Next Generation Science Standards

Our Classroom

Why the NGSS?

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are a holistic approach to  science education. Instead of just teaching content, our focus will be on developing skills. The way you will learn in our room this year will be from 3-dimensions. Each dimension represents a different aspect of the science process. They come together to create a complete representation of what science is and helps to deepen your understanding of our science curriculum. 

Simply being able to list facts you can easily Google does not mean you understand the information. Your knowledge and understanding will be assessed by your ability to think, analyze and apply information, and then communicate the outcome or results. 

Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI)

The disciplinary core ideas (DCIs) are the science content you need to learn to show mastery of the topics taught. Each of our courses have between 10 and 25 DCI's to learn. Some units during the course of the year will have only one major, assessed disciplinary core idea;  other, longer units may have up to five assessed DCIs. You can think about the DCI's as the "stuff" you need to know. You will be asked to apply the knowledge learned through the disciplinary core ideas using the science and engineering practices with a focus of a cross cutting concept.

Science & Engineering Practices (SEP)

The science and engineering practices (SEPs) are the skills necessary to think, act and communicate ideas like a scientist. These skill are necessary to explore the world around you. These skills are transferable to situations outside of science; the SEPs are skills important to be a successful, informed adult.

  • Asking Questions … asking and refining questions to lead to explanations about how the natural world works. 

  • Using Math & Computational Thinking… applying skills from math class to understand and explain the natural world. 

  • Developing & Using Models… using and creating models as helpful ways for representing ideas and explanations and show the relationships between parts of a system.

  • Constructing Explanations… creating explanations and solutions with the purpose of defining our world. 

  • Planning & Carrying Out Investigations… creating and completing a systematic scientific experiment to explain a phenomenon or test a engineering design solution

  • Arguing from Evidence… listen to, compare, and evaluate competing ideas and methods based on merits (information presented). 

  • Analyzing & Interpreting Data… graphing and organizing data and performing statistical analysis to determine the patterns and relationships in the data 

  • Obtaining, Evaluating & Communicating Information… scientists must clearly and persuasively communicate and represent their ideas to peers and the scientific community.

Cross Cutting Concepts

The Cross Cutting Concepts (CCC) are the themes of science. These themes act as "lenses" though which we can see the world. Any topic we cover or even any situation in the natural world can explained using these "lenses". A measure of understanding of content is the ability to present content from the different Cross Cutting Concepts.


  • Patterns … regularly occurring shapes or structures, in repeating events and relationships, etc.

  • Systems and Systems Models… parts work together to make a system and a system will perform a task. 

  • Cause and Effect… one event/ stimulus triggers another event/ consequence/ outcome. 

  • Energy and Matter… energy and matter cannot be created or destroyed; it cycles and changes form.

  • Structure and Function… the shape and/or design of things, systems, body parts, etc. is specific to or dictates its function or job.

  • Stability and Change… the natural world in a constant flux between things staying the same (stability) and things changing.

  • Scale, Proportion & Quantity… concepts and systems can be viewed in terms of scale and magnitude, and in relation to one another. 

Student Resources