What is science literacy?

Science curriculum in the Anchorage School District teaches students the content, skills and processes they need in order to be scientifically literate citizens.


Scientific literacy means that a person can ask, find, or determine answers to questions derived from curiosity about everyday experiences. It means that a person has the ability to describe, explain, and predict natural phenomena. Scientific literacy entails being able to read with understanding articles about science in the popular press and to engage in social conversation about the validity of the conclusions.


Scientific literacy implies that a person can identify scientific issues underlying national and local decisions and express positions that are scientifically and technologically informed. A literate citizen should be able to evaluate the quality of scientific information on the basis of its source and the methods used to generate it. Scientific literacy also implies the capacity to pose and evaluate arguments based on evidence and to apply conclusions from such arguments appropriately.

-National Science Education Standards

In the Anchorage School District, K-6 science kits and 6-12 science courses cover the content and skills required for students to implement scientific methods to answer questions (scientific inquiry) about the world around them and to design and engineer solutions to problems that face our communities.


The science processes of inquiry and engineering are key to engaging students in school and preparing them for careers. Through inquiry and engineering, students apply the content and skill of science, math, technology, reading and writing. Science processes move students from being recipients of knowledge into active roles of answering questions and solving problems relevant to their local communities.


Guiding principles


Water discovery Doing science is for everyone! To encourage the "whole child," parents and teachers should join together to foster early science experiences along with opportunities for reading.


  1. Science is for all students.
  2. Learning is an active process.
  3. An in-depth understanding of science concepts, processes and investigations is emphasized.
  4. All students will have access and the opportunity to learn about each of the science concepts as specified in the curriculum.
  5. The science curriculum is coherent.
  6. Good teaching practices are encouraged - from experiential to direct instruction.
  7. Good testing practices are encouraged through the use of a variety of assessment instruments.
  8. The science curriculum provides the unity, purpose and vision that supports the improvement of science programs, teaching, professional development, assessment and student learning.
  9. Science is based on a common language and must be learned to facilitate understanding of the discipline.

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