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Next Generation Science Standards

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As part of my work with the Exploratorium's Leadership Institute, and for my own understanding, I have been trying to delve into the Next Generation Science Standards. I have tried to make it all make sense to me and gather materials from the main site, NSTA and many other sources. Below is a collection of some materials I have gathered and some I have made for myself and my Department.

December 2014:
The sample Performance Assessments were released last month and I'm just now getting a chance to sit down and look at it. And it will take some time to digest it. Each is 17 pages and includes background information, description of the tasks, time lines and examples. The Solar Oven is the only one that seems primarily Physics.

November 2014:
While searching for an image to use for a poster submission four my upcoming NCNAAPT meeting I found this image that I really enjoyed from the Concord Consortium. Conceptually I think it helps with understanding how the three strands are brought together. I was amused when I found a "fortune teller" template about NGSS. I was thrilled to see this interactive pathway page. If you choose a Discipline Core Idea, then a Practice you would like to use and finally a Crosscutting Concept. Then an activity is suggested for you that meets all those needs! The materials look great and were developed with a grant from NSF. The activities are very detailed, including images and other multimedia and has pacing information with teacher support. Some have questions next to the pictures for students to answer. After the questions are answered students can create a report that can be printed with their responses.
NGSS Pathways.gif

The poster I submitted to the NCNAAPT conference is available here and is meant as an introduction to NGSS for teachers and administrators alike.

September 2014:

Working with my colleagues we took our District's linear sequence for Physics and found the Performance Expectations that fit with each of our units. From there we added our own objectives for some, more for others; Waves & Sound for example have many more of our own objectives because there are not many in NGSS that are about sound and mechanical waves. We also found some Science & Engineering Practices that were included in these units. There are many more practices we could have kept, but we were trying to keep it to a page. :) These are a work in process and are our own curricular guides; please take them lightly as we along with the rest of the country align to NGSS.

NGSS Aligned Unit Outlines:
More are coming soonKinematics Forces
 Circular Motion,Torque Thermodynamics  Momentum  Waves & Sound
June 2014:
A great article on NSTA's blog about how to employ the NGSS. I love the cooking analogy!

Summer 2013:

I found that I started not understanding the basic chart format of the standards. I found an Infographic about NGSS that is very clear and understandable that helps explain the "parts." The new standards are no longer a check list of "things students need to know" but a list of (1) Content they must know at a deeper level than before, (2) Practices or skills they must have in order to express that content and (3) Crosscutting ideas they should be able to see across several disciplines. The framework in its chart form separates each of these categories from the "Performance Expectations" that detail what students are expected to be able to do based on those three parts.

Specific resources for the Middle School and High School are also available.

NSTA Resources:
A huge amount of NSTA materials is available on this website and is very helpful because they sort the standards differently.


I found an Infographic about NGSS that is very clear and understandable that helps explain the "parts." After I found this I used it to develop a NGSS Professional Development introduction  using portions of the Infographic by This is a general explanation piece using the image in a printable format.

Crosscutting Concepts:

The Crosscutting Concepts are concepts that should appear in multiple disciplines and help students see the overall interdisciplinary connections between their classes. Often, teachers discuss applications of a particular concept in multiple classes. For example, the lens of the eye shares properties with over convex lenses so it may be discussed in both a biology (or anatomy) class as well as a Physics class. In my class I discuss near-sightedness and far-sightedness and how their focal lengths differ; students who are in anatomy and have dissected a cow's eye have a much better understanding of that concept.

Crosscutting Concepts Grades 6-8 and Grades 9-12

Science and Engineering Practices:

These skills are listed under specific Performance Expectations but do not have to be taught only with those concepts. All the advice I've heard for implementation of NGSS has been to start with these Science and Engineering Practices. These skills can be taught to students in any concept and if students truly understand how to do it then they should be able to apply them to any other concept. For example, there is an Science & Engineering Practice regarding analyzing data, something that students do frequently. There are others about designing and revising a model which you may teach to your students in the Kinematics unit but they may be assessed regarding Electricity. I've separated the Science and Engineering Practices for Grades 9-12 so that you can see them a little more broadly.