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 Third Grade scientists:

    Third grade students focus on a conceptual understanding of natural and designed systems by defining their components and on the influence of cause and effect relationships on the stability of system components. Students explore cause and effect relationships effecting organisms, motion, and weather. This builds a foundation for energy flows and cycles effect on systems in fourth and fifth grades.

    3. Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems: Environmental Impacts on Organisms

    The impact of changes in the environment on organisms is addressed in third grade. This topic builds on second grade understanding of the dependence of organisms on their surroundings, and is a foundation for learning about healthy ecosystems in fifth grade as well as adaptation and natural selection in middle school. This topic lends itself to the practice of analyzing and interpreting data and the crosscutting concept of stability and change. Students apply knowledge of science concepts to an engineering design problem. Students are expected to demonstrate understanding of ways that changes in the environment can affect the organisms that live in an area, and that the types of plants and animals living on Earth now is different from those that lived long ago.

    3. Inheritance and Variation of Traits: Life Cycles and Traits

    Students study the traits of organisms. This topic builds on first grade understanding of the similarities and differences among individuals of the same type, and provides a foundation for the study of inheritance and adaptation in middle school. This topic lends itself to using evidence to construct and support explanations and provides further opportunities to develop the crosscutting concept of patterns. Students extend their understanding of engineering by noting that people design technology to meet their needs based on the characteristics of organisms. Students are expected to demonstrate understanding that traits are inherited and/or affected by interactions with the environment, organisms have variations in their inherited traits, and sometimes these variations provide benefits in surviving, finding mates, and reproducing.

    3. Forces and Interactions

    Students investigate the effect of contact and non-contact forces on the motion of objects. This topic builds on second grade understanding of pushes and pulls and friction. Students learn the scientific use of the word “force” and add noncontact forces to the list of forces. This topic lends itself to conducting investigations to understand balance and unbalanced forces as well as noncontact forces. Students not only design, but also refine a solution to a problem a key feature of engineering. These experiences form the foundation for later discussions of force, motion, and energy. Students are expected to demonstrate understanding that forces can produce changes in motion if the force is unbalanced and that objects not in contact with each other can produce forces on each other.

    3. Weather and Climate

    Students understanding of weather and climate builds on kindergarten understanding of the patterns and variations in local weather and its effect on their lives to support understanding of the long term patterns and variations of weather and climate. In addition, this understanding provides a foundation for expansion into using models to explain interactions that affect weather and climate in middle school. This topic lends itself to the use of mathematical thinking, among other practices, to analyze data and compare designed solutions. Third grade students are extending their understanding of engineering by using their scientific knowledge to evaluate design solutions and communicate about technologies that meet the needs of people interacting with weather-related hazards. Students are expected to demonstrate understanding of the differences between weather and climate and how technology has improved the ability to minimize damage due to weather-related hazards.