Understanding the Next Generation Science Standards - It's Not Rocket Science

Grab your FREE Anatomy of a Class Period Lesson Plan Cheatsheet

Not sure how to structure your class period? Grab this cheatsheet to guide you - because teaching doesn't have to be rocket science!

Understanding the Next Generation Science Standards

next generation science standards

We’ve all heard of Common Core.  Most of us have also heard of Next Generation Science Standards* (NGSS).   So what is the story?  What are these standards and what is it we should know about them as science educators?  In this post, I am going to give you a background of the standards and point you to a few free resources I have developed to support you as you use them in your classroom.  If you want to read more about tips for transitioning to NGSS, click HERE.  If you want to learn more about using phenomena, click HERE.

Background

In 2013 the Next Generation Science Standards were released. These standards, designed by 26 states, NSTA, the National Research Council, and a bunch of other people, were created so that a unified science curriculum existed across all states – similar to the Common Core for math and English.  Although only 16 states have officially adopted the standards, over 40 use the standards as a basis for creating their own standards, and countless private schools have supported them as well. 

Basis

The standards are mainly based on, “The Framework K-12 Science Education” which was written by the National Research Council.   They align with Common Core themes and have a great emphasis on scientific inquiry, technology, and engineering practices (cheers from the STEM teachers out there!)  The goal was to create standards that build upon each other from elementary to middle to high school.  There are three main science subjects the standards are divided into – Life Science, Physical Science, and Earth and Space – as opposed to having specific standards for Biology, Anatomy, Physics, Environmental science, etc. 

Layout

When the Next Generation Science Standards first came out, I did a glance through them and thought – this is pretty much exactly what I am already teaching, just worded in a more fancy way, and I moved on with it. This school year though, I started to feel more and more convicted that I really needed to analyze these standards to make sure I was really basing my curriculum off of them. When I sat down to analyze them, I was pretty taken aback by how complicated the layout was. You had to click through multiple documents just to understand the big picture. I did not find the format to be user-friendly at all.  

So I decided to re-format these documents in a way that I could understand and use more easily as I developed a curriculum for my classroom. It took me 10+ hours to do this for one subject – 10+ hours I would never want another teacher to have to go through, so I decided to share with the rest of the teaching world my breakdown of the Next Generation Science Standards. This format makes sense to me so I hope you will find that it makes sense to you as well!

For each of the three subjects, I have written up a free breakdown of the standards for middle school and high school.  With each breakdown, I’ve re-ordered the information from the Next Gen website in a way that just makes them way easier to understand.  I also include a document about my breakdown that explains the format I have chosen to lay out the standards and where each source of information in my breakdown was specifically found on the Next Gen website.  This is so you can be assured that I did not
in any way attempt to write this all myself – I’ve simply just rearranged the
standards provided on the website.

You can find each product (again, for FREE!!) by clicking the links below!

next generation science standards
next generation science standards
next generation science standards

I hope you find these products to be useful in your classrooms as you work on curriculum this summer!  Want to save this post for later?  Pin this image below so you don’t forget about it!

*Note: NGSS is a registered trademark of Achieve. Neither Achieve nor the lead states and partners that developed the Next Generation Science Standards were involved in the production of this blog post, and do not endorse it.

More Lesson Planning Posts

Grab your FREE Classroom Reset Challenge

Not sure where to begin simplifying your teaching life? Start by reseting your classroom! Get the step-by-step checklist you need here!

Submit your email address to receive your FREE Classroom Reset Challenge from INRS!

Grab your FREE Anatomy of a Class Period Lesson Plan Cheatsheet

Not sure how to structure your class period? Grab this cheatsheet to guide you - because teaching doesn't have to be rocket science!

Submit your email address to receive your FREE Anatomy of a Class Period Cheatsheet from INRS!