Category Archives: elementary

Resources for K-5 NGSS

At my school, we are just starting the process of implementing the Next Gen Science Standards into our elementary curriculum. This has, at times, been an exhausting process, but it’s so exciting to see our teachers incorporating these practices and encouraging their learners to “think like a scientist.” We have decided not to go with a packaged program, which means more work on our end, but with the advantage of having lots of flexibility to think about cross-curricular options (especially with Design Thinking). I thought I’d share some of the resources that have been most helpful to me in getting my head around NGSS.
  1. Paul Andersen’s site (and his visit to our school) were incredibly helpful. Paul has created an entire video series around the standards and is a good starting place for learning about how the standards are organized.
  2. Rubicon has started offering free webinars on NGSS. I used to think of Rubicon as simply a curriculum mapping resource, yet they seem to have really expanded their PD opportunities and the recorded webinars work especially well for us in the Pacific.
  3. Speaking of Rubicon, since we are capturing these units in Atlas, we had to decide what went where in our template. We decided on the following alignment:
Standards & Benchmarks = Performance Expectations
Disciplinary Core Ideas = Content
Cross-Cutting Concepts = Understandings
Science & Engineering Practices = Skills

4. Finally, I’m a “big picture” learner who has to see some sort of graphic or organizational layout of a concept in order to really get my head around it. I searched online profusely, but could never find a layout of the standards in a way that made sense to me. I finally ended up printing out the standards and organizing them on a wall in my office by grade level and areas of Life Science, Earth & Space Science, Physical Science, and Engineering & Technology Standards. (I really wish I had taken a photo of the wall!) That eventually morphed into grid you see below, organized by Topics. The Topics combine standards that fit well together into a learning experience. Each hyperlink goes directly to the NGSS website’s 1-page write up of that particular topic. Here’s a PDF of the grid: NGSSStandardsArrangedbyTopics.

Have you found other resources that would be helpful in implementing NGSS, especially at the elementary level? I’d love to hear about them!