New Jersey Department of Education

Grades 6 - 8 Model Science Curriculum Framework

The 2022 edition of the New Jersey Department of Education’s (NJDOE) Model Science Curriculum Framework for grades 6–8 builds on the success of the first edition. The NJDOE’s goal for this edition is to ensure that all educators in grades 6–8 have access to a free, coherent, rigorous, research-based set of instructional materials that will support all students in meeting the vision for science literacy described in A Framework for K-12 Science Education (2012) and the New Jersey Student Learning Standards for Science (NJSLS–S). The NJDOE collaborated with OpenSciEd to develop the instructional and professional learning materials for the courses.

Each course will engage students with multiple opportunities to engage with disciplinary core ideas (DCIs), science and engineering practices (SEPs), and crosscutting concepts (CCCs) targeted in the performance expectations, with scaffolding faded over the course of the year in each dimension. The Scope and Sequence for the courses is the result of unpacking performance expectations and the necessary mathematical proficiencies necessary for some concepts.

Figure 1: Scope and Sequence for Grades 6-8 Model Science Curriculum Framework

Figure 1: Grades 6 - 8 Unit Map

Accessible Version of Figure 1: Grades 6 - 8 Unit Map

Contemporary thinking about science learning and a vision of the classroom are embodied in the OpenSciEd Design Specifications Overview. Specifications describe what we want science learning to look like for every student, and therefore guide the materials development process and implementation support. The topics addressed range from equitable science instruction and the centrality of asking questions to meeting the practical needs and constraints of a classroom. These specifications are based on A Framework for K-12 Science Education and the resulting New Jersey Student Learning Standards for Science, including the emphasis on three-dimensional learning that integrates science and engineering practices, crosscutting concepts, and disciplinary core ideas. The complete Middle School Design Specifications are also available.

All of the OpenSciEd units are designed as Open Educational Resources that are licensed as CC-BY-4.0. OpenSciEd provides these units freely to all users, including commercial vendors. The freely available materials are available at the OpenSciEd website.

Please note that there are a few commercial vendors who are taking advantage of the CC-BY-4.0 licensing and are selling their versions of the OpenSciEd resources to school districts. The New Jersey Department of Education is neither endorsing nor promoting the use of the commercial versions of these materials.

The following links provide access to important resources that you will need to implement the Model Science Curriculum Framework for Grades 6 – 8.


The resources provided on this webpage are for informational purposes only. All resources must meet the New Jersey Department of Education’s (NJDOE) accessibility guidelines. Currently, the NJDOE aims to conform to Level AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1). However, the NJDOE does not guarantee that linked external sites conform to Level AA of the WCAG 2.1. Neither NJDOE nor its officers, employees or agents specifically endorse, recommend or favor these resources or the organizations that created them. Please note that the NJDOE has not reviewed or approved the materials related to the programs.

Page Last Updated: 05/10/2024

to top