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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. Requirements for Teaching Endorsements in Science and STEM Click the “s” to find the science-related endorsements (Basic Science K-8, Basic Science 5-12, Biological 5-12, Chemistry 5-12, Earth 5-12, Physics 5-12 and All Science 9-12). Click “s” and scroll past the social sciences and speech endorsements to find the STEM K-8, STEM 5-8, and STEM Specialist K-12 endorsements. 

Iowa's Academic Standards - Science in the Iowa Core

Iowa’s Academic Standards provide local school districts and accredited nonpublic schools 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.  

Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science (PAEMST)

The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) is the highest award a kindergarten - 12th grade mathematics or science teacher may receive for outstanding teaching in the United States.  See the biographies of Iowa's past awardees on our PAEMST site.

Mathematics and Science Partnerships

 The Math and Science Partnership program was a Title II program designed to improve student academic achievement in mathematics and science by funding partnerships through a competitive grant process. Although the program is no longer awarding grants, information on past recipients can be found on the Mathematics and Science Partnerships page.

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  

Professional Organizations  

National Science Teachers Association

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 is 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 mission, vision, and goals of this team can be viewed on the SLT page.   

Other Science Resources

Keystone AEA 1 -

Central Rivers AEA -

Mississippi Bend AEA 9 -

Grant Wood AEA 10 -

Heartland AEA 11 -

Northwest AEA -

Green Hills AEA -

Great Prairie AEA -

Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on May 25, 2018 at 9:27am.