Resource Center

NGSS Topic Study

The three dimensions of the Next Generation Science Standards include:

That is 60 topics to consider (if you include the NGSS Overview) when planning an NGSS Topic Study! Engaging in your own learning of these topics is an essential part of building awareness around the NGSS. The deeper your understanding of the three dimensions, the better you will be able to apply them into planning for student learning. 

The NGSS Topic Study uses a cycle of inquiry, study, and reflection to build awareness around the new standards. The goals for the topic study cycle can be adapted depending on how much time you have. If you only have one hour of time, focus on one of the goals,but follow the full learning cycle of inquiry, study, and reflection. If you have more time, you should complete all the goals.

The links below will guide you through the NGSS Topic Study process:

The NGSS Topic Study protocol will help educators in the first two stairs outlined below (beginning awareness and understanding the nature of NGSS). It provides a foundation of learning that helps to understand each of the three dimensions that combine to create the performance expectations of the NGSS. The third stair (thinking about moving from standards to instruction), in which educators begin planning performance tasks and instructional units, is the beginning of the transition phase, and is not in the scope of this website. Being able to return here, however, will benefit teachers by providing resources for them as needed.

NGSS Staircase

Reference Notes and Acknowledgements

The NGSS Topic Study process is adapted from the book, Science Curriculum Topic Study, by Page Keeley, and the NSF work on Curriculum Topic Study (CTS). A project summary and more information about CTS can be found on their website. 

The NGSS Topic Study is based on the research, How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and Body, from the National Research Council.

* is a registered trademark of Achieve. Neither Achieve nor the lead states and partners that developed the Next Generation Science Standards was involved in the production of, and does not endorse, this product.