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Vision of Science Education in Iowa

All Iowa students graduate with the understanding of scientific concepts and practices to make sense of scientific phenomena in order to critically and creatively respond to local and global issues, make informed, evidence-based decisions, and actively participate in civic and cultural affairs.

Laws and Regulations

Chapter 12 of the Iowa Administrative Code describes science instruction at grade levels 1-12, which includes the following:

d. 12.5(3) Elementary program, Grades 1-6 and 12.5(4) Junior high program, Grades 7 and 8.
Science. Science instruction shall include life, earth, and physical science and shall incorporate hands-on process skills; scientific knowledge; application of the skills and knowledge to students and society; conservation of natural resources; and environmental awareness.

12.5(5) High school program, Grades 9-12.

d. Science (five units). Science instruction shall include biological, earth, and physical science, including physics and chemistry. Full units of physics and chemistry shall be taught but may be offered in alternate years. All science instruction shall incorporate hands-on process skills; scientific knowledge; the application of the skills and knowledge to students and society; conservation of natural resources; and environmental awareness.

Science Update

Science Update is monthly newsletter for science educators.

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Science and STEM Teaching Endorsements

In Iowa, teacher licensure is handled by the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners. For the requirements for teaching endorsements in Science and STEM, use the following links:

K-12 Science Standards

View statewide academic standards for Iowa K-12 students in science.

Science Resources

Resources in science instruction, assessment and professional development that support students in meeting Iowa academic standards.

Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science (PAEMST)

The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) is the highest award a K-12 mathematics or science teacher may receive for outstanding teaching in the United States.

Governor’s STEM Advisory Council

Created with the goal of increasing Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) interest and achievement, the STEM Council is a collaboration of bipartisan Iowa legislators, educators, business, nonprofits, students, and families focused on improving STEM opportunities and awareness in Iowa. The STEM Advisory Council’s activities involve community awareness of STEM opportunities, STEM programs for schools and out-of-school learning spaces, competitions for students, STEM festivals for families and communities, and professional development for educators.

Professional Organizations

National Science Teachers Association

Iowa Academy of Science - The mission of the Academy is to further scientific research, science education, public understanding of science, and to recognize excellence in these endeavors. The Academy accomplishes its mission through many programs and activities.

The Iowa Academy also annually distributes grants through the Iowa Science Foundation. See their page for information on grant requirements and guidelines for applying.

Iowa Science Teachers’ Section (ISTS) of the Iowa Academy of Science - ISTS advocates for excellence in science education by promoting professionalism, influencing policy, and enhancing learning. In October, ISTS holds an annual conference for science educators.

AEA Science Websites