Welcome to Science

Welcome to the Science website for the Utah State Board of Education (USBE). On the home page, you will find links to some of the most recent news from our office, and in the subsequent pages, we've placed more details about state science standards, endorsement information, grant applications, and our ongoing projects.  Peruse, enjoy, and if you have any questions, please contact us.

Utah Core Standards

The USBE, in January of 1984, established policy requiring the identification of specific core standards to be met by all K–12 students in order to graduate from Utah’s secondary schools. USBE regularly updates the Utah Core Standards, while parents, teachers, and local school boards continue to control the curriculum choices that reflect local values.

Current Core Standards

Grades K-2: Science

Grades 3-5: Science

Grades 6-8: Science with Engineering Education (SEEd) Standards

Grades 9-12: Secondary Science

Utah Core Literacy Standards

Core Standards for English Language Arts (ELAs) and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects

USBE English Language Arts Standards Include standards for Science Literacy Instruction in both Reading and Writing:

  • Reading Standards for Informational Text K-5 (Page 15)
  • Writing Standards K-5 (Page 21)
  • Reading Standards for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects 6-12 (Page 74)
  • Writing Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects 6-12 (Page 78)

Science Standards Revision Process (K-5 and High School)

In November 2017, USBE approved the beginning of the revision process for K-5 and High School Science Core Standards. The approved USBE standards review process includes multiple stages that require direct approval from USBE before moving forward. Due to this process, the timeline looking forward is only projected and may change as necessary:

  • November 2017: USBE approved the organization of a State Standards Review Committee (SRC) for Science Standards
  • April 2018: USBE approved the SRC Recommendations and gave staff permission to start the K-5/High School Science Standards revision process
  • April - November 2018: Writing teams met on several occasions to create Draft Science Standards
  • December 2018 - April 2019: Draft brought to USBE for 90-day review
    • 90-day public review will occur
    • Feedback from 90-day review will be will be integrated into the draft to form a final draft
  • April - June 2019: final draft reviewed and adopted by USBE
  • Fall 2020: Implementation of new K-5 and High School Science Standards begins (State aligned assessments will be ready Spring 2021)

Educator Endorsements

USBE desires that all educators in Utah are fully qualified to teach the courses they are assigned to assure that all students get the best education possible. All secondary science courses (grades 7-12) require specific secondary science endorsements for teachers to be eligible to teach them.

Utah Secondary Science Endorsements

Science Educator Endorsement 
USBE Educator Licensing

Courses That Can Be Taught with Each Science Endorsement

Endorsement Courses

To fulfill course requirements for secondary science endorsements each course needs to meet the following three requirements:

  • The course must be posted on a college/university transcript,
  • The course must be worth 3 or more credits, and 
  • The course must be passed with a grade of C or better.

Online Courses

For some teachers, online courses are the best option to take needed endorsement courses because they allow work to be done on their own time and in the comfort of their own home or classroom.

Utah Science Teachers Association (UtSTA)
The UtSTA offers several online endorsement courses in partnership with UEN and Southern Utah University (SUU). These courses are designed with two things in mind:

  • Improving teacher content knowledge, and
  • Improving science instructional strategies.

The courses are offered in a 12-week, semester setting and require 4-6 hours a week of coursework. These courses are $400 for UtSTA members and that price includes the posting of SUU credit. Due to the time commitment, teachers are only allowed to sign up for two classes per semester.


Many universities offer online courses that can be taken to fulfill endorsement course requirements. These courses vary from semester to semester and vary in price from university to university. Some universities also require a small payment to become a matriculated student and gain a student identification number. Please be sure to read all university requirements to assure that you are eligible, can meet prerequisite requirements, and can successfully take the course.

