Science

Children are natural-born investigators. They love to ask questions, experiment, and explore the outdoors. New York City children have a unique opportunity to discover how nature adapts and interacts with a wide variety of phenomena in a very distinct urban setting.

Our city’s students are up to the challenge to become experts in science so that they become advocates in their communities, leaders of organizations, and developers of new technologies that will help generations to come. It is necessary to instill the love of science in all students, so they can reach their potential in becoming New York City’s best naturalists, scientists, engineers, and technology innovators.

New York City Science educators are tasked to engage all students in learning using new technologies, conducting investigations in and out of the classroom, learning to protect the living environment in their community. The New Vision for Science Education raises the bar for all students to become STEM leaders in New York City.

New Standards

The release of the new New York State P-12 Science Learning Standards (NYSSLS)  provides all students with a springboard to develop their inner scientist. The Standards set innovative and challenging expectations for all children by: 

      * promoting the development of science and engineering practices
      * building their knowledge of science
      * connecting the different disciplines of science 
      * helping them make meaning of the natural world 

This way, all students will work towards becoming young scientists by letting their natural curiosity take an important role in understanding the world around them and in making decisions that may benefit themselves and their communities.

The NYSSLS are an adaptation of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), which are grounded in the Framework for K-12 Science Education. All instructional materials related to the use of the NGSS are useful for exploring our new state standards, and in understanding how the planning of lessons transforms student learning in innovative ways.

NGSS Appendices

The NGSS appendices are great tools that help teachers make sense of changes in the content, process, and teaching practices that are necessary to help students achieve their maximum potential in science classrooms. These are grouped into three distinct categories to benefit all teachers while they explore the NYSSLS.

Pedagogical and Conceptual Knowledge of the Standards

Learning Progressions

The Integration of Science and Other Content Areas

Professional Learning and Upcoming Opportunities

Standards, or Performance Expectations, are carefully designed to integrate all three dimensions, describing what students should be able to do with all scientific knowledge and understanding they gain as part of three-dimensional learning. Three-Dimensional Learning, as visualized in A Framework for K-12 Science Education, consists of three cornerstones:

  • Science and engineering practices: the abilities students use to explore, investigate and discover conceptual ideas in science
  • Crosscutting concepts: the general ideas students develop to connect different science disciplines to areas such as mathematics, technology, and the arts
  • Disciplinary Core Ideas: the foundational concepts for understanding how the natural world is designed and works.

Upcoming Opportunities

There are many ways to learn about three-dimensional learning and the NYSSLS. This section provides you with information and links to register for citywide opportunities.

Monday PL Series: The science modules help school science teams better understand the new standards, and be ready for its implementation.

  • Three-Dimensional Learning - Elementary Schools

Upcoming Science Professional Learning Institutes

Middle Schools: Three-Dimensional Learning and the New NYC P-8 Science Scope & Sequence

During our three-day professional learning institute, participants will be introduced to the new New York City P-8 Science Scope and Sequence, developing a deeper conceptual understanding of three-dimensional learning as the way to achieve performance expectations. 

High Schools: Five Practices for Orchestrating Science Discussions

Participation in this institute will help teachers to hone skills required by the new NYS Science Learning Standards while the 1996 MST standards remain in effect for Regents courses. High school teachers from any science discipline will engage in an applied book study of 5 Practices for Orchestrating Productive Task-Based Discussions in Science. The 5 Practices is a routine that helps students make sense of the science in cognitively demanding tasks through carefully designed discussion. The teachers will experience and practice using the 5 Practices prior to implementing their learnings in their own classrooms.

New NYC PK-8 Science Scope & Sequence 2018

Designing a STEM-centric curriculum, as articulated in the STEM Framework, requires that disciplinary content is seamlessly integrated, and presented through a meaningful blending of

  • proper use of technology
  • application of mathematics at the grade level, and
  • project-based learning.

Such curriculum should provide all students with opportunities to learn at their own capacity, in a student-centered environment.

The newly designed NYC PK – 8 Science Scope & Sequence 2018 (find the link below) presents the most effective way in which students should learn science in New York City Public Schools. Following the principles guiding how a ‘fully integrated’ curriculum should be designed, the new Scope & Sequence provides an intentional sequence of content in which all three dimensions should be developed through the context of specific phenomena relevant to students.

It also provides students with opportunities to apply

  • their mathematical practices and reasoning
  • engage in the use of technological devices, and
  • use design thinking as a way to create new solutions to problems identified through the study of phenomena.

Science and Literacy

Standards, or Performance Expectations, require students to communicate their understanding within their community of learners, whether engaging in science discourse or writing. The development of literacy through science promotes that students read for understanding and gathering evidence; make their thinking visible through writing tasks, or articulate their ideas while engaging in student discussions. Tasks and practices developed for communication in science should be aligned with the NYS Next Generation ELA Standards.


The development of literacy skills serves the achievement of science standards while

  • Researching and gathering strong evidence
  • Synthesizing information
  • Arguing orally and in writing using the gathered evidence
  • Organizing events and ideas to make sense of scientific theories
  • Formulating, integrating, analyzing, and assessing visual representations of data (e.g., graphs, charts, data tables)

The NYC DOE Educator’s Guide to Disciplinary Literacy presents ideas and evidence about the importance of the promotion of literacy in the context of science instruction in its unique way, developing communication skills as secondary school scientists.

Young science apprentices in elementary schools can benefit from developing their science and engineering practices through the use of notebooks while conducting investigations. The Science Notebook Guiding Document is a tool for elementary school teachers to integrate the use of notebooks within science instruction.

Evidence Statements

Evidence statements articulate what students should be able to do while learning NYSSLS – based science. Each performance expectation is described through evidence statements in sentences that provide teachers with clear benchmarks of what to look for while observing students when they are,

  • developing science and engineering practices
  • articulating their understanding of core ideas, and
  • making connections within science and other content areas through the crosscutting concepts.

Science Leadership Teams in New York City created evidence statements for those performance expectations added by the Board of Regents in the NYSSLS. The NGSS provides a detailed explanation of the purpose, structure, usage, and limitations of the Evidence Statements.

While planning lessons, teachers should use the Evidence Statements to formatively assess students. These statements may be useful for students as well while they reflect on their own learning, since science and engineering practices, disciplinary core ideas, and crosscutting concepts are developed over time.

Elementary Science Evidence Statements

Middle School Science Evidence Statements

High School Science Evidence Statements