Focus on Science: Next Generation Science Standards
New Standards Adopted
In November 2016 New Hampshire State board of Education officially adopted new academic standards for NH science education standards.
K-12 teachers across New Hampshire have been working towards 21st century learning experiences for our students for many years now. On November 3rd, 2016 the NH State Board of Education adopted New Academic Standards for Science. Guidance for these new Standards was provided by the Next Generation Science Standards which were developed through the input of many teachers across the US and from New Hampshire. Public forums were held around the state to learn about the direction for our new K-12 NH Science Standards and more than 600 educators from every school district in NH informed the decisive work.
The NGSS integrate high leverage content with scientific practices and cross-cutting concepts that nurture and challenge students with deepened opportunities for learning by thinking, designing and doing. This three-dimensional focus on learning science is a direct translation of the inquiry practices that science teachers at all levels have been advancing over the last decade.
What We Are Doing in Barnstead?
Here in Barnstead, we have embraced these new standards with a thoughtful and steady approach to implementation. Not surprisingly, we started with Education. This was a perfect opportunity to model the fact that learning is life long and one person’s experience and training can be shared to improve the community in practical and economic ways. In our case, this began with top training in the new standards led by Principal Rice who attended a rigorous, four day training in Baltimore MD through the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA). There he learned all about the new standards, but more, he learned to “Train the Trainor”. This allowed Mr. Rice to return to Barnstead ready to teach the teachers about this new standard and how to pass it on to the classroom and community; proving everyone is a student, from Principal to our teachers, children and parents. We are all part of the team when it comes to academic advancement and modeling.
Starting in the academic year 2017- 2108 Barnstead put this training to work and began implementing the NGSS in grades 6, 7 and 8. The more hands on curriculum has been well received and has brought excitement to our science classrooms. In 2018-2019 the district introduced the standards to grades 4 and 5 with the goal of moving into the primary grades in the next few years.
Effective implementation demands a great deal of collaboration and patience and so the learning will continue as we expand the program across the grades. In fact, On January 11th our grades 4-8 science teachers (Ms. Roberts/Grade 4, Mrs. LaRoche/Grade 5, Mrs. Bourque/Grade 6, Mrs. Raymond/Grade 7, and Mr. Rayno/Grade 8) attended a training offered here in New Hampshire under the umbrella of the New Hampshire Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (NH ASCD).
What are The Next Generation Science Standards?
The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are K–12 science content standards. Standards set the expectations for what students should know and be able to do. The NGSS were developed by states to improve science education for all students.
Why Change Things?
A goal for developing the NGSS was to create a set of research-based, up-to-date K–12 science standards. These standards give local educators the flexibility to design classroom learning experiences that stimulate students’ interests in science and prepare them for college, careers, and citizenship.
Science—and therefore science education—is central to the lives of all Americans.
A high-quality science education means that students will develop an in-depth understanding of content and develop key skills—communication, collaboration, inquiry, problem solving, and flexibility—that will serve them throughout their educational and professional lives.
The NGSS call for a three-dimensional approach to K–12 science instruction. This represents a significant transition from previous state standards. That’s why effective implementation demands a great deal of collaboration and patience among states, districts, schools, teachers, and students.
Districts like Barnstead will use thoughtful and coordinated approaches to implementation that will enable educators to inspire future generations of scientifically literate students. That is the vision of the NGSS.
If you would like to learn more about the standards here are a few resources:
Check out this video; the Importance of the Next Generation Science Standards
For samples of elementary standards:
Parent Guide for grades K-2
Parent Guide for grades 3-5