NGSS is an acronym for Next Generation Science Standards. They are K-12 science content standards. As all standards do, they give teachers a guideline and they give students goals to meet. They were released in 2013 and have been implemented little by little.
Who made NGSS?
NGSS was developed by states. The federal government was not involved in the creation of the standards. States are deciding to adopt them or not. The National Research Council (NRC), the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and other organizations participated in the creation of these standards.
How is NGSS different?
NGSS is a lot different from the science standards of yesteryear. They are research-based. Notably, each standard has 3 aspects to it: crosscutting concepts, science and engineering practices, and disciplinary core ideas. Crosscutting concepts are concepts that connect all domains of science (like cause and effect for example. Engineering practices help to implement more hands-on and critical scientific thinking. The Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI) are “key ideas in science that have broad importance within or across multiple science or engineering disciplines. These core ideas build on each other as students progress through grade levels and are grouped into the following four domains: Physical Science, Life Science, Earth and Space Science, and Engineering.”
Where are the standards?
Read the standards here! https://www.nextgenscience.org/search-standards
How does NGSS look in practice?
As a new educator, I am lucky to hit the ground running. My student teaching placement used NGSS and I didn’t need to retrofit my teaching materials to NGSS. It was so different from what I had grown up with which was pretty traditional. I like the usage of storylines and I really do think these new standards are better geared towards engaging students. I like that it incorporates more engineering practices and science literacy in my area (Biology) so that it’s not so chock full of facts to memorize. NGSS also helps students to make connections between the real world and science concepts. My take on the NGSS revolves a lot around storylines, and I use techniques like CER charts so keep an eye out for those blog posts if you’d like! So all in all, I’m no NGSS pro but they can be better than traditional standards depending on your usage! Giving certain techniques a try is seriously worth it. 🍑