Montana Science Content Standards and Resources

Science Instructional Coordinator: Michelle McCarthy | 406-444-3537
Return to the K-12 Content Standards home page.
 
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Montana Accomplishments

 
If you know of accomplishments not listed here, please notify MMcCarthy5@mt.gov

2021

Congratulations to Diana Burd, Montana Global Educator of the Year Award

 

Congratulations 2021 Montana Teacher of the Year, Kristi Borge!

   

Polaris, MT K-8 Teacher

Congratulations to 2020-2021 National Rural Teacher of the Year, Joni Carroll

 

2020

Congratulations to PAEMST Science Finalists, Lisa Moellenkamp, Christine O'Shea, and Chris Pavlovich: Clarks Fork Watershed Interview of finalists

 

Congratulations to 2019-2020 Montana Rural Teacher of the Year, Joni Carroll

 

Congratulations 2020 Montana Teacher of the Year, Linda Rost!

  Linda Rost TOY 2020637032271177259532

Baker High School Science Teacher

 

Congratulations to the 2019/2020 NABT Outstanding Biology Teacher of the Year

Sarah Urban of Capitol High School in Helena, MT 
 

Congratulations to the 2020 Montana Environmental Education Award Winners:

Formal Educator: Matt Wenger, Belgrade Middle School
Non-Formal Educator: Nick Ehlers, Missoula, MT
Award of Appreciation: Dr. Amanda Obery, MSU-Billings
 

2019

 

Congratulations to the Apollo 50th Anniversary Competition Winners!              

HS Team Fusion of Helena traveled to NASA's Johnson Space Center  

Middle School Girl Scouts Lunar Loonies traveled to NASA's Kennedy Space Center   

Browning Middle School Moon Dancers traveled to the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory 

 

Congratulations to Curriculum Developer and Teacher Leader Chris Pavlovich!

Chris developed a place-based watershed unit, "Watershed Warriors" that incorporates all standards for 5th grade.  She will be sharing this process with Mongolian teachers when she goes to Mongolia this summer!  Chris has also shared this curriculum with all Montana Teachers on the Teacher Learning Hub in the course she wrote, "Place-based Education: Your Local Watershed

Picture of the team

Congratulations to NSTA Award Winners!

To:  Maggie Chioko Hammel, teacher of science, Carter County HS, Ekalaka, MT for receiving the Maitland P. Simmons Memorial Award for New Teachers of Science at the National Science Teaching Association's Annual Awards Gala.

To: Rayelynn Brandl, director of Clark Fork Watershed Education Program, MT Tech, Butte, for receiving the Distinguished Informal Science Education Award

Montana PAEMST Winners

Robert Jensen Portrait Photo
"Having worked with many talented colleagues and mentors for over 20 years, I feel extremely fortunate to have a turn at such a prestigious honor. Teaching is a calling, and none of us became educators for the awards, so any distinction is welcome recognition of the hard work of education. Poincaré’s quote, 'A collection of facts is no more a science than a heap of stones is a house,' articulates my teaching philosophy, so I also see this award attesting to the value of giving context to science."
 

Robert Jensen Missoula, MT | 7-12, Science, 2019

The official biography below was current at the time of the award.

Robert “Rob” Jensen began his teaching career through the Teach For America program at Yerba Buena High School, teaching Integrated science and biology for three years. He has since taught at Hellgate High School for nearly 20 years and currently teaches 10th grade Biology and a 9th-12th grade STEM research course. Rob consistently involves his students in real-world applications of science, from real-time investigations of epidemics to watching a veterinarian spay cats in his classroom. He has also shared his love of travel with students, leading them on many trips to study sea turtles and ecology in Latin America. Rob was named Outstanding Montana Biology Teacher by the National Biology Teachers Association, has been recognized as the most influential teacher of a U.S. Presidential Scholar, and authored a published workbook on student engagement strategies. Rob has helped guide his talented research students to the state science championship six times. He was named Montana Science Mentor of the Year and received the Outstanding Teacher award for his support of student research. Inspired by his Peace Corps service in Morocco and Cameroon, Rob has also long been interested in international education. He studied the Japanese education system through the Fulbright Memorial Fund, worked with science teachers in Russia, and led a workshop for local science teachers in China through Teachers Without Borders. Rob holds degrees from the University Montana (B.S in wildlife ecology, B.S. in forest resources management, and B.A. in zoology) and from the University of Minnesota (M.S. in wildlife ecology, for his studies of Barbary macaques in Morocco). He holds broadfield certification in secondary science and has been National Board Certified in biology since 2007.

