NGSS Demystified: A Toolkit for Training Teachers

The activities below are not intended to be an individual learning experience, but they are designed to help you faciliate successful NGSS training for a team of educators!

  • Introduction to the Next Generation Science Standards | NGSS Demystified

    When educators step into a training about the NGSS, they often arrive with a number of burning questions they hope to have addressed. To put their minds at ease, start your very first training by addressing some of the more straightforward questions about the NGSS. Once this basic introduction is out of the way, your participants will be able to focus on diving more deeply into exploring the three dimensions.

    Grades: 13+
  • What are Performance Expectations? | NGSS Demystified

    Using a fictitious Performance Expectation, participants will understand how PEs are statements of what students should be able to do at the end of instruction, and that they incorporate the Science and Engineering Practices, the Disciplinary Core Ideas, and the Crosscutting Concepts. Teachers in your training will also become comfortable reading the NGSS tables, and leave knowing that the PEs do not describe a lesson or instructional strategy.

    Grades: 13+
  • Anatomy of the Disciplinary Core Ideas | NGSS Demystified

    The Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs) of the NGSS prioritize moving away from the “mile wide, inch deep” model of science learning. Instead, the emphasis is on making room for teachers to support students in building deeper understanding. In this activity, participants will learn more about the criteria used to determine the DCIs within each discipline and will examine a K-12 progression for one Component Idea, a specific concept within a DCI.

    Grades: 13+
  • Science & Engineering Practices: Brainstorm and Sort | NGSS Demystified

    The Practices Brainstorm and Sort introduces the Science and Engineering Practices and helps educators connect their prior knowledge about science and engineering to this new conceptual framework. Participants will work together to sort their own words into the eight practices, filling posters to form a collective definition of each practice. Whole-group discussions will pull out key ideas about the practices as a concept and about particular practices.

    Grades: 13+
  • Science and Engineering Practices: Station Rotation | NGSS Demystified

    The Practices Circus is an introductory activity that builds familiarity with the Science and Engineering Practices of the NGSS. Participants will visit hands-on stations with sample activities and try to identify the main practice highlighted in each one. Group discussion will draw out key messages such as the interconnection of the practices and the idea of intentionality.

    Grades: 13+
  • Comparing Science and Engineering | NGSS Demystified

    The prominent inclusion of engineering concepts throughout the NGSS presents a new challenge for many science educators. Comparing the Science and Engineering Practices explores how the practices are used in in these two fields. Participants will work in groups to compare and contrast the practices in a science versus engineering context. Each group will create a poster and share key points in a brief presentation. Participants leave this activity feeling more comfortable with the idea of bringing aspects of engineering into their science teaching.

    Grades: 13+
  • Introducing the Crosscutting Concepts: The Chess Metaphor | NGSS Demystified

    Educators often have more questions about this dimension, wondering why it is on equal footing with the other two dimensions of scientific content and practices. This presentation introduces the Crosscutting Concepts (CCCs) and their rationale through a story about research done with expert and novice chess players. The results of the research points to fundamental differences in how these two groups organize information. Participants are then given a chance to share their first impressions of the CCCs before diving deeper into other activities.

    Grades: 13+
  • Crosscutting Concepts: Station Rotation | NGSS Demystified

    The first step in preparing to use the Crosscutting Concepts (CCCs) is to become familiar with what they are and how they are defined. This activity is a basic introduction to the names of the seven CCCs and an opportunity to start learning what they mean and how content might be sorted among them. This interactive, two-part activity and discussion helps to lay the foundation for deeper thinking about these ideas later on.

    Grades: 13+
  • Using Crosscutting Concepts in Every Grade | NGSS Demystified

    Once participants have grasped the basic framework defined by the Crosscutting Concepts (CCCs), they can move on to explore how the CCCs progress across the grades and how they can be used to draw different ideas out of a single piece of content. This pair of activities explores these two ideas and will help participants deepen their understanding of the CCCs as a versatile tool to support student learning.

    Grades: 13+