Next Generation Science Standards
What Are the Next Generation Science Standards?
The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are a new set of science standards for kindergarten through high school. The NGSS were designed with the idea that students should have a science education that they can use in their lives. It should empower students to be able to make sense of the world around them. And it should give students the criticalthinking, problem solving, and data analysis and interpretation skills they can use in any career, and that will help them make decisions that affect themselves, their families, and their communities. Many states have adopted the NGSS or very similar standards.In order to accomplish this, the NGSS call for science learning in which students do not just memorize a set of science facts, but rather engage in figuring out how and why things happen. Core ideas in life science, Earth science, physical science, and engineering areintentionally arranged from kindergarten through twelfth grade so that students can build their understanding over time, and can see the connections between different ideas andacross disciplines. To figure out these core ideas, while building the skills that will help them make sense of the world around them, students engage in the same practices that real scientists and engineers do. For example, students will develop and use models, analyze data, and make evidence-based arguments. They also learn to make sense of core ideas using crosscutting concepts that are useful ways of thinking about and making connections across different areas of science and engineering, for example thinking in terms of systems or cause and effect. The NGSS website provides additional information and resources for families.
The NGSS call for these three dimensions—core ideas, practices, and crosscutting concepts—to work together in science classes. For example, students could plan and conduct investigations (a science practice) to find cause-and-effect relationships (a crosscutting concept) of potential energy, distance between magnets, and strengths of magnetic forces (a core science idea). Each Amplify Science unit has students engage as scientists or engineers in making explanations or designing solutions as they figure out a real-world problem. Students will use the three dimensions of the NGSS together as they build their understanding of the concepts and skills they can use in their lives.