Massachusetts Adult Basic Education Science Curriculum Framework: Life Science Strand

This document presents the 2013 Life Science Strand of the Massachusetts ABE Science Framework.

Michele Bahr, et al.
Author(s) Organizational Affiliation
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Adult and Community Learning Services
Publication Year
Resource Type
Number of Pages

The purpose of this document is to present the 2013 Life Science Strand of the Massachusetts ABE Science Framework. This curriculum framework is a useful tool to help teachers do life science in the classroom - that is, to inspire curiosity about the natural world, to encourage inquiry about issues relevant to adult learners' lives, and to enhance critical thinking and problem solving skills by using the scientific method. Actively doing science - through observations, experiments and other hands-on activities - helps bring everyday experiences into focus. Topics such as health, nutrition, pollution, and global warming provide ways in which to learn about scientific concepts and processes. Hands-on activities that teach scientific concepts are adaptable to every learning level: even students with limited English and literacy abilities can build speaking and reading skills through the experiential learning approach to scientific discovery.

What the experts say

This is a stellar resource for the field of adult education and most useful for adult programs who want to develop curricula in Life Science. Topics are not sequential, which is a benefit to the realities of adult education for teachers and learners. The "Guiding Principles" (pages 8-9) in this document are the underlying assumptions about effective learning, teaching, and assessment in life science for adult learners. The curricular framework is a wonderful guide for the "Life Science Strand." It provides a blueprint if other states are considering the writing and adoption of their own such standards, though they could save themselves the time and use this document instead!

A significant resource is the form of the document itself, which takes well-regarded science standards and applies them to the field of adult education.  Second, the resource provides "essential questions" organized around cell biology, genetics, anatomy/physiology, ecology, and evolution/biodiversity. In addition, the appendices are invaluable, including: Appendix A: Glossary of Terms; Appendix B: Scientific Vocabulary and Common Illnesses; Appendix C: Resources, such as books, journals, organizations (and their websites); and Appendix D: Community Resources, which are relevant to Massachusetts but are accessible to people in other regions.  This list also provides ideas for adult education practitioners in other states/territories to search their own communities for such resources online. This document includes standards and benchmarks across all EFLs and can be used as a guide in instructional and curricular planning. 

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