Quick FAQ’s about the NGSS for
The NGSS are best understood in the context of the National Academy’s
Framework for K-12 Science Education.
It is highly suggested that teachers and
administrators read the Framework
first before attempting to implement the
What are the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)?
The NGSS are
a set of performance expectations that describe what students should know and
be able to do at various stages in their K-12 development, and were written with
wide-scale student assessment in mind. The NGSS are not written as curriculum:
they do not provide details about what students need in order to master a big
idea. The NGSS do not provide explicit guidelines to teachers about instructional
approaches; educators are expected to use their discretion when making decisions
about pacing, order, and teaching method.
Why should I care about the NGSS?
The NGSS is a result of a nationwide attempt
to increase science literacy for all. Physics is fundamental to this effort. The writing
of the NGSS was based upon work by the National Academies and the American
Association for the Advancement of Science, and was written by 41 science
educators and leaders from 26 Lead States. Even if your school district or state
has not adopted the NGSS, understanding them is key to engaging in the national
discussion about science education.
What do the NGSS look like?
Below is a sample standard related to physics.
The NGSS are performance objectives (defining a student action for
that include both depth of content (
Disciplinary Core Ideas
), skills (
and Engineering Practices
), and interconnections with other science disciplines
). The NGSS are also aligned with
Common Core State
for English Language Arts / Literacy and Mathematics. See “Reading the
NGSS” in this guide for a much more detailed explanation of how these facets of
each standard are related to one another.
Develop and use a
two objects interacting through
electrical or magnetic fields
the forces between objects
of the objects
due to the interaction. [Clarification
Statement: Examples of models could include
drawings, diagrams, and texts
such as drawings of what happens when two charges of opposite polarity are
near each other.]
[Assessment Boundary: Assessment is limited to systems
containing two objects.]
Where do I find physics content in the NGSS?
Because the NGSS place heavy
emphasis on the interdisciplinary nature of science and engineering, the standards
are not explicitly organized by subject. Although physics can be found (alongside
chemistry) in the Physical Science grouping of standards, physics concepts can
also be found in the study of Earth and Space Science (i.e. gravity), Life Sciences
(i.e. energy flow), and Engineering standards.
How would adoption of the NGSS affect the physics courses that I teach?
The answer to this is dependent upon both your existing teaching style and
course content. While most standard high school physics courses will include
the “big topics” addressed by the NGSS (Motion, Forces, Energy, and Waves),
the NGSS also places a heavy emphasis on interdisciplinary understandings and
engineering. Teachers might find that they need to make more room for teaching
these additional skills, shift their instructional approach, and/or to take more
professional development themselves in order to help students address these
What is the AAPT’s position on the NGSS?
The AAPT supports the spirit and
purpose of NGSS as implemented in the context of the Framework, but does not
endorse any set of standards.
Where can I learn more about the NGSS?
Get new resources that align with
and support the use of the NGSS athttp://aapt.org/k12.
to read and learn more about each of the NGSS performance
expectations. See “Resources for Implementing the NGSS” near the end of this