Mary McMahon Portrait Photo"The Presidential Award means that my career has positively impacted others! Every day I go to work to make a difference in the lives of teens. I absolutely love helping kids learn mathematics, gain confidence, dream of their futures, and strive to reach their full potential. I love learning from, collaborating with, and growing friendships with fellow educators. I am forever grateful to my family, students, and colleagues who've helped me along this journey to become a Presidential Awardee!"

Mary McMahon Helena, MT | 7-12, Mathematics, 2019

The official biography below was current at the time of the award.

Mary Anne McMahon has been a teacher for 23 years and is beginning her first year at Jefferson High School where she will teach 9th-12th grade Pre-Algebra, Algebra I, and Algebra II. Previously, she spent two years at Helena High School and 21 years at Bozeman High School. Her last six years at Bozeman High were spent as the coordinator of the math tutoring center, providing differentiated instruction to students of all abilities along with coordinating schoolwide online mathematics programs for colleagues to use in filling student mathematics skills gaps. Mary Anne is passionate about building confidence in all students. She strives to make a positive difference in their lives through mutual respect, teaching them mathematics, and attending their activities. Her enthusiasm is contagious and because students know that she cares, they are motivated to take risks doing their best to exceed expectations. Mary Anne has presented professional development for improving mathematics literacy and closing skills gaps to colleagues, school board members, and at conferences. She led Bozeman High's adoption of both IXL and EdReady online skills gap closure programs along with doing extensive STAR testing data analysis for the school. She also networked with educators statewide as a member of the STREAM and Math and Science Partnerships (MSP)-Lead grants at Montana State University to create and implement curriculum, including a statewide bison population modeling project. Mary Anne earned a B.A. in secondary education with a mathematics emphasis from Carroll College. Her master's degree is in mathematics secondary education from Montana State University. Mary Anne is also a seven-time recipient of the Distinguished Educator Award and a Gold Star Educator of Montana.

2016 - 2019

Justine Hurley Portrait Photo

"Being a Presidential Award recipient is an incredible honor. This award is a tribute to all who have supported me in my career: my family, friends, community, and all my students. My students have made me the teacher that I am and I'm so grateful for all of them. This award ignites my goal of motivating and engaging other rural elementary teachers in quality science education. It is extremely rewarding to be recognized for something I truly enjoy and about which I am so passionate."

Justine Hurley White Sulphur Springs, MT | K-6, Science, 2018

The official biography below was current at the time of the award.

Justine Hurley has spent her 12-year teaching career at White Sulphur Springs Elementary. She currently teaches all subjects to her third-grade class and previously served as the elementary reading specialist for four years. Justine’s passion for teaching elementary science extends to her students by creating a classroom culture that is constantly evolving, engaging, and hands-on. Students in her classroom benefit from using a cross-disciplinary science instruction model that makes science relevant in everything that they are learning. Justine strives to bring current science-related educational practices and opportunities to rural schools in the state of Montana. She has organized and led professional development sessions regarding implementation of new mathematics and science programs. Justine earned a B.A. in elementary education from Eastern Washington University and is currently completing a M.S. in curriculum and instruction. She is certified to teach kindergarten through eighth grade elementary school curriculum.

 

Thomas Redmon Portrait Photo

"Receiving the Presidential Award is quite an honor. It is humbling to see the accomplishments and impact other awardees have had across the country; I aspire to their success. Most of all, becoming an awardee has made me particularly reflective and appreciative of my incredible colleagues that inspire and challenge me every day. I am beyond fortunate to work with amazing teachers and friends in Hamilton and beyond. They all deserve recognition."

