Next Generation Science Standards

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) emphasize exactly what National Geographic Learning has been delivering all along:


  1. Science inquiry and practice
  2. Real world connections to science concepts
  3. Strong coordination with literacy and writing

The future of science instruction in NGSS is based not only on student understanding of content but the application of that content in a real world setting through Scientific and Engineering Practices. We deliver this experience best through our Explorers and scientists introducing students to methods and processes of conducting real science and how real-world problems can be solved. Fulfilling the NGSS with National Geographic Learning will allow you to teach the new standards while bringing the world into your classroom.



NGSS Background and Shifts

Teaching to the NGSS

In April 2013, a collection of national science organizations and states released the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). With public input from educators throughout the process, the NGSS expand on the strengths of previous standards. The NGSS also add a clear definition of engineering and technology, and present a rationale for their integration with a set of disciplinary core ideas from Physical, Life, and Earth and Space Sciences.

Several key shifts in how the standards are constructed and presented will impact science instruction and how teachers engage students with science content and materials.



Shift from Inquiry to Practices

One of the dimensions of the NGSS is, "Scientific and Engineering Practices".
Practices are considered an improvement over previous approaches because they:

  1. Emphasize multiple scientific procedures to mastering the standards
  2. Reinforce the idea that there is more than one scientific method
  3. Encompass both scientific inquiry and engineering design

Shift to Limit the Number of Core Ideas

Another shift is a stated intent to recognize that learning is a developmental progression that is best built upon a limited number of core ideas in science and engineering. Throughout the NGSS, there is a significant reduction in the number of topics from traditional science disciplines and greater consideration of human impacts. While fewer in number, the core ideas will encompass a broader range of content, overall.



Shift to a Direct Connection with Common Core

Because the release of the NGSS followed the Common Core State Standards for Literacy and Math, they were developed to connect directly with literacy and math grade level standards. This eases the friction for teachers who previously struggled with science text complexity that did not match their students reading ability. Literacy and math are now integrated directly into the NGSS making it easier for teachers to connect them within a single lesson.



Explorers and Scientists

National Geographic Explorers and scientists lead the way
to the NGSS

Gain exclusive access to National Geographic Explorers and scientists whose expertise in conducting real world science will lead you and your students to success with the NGSS. Introduce the new standards to students with experts in their fields who use real science methods and practices every day. Let our Explorers help your students learn key NGSS concepts including:

  1. Hands-on Science Practices
  2. Engineering
  3. Nature of Science
  4. Creative Problem Solving

Below are a few of the many Explorers, scientists, and photographers who share their real-life science practices with students.

T. H. Culhane
National Geographic
Emerging Explorer,
Urban Planner
Demonstrates ways of making clean energy more accessible.
Albert Yu-Min Lin
National Geographic
Emerging Explorer,
Archaeologist/Engineer

Develops new ways of using imaging tanned sensing technology to 'see' underground artifacts.
Ainissa Ramirez
Materials Scientist
Enhancing technology by creating new materials and new methods to bond them.


See a sample Unit Launch Video from the National Geographic Science program.

Resources and Links

  1. Learn how the NGSS were developed and download your free copy of the standards at the main website for the NGSS.
  2. The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) played a large role in developing the standards and are a main source for information and teacher support in implementing the NGSS.
  3. The group Achieve managed the development of the NGSS in conjunction with many other partners. Find out more and see additional resources.
  4. The NGSS were developed using elements from the National Research Council (NRC) A Framework for K-12 Science Education. Learn more and download the Framework.