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 Fourth Grade scientists:

    Fourth grade students focus on the effects of matter and energy flows and cycles on the natural and designed world. Students continue to explore systems conceptually in preparation for fifth grade where a more explicit understanding of systems is expected. Students develop a conceptual definition of energy and begin to conceptualize that all matter has energy. Students explore how matter and energy flows and cycles and they use that knowledge to demonstrate understanding of waves, erosion, and weathering.

    4. Structure, Function, and Information Processing

    Internal structures in plants and animals and connections between types of information from the environment and particular body structures are addressed in fourth grade. This topic builds on and extends first grade understanding of external structures, and provides a foundation for understanding the functions and interactions of body systems in middle school. This topic supports a deeper understanding of models, and provides opportunities for careful investigation and data collection. This topic lends itself to further development of the crosscutting concept of structure and function. Students extend their understanding of criteria and constraints in engineering by comparing different solutions to a problem. Students are expected to demonstrate understanding that plants and animals have both internal and external structures that function to help them respond to their environment, meet their needs, and survive.

    4. Waves

    Students study waves and how they can be used to transmit information. Students have had experience with light and sound, motion, and energy (the concepts in 4.E are required for one of the performance expectations in 4.W). Students extend these ideas to a scientific examination of the properties of waves, how they interact with objects, and how those interactions can be used to communicate information. This topic lends itself to developing models of waves and their interactions. Students extend their understanding of engineering and the impact of technology on people’s lives as they consider the impact of communication technologies. These experiences lay the foundation for a more extensive and mathematical description of waves and their properties in middle school. Students are expected to demonstrate understanding of waves and how they can be used to transmit information.

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

    Earth’s changing surface builds on second grade understanding of how wind and water move materials to change landforms and supports later learning in fifth grade when students use models to describe interactions between the geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere. This topic also lends itself to using fair tests to do investigations that control variables and identifying evidence that supports explanations. In addition, it provides further opportunities to develop the crosscutting concept of patterns and cause and effect. Students extend their understanding of science concepts by applying them to engineering design constructing and testing a design solution to mitigate the effects of a natural hazard. Students are expected to demonstrate understanding of the processes that shape Earth’s surface and identify the evidence that supports an explanation for the changes over time.

    4. Energy

    Students develop a rudimentary understanding about energy. While the word is in common use, students begin to think of energy in scientific terms, building on previous experiences around force and motion, light, heat, and sound. This topic lends itself to developing models to organize evidence and to construct and support explanations, and introduces and adds the concept of energy to the crosscutting concept of energy and matter. Students extend their understanding of engineering by learning about how people have designed technologies to store, transport, and transform energy to power our civilization, and they learn how engineers address constraints and criteria as they design, test and refine their own device. Students are expected to have an operational definition of energy, and recognize it in a range of forms, such as a motion, heat, light, sound, and electric current.