Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) have raised the bar in science education. The new standards aim to move the focus of instruction away from memorization and toward active engagement. In its optimal implementation, an NGSS curriculum should teach students to think like scientists and engineers, grapple with core scientific principles, and support deep learning of concepts that cut across domains.

Two students learn crosscutting concepts on laptop

What are the three dimensions of NGSS?

Student reviews disciplinary core ideas on a workbook

Science and Engineering Practices – The Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs) show students how scientists and engineers investigate, model, and explain the world around us. They’re also the dimension of the NGSS that can most capture a student’s curiosity and show how science and engineering can help solve the major challenges facing our society.

1. Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)
2. Developing and using models
3. Planning and carrying out investigations
4. Analyzing and interpreting data
5. Using math and computational thinking
6. Constructing an explanation (for science) and creating a solution (for engineering)
7. Engaging in an argument stemming from evidence
8. Obtaining, evaluation, and communicating information


Crosscutting Concepts – Crosscutting Concepts (CCCs) help students make connections across Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs), and unify the application of SEPs. These are often the most challenging concepts for students to figure out.

1. Patterns
2. Cause and Effect
3. Scale, Proportion, and Quantity
4. Systems and System Models
5. Energy and Matter
6. Structure and Function
7. Stability and Change


Disciplinary Core Ideas – Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI) are the main concepts that make up the NGSS. Grouped into four domains (Physical Science, Life Science, Earth and Space Science, and Engineering, Technology, and Applications of Science), DCIs form the broad content necessary to understand science.

1. Physical Sciences
2. Life Sciences
3. Earth Sciences
4. Engineering, Technology and Application of Science


In its optimal implementation, an NGSS curriculum should coach students to think like scientists and engineers, grapple with core scientific principles, and support deep learning of concepts that cut across domains. We set out to create a science program that educators can use to bring three-dimensional science learning to life. Amplify Science is a robust, multimodal, hands-on program made to fulfill the new science standards, as well as a substantial number of ELA and math standards. Educators who adopt Amplify Science will have access to a comprehensive curriculum complete with detailed lesson plans, embedded assessments, hands-on activities and materials, digital simulations, and robust teacher support resources.


Built for new science standards and three-dimensional learning
Amplify Science’s NGSS curriculum meets higher expectations for science teaching and learning.

  • Anchor phenomena, explored through diverse interdisciplinary contexts, serve as the foundation for compelling, coherent storylines.
  • Research-based multimodal learning allows students to develop expertise in all Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs) and deep understanding of Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs) and Crosscutting Concepts (CCCs) through experiences within a wide variety of contexts.
  • Modeling tools enable students to create, and later revise, visualizations of their ideas of key scientific phenomena at critical points in the curriculum.
  • Embedded engineering in units focused on engineering and technology emphasize that there’s not always one right answer, as students balance competing constraints to design the best justifiable solutions.

Grade-specific resources

Two students study science worksheets on a desk
  • Elementary School (K-5)

  • Middle School (6-8)

What do students do in an NGSS curriculum?

Students reading in classroom

The NGSS calls for deep linkages between the three dimensions of Crosscutting Concepts, Disciplinary Core Ideas, and Science and Engineering Practices. To do this effectively, students need to gather evidence from a variety of sources, make sense of that evidence, and construct strong scientific arguments about real-world phenomena.

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Engineering in the Next Generation Science Standards

Student applying ngss learning with interactive worksheet

The Next Generation Science Standards include eight science and engineering practices that show students how scientists and engineers actually investigate, model, and explain the real world, and design and produce effective solutions to real-world problems.

In the classroom, the science and engineering practices help students understand how scientists and engineers actually work.

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Evidence in the era of NGSS

Students observe beaker during science experiment

How do we support students in building evidence-based explanations of phenomena? A multi-modal approach allows students to gather evidence from a variety of sources and grapple with phenomena and real-world problems like scientists do.

Learn more about how a deep understanding of NGSS can support you in making principled pedagogical decisions!

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Active Reading: Treating reading as an act of inquiry

Teacher reading to classroom of students

Active Reading supports student engagement in reading complex science text, makes reading a motivating, student-centered experience, and allows students to reveal genuine understanding and questions about the text.

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Literacy-rich science instruction

One student reading to another student in classroom

Literacy is an integral part of science. While practicing scientists actively investigate the natural world, large parts of their investigations involve reading, writing, listening, and speaking in order to obtain, evaluate, and communicate information about the natural world. Scientists read about and connect their work to the work of other scientists, explain their findings, and communicate ideas to a variety of audiences.

Take a closer look at the importance of literacy-rich science instruction, and see how students benefit from reading, writing, and talking like real scientists.

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