University Online Programs and courses they offer that meet Science Endorsement Requirements include:

  • Brigham Young University (BYU) Independent Study course offerings:
    • General Biology (BIO 100 & PDBIO 120)
    • General Microbiology (MMBIO 221)
    • General Molecular Biology (MMBIO 240)
    • Human Anatomy (PDBIO 210)
    • Elementary Chemistry (CHEM 100)
    • General Physics 1 (PHSCS 105)
    • General Physics 2 (PHSCS 106)
    • Introduction to Electricity and Magnetism (PHSCS 220)
    • Descriptive Astronomy (PHSCS 127)
    • Severe and Hazardous Weather (PHSCS 137)
    • Introducation to Geology (GEOL 101)
    • Introduction to Statistics (STAT 105)
    • Principles of Statistics (STAT 121)
    • Calculus 1 (MATH 112)
  • SUU Online course offerings:
    • Intro to Biology (BIOL 1010)
    • Intro to Chemistry (CHEM 1010)
    • Elementary Chemistry (CHEM 1110)
    • Principles of Chemistry I (CHEM 1210)
    • Chemistry Labs (CHEM 1015, 1115, 1215)
    • Geology of National Parks (GEO 1050)
    • How the Earth Works, (GEO 1090)
    • Statistics (MATH 1040)

  • Utah State University (USU) Online course offerings:
    • Biology and the Citizen (BIOL 1010)
    • Intro to Animal Science (ADVS 1110)
    • Ecology of Our World (WILD 2200)
    • Evolution (BIOL 3010)
    • Intro to Chemistry (CHEM 1010)
    • Principles of Chemistry I (CHEM 1210)
    • Principles of Chemistry II (CHEM 1220)
    • Organic Chemistry I (CHEM 2310)
    • Organic Chemistry II (CHEM 2320)
    • Environmental Chemistry (CHEM 3650)
    • Intro Biochemistry (CHEM 3700)
    • Intro to Geology (GEO 1010)
    • Geology of World’s Oceans (GEO 3300)
    • The Universe (PHYS 3030)
    • Climate Change (PSC 6810)
    • Intro to Statistics (STAT 1040)
    • Calculus I (MATH 1210)
  • Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) Online course offerings:
    • Intro to Chemistry (CHEM 1010)
    • Elementary Chemistry (CHEM 1110)
    • General Chemistry I (CHEM 1210)
    • General Chemistry II (CHEM 1220)
    • Severe Weather (ATMO 1010)
    • Climate Change (ATMO 1020)
    • Introduction to Geology (GEO 1010)
    • Intro to Statistics (MATH 1040)
    • Calculus I (MATH 1210)
    • Elementary Physics (PHYS 1010)
    • Elementary Astronomy (PHYS 1040)
    • Physics for Science and Engineers I (PHYS 2210)
    • Physics for Science and Engineers II (PHYS 2220)

Face-to-Face Courses

For some teachers, a face-to-face learning experience is preferred because it allows teachers the chance to experience modeled curriculum and experienced teaching. These courses are usually offered in a week-long session over the summer months.

UtSTA partners with local colleges and universities to connect teachers from across the state with experienced teachers in a week-long learning model.

Earth Science Education
Earth Science Education is a set of three week-long courses focusing on Utah Landforms, Rocks and Minerals, and Geologic history. Completion of all three courses will award an educator a 3 credit Earth.

Safety Certification

As part of the application for a secondary science endorsement, the USBE asks that all applicants complete a safety certification. There are three options for Safety Certification.

Utah Science Teachers Association (UtSTA) Safety Course
This certification process is a free four-week online course from UtSTA in partnership with Utah Education Network (UEN). It is associated with 1.0 USBE credit and helps to assure that all our science teachers are knowledgeable about the safe science classroom and laboratory practices.

Flinn Scientific
Flinn Scientific offers an online course that qualifies to fulfill the safety certification requirement. The course is self-paced and has been said to take only 4+ hours to complete. Please note that this is a vendor company and completing their free course will sign you up for marketing with that company.

