industry of people saying they know how to implement the standards so if you pay them a few g’s they’ll come to your school and teach your teachers how to do this.

But, like I said, my boss wants me to do it, so I’m gonna do it. Let’s just say I am realistic about the results.