Two students conducting a Chemistry experiment with goggles on.

Lesley Merritt, Director of K-12 Science & AVID

Lesley Merritt

Director of K-12 Science & AVID

Why Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)?

Our goal as science educators in Fayetteville Public Schools is to develop critical-thinking skills that will cultivate great thinkers and innovators of tomorrow and promote better-educated graduates. By allowing students a chance to explore and engage in hands-on science, they will be prepared to be informed citizens and ready for college and careers. Our partnerships with the Lake Fayetteville Environmental Study Center, Kessler Mountain Outdoor Classroom and Nature Center, and Ozark Natural Science Center allow our students to not only explore in the classroom but also interact with natural resources in our own backyard.

Fayetteville Public Schools science teachers follow the Arkansas K-12 Science Standards. These standards were adopted in 2015-2016, and align with the research based Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). They were developed in such a way to promote analysis and interpretation of data, critical thinking, problem solving, and connections across science disciplines. By engaging in science and engineering practices and applying crosscutting concepts, students deepen their understanding of the core ideas in science. 

Our standards promote a new way of teaching and learning by integrating the three dimensions of learning:

  • Science Disciplinary Core Ideas:  Disciplinary core ideas have the power to focus K–12 science curriculum, instruction, and assessments on the most important aspects of science and are grouped into four domains.

    • Life Science

    • Earth and Space Science

    • Physical Science

    • Engineering, Technology, and Applications of Science.

  • Science and Engineering Practices: These practices cultivate students’ scientific habits of mind, develop their capability to engage in scientific inquiry, and teach students how to reason in a scientific context.

    • Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering) 

    • Developing and using models

    • Planning and carrying out investigations

    • Analyzing and interpreting data

    • Using mathematics and computational thinking

    • Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)

    • Engaging in argument from evidence

    • Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

  • Crosscutting Concepts: These concepts provide students with an organizational framework for connecting knowledge from the various disciplines into a coherent and scientifically-based view of the world.

    • Patterns

    • Cause and Effect

    • Scale, proportion, and quantity

    • Systems and System Models

    • Energy and Matter

    • Structure and Function

    • Stability and Change

For more information on the standards see the FAQ for Arkansas K-12 Science Standards.

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