About NGSS

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) present an exciting opportunity to teach science in a more engaging and effective way, and to incorporate engineering design alongside scientific inquiry.

The Next Generation Science Standards are a multi-state effort to create new education standards that are "rich in content and practice, arranged in a coherent manner across disciplines and grades to provide all students an internationally benchmarked science education."

These science standards were written with three dimensions in mind, as articulated in A Framework for K–12 Science Education:

Scientific and Engineering Practices (SEPs) are used in the practice of science and engineering every day, from posing questions and defining problems, to planning investigations or designing solutions, to communicating results and backing them up with evidence and reasoning. Incorporating these practices into science lessons will engage students in discovery, problem solving, and innovation. It is also powerful for students to see themselves as scientists and engineers, as this can broaden the career options that they might consider.

Crosscutting Concepts (CCCs) are concepts that apply across all science disciplines: patterns, cause and effect, scale and proportion, systems and system models, energy and matter, structure and function, and stability and change. These are lenses through which students can gain new insights. The CCCs also emphasize the interconnectedness of different disciplines and illuminate how we make sense of our world.

Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs) are the core concepts that students need to take away. They are organized by discipline—life science, earth science, physical science, engineering and technology—and taught at grade levels that are developmentally appropriate. The focus is on a streamlined set of core ideas, so that equal attention can be paid to the other two dimensions.

Why Engineering

Products we use every day, from pens and paper to cars and smart phones and even the clothes we wear, are the result of technology. We depend on engineers and technicians to design, make, and repair everything from buildings to medical equipment.

Engineering is the use of ingenuity to solve an everyday problem, and you don’t necessarily need an engineering degree to practice ingenuity. Engineering can be very complex, or it can be very simple. Sometimes the simplest solutions are the most elegant. As early as elementary school, students can use the engineering design process to design better packaging, plan a composting program for their school, or address another need that they think is important.

Engineering is featured prominently in the Next Generation Science Standards, and there are good reasons to emphasize engineering as part of students’ K-12 education:

To keep students engaged in school

Roughly 25% of US students currently test below basic in math and science. (OECD)
Dropout rates are 50% or higher at some schools. (Kyndall Brown, UCLA)

For a strong economy

There are expected to be over 150,000 new job openings in engineering and technology this decade. (BLS.org)

To improve the diversity of our workforce

Technical know-how and competence in math and science greatly enhance students’ career options and earning potential over their lifetimes. (US News)

The way to ensure success for all our students is to integrate engineering design projects into the regular K–12 science curriculum. By nurturing students’ creativity and ingenuity, we ensure that the next generation will be prepared to tackle challenges and find innovative solutions to problems.

Resources

Next Generation Science Standards

This is the homepage for the national NGSS. View standards for your grade or subject, or download them in PDF.

A Framework for K–12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas (2012)

This is the Framework that laid out the vision and philosophy for the NGSS. Very readable. Download in pdf or order a print copy.

California Next Generation Science Standards

California is the largest state (in student population) that has adopted NGSS so far. For grades 6–8, we recommend viewing the Integrated Model Standards Arranged by Topic.

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