Climate Change finds a place in Next Generation Science Standards

In addition the Standards highlight 7 crosscutting concepts and 8 science and engineering practices that are intertwined throughout the core ideas.  The idea being that over multiple years of education in the sciences and engineering, students will actively engage in scientific and engineering practices and apply crosscutting concepts to deepen their understanding of the core ideas in these fields.  (Framework for K-12 Science Education, 2012)

The standards themselves are broken out into performance expectations by topic.  They are expectations are what students are expected to do, but are not necessarily meant to inform instruction.  This short video gives an overview of how to read the standards:


Those of us in the climate change education field were happy to see the inclusion of climate change as a core idea and the importance of students understanding humans as a contributing factor.  Public feedback on the first public draft of the standards is encouraged and welcome, but review can be daunting if you decide to tackle them all.  A few suggested approaches to review from the climate change education angle:

  • The hope of these standards is that learning about core ideas happens across the four strands.  Look at how climate change is covered across just across the high school standards.
  • The standards are also based on the idea of learning progression across multiple years.  Look at how climate change is covered K-12.  This could mean (but is definitely not limited to)looking at K.WEA Weather, 3.WCI Weather, Climate, and Impacts, MS.ESS-WC Weather and Climate, MS.ESS-HI Human Impacts and HS.ESS-CC Climate Change.

View and review the Next Generation Science Standards.

Previously developed materials that may be helpful in review of the standards and their coverage of climate change include :
The Climate Literacy Principles
These principles highlight the the key scientific principles and concepts important to understanding climate change.

NAAEE/NWF Educator Guidelines for K-12 Global Climate Change Education
This document highlights the developmental stages of students and their capacity to understand the more complex science of climate change.

NSTA’s Next Generation Science Standards Resources

Other commentary on the standards and climate change include :
New national standards ask schools to teach climate change

New Classroom Science Standards Up for Review


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