Science innovation with the next generation


Graphic by Emily Marsh

A practical guide to Next generation science Standards depicts various practices.

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) will replace current science standards to accommodate science experiments that incorporate critical thinking skills. California adopted  NGSS in 2013 and the Irvine Unified School District plans to implement these standards during fall of 2016

NGSS focuses primarily on scientific practice that requires more thinking to better prepare students for science, technology, engineering and math careers, often referred to as STEM careers.

According to “How Will the Next Generation Science Standards Affect Research and Practice?” by the USC Rossier School of Education, the new science standards will shape discipline while preparing students for careers. Scientific practice includes communication and critical thinking skills.

“We have already started adapting our science curriculum here at Woodbridge to include some of the new NGSS standards,” Chemistry teacher Jennifer Blackie said. “Over the next couple of years, we will continue to implement the standards more fully.”

As for chemistry, NGSS will switch the curriculum to focus more on modern-day technology and theories. According to Blackie, NGSS will connect different science fields in order for students to better understand chemistry from different perspectives.

“[Current standards] include a lot of individual facts and concepts students should learn. It is so much material that is difficult to learn all of it thoroughly,” Blackie said.

According to biology and AP Biology teacher Jaclyn Severn, the curriculum for biology and AP Biology will not be dramatically affected.

“Students shouldn’t see a huge change, rather a gradual transition toward focusing on topics more in depth and less memorization,” Severn said.

Severn said she is looking forward to seeing students be more ambitious toward their learning after NGSS is implemented.

Physics teacher Andrew Gibas anticipates that the physics curriculum will undergo big changes.

“It will focus less on computational breadth and more on core ideas,” Gibas said. “We’re hoping that future students will feel more like actual scientists in a lab.”

Gibas said he expects students to improve their science and engineering skills after NGSS sets in.

According to Gibas, “NGSS is one of the greatest things we could do to improve education in its current state.”