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 with guidance from NYSED.

    Next Gen for Second Grade scientists:

    Students in second grade focus on examining how cause and effect relationships influence change within systems. The focus on systems at this level is conceptual. Students observe pushes and pulls, how water changes the shape of land, changes in the environment, and physical changes in matter. This provides the foundation for understanding how stability affects systems in third grade.

    2. Forces and Interactions: Pushes and Pulls

    Students investigate the effect of pushes and pulls on the motion of objects. Students examine the relationship between motion and pushes and pulls; and, the relationship between motion and friction. This topic lends itself to conducting investigations on the effect of pushes and pulls on motion, and the relationship between friction and heat. Students extend their understanding of engineering by defining a problem involving friction and developing solutions. This topic provides a foundation for later discussions of forces and interactions, as well as energy. Students are expected to demonstrate understanding that pushes or pulls produce changes in motion, and that objects in contact with each other can produce friction when they move.

    2. Earth’s Surface Systems: Processes that Shape the Earth

    Earth’s changing surface and how its surface provides homes for living things is addressed in second grade. This topic builds on kindergarten understanding of needs of plants and animals and where they live and supports later learning in fifth grade when students use fair tests to investigate the effect of different variables on the rate and extent of erosion. This topic lends itself to developing and using models for comparison, investigating and developing explanations from observations, and the crosscutting concept of cause and effect. Students understand the effect that changes to land can have on living things and the problems that this creates. Students develop solutions to these problems building upon design knowledge gained in first grade using the design process. Students are expected to demonstrate understanding of how the shape of land is changed over time and how landforms and bodies of water on Earth’s surface provide homes for living things.

    2. Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems

    Students study the interdependence of organisms and their surroundings. This topic builds on the kindergarten understanding of the needs of plants and animals, and provides a foundation for understanding of how changes in the environment can affect the types of organisms that live in an area in third grade, as well as interactions in ecosystems in fifth grade. This topic lends itself to defining problems and designing solutions to develop understanding of science concepts. The crosscutting concept of stability and change is highlighted in a life science context and the concept of systems is further developed. Students are expected to demonstrate understanding of the many types of plants and animals that live in, depend on, and meet their needs in particular places in a variety of areas.

    2. Structure and Properties of Matter

    Students explore measurements of, and changes in, the physical properties of matter. This topic builds on kindergarten understanding of the observable properties of materials and supports later learning of chemical and physical changes and the conservation of weight in fifth grade. This topic lends itself to the use of mathematics, among other practices, as students measure properties of matter and analyze data.  The crosscutting concept of energy and matter only addresses matter, and creates a foundational understanding for later understanding of the particle nature of matter. Students build on their engineering knowledge by testing and analyzing data, which will progress to students testing their own designs. Students are expected to demonstrate their abilities to use data to understand the properties of matter and apply their knowledge to real world problems.