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Cause and effect: Mechanism and explanation

Scale, proportion, and quantity

Systems and system models

Energy and matter: Flows, cycles, and conservation

Structure and function

Stability and change

Other NGSS Connections

In addition to these three dimensions, standards are also connected to:

Understanding the Scientific Enterprise: The Nature of Science

Surrounding the

context of NGSS is the expectation that students will learn about the development

of scientific knowledge, with its many historical and social implications. The nature

of science is not an additional dimension to the three dimensions above, but is

interwoven with the SEPs and CCs. The first four are closely related to the SEPs, and

the last four are closely related to CCs.

Scientific investigations use a variety of methods.

Scientific knowledge is based on empirical evidence.

Scientific knowledge is open to revision in light of new evidence.

Scientific models, laws, mechanisms, and theories explain natural


Science is a way of knowing.

Science knowledge assumes an order and consistency in natural systems.

Science is a human endeavor.

Science addresses questions about the natural and material world.

Engineering Design

In the NGSS documents, engineering is defined as “any engagement in a systematic

practice of design to achieve solutions to particular human problems.” Although many

models of engineering design exist, the NGSS focus on a three-part approach (Figure 6)

that include the following components, with modified descriptors for each component

dependent upon the grade band.

Defining and delimiting engineering problems

Designing solutions to engineering problems

Optimizing the design solution

Science, Technology, Society, and the Environment

Science, technology, society, and environment are interdependent upon one another.

Likewise, teachers must encourage their students to make connections between the

classroom, their home lives, and their community.

Common Core State Standards for Mathematics and Literacy in Science and

Technical Subjects

Where appropriate, the NGSS connects to Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

However, adoption of the NGSS does not mandate adoption of the CCSS or have

any impact on the incorporation of the NGSS alone. The hyperlinked appendixes to

the NGSS provide examples of how teachers can incorporate the CCSS with specific

scenarios, including the use of qualitative skills (ex: proportional reasoning) and

quantitative skills (ex: mathematical modeling with algebra).

NGSS Format

The NGSS standards are presented in a table in the Achieve, Inc. documentation. Within

a single table, all of the standards will be listed for a given DCI or topic area, with

associated Science and Engineering Practices, Disciplinary Core Ideas, and Crosscutting

Concepts, as well as connections within NGSS within and across grade bands, and

Common Core State Standards.

It is important to note that because the NGSS are written as performance expectations,

each standard is closely linked to one or more DCIs, SEPs, and/or CCs. These standards

are written with an assessment in mind, and therefore have a very narrow focus. In

contrast, teachers can and should use instructional practices and curriculum designs

that help students to see that a single DCI can have connections to many or even

all of the SEPs and CCs, not only those that are explicitly linked to the performance


The structure of a table entry is shown below in Table 2