Next Generation Science Standards Gaining Momentum?

DON’T BE SHY: “The NGSS somewhat uncomfortably exposes weak spots in my teaching, but will also be a source of structure and support going forward.” Those are measured but encouraging words from 2007 TFA alum, Hope Street Group National Teacher Fellow, and MS Science teacher, Lauren Prentiss, on what the Next Generation Science Standards can bring to K-12 science education. To-date, no states have adopted the standards, no exemplars exist for implementation, and no one’s quite sure how the new standards will be assessed. But what is definite is the way scientific practice has changed over the past 15 years. The hard rules of classical mechanics are now an afterthought on how the physical world works. With recent breakthroughs in quantum mechanics, learning to ask the right question and develop a mental is far more important than the formulas and theories that students regurgitate in today’s classroom. The “weak spots” in Prentiss’s pedagogy may ultimately prove to be strengths for the coming generation of STEM students.

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