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New Jersey Student Learning Standards for Science

    Tips Regarding NGSS Philosophy:

    Students will shift from "learning about something" to "figuring out something."

    Students will not just learn - they will use, apply and own what they learn.

    Instruction must shift from being teacher-directed to student-directed.

    Science education will reflect inter-connected nature of science as it is experienced in the real world.

    NGSS focus on a deeper understanding of content as well as application of this content.

    NGSS are designed to prepare students for college, career and civic pursuits.

    NGSS are student performance expectations, not curriculum; they are the end-results.

    Tips Regarding Approach (for Non-formal Educators):

    To understand NGSS design you must be familiar with the Frameworks.

    What phenomenon is essential to your facility or mission?
          -     Focus on that.

    What is an essential lesson/activity that you do?
          -     Adapt and use it.

    What do you offer that schools and teachers cannot do on their own or at school?
          -     Consider on-site phenomenon;
          -     Consider portable phenomenon you can take to class;
          -     Consider your training and expertise; then
          -     Emphasize any of these offerings.

    Learn about "Backward Design" whereby the end-results come first.
          -     Select the performance expectations that your activities/unit supports;
          -     How do the activities arrive at/achieve these?
          -     How are the activities constructed and organized?

    Assume that your activities must be redesigned; this is not as simple as "cross-walking"
    or aligning activity objectives with the student performance expectations in the NGSS.

    Adapt one activity/lesson at a time andů
          -     Use it, observe and evaluate it;
          -     Get feedback from teachers; then
          -     Adapt another lesson/activity.

    Tips Regarding Approach (for Classroom Educators):

    To understand NGSS design you must be familiar with the Frameworks.

    The NGSS standards are the minimum requirements for all students.
          -     You can go beyond them and you can enhance them; and
          -     You should implement them based on student levels and performance.

    Consider teaching only what is in the standards during first year;
          -     Monitor student performance and overall results;
          -     Assess your activities; and
          -     Then ask if you have time to add in other activities.

    Daily lesson plans will become obsolete (take place in hours and days) and unit plans will
    replace them (take place over days and weeks).

    Is your unit coherent? (Do the activities build on each other in sequence?)

    Is your unit congruent? (Do the activities support NGSS?)

    Tips Regarding the Three Dimensions:

    Students use DCIs (Disciplinary Core Ideas) to develop arguments.

    Students use CCCs (Cross-Cutting Concepts) to make sense of phenomenon.

    SEPs (Science and Engineering Practices) go beyond skills and combine cross-cutting concepts with practices.

    SEPs are used to help students see the DCIs and understand the CCCs.

    The three dimensions should be used together, not separately; they collectively empower students to direct their learning.

    Using all three dimensions is like cooking a meal:
          -     SEPs are the cooking utensils and tools;
          -     DCIs are the basic ingredients;
          -     CCCs are the spices and herbs that bring together all 3 dimensions; and
          -     If any of these are missing the meal does not taste good.

    Tips Regarding the Lesson/Activity:

    The Unit of Instruction will include multiple lessons each of which can include several activities.

    The Unit of Instruction's format will be same as the State's Model Curriculum.

    What guiding question is being asked of the students?
          -     Question should entice or engage the students;
          -     Activities should respond to this question; and
          -     Activities should bring together SEPs, CCs and DCIs.

    Use guiding questions and support text in the Unit of Instruction that is in the Frameworks.

    Use argumentation and discussion rather than lecture.

    Encourage students to produce and rely on claims, reasoning and evidence.

    Tips Regarding Student Assessment:

    Assessment should take place during instruction and during activity (not just at end).

    Assessment results are evidence. Quality of evidence can suggest ways to improve the unit.

    Evidence statements found on the NGSS website can guide the design of assessments.


          CCC       Cross Cutting Concepts
          DCI         Disciplinary Core Idea
          PE          Performance Expectations
          SEP        Science and Engineering Practices
          SLO        Student Learning Objectives

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Last Updated: August 22, 2016