Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Conceptual Shift

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Conceptual Shift

Article excerpt

"At NSTA, it has, and will continue to be, 'all hands on deck' to help science educators prepare for the Next Generation Science Standards."--Gerry Wheeler, (then) NSTA Executive Director

With the imminent release of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), this issue looks at how some teachers have started aligning curriculum with the new standards. The conceptual shifts found in the NGSS (and A Framework for K-12 Science Education, upon which they are based) include the following foundational ideas:

* K-12 science education should reflect the interconnected nature of science as it is practiced and experienced in the real world.

* The NGSS are student performance expectations--not curriculum.

* The science concepts in the NGSS build coherently from K-12.

* The NGSS focus on deeper understanding of content as well as application of content.

* Science and engineering are integrated in the NGSS, from K-12.

* The NGSS and Common Core State Standards (English language arts and mathematics) are aligned. (NGSS, Appendix A, pp. 1-5).

These ideas provide a true paradigm shift. Most interesting for science teachers is the idea that scientific explanations and content knowledge should integrate with "the practices needed to engage in scientific inquiry and engineering design" (NRC 2012, p. 11) and that the three dimensions of the Framework--science and engineering practice, crosscutting concepts, and disciplinary core ideas--should be intertwined. …

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