Adapting a Transformed Undergraduate Chemistry Curriculum for High School

Authors: 

Robert McKay, Ryan L. Stowe, Deborah Herrington, and Melanie M. Cooper

With the adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in several states, chemistry teachers across the nation are being required to substantially rethink what they teach and well as how they teach chemistry at the high school level. Given the limited time and resources provided for curriculum development, this represents a daunting prospect for most teachers. Unless educators are provided with a framework for this substantial transformation, it is likely that the adoption of NGSS will fail to realize the envisioned revolution of the teaching and learning of science. Adapting the CLUE (Chemistry, Life, the Universe, and Everything) curriculum, which was designed for collegiate chemistry, for use in secondary school provides a solid, research-based framework to assist teachers in aligning their coursework with the Standards. Conception and refinement of CLUE occurred concurrently with and was informed by the development of the Framework. CLUE thus focuses on foundational knowledge in chemistry in lieu of large swathes of often unrelated content and incorporates the science practices put forth in the Framework. Further, CLUE is built upon “big ideas” in chemistry including: structure and properties, bonding and interactions, change and stability, and energy. Accordingly, there exists exceedingly close alignment between CLUE learning objectives and the disciplinary core ideas (DCIs) and performance expectation of the NGSS. We report this alignment in detail here. We further discuss our plans for developing a working curricular model of CLUE adapted to the high school level.

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