Thomas Redmon Hamilton, MT | K-6, Mathematics, 2018

The official biography below was current at the time of the award.

Thomas “Tom” Redmon has been an educator for nine years. For the past year he has taught all subjects for first grade at Washington Primary. Tom previously taught fourth grade for two years at Daly Elementary and third, fourth, sixth, and eighth grades at Lolo Elementary for six years. Developing deep conceptual understanding of mathematics is Tom’s passion. He enjoys creating engaging lessons to help students make connections to prior knowledge and form new understandings. Tom’s passion for teaching extends beyond the classroom to leadership throughout the state. He helped create the Montana Elementary Math Community, facilitates math matters workshops for the Office of Public Instruction, and serves on the board for the Montana Council of Teachers of Mathematics. LearnZillion helped Tom develop as a teacher. He created instructional videos for eighth grade functions, coached teachers in developing conceptual understanding lessons for third grade, and oversaw the development of fractions lessons in a kindergarten through eighth grade curriculum. He also led professional development about productive struggle and task-based learning. Tom earned a B.A. in mathematics and in elementary education from St. John’s University. He earned his M.Ed. in educational leadership from the University of Montana. Tom is certified in elementary education and secondary mathematics education.

 

Claire Pichette Portrait Photo

"The Presidential Award is a honor I am proud to share with my students, my school, and my community. It is a celebration of all the people who have challenged and inspired me to grow and improve as a teacher. Learning, much like science, is a process that doesn’t happen without some ups and downs. This award validates the hours we’ve spent together, struggling through hard work and mistakes, to reach a greater understanding of the natural world."

Claire Pichette Helena, MT | 7-12, Science, 2017

The official biography below was current at the time of the award.

Claire Pichette has been a science teacher at Helena High School for the past 11 years. She currently teaches Project Lead the Way Principles of Biomedical Sciences, which is an elective for grades 9-12, and Biology I for 10th-grade students. As a coach for the school’s science Olympiad and Envirothon teams, Claire enjoys helping students prepare to compete at state and national levels. Her favorite activities involve getting outdoors in the field to learn and teach about Montana’s natural resources and management. With funding from the National Institutes of Health, Claire has worked with researchers from Montana Tech and the Clark Fork Watershed Education Program to help students learn about bacteriophages and how they can be used to combat antibiotic-resistant bacterial diseases such as tuberculosis. This opportunity has provided students with real-life, hands-on scientific research experience and exposure to graduate-level laboratory science in the classroom. Claire earned a B.A., cum laude, in biological sciences from Willamette University and a B.S. in biological sciences and secondary education from Montana State University. She is certified in broad field science and health professions—therapeutics.

 

Beth Walsh Portrait Photo

"This award recognizes the love and care that I invest in my students and career to provide a meaningful mathematics education. It validates professional development and encourages teachers to improve their craft while serving as leaders to advance mathematics education. It is a privilege to be considered for the highest honor an educator can receive, as it honors all whom influenced and supported me. Most importantly, it honors the students who trust me to inspire and prepare them for success."

Beth Walsh East Helena, MT | 7-12, Mathematics, 2017

The official biography below was current at the time of the award.

Beth Walsh has been an educator for 20 years. She teaches seventh-grade Mathematics and Pre-Algebra at East Valley Middle School, where she's taught for the past 16 years. Previously, she taught seventh-grade mathematics for one year at Woodland Park Middle School. She has also taught at Bethel Regional Junior High School and Kwigillingok School. Beth communicates her love for mathematics with humor and engaging activities that encourage critical thought and foster open communication with her students. Her classroom is a place where students feel safe to share their solutions, ideas, and questions. She lives by a “Success for All” motto. Beth extends her commitment for mathematics to colleagues as well. Her leadership roles have spanned the school, district, and state curriculum. She leads her school's professional learning community and her district's mathematics department to cultivate teachers' best practices. She serves on the board of directors for the Montana Council of Teachers of Mathematics and Carroll College's Teacher Advisory Board. Beth continues to develop leadership skills by participating in the Teacher Leadership Institute and Mathematics. Beth earned a B.S. in elementary education from Central Michigan University. She is certified to teach kindergarten through eighth-grade mathematics and has child development and English endorsements.