Professional Learning


Courses are available to provide professional learning opportunities to teacher that help improve their content knowledge, teaching, and pedagogy. The courses are available from multiple institutions:

Professional Learning Series

Science with Engineering Education (SEEd) 
Utah Education Network (UEN)

USBE received help from several Utah Local Education Agency (LEA) Science leaders to create Online SEEd Standards Science Content Courses. The purpose of these courses is to help teachers improve their content understanding of the disciplinary core ideas found in the strands and standards of the new 6-8th Grade SEEd Standards. The courses also have a focus of helping teachers to identify and share phenomena with the intent of giving them more ideas to use when teaching the SEEd Standards. Participants that complete all of the course requirements will be awarded 0.5 to 1.0 USBE Credit (depending on the size of the course).

Utah Science Open Educational Resources (OER) Textbooks

The science education community in partnership with Dr. David Wiley from Brigham Young University (BYU) and funding from a Hewlett Foundation Grant has embarked on a statewide scaling for open education resource development for Science (Grades 3-12).

Building upon previous collaborations with educators in Nebo School district reaching back to 2009, the project reached out to engage educators from across the state on teams to build state textbooks for secondary science courses in 2012 and elementary science courses in 2013. Twenty three districts and 7 charter schools had teacher representation in the writing groups that pulled together the textbook from open education resources such as CK-12 and Thunderbolt Kids. The final textbooks are available in a digital PDF format for free under a creative commons license.

The project will continue with supported implementation efforts for teachers, along with a commitment to continue to update the materials each year using community feedback and data. This will be a continual process that provides a sustainable and cost effective solution to supporting student reference materials that are adaptable to changes in the Utah Core and science content knowledge.


Science OER Textbook Community Feedback
As we continue to refine and improve these documents, we welcome feedback to be considered by the annual review committee.

2018-2019 Science Textbooks

The Utah OER Science Textbooks have been updated for the 2018-19 school year. Books can be accessed, downloaded, and printed online through the following links. 

Online OER Books on CK-12 
Due to changes on the CK-12 Website the 2018-19 books are not yet uploaded to CK-12 and may not be uploaded in the future. We will update this if changes occur. The 2017-18 books are still available on CK-12.

Downloadable OER Books
Formatted PDFs for all 2018-2019 Science OER books

The formatting of the CK-12 website PDF downloads doesn't usually look very clean. With the great help of our OER Team we offer PDF versions of the Printed Books for a free download. These files can be used to print the books in-house if Local Education Agencies (LEA) have a better system for printing or they can be loaded on student machines

Science Textbooks: Hard Copy Purchases
Printed textbooks from BR Printers

BR Printers have been wonderful to work with and will continue to help us offer pre-published printed versions of the textbooks. Their website now has two pages, the main page defaults to the 2018-19 books and there is still a link to access the 2017-18 books from last year if desired. Orders can be made online and paid by credit card or your school/district can set up a Purchase Order. To contact our BR Printers account manager please email Greg Velasquez.

Books from BR Printers range from $2.60 to $5.05 depending on the size of the book. Only 2-Day Shipping is available for the BR Printers books and shipping costs, on average, add about an additional $0.75/book for orders more than 100 books.

These textbooks have a glossy color cover, with black and white pages. This keeps the costs low. LEAs, schools, etc. are welcome to print the books through their own printing services using the PDF files above. USBE has worked with BR printers to support easy print ordering, but LEAs are more than welcome to print these resources in house or based on their access and cost.

2015-2018 Archived Textbooks 


Grant InformationUSBE Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)


Evolution Position Statement

Answering Questions about Teaching Evolution in Utah.

R277-105-8: Expressions of Personal Belief by Employees 
Utah Office of Administrative Code

Intended Learning Outcomes for Biology

USBE Position Statement on Teaching Evolution

Utah Science Core Curriculum Biology


American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS) News

Darwin Online
Arts and Humanities Research Council

Evolution: A Journey into Where We're From and Where We're Going.
Public Broadcasting Service (PBS)

Evolution: Constant Change and Common Threads
Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)

Evolution Resources
National Academies of Sciences Engineering Medicine

State Science Education Coordinating Committee (SSECC)

SSECC is voluntary science community that work to discuss the needs of and share information about how to improve science education in Utah. It is made up of representatives from Utah districts and charter schools, Utah institutes of higher education, and Utah informal education organizations.

