New Jersey Science Standards

Instructor: Fola Rae
New Jersey science standards are in place for students in grades K through 12 to expose them to science and its influence on the world. Read on to learn more about the standards and what resources you can use to enhance your students' science knowledge.

Next Generation Science Standards in New Jersey

While many children graduating from high school may not decide to go into science as a college or career choice, taking classes in the subject is vital because science impacts so many areas of life and society. New Jersey is moving toward incorporating the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) into the core curriculum standards for science in the state. NGSS standards were created at the national level to enhance science education for students in grades K through 12 all over the country.

NGSS incorporates key performance standards into the science subjects that students learn during their time in the K-12 school system. The standards also aims to include engineering areas of study along with science starting in elementary school. The state plans to be able to include NGSS standards completely into teaching practices and science courses for the targeted grades K through 12 by the end of 2018.

NGSS Dimensions

The standards are separated into three groups with focus areas that provide guidelines for how the study topics should enrich the students. These groups are known as dimensions in NGSS terms and are categorized as practices, crosscutting concepts, and disciplinary core ideas. The practices dimension focuses on the behaviors used by those working in science as well as engineering. This aspect of the standards teaches students about how scientists investigate the natural world and how engineers create models to solve problems.

In the crosscutting concepts dimension, the goal of the NGSS standard is to connect the various types of science concepts to each other so that the students can be given a global understanding of science. For the disciplinary core ideas dimension, the students will be given training on the main areas of science which will help them to conduct investigations and analyze scientific issues. Core ideas apply to several science fields and are built upon at each grade level.

Fields of Study

The science standards are split into physical science, life science, and earth and space science. Physical science covers topics related to movement, matter and the use of energy. Life science covers topics related to the formation of life, genetics and ecosystems. The earth and space sciences category covers the earth, its location in relation to other planets, and how human beings live on it. Students learn about the universe, weather and natural resources.

Along with these three areas of science, the field of engineering is incorporated into the standards. In the middle school and high school levels, technology, engineering and scientific applications in the real world are major study areas within the NGSS standards. All of the fields of study and the primary topics contained within them are taught throughout students' K-12 education with increasing complexity and scope.

Science Resources offers helpful resources that allow students to strengthen their science skills in these areas. The courses cover a wide range of topics through engaging video lessons and corresponding self-assessments. Students can work at their own pace and access the materials on their computers, smartphones or other mobile devices. A sampling of the course offerings include the following:

Educators may also want to take a look at the Science Standards Information for Teachers course to learn more about the NGSS standards and how to incorporate them into their classroom plans.

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