Separate efforts by three agencies, two federal and the other Massachusetts, are converging to open the door to use clean energy as an integrating framework for science, technology, engineering, and math - STEM - education.

Department of Energy Education Guidelines

DOE’s Energy Education and Workforce Development Office published Energy Literacy: Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts for Energy Education in July 2012. These guidelines are intended to apply not only to K-12 students, but to all audiences. DOE identifies seven key concepts to highlight in classrooms.

  • Energy is a physical quantity that follows precise natural laws.
  • Physical processes on Earth are the result of energy flow through the Earth system.
  • Biological processes depend on energy flow through the Earth system.
  • Various sources of energy can be used to power human activities, and often this energy must be transferred from source to destination.
  • Energy decisions are influenced by economic, political, environmental, and social factors.
  • The amount of energy used by human society depends on many factors.The quality of life of individuals and societies is affected by energy choices.

National Science Education and Teaching Standards

In 1996, the National Research Council published the National Science Education Standards. NRC collaborated with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, National Science Teachers Association, and Achieve (an education nonprofit organization that works with states) to develop the Next Generation Science Standards, released in Spring 2013.

The Framework for K-12 Science Education identifies energy as a “Cross-Cutting Concept;” an integrative category to help teachers organize scientific education. 

Achieve worked with states to develop standards based on this framework.

Massachusetts Curriculum Framework Updates

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education's Office of Math, Science, and Technology Engineering (OMSTE) is revising the Science and Technology/Engineering Curriculum Framework in collaboration with Achieve and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). OMSTE sought public comments on NGSS. In Fall 2013, a review panel will make recommendations on the NGSS and state drafts, and will produce revised standards. Then OMSTE will release these revised standards to the public and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education for comments. Implementation of the standards in school districts will take place from winter 2013 through 2015-2016.

This article was published in the July 2013 issue of the Mass. Assoc. of Science Teachers MASTHEAD newsletter about the review process: " Final Push for Revised Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Standards pdf format of Final Push - Rev Mass Sci & Tech/Eng Stds - MASTHEAD


Content provided by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources