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General FAQ

Elementary Science FAQ

Middle School Science FAQ

High School Science


How can I get regular updates from DPI?
Join a list serve for announcements pertaining to K12 science. Please contact Marilyn Johns to join one or more of the following Science list serves:

  • Science Supervisors/High School
  • Elementary Science
  • Middle Grades Science

Where can I find information regarding Science EOG/EOC testing policies and procedures?
Information is available on EOG and EOC tests including test specifications, sample test items, and calculator requirements on the DPI Accountability web site. You can access this information at the following web sites:

What resources are available for science teachers to assist Limited English Proficient (LEP) students who are learning English as a Second Language?

What science contests are available for North Carolina Students?
North Carolina students participate in many contests and are often winners at the national level. These are great for motivating students and developing their scientific skills. These contests are generally open to public, charter, and private and home school students. Follow the links below to find just a few of the many contests our students participate in:

What Resources are available to support laboratory science safety?
Laboratory Safety resources are available on the NC Science Wiki including information for district leaders and teachers as well as resources for safety training.

The Council of State Science Supervisors (CSSS) provides safety resources including Science Safety Guidelines for secondary and elementary science:

The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Safety Advisory Board provides information papers, position statements, and other reference documents to address safety in the science classroom. Position Statements Statements that particularly relate to safety include:

I still have a question about North Carolina's Science Curriculum. Who do I contact?


Where can I get information about the fifth grade EOG science test?
Information regarding the 5th grade EOG science test can be found at

What resources are available for elementary science?
The elementary science resources are located on the following sites:

Resources include unpacked content standards, assessment item examples, and instructional resources.

Is there an elementary science vocabulary list?
Although, it would not be difficult to devise a science vocabulary list, we at DPI have discouraged the idea. We prefer students to have experiences that offer opportunities to develop an in depth understanding of the concept. Inquiry science has been and will continue to be the focus of our section. With inquiry science, students will understand the meaning of the word and not just memorize the definition. There is a K-12 Glossary of Terminology located on both the NCDPI Science Curriculum webpage and on the NC Science Wiki. This document identifies terms that represent the big, powerful concepts and ideas teachers need to know and understand in order to effectively teach the science standards. K-5 terms are on pages 1-4 and terms for grades 6-12 follow.


What resources are available for middle school science courses?
Science resources for middle grades are located on the following sites:

Resources include unpacked content standards, assessment item examples, and instructional resources.

Is the eighth grade science end-of-grade test cumulative or does it only cover objectives from the eighth grade Standard Course of Study?
The eighth grade science EOG is aligned with the objectives from the eighth grade Science Standard Course of Study. However, the integrated concepts taught in eighth grade build upon the objectives that should be taught in all previous grades K-7.


What resources are available for high school science courses?
Science resources for middle grades are located on the following sites:

Resources include unpacked content standards, assessment item examples, and instructional resources.

What are the Reference Tables?
The Chemistry, Physical Science and Physics Courses each have Reference Tables with physical constants, equations and appropriate charts and graphs. These Reference Tables are meant for use in classroom activities all year and are also provided for students when taking final exams in these courses. Each of the reference tables can be downloaded from the NCDPI Science Curriculum webpage or the NC Science Wiki

Does North Carolina require science courses to have laboratory experiences for students?
Yes, all of North Carolina's Standard Course of Study Science courses are designed to include laboratory experiences as an integral component. Further the courses taken to meet the entrance requirements for the University of North Carolina and many other Institutions of Higher Education must be laboratory based. It is up to the teacher and the local school district to determine which laboratory experiences will be most beneficial for their students given local facilities and opportunities; however, all students must be provided with laboratory experiences. Laboratory investigations and scientific inquiry are important for developing student understanding of scientific reasoning, providing a bridge to understanding of abstract topics, and developing the skills and interests needed to do science. All students should be provided multiple opportunities to participate in scientific investigations.

Which science courses are required for high school graduation?
Students in the Future-Ready Core Course of Study must complete the following three courses:

  • Biology
  • A physical science course (Chemistry, Physics, Physical Science or the CTE course Principles of Technology)
  • An earth/environmental science course (Standard course of Study Earth/Environmental Science, AP Environmental Science, or IB Environmental Systems.)
Students in the Future-Ready Occupational Course of Study must complete the following two courses:
  • OCS Applied Science
  • OCS Biology

Additional information can be found at on the NCDPI Curriculum webpage.

Which science courses are needed to qualify as an NC Academic Scholar?
The complete program requirements for the North Carolina Academic Scholars Program as well as other high school diploma endorsements can be found on-line at:

In what order should students take the high school science courses?
A wide variety of high school science course sequences may be used to meet the needs of individual students, schools and districts. Traditionally no one sequence has been recommended because the sciences have been treated as separate disciplines. Currently there is disagreement among scientists and science educators about which sequences are best. Neither Benchmarks for Science Literacy (American Association for the Advancement of Science - Project 2061, 1993) nor the National Science Education Standards (National Research Council, 1996) recommend a particular sequence, although both recommend that curriculum materials and teachers make more connections between different science disciplines and between the sciences and other disciplines. North Carolina does not have a required sequence because the K-8 Standard Course of Study should prepare students to take any of the standard level high school science courses. Most schools offer Chemistry and Physics later in the high school years because of the increased mathematical skills required for success in these courses. For further information about high school course sequence please see the High School Science Sequences section of the Standard Course of Study.

What prerequisites does North Carolina set for high school science courses?
North Carolina does not have state prerequisites for any science course. Local districts may set prerequisites but it is important to encourage all students to take rigorous science courses.

Where can I find out about Honors Science Courses?
The Honors Course Implementation Guide and materials to support science honors courses is available on the NC Science Wiki.

Does my student need Physics?
While physics is not required for high school graduation in North Carolina it is an important course for many reasons. Physics will help students with quantitative problem solving needed for college admissions tests, college success and many occupations. Most science and health fields including those at Community Colleges require physics courses. The ACT College Readiness benchmarks recommend physics for all students. Recent research has shown that students who take physics in high school do better in college physics courses.