Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks

The 2006 Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Curriculum Framework articulates statewide guidelines for learning, teaching, and assessment in science and technology/engineering for Massachusetts' public schools.

The Framework outlines the state's vision for the the Purpose of Science and Technology/Engineering Education. The following language is taken directly from the Framework:

"Investigations in science and technology/engineering involve a range of skills, habits of mind, and subject matter knowledge. The purpose of science and technology/engineering education in Massachusetts is to enable students to draw on these skills and habits, as well as on their subject matter knowledge, in order to participate productively in the intellectual and civic life of American society and to provide the foundation for their further education in these areas if they seek it.

The Nature of Science
Science may be described as the attempt to give good accounts of the patterns in nature. The result of scientific investigation is an understanding of natural processes. Scientific explanations are always subject to change in the face of new evidence. Ideas with the most durable explanatory power become established theories or are codified as laws of nature. Overall, the key criterion of science is that it provide a clear, rational, and succinct account of a pattern in nature. This account must be based on data gathering and analysis and other evidence obtained through direct observations or experiments, reflect inferences that are broadly shared and communicated, and be accompanied by a model that offers a naturalistic explanation expressed in conceptual, mathematical, and/or mechanical terms.

The Nature of Technology/Engineering
Technology/engineering seeks different ends from those of science. Engineering strives to design and manufacture useful devices or materials, defined as technologies, whose purpose is to increase our efficacy in the world and/or our enjoyment of it. Can openers are technology, as are microwave ovens, microchips, steam engines, camcorders, safety glass, zippers, polyurethane, the Golden Gate Bridge, much of Disney World, and the “Big Dig” in Boston. Each of these, with innumerable other examples, emerges from the scientific knowledge, imagination, persistence, talent, and ingenuity of practitioners of technology/engineering. Each technology represents a designed solution, usually created in response to a specific practical problem, that applies scientific principles. As with science, direct engagement with the problem is central to defining and solving it.

The Relationship Between Science and Technology/Engineering
In spite of their different goals, science and technology have become closely, even inextricably, related in many fields. The instruments that scientists use, such as the microscope, balance, and chronometer, result from the application of technology/engineering. Scientific ideas, such as the laws of motion, the relationship between electricity and magnetism, the atomic model, and the model of DNA, have contributed to achievements in technology and engineering, such as improvement of the internal combustion engine, power transformers, nuclear power, and human gene therapy. The boundaries between science and technology/engineering blur together to extend knowledge."