Next Generation Science Standards for Kindergarten

Instructor: Carrie Soucy
Next Generation Science Standards include scientific knowledge and skills children should learn in kindergarten. Read on to learn how the standards are applied for this age group.

NGSS at the Kindergarten Level

Currently, Next Generation Science Standards are used in the nation's capital, D.C., and 18 states. It's also important to note that these standards also correlate with Common Core Standards, which makes both sets of standards compatible and useful in the classroom. According to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), the science that kindergartners learn serves as the foundation for the skills they will use and develop throughout elementary, middle and high school.These standards require that, at the end of kindergarten, students have a fundamental understanding of the NGSS's core science disciplines, and have established skills such as asking and answering questions about subject matter, interpreting data, investigating, and formulating solutions to problems presented.

Kindergarten Standards by Discipline

NGSS includes ten standards, or performance expectations, for kindergartners within the areas of physical science, life science, and earth and space science. Each of these incorporates an understanding of engineering, technology and the application of science, along with cross-cutting concepts such as patterns, models, and cause and effect, as they apply to each expectation. Details for the kindergarten standards are outlined below:

Physical Science Standards

At the kindergarten level, students begin learning about the forces and interactions of physical science by studying pushes and pulls. The standards for this area require that, by the end of kindergarten, children have the ability to:

  • Investigate and measure how an object's movement is impacted by the force and direction of pushing and pulling
  • Interpret information gained during investigations and decide whether proposed pushing and pulling solutions are effective in altering the speed and direction of an object

Life Science Standards

NGSS mandates that kindergartners start learning about life science by studying animals, plants and their environment within the frame of ecosystem interdependence. According to standards for this area, by the end of kindergarten, students demonstrate the ability to:

  • Observe and communicate the patterns of animal and plant survival
  • Describe and present evidence of how animals and plants alter the environment when necessary
  • Show how plants and animals depend on their environment
  • Share ideas on how to reduce the impact people have on resources such as air and water

Earth and Space Science Standards

Within NGSS, earth and space science is introduced to kindergartners through the study of weather and climate. The standards for earth and space science require that, by the end of kindergarten, students are able to:

  • Observe and understand how sunlight impacts the Earth
  • Create ways to mitigate how an object is heated by sunlight
  • Track and communicate weather conditions and patterns
  • Inquire about severe weather and how forecasts equip people to deal with it

How to Help Kindergartners Master NGSS

If you are a kindergarten teacher formulating lesson plans that incorporate Next Generation Science Standards,'s elementary science course is designed to assist you in developing lessons and discussion points. Science Basics for Elementary School explores age-appropriate scientific practices and processes while several other chapters address the specific topics included in the standards for kindergarten. See, for example:

Discipline Helpful Resources
Earth and Space Science Weather for Elementary School
Life Science Animal Facts for Elementary School
Plant and Fungi Facts for Elementary School
Environmental Science for Elementary School
Physical Science Physics for Elementary School

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