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Next Generation Science Standards

How Do I get Started?

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Kathy Renfrew Kathy Renfrew 37148 Points

The first thing I would do is to bookmark two sites Next generation Science Standards and NGSS @NSTA.

Both of these sites are invaluable.These sites will provide you with the information you need to become familiar with the new information.

I am planning on spending a lot of time on Appendix A where I will learn about the big conceptual shifts that are occurring as I transition my students to NGSS.

Appendix F Science & Engineering Practices will become my favorite appendix. Once i decide on the outcomes, the science and engineering practices are how students will learn it.


Sandy Gady Sandy Gady 43175 Points

Kathy, I am so glad you began this post. As I am a month from summer break ending, I am beginning to “get itchy” with ideas for the upcoming year. I teach Design and Engineering, which is a STEM and CTE course for my middle school students. In the past I have had Science, Math, Technology, Career and College standards to meet. While there are still state, and to some degree national standards for each of these areas, I am beginning to wonder what the expectations will be for my program. Questions haunt me through the night now. Will I break down and purchase a hard copy of the NGSS or continue to try to use a downloaded copy? Do I continue to meet standards across a bunch of content areas, or will Common Core be the main focus and STEM be a bridge to those standards? Which do I use as learning targets? Granted, I could do both, but there really is only so much board space. How can I make my learning transparent to whomever walks into my room and sees projects in progress where kids could be in several different places? A continuum of learning through the project seems to make sense, with students documenting where they are on a daily or at least an every other day basis, but then again, students are much more likely to want to ignore the continuum and proceed with the project. Accountability will be the key, but by whose rules? Will administrators really take the time to understand the depth of the new standards across all possible content areas, or will they focus on math and literacy? I like your idea of identifying the outcomes first, but wonder how to best present the outcomes to my students in a project based classroom? Do I give them the big, overall picture so they can see how everything fits? Do I do a series of small investigations and projects identifying the outcomes for each as we go then provide a final project that ties all of the learning together? What do I give up within the contexts of curriculum? The standards are based on the belief all students have had Science, Technology, Engineering and Math throughout their elementary years, but we know in many instances that has not been the case. How do we catch them up? Or, can we? So many thoughts, so little time. I know we are all in the same place with the changes nationwide in evaluations for students and teachers. I know this is the first step that ten years from now we will look back and wonder why we had so many questions or apparent lack of clear direction. I am really interested in finding out how others are going to approach the integration of the new standards.

Dorothy Ginnett Dorothy Ginnett 28240 Points

It's an exciting time for science teaching! Thanks for listing those resource links Kathy. Looking forward to implementation of NGSS. There are so many rich cross-disciplinary connections in the new standards and a greater emphasis on the practice of science. Another resource for those of you getting started. There are a number of archived NSTA Web Seminars on NGSS listed on this page I'm guessing new NSTA web seminars on NGSS will begin in the fall. I'm hopeful that implementation of the NGSS will reinvigorate our teaching practice and enhance student learning in science.

Opt Out Eric Yates 410 Points

Thanks for the link, Dorothy. This is a great starting place for me as I bring the NGSS to my staff.

Pamela Auburn Pamela Auburn 68625 Points

Eric, Kathy has a great PPT posted in another forum on the same topic There is other information too

Mary Bigelow Mary Bigelow 10275 Points

The new NGSS app is very user-friendly. The information is the same, but the formatting is a little different -- for example, the assessment boundaries and clarification statements are displayed more prominently. BTW, it's free!

Carmen Cruz Carmen Cruz 2125 Points

I attended Phil Mickelson academy this summer and I am not in a common core state, but the information that they provided us was at the academy was absolutely amazing. I think the first step is to print them and try and desegregate the skills, concepts, and student expectations for your grade level. I have been doing this although I am in a state where we will not be implementing, but I want to insure that when I develop a lesson it is as crosscutting as the NGSS and also goes with our standards. Just some thoughts!

Kathy Renfrew Kathy Renfrew 37148 Points

Carmen, my thoughts on this are maybe take a look at the science units you already teach that might be somewhat aligned to NGSS. One you have discerned that, think about which of the science & engineering practices would enhance your unit. Consider adding one or two to your instruction. Look at the unit and see which of the NGSS cross-cutting themes ( big ideas) that go with the unit and try to make those connections during instruction of the unit that matches YOUR standards but is also moving toward the essence of NGSS. You could also use the K-12 Framework as the guide for your instruction. Just my thoughts... Kathy

Katie Weiss Kathleen Graf 435 Points

I agree with Kathy - don't take it all on at once. Value what you've done already. Look for ways it works with the standards and celebrate that! Then, identify a couple of ways that you could improve it and mold it more into fit the standards. Be sure too look not only at content standards but also cross cutting concepts and scientific and engineering standards! Work on a little at a time - see what works well and how you may need to restructure things. One way that I am taking this one step at a time is starting with one of my classes. I have put together a rough list of the NGSS that I will aim to include in my 9th grade General Science class. It is my goal that these standards guide my teaching in this course this year. I will inevitably find things that work and things that don't work. I will take note, make changes and improvements for next year, and then include in my next year's goal another course. I know it's not perfect but it is definitely less overwhelming that changing everything at once! And it acknowledges that you are doing some things well! Hope this helps a little. Also - I blogged about some of my thoughts on the NGSS and instructional design at this site: Feel free to check it out! Katie

Beverly Owens Beverly Owens 1045 Points

Just wanted to say thanks to you all for providing the helpful links and information about the NGSS app. Especially in looking at how current units and lessons may already integrate skills that are highlighted In the NGSS.

Chelsea Bender Chelsea Bender 1295 Points

Thank you for all the information. I am a new teacher and trying to find ways to implement science literacy into a chemistry classroom. Any suggestions?

Patti Schaefer Patti Schaefer 2435 Points

To add to the list of valuable resources… I suggest reading sections of A Framework for K-12 Science Education (NRC, 2012 - I linked to the free downloadable pdf available from NAP) as it was the resource used to write the standards. This is a book I have gone back to several times myself and I share sections with teachers during PLC work.

I also recently purchased and have started to read sections of Roger Bybee's Translating the NGSS for Classroom Instruction (available from the NSTA Store). He gives guidance and examples of planning units that address the new standards.

Stephanie Hernandez stephanie hernandez 2390 Points

One thing I have problems is not knowing where to start, I actually found this way very effective way to start a lesson in science. I am still a student but for our class we are to teach a lesson and I though this was very effective.

Kathy Renfrew Kathy Renfrew 37148 Points


Have your instructors asked you to plan science instruction for an elementary classroom? Once you know that, maybe they will ask you to plan some instruction. I think the best thing you can do to for yourself is to become familiar with the Next Generation Science Standards. There are two websites you can explore and become familiar with the standards
Next Generation Science Standards . There are some nice touches on this site. The other site and the one I use most of the time is NSTA Access the Standards

Any time spent on these two web sites will be well worth your time. That way when it is time for you to plan science instruction around the new standards, you will have a place to begin.


Mary Koga Mary Koga 765 Points

Thank you, they are two great bookmarks to have. I also found great articles in the NSTA library of the Science Teacher that I have downloaded and am using. "The Next Generation Science Standards and the Life Sciences" and "The Next Generation Science Standards: A Focus on Physical Science". Great resources for your library!

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