2018 Meetings 

September 28, 2018 
USBE, Board Room
250 East 500 South
Salt Lake City, Utah 84111
Register at MIDAS: Course #39831

Meeting Recording | Meeting Minutes

Agenda | Meeting Notes | Presentation

January 12, 2018
USBE, Board Room
250 East 500 South
Salt Lake City, Utah 84111

Meeting Recording

Agenda | Meeting Notes | Presentation


Friday, March 9, 2018
250 East 500 South
Salt Lake City, Utah 84111

Meeting Recording

Agenda | Meeting Notes | Presentation


Future SSECC Meetings

USBE Massively Integrated Data Analytics System (MIDAS) Course Registration 

Friday, January 18, 2019
250 East 500 South
Salt Lake City, Utah 84111
Register at MIDAS: Course #39831

Friday, March 15, 2019
Utah State Capitol
State Office Building Auditorium
350 State Street
Salt Lake City, Utah 84011
Register at MIDAS: Course #39831

2017 Meetings

October 6, 2017
USBE Board Room
250 East 500 South
Salt Lake City, Utah 84111

Meeting Recording

Agenda | Meeting Notes | Presentation


Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST)


What is PAEMST?

PAEMST is the highest honors bestowed by the United States government specifically for K-12 mathematics and science (including computer science) teaching. Established by Congress in 1983, the PAEMST program authorizes the President to bestow up to 108 awards each year.

Why Apply?

Recipients of the award receive the following:

  • A certificate signed by the President of the United States.
  • A paid trip for two to Washington, D.C., to attend a series of recognition events and professional development opportunities.
  • A $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation (NSF).
  • In addition to recognizing outstanding teaching in mathematics or science (including computer science), the program provides teachers with an opportunity to build lasting partnerships with colleagues across the nation. This growing network of award-winning teachers serves as a vital resource for improving science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education and keeping America globally competitive.

Do I qualify and what is the process for applying?

Visit PAEMST for more information.

Previous Winners

2015: Magdalene (Maggie) Huddleston
2013: Andrew (Drew) Neilson
2011: James (Jim) Larson
2009: Amy Pace
2007: Ty Robinson
2005: Bradford Talbert
2003: Emma Smith
2002: Ken O'Brien
2001: Rosalee Riddle
2000: Curtis Craig
1999: Glen Westbroek
1998: Steven Cox
1997: Sharon Miya
1996: Kathleen Ochsenbein
1995: Barry Bishop
1994: Duane Merrell
1993: Vern Bangerter
1992: Brett D. Moulding
1991: Ronald Cefalo
1990: Thomas (Phil) Talbot
1989: Michael Harris
1988: Dwight Brown
1987: Linda Preston
1986: LaMont Jensen
1985: John Heppler
1984: M. Hunt, Jr.
1983: Carl Bruce
2014: Britney Powell
2012: Julie Hammari
2010: Mathilda (Tillie) Uribe
2008: Vickie Ahlstrom
2006: Antinette Haggerty
2004: Carol Skousen
2002: Ann Houmand
2001: Patti Seeholzer
1999: Sally Ogilvie
1998: Terri Denney
1997: Carrie Jones
1996: Teresa Rountree
1995: Cathy Welch
1994: Darrell Spendlove
1993: Karen Bishop
1992: Susan Fredrickson
1991: Rebecca Olson
1990: Peggy Crandall

E-mail List

Science Teacher E-mail List Registration for Educators
USBE, in collaboration with Utah Education Network (UEN), has created an e-mail list for science teachers to learn more about Utah science events and professional development.

Science Team

Richard Scott
Phone: (801) 538-7808 | E-mail

Kira Hedden
Office Specialist
Phone: (801) 538-7773 | E-mail