Science is the active study of the natural and human-made world, including processes, structures, designs, and systems. Science students use their senses and tools to observe, record and analyze data about the world and make conclusions based on evidence. Scientifically literate young people can understand basic science concepts, use skills for doing scientific investigations, solve technical problems, and design technologies for today’s world.

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) supports science achievement for all learners by providing guidance and technical assistance on implementation of academic standards, current literacy best practices, multi-tiered systems of intervention, and science policy administration.

Distance Learning Resources

Please visit the Student Instruction COVID-19 Resources webpage to find resources for providing student instruction via distance learning. On this page, you can also subscribe to email alerts to stay up to date with MDE distance learning resources.

The Minnesota Science Teachers Association (MnSTA) has a collection of resources for distance learning, including model lessons, a recorded webinar on “Promising Practices,” a forum, and links to outside resources. View the MnSTA Resources for Teaching Remotely

Science Education Standards Review Process

Commissioner-approved science standards now available

The recommended draft of the 2019 K-12 Science Education standards, which has been approved by the commissioner of education, is now available at the bottom of this page. This draft may be used by educators for planning purposes. The standards have been submitted for the rulemaking process (read more below). The date by which all schools must implement the new standards will be determined during the rulemaking process. The commissioner is recommending that the year of full implementation be 2023-24; this is the year that the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA-IV) would begin to assess the new standards. For more information about the standards and the review process, contact John Olson at 651-582-8673.

K-12 Science Academic Standards Rulemaking Begins

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) has begun the formal rulemaking process for the K-12 Academic Standards in Science. The Request for Comments was published in the State Register on July 29, 2019. MDE will accept comments on the proposed rule until a Notice of Hearing or a Dual Notice of Adoption is published. For more information about how to submit a comment, please review the Request for Comments posted on MDE’s K-12 academic standards rulemaking webpage. A copy of the proposed rules are available on the department’s rulemaking webpage. For more information about the rulemaking process, contact Kerstin Forsythe, 651-582-8583.

Science Teaching License

MDE science staff and the staff of the Professional Educators Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB) have issued a fact sheet to clarify the current science licensure requirements and the opportunities for adding licenses and out-of-field permissions. Reference the Teacher Licensure in Support of the 2019 Science Standards document. There will opportunity for changes to support the new science standards after the new standards complete rulemaking. This document will be updated to reflect any changes.

Standards, Assessments and Graduation Requirements

Graduation Requirements in Science include standards and course requirements. See the Graduation Requirements webpage.

Student progress on the science standards is assessed by the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCAs) at grades five and eight, and once in high school in the year that the student completes a biology course. Information and support materials on science testing are available on the Statewide Testing webpage.

In addition to the state science standards, there are standards for literacy in science included in the Minnesota K-12 Academic Standards in English Language Arts (2010) (Pages 87-90).

Minnesota is a lead state in the development of the Next Generation of Science Standards. This is a cooperative effort of several states to provide standards that could be adopted by all states. The standards are based on A Framework for K-12 Science Education developed by the National Research Council. The framework sets the vision for science education and identifies science and engineering practices, core disciplinary ideas, and cross-cutting concepts. View the framework at the National Academies Press.

Special Projects

The Frameworks for Minnesota Mathematics and Science Standards is an online resource for use by educators for planning instruction, professional development, curriculum design and assessment. It provides instructional resources directly connected to each standard. It also has sections focused on best practices and standards implementation. The website is a collaboration of MDE and SciMathMN and reflects the expertise of teachers in identifying resources. View the frameworks.

getSTEM is a web portal that connects more than a thousand Minnesota educators and businesses. The website provides a sharing network, allowing schools to request materials and human resources, such as equipment, volunteers, speakers and judges. Businesses, in turn, offer materials, programs, and presentations to schools. getSTEM is a collaborative project of MDE and the Minnesota High Technology Council. Visit getSTEM and get going!

The Minnesota State Fire Marshal has created a safety checklist for school science facilities and practices. View the checklist at the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. Additional safety guidelines and information are available in the Science Best Practices/Resources section of the frameworks.

The Minnesota STEM Network is a project to improve STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education in Minnesota by addressing critical issues and forming collaborations across the state. The project is sponsored by SciMathMN. Visit the STEM Network website.

Recognition and Awards Programs
The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching are the nation's highest honors for teachers of mathematics and science (including computer science). Two teachers from each state receive the award annually. Awardees serve as models for their colleagues, inspiration to their communities, and leaders in the improvement of mathematics and science education. Honorees receive a monetary award as well as a weeklong professional development opportunity in Washington, D.C. Visit the Presidential Awards website to learn more.

The National Youth Science Camp scholarship provides two 12th-grade students a free, four-week summer science and outdoor experience in the mountains of West Virginia. Scientists from across the nation present lectures and hands-on science seminars and interact informally with student delegates. The experience includes overnight expeditions into the Monongahela National Forest, featuring backpacking, rock climbing, caving, mountain biking, or kayaking opportunities. A visit to Washington, D.C. permits delegates to visit some of the nation’s premier scientific, governmental, and cultural facilities. Applications are due in February. Contact the state science specialist for more information.

Standards and Related Information