The Next Generation Science Standards*—and NGSS-aligned science curriculum—stem from the Framework for K–12 Science Education, which outlines three dimensions to learning science. When braided together, these three dimensions provide a deepened learning experience designed to build the skills of future scientists through engineering, biology, chemistry, Earth/space science, life science, physical science, and more.
Learn about the three dimensions, how phenomena factor in, and some practical steps you can take to get started with NGSS science curriculum. Plus, find specific programs and free support for NGSS, along with the authors' behind the scenes of HMH programs, related blog posts, and on-demand webinar recordings.
The three dimensions wind together to form each standard, which helps students develop a cohesive understanding of science.
The DCIs are the foundational concepts that make up the base of each of the science disciplines: physical science, life science, Earth science, space science, and engineering. Each of the DCIs can be taught at increasing levels of depth across the grade levels, beginning in elementary school.
The CCCs represent concepts that carry over across the science disciplines and are intended to help students study real-world phenomena and problem solving.
They include patterns; cause and effect: mechanisms and explanation; scale, proportion, and quantity; systems and system models; energy and matter: flows, cycles, and conservation; structure and function; and stability and change.
The SEPs are the skills, practices, and mindset of scientists and engineers as they conduct investigations and solve problems. They are intended to be the processes used by students to make sense of the phenomena they investigate.
The SEPs include asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering); developing and using models; planning and carrying out investigations; analyzing and interpreting data; and more.
Real-world, observable events referred to as phenomena serve as springboards for student investigations.
How can kittens from the same litter have different physical characteristics?
How can a metal block that feels cold to the touch melt an ice cube faster than a plastic block that feels warmer to the touch?
Why does a marble made of metal sink while a ship made of metal floats?
Start by creating a learning environment that’s student-centered. Then, encourage students to think like scientists and solve problems like engineers.
Instead of imparting information to students that they then reproduce on an assessment, think from the perspective of a scientist-–and create an experience in which students learn the material by figuring it out! Steer their investigation by asking questions like, “How could you find out?” and “Could you set up an experiment to test that idea?”
Ask questions like, “What patterns did you see in the evidence from your heredity investigation?” and “Can you use one of the CCCs to create an explanation based on the evidence from your investigation?”
The claim + evidence + reasoning (CER) approach to phenomena-based learning can encourage a scientific mindset in your students. Encourage students to make a claim about the phenomenon being studied; gather evidence to either refute or support their claim; and apply reasoning to develop an explanation of the phenomenon.
HMH Science Dimensions®, a core program for Grades K–12, was built from the ground up for the NGSS. The seamless digital and print integration meets the needs of no-tech, some-tech, and all-tech schools and districts. Get info or register for an online preview.
Ready to combine tried and true instructional practices with the latest research on student success in the science classroom? HMH delivers courses to support science teachers of all grades and backgrounds. Get info on specific courses and customized coaching.
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*Next Generation Science Standards and logo are registered trademarks of Achieve. Neither Achieve nor the lead states and partners that developed the Next Generation Science Standards were involved in the production of this product, and they do not endorse it.