Michigan Science Standards

On Tuesday November 10, 2015 the Michigan Board of Education voted to adopt the Michigan Science Standards by a vote of seven to one. Michigan, one of the original lead states, is the 17th state to have adopted the Performance Expectations from the Next Generation Science Standards. The Michigan Science Standards are the performance expectations from the Next Generation Science Standards.

Download a copy of the approved Michigan Science Standards.




Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Resources

What is all this NGSS stuff anyway? If you are new to NGSS, or like many of us, still trying to wrap your head around all the changes, you may find this padlet useful. It contains a great number of resources organized by these categories:

How is NGSS different?
What is Phenomenon?
What are Driving Questions?
What are Academic Conversations? (argumentation)
What is modeling?
How can administrators support teachers?

Free K-12 NGSS Aligned Curriculum

Are you looking for Free K-12 NGSS aligned curriculum? This padlet has links to curricular materials and other resources. Please do not assume that all these materials are 3 dimensional. Please use the 3 rubrics included in this padlet to evaluate these resources. 


Do you need help in designing your science curriculum, to meet the changes in the Michigan Science Standards?  If so, you may want to use the new Curriculum Coherence Document, developed at Wayne RESA.  The purpose of the document is to help you save time as you navigate through the curriculum process.  Download Curriculum Coherence Document.

The documents below will support your science curriculum team as you plan your transition to our new standards:

For support with assessment, go to the NGSS Assessment Page.

Michigan Science Standards are the Performance Expectations

The complete Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are available for downoad. The National Science Teachers Association provides resources to support the Next Generation Science Standards.  View resources.

The best way to understand our new standards is to read the book, "A Framework for K-12 Science Education". To download a free copy of the K-12 Framework.   

How to Read the Standards

Understand the Standards Before You Commit

MDE is actually encouraging everyone to slow down and understand the MI Science Standards before writing assessments and making course sequence changes, etc. Below is an example of what your transition plan might look like.

State of Transition to NGSS - Stage 1 Understanding the Vision; State 2 Shifting Practices; Stage 3 Shifting Curriculum; State 4 Full Implementation

Stages not marked by years because they build on each other. For more information please see the NGSS Transition Plan

I would encourage everyone to really understand NGSS K-12 before you purchase new materials, create assessments, write lessons, etc. For example, at the MS and HS level, Performance Expectations (PE's) can be arranged in many different ways. The way you arrange them may not be the same way that others have arranged them. Thus, resources such as textbooks, kit-based science programs, units and lessons may not align to your organization of the PE's. That means that you will have to either change your organization of the PE's at a later date or create everything yourself.

For example, this is a Sample NGSX Chemistry Course - This is only one possibility of what an NGSX aligned science course might look like. In fact, you may not even want to call it chemistry. Please use this as a spring board for discussion and creativity. Notice that the collection of PE's may not align to a particular textbook or other resource. If you commit yourself at this point, it may be difficult for you to find assessments and resource materials that align with the course you have created. Another way to go about this is to spend more time making sure every teacher understands the shifts and vision of NGSS and then try to pilot materials (lessons, units, kit-based science programs, etc.) that align to NGSS.

I would really encourage your team to thoroughly understand NGSS before any drastic changes are made. From my own experience, understanding all these changes is quite a shift. You may want all your team to go through some of the professional learning that we provide at RESA such as NGSX (Please see information below regarding NGSX).

NGSX @Wayne RESA: Next Generation Science Exemplar

Professional Learning Opportunity, Nationally Developed, Locally Implemented

Two women talking

Have you signed up for one of our NGSX cohorts? To understand how this professional learning will support your implementation of the new science standards watch this video.

Learn more about the storyline tools along with some sample storylines and associated lesson plans.

Is there a process that will help me unpack the new Michigan Science Standards?

You may want to first unpack the Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI's).

  1. Access the disciplinary core ideas in your grade-level or course and click on "Search the Standards".
  2. Select "Standards By Topic" (this is how Michigan is organizing the standards).
  3. Scroll down and select your grade span. Next, click on the science topics you are interested in and you will see all your performance expectations (PE's) listed.
  4. Each PE is composed of all 3 dimensions. The dimensions associated with the PE are displayed in boxes below the PE. The orange box in the middle is the Disciplinary Core Idea. When you click on this DCI it will take you to the explanation of this target found in the book A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas. This explanation is what the DCI is based on. View an Example of Unpacking Performance Expectations
  5. Please also take into consideration the Science and Engineering Practices and the Crosscutting Concepts. To get a complete picture of the Science and Engineering Practices please read the book A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas. You may also want to read the appendices. Please see the information below that describes how to access the appendices.

