Office of Curriculum and Instructional Programs
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Our vision is that all students achieve full STEM literacy through standards referenced, problem/project based instruction that develops critical thinkers who apply scientific and engineering practices to non-routine problems in a globally competitive society.
In May 2015, our MCPS community welcomed the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The voluntary standards describe important scientific ideas and practices that all students should learn by the time they leave the 12th grade. The standards integrate three important dimensions—science and engineering practices, disciplinary core ideas, and crosscutting concepts—effectively build science concepts from kindergarten through 12th grade, and integrate important concepts of engineering. The Next Generation Science Standards establish learning goals in science that will give all students the skills and knowledge they need to be informed citizens, college ready, and prepared for careers.
Over the past few years, the Secondary Science office has been updating curriculum to align with the Next Generation Science Standards.
In the future, science assessments will not assess students’ understanding of core ideas separately from their abilities to use the practices of science and engineering. They will be assessed together, showing students not only “know” science concepts; but also, students can use their understanding to investigate the natural world through the practices of science inquiry, or solve meaningful problems through the practices of engineering design. For more information, see the MD MISA website.
Engaging in the practices of science helps students understand how scientific knowledge develops; such direct involvement gives them an appreciation of the wide range of approaches that are used to investigate, model, and explain the world. Engaging in the practices of engineering likewise helps students understand the work of engineers, as well as the links between engineering and science.
Read more about Science & Engineering Practices in the NGSS.
The framework focuses on a limited number of core ideas in science and engineering both within and across the disciplines. This avoids the shallow coverage of a large number of topics and to allow more time for teachers and students to explore each idea in greater depth. Reduction of the sheer sum of details to be mastered is intended to give time for students to engage in scientific investigations and argumentation and to achieve depth of understanding of the core ideas presented.
Read more about Progressions Within the NGSS.
Seven crosscutting concepts have been identified that bridge disciplinary boundaries, uniting core ideas throughout the fields of science and engineering. Their purpose is to help students deepen their understanding of the disciplinary core ideas, and develop a coherent and scientifically based view of the world.
Read more about Crosscutting Concepts.
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Find out how to extend science, technology and engineering beyond the classroom with on our student opportunities page.