Category Archives: Next Generation Science Standards

Stay informed about progress in formulating and implementing the new science education standards. Click on a headline to read the entire post.

A Learning Trajectory for Sensemaking in Science

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) offer teachers the opportunity to consider teaching science in a new way. We help students engage with, wonder about, and make sense of natural phenomena, which closely resembles how scientists perceive the world and do their work. By observing phenomena, scientists generate questions, predict outcomes, and generalize results to […]

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Asking Questions and Defining Problems by Making Cultural Connections

My goal for students in my eighth-grade middle school science class is to enter high school with the absolute certain knowledge that they can “do” science. They know that when presented with the inevitable problems and questions of everyday life, they have strategies to analyze, interpret, and sort evidence to make good decisions. My role […]

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Science for All Students: A Teacher’s Perspective

Like many classrooms around the country, my diverse fourth-grade classroom consisted of regular education students, special education students, English learners, gifted students, students receiving free and reduced-cost lunches, and students from different racial and ethnic backgrounds. The science and engineering practice of developing and using models affords all students access to science learning. As one […]

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Digging Deeper: Peeling Back the Practices: What Did High School Students Think?

One of the big shifts in the NGSS is the integration of Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs) with Crosscutting Concepts (CCCs) and Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs). In other words, content is not taught in isolation: The teacher consciously includes at least one other dimension. Sounds easy, right? In actuality, that’s easier said than done. Planning […]

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Engineering: From Trial-and-Error to NGSS-Aligned

Four years ago, when the other seventh-grade science teacher and I started redesigning our curriculum for the NGSS, we knew we would have to include engineering. At that time, my understanding of engineering was pretty limited. I knew that engineers use science to design solutions to problems and that there was an engineering design cycle […]

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Wonder, Walls, and Waves: A Student-Led, Inquiry-Based Approach to Engineering Design in Elementary Classrooms   

As our first-grade class was returning to our classroom after recess, a learner directed our attention to our school’s newest retaining wall. He asked, “Why is the wall always falling apart on that side?” A rich discussion began, and we agreed to add his question to the “Wondering Chart” we had started in our classroom […]

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The Engineering Design Process: A Middle School Approach

To support the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Middle School Engineering Design, we have three goals for our students: to define problems accurately, design the best solution using a rigorous process, and evaluate and improve their designs based on evidence. When guiding our students to meet these goals, we first use various video clips, articles, […]

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Seeking a New Way to Assess Science at All Levels

The word assessment can prompt feelings of dread, mistrust, or outright hate in many teachers. That’s distressing, as quality instruction includes quality assessment. Unfortunately, we have allowed assessment to become the “tail that wags the dog.” The development of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) was a tremendous step forward in attempting to change that […]

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Kentucky’s Systems Approach to Assessing Three-Dimensional Standards

One thing is clear about our multi-dimensional standards: They require a complex and thoughtful approach to assessment. No single, conventional, summative test can be expected to provide reliable data sufficient enough to satisfy the demands of all possible audiences. To say a student truly understands all dimensions of a multi-year set of Performance Expectations (PEs) […]

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Focusing on Instruction to Improve My School

How do you envision science education in your classroom? Your school? Your district? In hectic life of a modern educator, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the initiatives, expectations, and pressures of our profession. As a first-year high school administrator, I admit I experienced a point last year when I was simply surviving—not managing adequately, […]

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