Next Gen Science Standards

  • The Cold Spring Harbor Elementary Science Curriculum is a student-centered, problem-solving approach consistent with the New York State Elementary Science Core Curriculum document and the approaches in the National Science Education Standards and the National Academy of Sciences.

    Alongside the newly adopted Common Core Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics, we are currently revising our curricula in anticipating the Revised K-12 Science Standards. These standards are being developed by the National Research Council, the National Science Teachers Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Achieve.  New York State has been a lead partner in the effort to draft and develop the Next Generation Science Standards .  This process will produce a set of high quality, college- and career-ready K–12 Next Generation Science Standards ready for state adoption. More information may be accessed at

    The standards and the curricula will be published on this website when they are completed.

    Next Gen for First Grade scientists:

    First grade students focus on using patterns as a means to identify cause and effect relationships. Students consider the effect structure has on survival; as well as, patterns in the night sky. Students use this information as they explore how cause and effect relationships affect stability and change within systems.

    1. Structure, Function, and Information Processing

    Students learn about the external parts of plants and animals and how they are used, including variations of features among individuals and changes during growth. This topic builds on kindergarten understanding of the needs of plants and animals and supports later topics in fourth grade on the structure and function of internal and external parts of organisms. This topic lends itself to early experiences with the practice of using models (i.e., diagrams, drawings, physical replicas) and the crosscutting concept of structure and function. Students extend their understanding of engineering by applying their science knowledge about a plant or animal structure to design a solution to a problem. Students are expected to demonstrate understanding that plants and animals have a variety of external parts, and that the parts have uses which enable organisms to survive and meet their needs.

    1. Space Systems: Patterns and Cycles

    Students learn about patterns of natural events, as well as patterns of objects in the sky. Students understand that some forms of technology can be useful tools in observing more objects in the night sky and in detail. This topic supports later learning in fifth grade when students use models to describe cyclic patterns and use scientific knowledge of light and lenses to design a tool to enhance vision. This topic lends itself to making observations and using observations to describe and identify patterns. Students are expected to demonstrate understanding that some events (e.g., sunrise and sunset, night and day) are cyclic while others have a beginning and an end.

    1. Waves: Light and Sound

    Students explore basic properties of light and sound. Students conduct investigations to determine causes and effects. Students apply scientific knowledge, using the properties of light and sound, to solve a problem. This topic creates a foundation for the fourth grade topic of waves in which students examine properties of waves, how waves interact with objects, and how those interactions can be used to communicate information. Students are expected to demonstrate understanding of basic properties of light and sound.