Next Generation Science Standards

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A new vision for teaching and learning science

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) describe a new vision for teaching and learning science in the K-12 environment. That vision relies on the seamless integration of three dimensions: science and engineering practices (SEPs), cross-cutting concepts (CCs), and disciplinary core ideas (DCIs) (National Research Council, 2012). Instead of listing content that students should know, the NGSS articulate a set of performance expectations that ask students to apply practices to a core content idea and make connections to broad, cross-cutting concepts and their relevance to humans and society. For example, a performance expectation at the middle-level asks students to "Analyze and interpret data on natural hazards to forecast future catastrophic events and inform the development of technologies to mitigate their effects" (NGSS Lead States, 2013). Simply learning about the multitude of natural hazards and their distribution around the world is not enough to help students achieve this performance expectation. Instead, students need to have repeated experiences where they are analyzing and interpreting real data about hazards, looking for patterns in hazard distribution and population, and using that information to ask new questions.

How Visionlearning integrates the three dimensions

Visionlearning resources were designed with this integration in mind. Our modules tell the stories of science: of individual scientists and their communities, how they use the practices of science and engineering to develop new knowledge and ideas, and how those ideas continue to evolve and develop over time.

All of our modules include explicit references to many of the science and engineering practices and cross-cutting concepts while focusing on only one or two disciplinary core ideas. We've tagged each module with the relevant NGSS core ideas so that you can search them by DCI. We've also provided a few examples of annotated modules highlighting how the three dimensions are integrated throughout the text-passages are highlighted with the same three colors of the NGSS (orange for DCIs, blue for SEPs, and green for CCs) to make it easy for you to see how they connect.

Using Visionlearning to support NGSS-based teaching

Our modules are well-suited for use in teacher preparation programs, where future teachers are developing the skills and knowledge they need for their classrooms and can reflect on the three dimensions as presented in the readings. They are also appropriate for use in the high school classroom directly, in support of hands-on investigations.

If you are using these modules in your classroom in support of the Next Generation Science Standards, please let us know! We'd love to hear from you.

National Research Council, 2012, A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas, Washington, DC, The National Academies Press, 400 p.:

NGSS Lead States, 2013, Next Generation Science Standards: For States, By States, Washington, D.C., The National Academies Press, 324 p.: