Why Do We Need the NGSS?
To understand the impact of the NGSS, take a look around. What do smartphones, multivitamins, organic pesticides, self-driving cars, solar panels, and kevlar have in common? Science. Science touches everyone in the United States every day, yet the U.S. national standards for teaching K-12 science remained unchanged from 1997 until 2013. During that time frame,
- researchers found evidence that neutrinos have mass in 1998
- scientists discovered three new synthetic elements: livermorium (element 116) in 2000, moscovium (element 115) in 2003, and tennessine (element 117) in 2010
- the human genome was published in 2001
- Pluto was reclassified as a dwarf planet in 2006
- the first clone of an extinct animal was born in 2009
- NASA’s Curiosity rover landed on Mars in 2012
Each one of these breakthroughs highlights how closely intertwined science, technology, and engineering are. With all of these advancements and innovations, the curricula for science were badly in need of an update. This is why the National Research Council (NRC), National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), along with lead partners from 26 states, came together to design the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), a comprehensive guideline for teaching science from kindergarten through 12th grade.