Our vision is to have students apply advanced, systematic problem-solving skills to real world problems in a collaborative manner to devise plausible solutions.

In 2017-18, Maryland will fully implement the Next Generation Science Standards.  These Standards will represent a shift in science instruction, where students will delve deeper into concepts through a three-dimensional approach.  This three-dimensional approach to science instruction will involve the basic science concepts, along with science and engineering practices and cross-cutting concepts that span multiple science contents.


The practices describe behaviors that scientists engage in as they investigate and build models and theories about the natural world and the key set of engineering practices that engineers use as they design and build models and systems. The NRC uses the term practices instead of a term like "skills" to emphasize that engaging in scientific investigation requires not only skill but also knowledge that is specific to each practice. Part of the NRC's intent is to better explain and extend what is meant by "inquiry" in science and the range of cognitive, social, and physical practices that it requires.  

Crosscutting concepts describe concepts that bridge disciplinary boundaries, having explanatory value throughout much of science and engineering. These crosscutting concepts have application across all domains of science. They are a way of linking the different domains of science. The seven crosscutting concepts include: Patterns; Cause and effect; Scale, proportion and quantity; Systems and system models; Energy and matter: Flows, cycles, and conservation; Structure and function; Stability and change. The Framework emphasizes that these concepts need to be made explicit for students because they provide an organizational schema for interrelating knowledge from various science fields into a coherent and scientifically-based view of the world. 


Disciplinary core ideas have the power to focus K–12 science curriculum, instruction, and assessments on the most important aspects of science. To be considered core, the ideas met at least two of the following criteria and ideally all four: 

  • Have broad importance across multiple sciences or engineering disciplines or be a key organizing concept of a single discipline; 
  • Provide a key tool for understanding or investigating more complex ideas and solving problems; 
  • Relate to the interests and life experiences of students or be connected to societal or personal concerns that require scientific or technological knowledge; 
  • Be teachable and learnable over multiple grades at increasing levels of depth and sophistication. 

*Disciplinary ideas are grouped in four major domains: physical sciences; the life sciences; the earth and space sciences; and engineering, technology and applications of science. 

In Summer 2016, Grades 6-8 science teachers and Earth/Space Science teachers revised curriculum guides to align them to the NGSS and the newly purchased science textbooks. Over the next year, SMCPS Science will work with teachers to revise curriculum guides for Biology, Chemistry, and Physics, to meet the 2017-18 school year implementation guidelines set forth by MSDE.

For Elementary School science information, please click on the following link: Elementary School Website.   

The St. Mary’s County Public School System does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, age, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, religion or disability in matters affecting employment or providing access to programs.