Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

NGSS Core Ideas

The vision of three-dimensional standards

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) describe a vision for teaching and learning science that 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 make use of science and engineering practices together with cross-cutting concepts to deepen their understanding of natural phenomena. 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 and big ideas to deepen our understanding of the world, and how our understanding continues to evolve and develop over time.

All of our modules include explicit references to the science and engineering practices and cross-cutting concepts while focusing on only one or two disciplinary core ideas. You can see the three dimensions highlighted by turning on the NGSS notations -- 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. We have also tagged each module with the relevant disciplinary core ideas so that you can search them by DCI.

It is important to note what is not present in our modules: performance expectations. Reading about the process of science is not equivalent to doing science. Our goal with these annotations is to highlight that the integrated, three-dimensional framework of the NGSS reflects the real process of science, and to help students see how the three dimensions are integrated in specific ways.

Using Visionlearning to support NGSS-based teaching

As a result, our modules are well-suited for use in courses designed for future teachers, in which students are developing the skills and knowledge they need for their future 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.

NGSS Annotated Modules

NGSS Resources