Introducing the new Science Standards

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SWBAT have a beginning understanding of the NGSS and what they will be learning in science this year.

Big Idea

It's important to tell and show students what they'll be learning and this lesson is an overview of the NGSS and what my students will be learning and doing in science this year.

Lesson Overview- 5 E Lesson Planning

5 minutes

Unit 1: Scientist Training Camp

Lesson 5: An Introducing the New Science Standards

5E Lesson Planning:

I plan most of my science lessons using the BSCS 5E Lesson Model: Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate.For a quick overview of the model, take a look at this video.

I use this lesson model because it peaks the students' interest in the beginning during the "Engage" portion and allows for the students to actively participate in the investigations throughout the subsequent steps. The “Evaluate” component of the 5E Lesson Model can be used in many ways by the teacher and by the students.

A great resource for lesson plan frameworks and explanations is the Community Resources for Science. The 5E Lesson Planning Template and 5E Lesson Planning Prompts come from this website.

Unit Overview:

In this unit, students will learn about the tools and safety guidelines that are necessary for conducting science investigations. They will also be setting up a Science Notebook and learning about the difference between a scientist and an engineer.

Lesson Overview:

In this lesson, students will learn about the new science standards- the NGSS and what we will be learning throughout the year. 


10 minutes

I ask the students what they think they will be learning in science this year or what they want to learn in science. I have them do a quick write in their science notebooks and tell them that they can make a list or write a short paragraph. I tell them that they will write for about 5 minutes without stopping and that they need to write as much as they can in those 5 minutes. They don't need to worry about spelling or grammar- I just want them to get some ideas down.

I set a timer and tell them to start. I walk around an encourage them to write anything down that comes to mind. After 5 minutes I tell them to stop and I ask for any volunteers who want to share what they wrote.

Some students share that they want to learn about the Sun and the Moon, that they want to do experiments, others mention SHRUBS (an outdoor education unit that 5th graders participate in- see the Ecosystems unit for more details). Some students mention that they want to learn about animals and plants and there are others that say they want to learn chemistry.

Quick Write #1

Quick Write #2

I tell them that they are in luck, that we will be learning about all of those things this year and that we are going to be learning these through the new science standards.


Here's a Quick Write description and ways it can be used.


15 minutes

I show the students the following pictures and tell them that the Science Standards we will be learning are called the "Next Generation Science Standards" and that there are 3 parts or dimensions to these standards. 

3 dimensions of NGSS

3 dimensions rope 

I show them a piece of rope to represent the picture above and explain that these 3 dimensions are intertwined to strengthen the science concepts we will be learning.  I didn't have rope that had 3 different colored strands, but this would be another way to show a connection between the 3 different dimensions. Using the rope also shows the students a concrete and visual example of how the new standards were written with these 3 areas in mind: Science and Engineering  Crosscutting Concepts (CCCs), and Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs).




30 minutes

I then describe the 3 dimensions in detail by using the following NGSS posters from this resource. They are free and simple posters and provide a good overview of the 3 dimensions. There are plenty of other cute posters on Teachers Pay Teachers, and I have purchased a few versions, but these will do the trick.

I start by talking to the students about the DCIs or Disciplinary Core Ideas. I tell them that there are 3 main disciplines or areas of study in science: Life Science, Physical Science, and Earth and Space Science. I go through the list of the DCIs and ask the students if any of these sound familiar to them. A few students volunteer that Life Science would be the study of plants and animals, that Earth and Space Science was the study of Earth and Space (I then of course add that they studies rocks and minerals last year) and they weren't quite sure what Physical Science meant. I remind them that when they studied magnets and electricity last year that this was physical science.

I tell them to write down in their own words what each of the Disciplinary Core Ideas mean on this NGSS Notes worksheet. I give them some other concepts that they may have studied throughout their previous years and we decide what category they fit in (examples: life cycles of butterflies- Life Science; sound- Physical Science, trees- life science, rocks- earth science). 

I then show the students these posters from this website. I tell the students that these symbols are a good representation