Key Conceptual Shifts in the Next Generation Science Standards
1. K-12 Science Education Should Reflect the Interconnected Nature of Science as it is Practiced and Experienced in the Real World. The three dimensions of the NGSS are Science and Engineering Practices, Cross-Cutting Concepts, and Disciplinary Core Ideas.
2. The Next Generation Science Standards are student performance expectations – NOT curriculum. Performance expectations simply clarify what students will know and be able to do.
3. The Science Concepts in the NGSS Build Coherently from K–12. The focus on a few Disciplinary Core Ideas is a key aspect of a coherent science education with a basic set of core ideas meant to be understood by the time a student completes high school.
4. The NGSS Focus on Deeper Understanding of Content as well as Application of Content. Understanding the core ideas and engaging in the scientific and engineering practices helps to prepare students for broader understanding, and deeper levels of scientific and engineering investigation, later on—in high school, college, and beyond.
5. Science and Engineering are Integrated in the NGSS, from K–12. A significant difference in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) is the integration of engineering and technology into the structure of science education.
6. The NGSS are designed to prepare students for college, career, and citizenship.
7. The NGSS and Common Core State Standards (English Language Arts and Mathematics) are Aligned.
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Introduction to NGSS
The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are K–12 science content standards. Standards set the expectations for what students should know and be able to do. The NGSS were developed by states to improve science education for all students.
SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING PRACTICES Science and Engineering Practices describe what scientists do to investigate the natural world and what engineers do to design and build systems. The practices better explain and extend what is meant by “inquiry” in science and the range of cognitive, social, and physical practices that it requires. Students engage in practices to build, deepen, and apply their knowledge of core ideas and crosscutting concepts.
CROSSCUTTING CONCEPTS have application across all domains of science. As such, they are a way of linking the different domains of science. They include patterns; cause and effect; scale, proportion, and quantity; systems and system models; energy and matter; structure and function; and stability and change.
DISCIPLINARY CORE IDEAS Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs) are the key ideas in science that have broad importance within or across multiple science or engineering disciplines. These core ideas build on each other as students progress through grade levels and are grouped into the following four domains: Physical Science, Life Science, Earth and Space Science, and Engineering.