Standards and Benchmarks

The need for a scientifically literate general population has long been recognized. Over the last several years, efforts have been made to identify a basic core of science ideas, an understanding of which would constitute a minimum level of science literacy. With the long term goal of achieving such science literacy, the AAAS Project 2061 benchmark ideas and NRC National Science Education Standards were developed. These benchmarks and standards break the identified core concepts into interconnected strands of ideas appropriate for elementary, middle, and high-school students.

The PSET curriculum was originally constructed to allow prospective and practicing elementary teachers to develop a deep understanding of many physical science ideas at the level of the middle-school benchmarks and standards. The particular middle-school benchmarks chosen were those that have explicit strand connections to elementary-school benchmark ideas addressed in typical elementary classrooms, as well as those that offer unifying themes for the course. The PSET curriculum is also appropriate for college students needing a general education physical science course.