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How to plan an NGSS curriculum

Planning a successful Next Generation Science Standards curriculum requires a collaborative and strategic approach to ensure that the final result leads to effective science lessons. And, the ultimate goal is that the science education taught to students in grades K-12 prepares them for college and a career and to be productive citizens. Teachers in these settings are encouraged to pursue an online Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction – Science Education degree. The M.Ed. Science uses real-world examples, helps educators learn how to teach using proven learning methods and requires no thesis.

Factors to consider for an effective NGSS curriculum

The first step to designing an NGSS curriculum is to put together a team that includes life science, physical science and earth and space science teachers across all grades. Set up a plan around the topics and review the standards carefully. Your goal is to create the curriculum by grade level and discipline built around practices, core ideas, crosscutting concepts and performance expectations in the NGSS. Teachers in middle- and high-school settings are encouraged to develop a coordinated curriculum.

Review the Framework for K–12 Science Education

Go back and take a look at the National Research Council's Framework for K-12 Science Education to ensure a good foundation for everyone involved in creating the curriculum. The Framework is the cornerstone for an effective NGSS curriculum and it details key areas students should be familiar with by the time they graduate from high school. Also, by reviewing this foundational information, all team members will become more familiar with science and engineering practicescrosscutting concepts and disciplinary core ideas that will enable them to become more committed to effective science lessons.

Study the Standards before creating an NGSS curriculum

Before starting the NGSS curriculum creation process, ensure that the Standards are read and find out whether your state has chosen either the Topic or Disciplinary Core Idea organization method. Use whichever method your state prefers for your review with the help of a small-group process. After going over every page of the NGSS, put together a report of your findings. Use that report to help reach decisions about classroom instruction.

Learn more about UTA’s online M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction – Science Education.


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