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Utah Science Teaching Standards

Utah Science and Engineering Education Standards

(Utah SEEd Standards)

Utah has its own set of new science standards. They are called the Utah SEEd. The acronym stands for Science with Engineering Education Standards, and I’ve designed my science lesson resources to uphold those standards.

Utah’s Science and Engineering Education Standards (Utah SEEd) were written by Utah Educators and scientists using research-based practices from A Framework for K-12 Science Education and the Next Generation Science Standards to formulate high-quality performance standards specific to Utah. These standards were written with students in mind, including engaging activities that focus on having students make sense of the science, rather than learning a set of facts. The standards build on one another in a developmentally appropriate progression. The Utah SEEd standards have three dimensions. The Science and Engineering Practices, the Crosscutting Concepts and Disciplinary Core Ideas.

Science is an active endeavor. Students learn best by engaging in it. This includes gathering information through observations, reasoning, and communicating with others. It is not enough for students to read about science or watch others do science.  Students must become active participants engaging in the science and engineering practices.

The Science and Engineering Practices

The Science and Engineering Practices for Utah SEEd standards are what students and scientists do in science. In other words, the Science and Engineering Practices (SEP) are the behaviors of scientists and students. Engaging students in science and engineering practices help students understand how scientific knowledge develops and will pique the interest of students and may lead to a continual interest in scientific content. There are eight science and engineering practices in the Utah SEEd standards.

  • Asking Questions or Defining Problems
  • Developing and Using Models
  • Planning and Carrying Out Investigations
  • Analyzing and Interpreting Data
  • Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking
  • Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
  • Engaging in Argument from Evidence
  • Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information
Three Dimensional Learning Teaching Science Utah SEEd

Crosscutting Concepts

The crosscutting concepts provide a lens through which students can think about the topic at hand. Crosscutting concepts have applications across all domains of science. As such, they are a way of linking the different areas of science. 

They include patterns.

  • cause and effect
  • scale, proportion, and quantity
  • systems and system models
  • energy and matter
  • structure and function
  • and stability and change.

Crosscutting concepts also help the teacher to ask the right questions as they guide the inquiry.

The Disciplinary Core Ideas

The Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs) are the key ideas in science that students must learn at each level. They build on one another at each grade level. There are disciplinary core ideas in each domain of science: Physical Science, Life Science, Earth and Space Science, and Engineering.

Another important aspect of the Utah SEEd is the use of Phenomena

Phenomena are observable events that cause a student to wonder or otherwise engage with the process of science. The observations do not have to be seen by the human eye but may be observed and recorded by instruments. Phenomena are specific observable events.  For example, the topic of the weather by itself is not a phenomenon. But if you showed students damage from a severe storm or flooding it could be used as a phenomenon. Why? Because it generates a human problem that requires an engineering solution. 

Utah SEEd standards are designed so that the teacher can see all three dimensions within each standard. The Science and Engineering Standards are written in Bold, the Crosscutting Concepts are underlined and the Disciplinary Concepts have a Code at the end of the standard.

These standards were written with students in mind, including engaging activities that focus on having students make sense of the science, rather than learning a set of facts. The standards build on one another in a developmentally appropriate progression. The Utah SEEd standards have three dimensions. The Science and Engineering Practices, the Crosscutting Concepts and Disciplinary Core Ideas.

The purpose of the Utah SEEd standards is to help students make sense of science.  This is a move away from the teaching strategy of just having students learn a set of facts.  Utah SEEd wants students to make sense and understand the science!

How to Read the Utah SEEd Standards

Utah SEEd Storylines

A storyline is a coherent sequence of lessons, in which each step is driven by students’ questions that arise from their interactions with phenomena. A student’s goal should always be to explain a phenomenon or solve a problem. At each step, students make progress on the classroom’s questions through science and engineering practices to figure out a piece of a science idea. Each piece they figure out adds to the developing explanation, model, or designing a solution. Each step may also generate questions that lead to the next step in the storyline. Together, what students figure out helps explain the unit’s phenomena or solve the problems they have identified. A storyline provides a coherent path toward building disciplinary core ideas and crosscutting concepts, piece by piece, anchored in students’ own questions. For simplicity, you can think of storylines as a unit plan. Learning is connected and built on previous learning. The episodes within a storyline you can think of as individual lessons or inquiry activities.

