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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 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-8 Science - Basic
- K-8 STEM
- 5-8 Middle School Science
- 5-8 STEM
- 5-12 All Science
- 5-12 Basic Science
- 5-12 Biological Science
- 5-12 Chemistry
- 5-12 Earth Science
- 5-12 Engineering
- 5-12 Physics
- K-12 STEM Specialist
Iowa's Academic Standards - Science in the Iowa Core
Iowa’s Academic Standards provide local school districts and accredited nonpublic schools with a guide for what students should know and be able to do as a result of instruction. The Iowa Department of Education adopted new science standards in August 2015 and approved a four-year implementation plan with full implementation expected by the fall of 2019. Visit the science section of the Iowa Core website to view the statewide academic expectations for all K-12 students in the area of science. Educators can find information related to best practices around the standards at Iowa Core Educator Resources - Science. Parents can find information related to all of the Iowa Core standards in the Iowa Core Parent Guides. These parent guides are available in both English and Spanish.
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.
Iowa Governor’s STEM 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 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. Review all of the STEM Council activities on Iowastem.gov.
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.
Iowa’s Science Leadership Team
The Iowa Science Leadership Team (SLT) made up of science educators representing AEA science consultants, K-12 teachers, teacher leaders, and administrators, college and university specialists in science teacher preparation, and non-formal science educators. The SLT works to inform, share, plan, implement, and monitor structures, systems, resources, and models in order to ensure all Iowa students graduate as productive, scientifically literate citizens.