S1 E12: How the NGSS Will Change Your Content

July 16, 2020

In this solo episode, Nicole discusses the big change in content that comes with the NGSS. Get clarification about what to teach in this quick episode.

What is NGSS Content?

Content is what you teach in your classroom. Some of the NGSS content can be found in the Disciplinary Core Ideas of the NGSS. The Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI) are the big ideas in science.

However, the DCI do not encompass all of the content that you may teach in your class.

Many teachers misinterpret the DCI. For example, they only use content specifically mentioned in the DCI. This can be difficult because the DCI does not provide many examples of these core ideas or how they should be presented. So, teachers can feel like they don't know what to teach.

Other teachers feel that the DCI are too broad. These teachers feel like ANYTHING could fall under these DCI because they are vague.

Clarifying the Intent of the Disciplinary Core Ideas

However, the intent behind the DCI is to help students discover the big ideas in science. Students should not memorize details associated with the content. Instead, they should discover course content using the Science and Engineering Practices

What am I supposed to teach in my NGSS class? (3:57)

This is up to you. It is important to remember that the NGSS are standards, not curriculum.

For example, when you are teaching about weather and climate, you might focus on the Mojave desert and it's existence in the rain shadow of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Or, compare climate patterns in North America and Europe and investigate the jetstream.

Either way, your students should understand climate, some factors that affect climate and the differences between climate and weather. These are the big ideas about climate.

How you present these big ideas in science is up to you. This allows you to bring in phenomena and contexts that are relevant to your students.

The NGSS is not a curriculum. It's standards that state what students are going to know and what they are going to do. All of the details are up to you

Nicole Van Tassel

Using Evidence Statements to Help with NGSS Content (5:40)

NGSS evidence statements provide extra information about student assessment. Use them to clarify the details of the content. Evidence statements often include examples and helpful details that don't fit in the other version of the standards.

Find evidence statements using the reference links that we provided below.

Learn More

Resources referenced in this episode:

Other resources:


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