DEEP DIVE / Next Generation Science Standards

What exactly IS three-dimensional learning?

Teaching Channel Guide to
Next Generation Science Standards

The Next Generation Science Standards are based around three-dimensional learning. The NGSS is made up of three distinct but equally important components: Disciplinary Core Ideas, Cross Cutting Concepts, and Science & Engineering Practices. The resources below are designed to support you as you dive into the three dimensions.

NGSS: A Vision for K-12 Science Education

Begin by watching this video, where you’ll learn more about the NGSS and the three dimensions.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

Now, let’s look closely at each of the three dimensions. Begin by watching this video, which introduces the Disciplinary Core Ideas.

Crosscutting Concepts

While Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs) make up the core content of the NGSS, the Crosscutting Concepts link different domains of science and are studied across grades. The Crosscutting Concepts include patterns, cause & effect, scale, proportion & quantity, systems, energy & matter, structure & function, and stability & change. Learn more through this video.

Science & Engineering Practices

In NGSS classrooms, students learn about Disciplinary Core Ideas and Crosscutting Concepts while simultaneously working on science and engineering practices. These practices include asking questions, developing & using models, planning & carrying out investigations, analyzing & interpreting data, using mathematics & computational thinking, constructing explanations & designing solutions, engaging in argument from evidence, and obtaining, evaluating & communicating information.

Three-Dimensional Learning

Now that you’ve learned about the three dimensions, it’s time to evaluate lessons and materials so that you can effectively teach the NGSS. Achieve’s EQuIP rubric was created to help determine whether or not materials are NGSS-aligned. In this video, you’ll see educators working to describe what three-dimensional learning looks like in lessons.

First Steps Towards Transitioning to the NGSS

Want to see the three dimensions in action? Watch high school teacher Tricia Shelton talk about how she started using the NGSS in her classroom.

How are others using the three dimensions in their classrooms? Check out this Q&A question to see the responses of different educators on what their level of implementation is.


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