 

Judith Boyle Portrait Photo

"Receiving this award is not only an honor for myself but one I share with the school’s community. This recognition brings to light the uniqueness a rural, one-room school offers and honors all the exceptional teachers in this unparalleled environment. This award motivates me to continue my quest to bring conceptual change in the pedagogy of teaching science to teachers, and it challenges and motivates me to invigorate other teachers to bring science to the forefront of education."

Judith Boyle Divide, MT | K-6, Science, 2016

The official biography below was current at the time of the award.

Judith "Judy" Boyle has been teaching for 34 years in various states, including Vermont, New Hampshire, Idaho, and Montana. For 13 years, she has been teaching at Divide School (a one-room schoolhouse), as its only teacher. Given this situation, she teaches kindergarten through eighth grade students in all subjects, integrating science, mathematics, and English/language arts into her curriculum. Judy participates in the Montana Partnership with Regions for Excellence in STEM, and is a Northwest earth and space science pipeline trainer bringing the Next Generation Science Standards to Montana teachers. She is the President-elect of the Montana Science Teachers Association and was the Montana alternate delegate at the National Science Teachers Association’s National Congress on Science Education in 2016. In addition, she was a member of the Negotiated Rulemaking Committee for the new Montana Science Standards, and presented in support of these standards to Montana’s Education and Local Government Committee at the Montana state capitol. She was awarded the Montana PBS Mission US Award in 2010, and the Montana Environmental Educator Teacher of the Year in 2011. Judy earned a B.S. in elementary education, magna cum laude, from Norwich University and she is a certified teacher in kindergarten through eighth grade elementary education.

 

Dacia Lackey Portrait Photo

"The Presidential Award is symbolic of the colleagues, administrators, and students that I am fortunate to work with. Their support through collaboration, questioning, learning, laughing and growing inspires me daily. It means that perseverance, courage and teamwork are essential elements to our success. This award encourages me to continue to follow my passion in regards to teaching mathematics and helping productive strugglers through discourse and authentic mathematical modeling tasks."

Dacia Lackey Bozeman, MT | K-6, Mathematics, 2016

The official biography below was current at the time of the award.

Dacia Lackey has been an educator for 21 years. She has spent the last six years at Hyalite Elementary School where she teaches mathematics, science, and art to fifth grade classes. Dacia engages her students in real-world mathematical modeling experiences, providing them the opportunity to take risks, engage in discourse, analyze data, and take part in a variety of STEM challenges. These young mathematicians see how mathematics concepts are connected and applied in real life. Her students self-differentiate, form and test conjectures, use technology, and investigate real-world situations by asking mathematical questions. Dacia has presented at the 2016 Montana State Office of Public Instruction, Title 1 Conference, and recently (through the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics) co-authored an article in Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, "Exploring Yellowstone National Park with Mathematical Modeling.". She currently serves on Bozeman's District Math and Professional Development Committees and is a cooperating teacher for education students through Montana State University. Dacia also co-teaches an afterschool STEM club where students learn about engineering, coding, and LEGO robotics. Dacia earned a B.A., cum laude, in elementary education from Washington State University, and is a certified kindergarten through eighth grade teacher

 

Calendar

April 12- May 8:  Virtual Conference: National Science Teaching Association

April 21 - 24: NCTM Conference - St. Louis  National Conference  of Teachers of Mathematics

May 15-16: IEFA Best Practices Conference

 

  • Sign up to receive the STEM News Splash. This is a monthly email with science opportunities for students and teachers; it is issued the second Wednesday of every month.
  • Nominate an Outstanding Biology Teacher!  Must have three years teaching experience.  Contact Kim Popham at kimpopham13@gmail.com or go to NABT.org to nominate an outstanding biology teacher.
  • OPI Learning Opportunities Portal

 

Vetted Curriculum

The following are vetted science curricular resources that are available, if you or your school are interested.  *Toward NGSS Design: EQuIP Rubric for Science Detailed Guidance

To access all grade level vetted NGSS lessons/units:

NSTA's Daily Do Playlists are suggested instructional sequences of NSTA Lessons that can be used to help students coherently build science ideas over time.
 

Grant Funded NGSS Aligned 9th Grade Curriculum

  • Physics and Chemistry Course, The Montana Office of Public Instruction worked in conjunction with Washington, Idaho, and Oregon in the Northwest Earth and Space Science Pipeline (NESSP) grant that was sponsored by NASA.  One product to be shared among the states (if you so choose), is the following:
  • High School Integrated

                      High School Integrated Physics and Chemistry Course

                   Overview

                    The High School Integrated Conceptual Science Program (ICSP) is a NGSS-aligned curriculum that utilizes the conceptual progressions model for bundling of the NGSS, High School Conceptual Model Course 1 and strategies from Ambitious Science Teaching (AST) to focus on teaching practices needed to engage students in science discourse and learning. 

                    Course 1 is the High School Integrated Physics and Chemistry Course.   The goal of these units is to encourage students to continue in STEM by providing engaging and aligned curriculum. The focus of this year long course is on the first year of high school (freshman).  While the course is designed to be taught as a collection of  the units, each unit could be taught as a separate unit in a science course.  

                    A video about the new course shared its unique approach to learning and teaching. Wenatchee School District, one of the participating districts, wanted a way to share the program with the community. https://youtu.be/9AGk19YUi2o

                    Course 1 of the ICSP development was funded by Northwest Earth and Space Sciences Pipeline (NESSP) which is funded through the NASA Science Mission Directorate and housed with Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium at the University of Washington.

 

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Featured Science Hub Courses

 

Science Foundation:

 

Be prepared for the new science assessments, become an expert on the NGSS and Montana Standards with the Science Foundation Hub Courses.  These courses take you step by step through the depth of the new science standards for a rich and deep understanding of this instructional conceptual change. Courses marked with an asterisk offer a sample lesson/unit within it.

  1. Montana's Science Standards 101
  2. Montana's Science Standards 201: Three-dimensional Learning
  3. Montana's Science Standards 301: Phenomena-based Learning
  4. Montana's Science Standards 401: Project-based Learning
  5. Montana's Science Standards 501: Indian Education for All (IEFA) and Equity*  

 

Self Paced Science Courses:

 
Take a look at the Teacher Learning Hub for a variety of science courses (and courses in all content areas)
 

Place-Based Learning: 

Other programs:

  • Code Girls United, registration is limited to certain areas for afterschool programs.

 

 

Comparison Document:

MT vs NGSS

Helpful Resources

 

Montana Science Assessment (MSA) and MSA Alt

 

     This coming spring (2021), the state of Montana will implement the Montana Science Assessment (MSA) field test and the Alt MSA that aligns with the current science standards that were implemented in July of 2017 for the first time.  Due to the pandemic the field test planned for the spring of 2020 received a federal waiver for accountability reporting. 

     This is the first time that the science assessments will be in an online format.  Also, the grades that students are tested in science have changed.  Students will now be tested in 5th and 8th grades, and the ACT test will act as the science test for 11th grade.  Science has also been added to the ESSA plan as an accountability component, which it has not been in the past.       

     The assessment will be measuring the three dimensions of the science standards, the Science and Engineering Practices, the Disciplinary Core Ideas, and the Crosscutting Concepts.  The testing window schedule is available.

 

Science Alternate Assessment Information

Montana Science Standards

K-12

Standards and Resources

Model Curriculum Guides   

 

 

Grade Level and Grade Band

Tech Directors: To access a machine readable version of the official Montana Content Standards for Science, please visit the IMS Global CASE Network site.  Create a free login, select Montana Office of Public Instruction, and view or download the standards. The CASE version of the standards can be uploaded to student information systems, curriculum mapping programs, and a variety of other uses. Learn more about the CASE Network CASE Network FAQ

Remote Learning Resources

 
OpenSciEd:  Staying Grounded when Teaching Remote
 
The National Academies of Sciences Engineering & Medicine:  Guidance for K-12 Education on Responding to COVID-19
 
 
Montana Public Broadcasting: Meaningful media use at school and at home