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Next Generation



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What is NGSS all about?

"Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think."

                                   Albert Einstein

Three dimensions of learning

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Science and Engineering Practices

Science and Engineering Practices describe what scientists do to investigate the natural world and what engineers do to design and build systems. The practices better explain and extend what is meant by “inquiry” in science and the range of cognitive, social, and physical practices that it requires. Students engage in practices to build, deepen, and apply their knowledge of core ideas and crosscutting concepts.

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Crosscutting Concepts

Crosscutting Concepts help students explore connections across the four domains of science, including Physical Science, Life Science, Earth and Space Science, and Engineering Design.

When these concepts, such as “cause and effect”, are made explicit for students, they can help students develop a coherent and scientifically-based view of the world around them.

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Disciplinary Core Ideas

Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs) are the 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.


Science and Engineering Practices

Science and Engineering Practices are the things that scientists do.  They are the skills that scientists use to gain understanding of the world around them.  These have always been a part of science classes, but when scientists were asked what was missing from science education to build the NGSS curriculum, they agreed that more emphasis needed to be placed on the skills themselves and not just the information achieved by using these skills.  

In my class, students will receive grades for each of these Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs) and will have multiple opportunities to demonstrate their ability and understanding of them throughout the year.  A rubric will be used to determine the grade for each SEP.

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"When one tugs on a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world."

                                            John Muir

Crosscutting Concepts


   When scientists try to understand the world around them, Crosscutting Concepts are the things they look for to gain meaning.  They are the lenses through which scientists examine phenomenon as they explain why something has happened, or predict what will happen next.  These crosscutting concepts are used in all disciplines of science, from biology to chemistry, from earth science to physics, and even in social sciences, like psychology.


   In my class, understanding and use of the CCC's are integrated into every activity and every assignment.  There is a crosscutting concept component in each SEP rubric, and therefore CCC's have a significant impact on student achievement.  To do well in this class, students will have to understand each of the CCC's and consistently refer to them in their writing and discussions.

Disciplinary Core Ideas


Disciplinary Core Ideas are similar to the science standards that have existed in the past.  These are the concepts that build the fundamental understanding of science that all students need. A change from the standards in the past is that these standards show what students should be able to do, rather than what students should know.


The list in yellow shows all of the topics covered in middle school science.  By clicking on each link, you will see the individual standards that students are held to between 6th and 8th grade. While the topics are separated by discipline in this list, they are all integrated together through the phenomena we study at each grade. 


For a summary of the DCI standards specific to 8th grade, click here

Still have questions about Next Generation Science Standards?

 Check out the NGSS website.

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