Utah SEEd Teaching Resources

Are you looking for science resources that are designed by someone who understands the Utah SEEd standards? I have been in the field of education for more than 34 years. For the last 11 years, I have worked at Utah Valley University, teaching the science methods course to preservice teachers. I have attended training for Utah SEEd and have passed on this knowledge to my preservice teachers over the last few years. Now I use my extensive knowledge of Utah SEEd to create teaching units and activities for K-8th grade teachers. My resources use phenomena to engage students. My resources are aligned with the Utah SEEd standards and use the science and engineering practices and crosscutting concepts to engage students in the disciplinary core ideas. 

Here are just a few of the resources I have for Utah SEEd Standards:

TeachingScience Utah SEEd Standards FAQ

QUESTIONSANSWERS
What is Utah SEEd?Utah’s Science and Engineering Education Standards (Utah SEEd) were written by Utah Educators and scientists using research-based practices from A Framework for K-12 Science Education and the Next Generation Science Standards to formulate high-quality performance standards.
Where are TeachingScience SEEd resources available?You can purchase my standards-aligned resources here on TeachingScience.us or on my TeachersPayTeachers store: Teaching Science with Lynda.
What grades do your SEEd science resources cover?I make science materials to help K-8th grade teachers.
Including Utah, how many other states are following SEEd?Utah’s Science and Engineering Education Standards were created specifically for Utah. They are similar, but not exactly the same as NGSS. Only Utah is using the Utah SEEd standards.

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As always, Lynda provides perfect alignment with the standards.

 
Age of the Earth and Geologic Time Scale NGSS MS ESS1-4

Sharon M

Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
5
2016-05-03T18:24:44-06:00

Sharon M

As always, Lynda provides perfect alignment with the standards.   Age of the Earth and Geologic Time Scale NGSS MS ESS1-4
Thank you so much for creating this resource! It is such a fun and engaging activity for my students, especially during distance learning.

 
Honey Bee Digital Escape Distance Learning

Expedition Fourth

Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
2020-11-03T20:44:55-07:00

Expedition Fourth

Thank you so much for creating this resource! It is such a fun and engaging activity for my students, especially during distance learning.   Honey Bee Digital Escape Distance Learning
My students loved this unit. I was able to present different elements of it throughout the month. It is hard to find interesting non-fictional, age-appropriate text for my students that they will enjoy. This was a great unit that aligned well for my students who have very different goals within the same group.

 
Compare and Contrast Two Texts on Reindeer

Heidi J

Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
2020-11-03T20:45:49-07:00

Heidi J

My students loved this unit. I was able to present different elements of it throughout the month. It is hard to find interesting non-fictional, age-appropriate text for my students that they will enjoy. This was a great unit that aligned well for my students who have very different goals within the same group.   Compare and Contrast Two Texts on Reindeer
I am so impressed with this unit which manages to be distance learning and hands-on at the same time.  Really well thought out and engaging activities that allow students to practice each of the eight Science and Engineering Practices.  Really no prep for me!

 
Science and Engineering Practices Distance Education Unit

Tina S

Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
5
2016-05-03T18:05:39-06:00

Tina S

I am so impressed with this unit which manages to be distance learning and hands-on at the same time.  Really well thought out and engaging activities that allow students to practice each of the eight Science and Engineering Practices.  Really no prep for me!   Science and Engineering Practices Distance Education Unit
The elephant article was excellent but I also thought the lab on dissecting a flower was broken down so easily, even telling me where to get inexpensive flowers!  This resource helped me teach this challenging standard in an engaging way.  Worth every penny!

 
Structure and Function NGSS 4-LS1-1 and 4-LS1-2

Richard S

Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
5
2016-05-03T18:07:52-06:00

Richard S

The elephant article was excellent but I also thought the lab on dissecting a flower was broken down so easily, even telling me where to get inexpensive flowers!  This resource helped me teach this challenging standard in an engaging way.  Worth every penny!   Structure and Function NGSS 4-LS1-1 and 4-LS1-2
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Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams