What is NGSS? (For parents and others who’ve transformed into educators!)
The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are nationwide standards that are being adopted state by state. California has been a leader in integrating NGSS into our educational system, adding a continuum of science principles and methods that build on one another from Kindergarten through High School. The new standards focus more on critical skills and processes than content, which can be confusing at first.
This approach encourages students to think critically about problems in solutions-oriented ways, in order to better confront the challenges that lie ahead for them, such as mitigating the effects of climate change and addressing social inequality in meaningful ways. This new way of approaching science and education has come with its struggles but is ultimately extremely rewarding and valuable. NGSS is broken into three essential parts:
- Science and Engineering Practices [SEPs] – these are the skills that help your student observe, question, and make connections with the world around them.
- Disciplinary Core Ideas [DCIs] – these are the big picture ideas about life science, earth systems, etc. that then dive deeper into the content students learn and discover.
- Cross Cutting Concepts [CCCs] – these connect ideas and practices together and span across all grade levels and subject areas. For example: using patterns to relate a science topic to a historical context, or linking causes to their effects.
These three pieces make up NGSS and will be referred to throughout our program lineup. We hope whether you are a professional educator or a parent or guardian, you too are excited to help immerse your students in these important topics and standards we have to offer… bringing the wonder of the outdoors to your home or classroom.