Next Generation Science Standards

  • The K-12 standards in science education are built around three major dimensions:


    • Scientific and engineering practices
    • Crosscutting concepts that apply across all fields of study
    • Core ideas in four disciplinary areas: physical sciences, life sciences, earth, and space sciences and engineering.


    These three dimensions work together to focus on science instruction and assessment. This three-dimensional learning shifts the focus of the science classroom to environments where students use core ideas, crosscutting concepts, and scientific and engineering practices to explore, examine and explain phenomena to deepen student understanding of science.


    Scientific and Engineering Practices

    The Scientific and Engineering Practices reflect how students approach scientific questions and problems and seek out solutions. The practices work together to help students study the natural and design world. The practices are:


    1. Asking questions and defining problems
    2. Developing and using models
    3. Planning and carrying out investigations
    4. Analyzing and interpreting data
    5. Using mathematics and computational thinking
    6. Constructing explanations and designing solutions
    7. Engaging in argument from evidence
    8. Obtaining, evaluating and communicating information 


    Crosscutting Concepts

    Crosscutting concepts provide different lenses to examine and make sense of science phenomena. They communicate a scientific way of thinking about a subject that helps students understand how the pieces connect together. Crosscutting concepts include:


    1. Patterns
    2. Cause and effect: Mechanism and explanation
    3. Scale, proportion and quantity
    4. Systems and system models
    5. Energy and matter: Flows, cycles and conservation
    6. Structure and function
    7. Stability and change


    Disciplinary Core Ideas

    The core ideas are the content of science. The core ideas should be integrated with the Crosscutting Concepts and Science and Engineering Practices. There are 12 main core ideas organized into four major categories:


    Physical Sciences

    • Matter and its interactions
    • Motion and stability
    • Energy
    • Waves and their applications


    Life Sciences

    • From molecules to organisms
    • Ecosystems
    • Heredity
    • Biological evolution: unity and diversity


    Earth and Space Sciences

    • Earth’s place in the universe
    • Earth’s systems
    • Earth and human activity


    Engineering, Technology and Application of Science

    • Engineering design