Graduation Requirements

In August 2014 the state modified the wording of the science requirement for graduation. What used to say :

"1 credit in biology, 1 credit in chemistry OR physics, and 1 additional science class"

now reads:

"at least 3 credits in science that are aligned with the subject area content expectations developed by the department (State Department of Education) and approved by the state board under this section".

The interpretation is that students who graduate should master ALL of the state science standards, which are now the Michigan Science Standards (MSS) and are the Performance Expectations (PE's) from the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

For a more detailed explanation, please see MDE's document, Michigan Merit Curriculum High School Graduation Requirements

How does CTE fit in?

The document states that, for science, there is some flexibility with these 3 credits. From the document:


• Proficiency in State Content Standards for Science (3 credits); or

• Beginning with the Class of 2015: Proficiency in some State Content Standards for Science (2 credits) and completion of a Department approved formal Career and Technical Education (CTE) program (1 credit).

Thus, a student may fulfill the requirement for the 3rd Science credit by completing a formal CTE program or curriculum.

If the 3rd Science credit is exchanged for a formal CTE program or curriculum then science content does not need to be integrated. However, districts are responsible for ensuring that students have an opportunity to learn the content as outlined in the Michigan Science Standards since these will be tested on the 11th grade Michigan Merit Exam.

Important, if the CTE course is not completed successfully then the student is not only out the CTE credits, but they will still be short a 3rd credit of science. 

How do I find the Performance Expectations that I'm required to teach?

To search for your performance expectations in your grade-level or course visit NGSS website. Then follow the procedure described in the update above, "Aligning Curriculum for Next Year".

We have some districts that are already looking into this. For example, the course sequence below distributes Earth Science Performance Expectations throughout several courses:

Physics (Astronomy)
Chemistry Earth Systems (Geology, Weather and Climate)
Biology Earth Systems (Environmental, History of Earth)
Optional Advanced Science Courses (AP, IB, H, Dual Enrollment)


If chemistry and biology teachers are expected to incorporate Earth and Space Science into their courses, these teachers will need to be well versed in the treatment of those topics to provide the depth necessary for meeting the high school expectations.


I am not aware of many resources available that are aligned to NGSS to support this Course Pathway. That being said, I am checking around to see what might be out there. For now, you might want to check out the resource below:

MSUs Interactions 

Explore other course sequencing options at Model Course Mapping in Middle and High School for the Next Generation Science Standards.

Sample NGSX Chemistry Course - This is only one possibility of what an NGSX aligned science course might look like. Please use this as a spring board for discussion and creativity.

A Framework for K-12 Science Education

"A Framework for K-12 Science Education" is available online for free. It describes the major practices, crosscutting concepts, and disciplinary core ideas that all students should be familiar with by the end of high school, and it provides an outline of how these practices, concepts, and ideas should be developed across the grade levels. The Framework is grounded in the most current research on science and science learning and was the first critical step in the development of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). 

"A Framework for K-12 Science Education," in a process managed by Achieve, 26 states lead the development of the Next Generation Science Standards. 

Download the K-12 Framework.  

Online Blended Learning course on NGSS with Dr. Greg Johnson

To participate in a NGSS online blended learning course, led by Greg Johnson, view Wayne RESA NGSS website.

Impact of the Michigan Science Standards on Assessment

The Michigan Science Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards Require Tools for Ambitious Science Teaching

View the Ambitious Science Teaching Website. Great teaching can be learned. This website provides tools and resources that support ambitious science instruction at the middle school and high school levels. Ambitious teaching deliberately aims to get students of all racial, ethnic, and class backgrounds to understand science ideas, participate in the discourses of the discipline, and solve authentic problems. They describe 4 core instructional strategies that support this kind of teaching. These “high-leverage” practices make up the Science Learning Framework, and have been selected based on extensive research of how young people learn science, on authentic forms of science activity, and how teachers learn to appropriate new practices.  MIExcel (MDE's efforts to define the blueprint for district turnaround) recommends the vision of ambitious science.  

FREE Posters on the NGSS Science and Engineering Practices

Thanks to the Eastern Upper Peninsula ISD Mathematics and Science Center, we have FREE downloadable posters for elementary students/teachers and middle school and high school students/teachers, that they developed.  

View the poster showing the Elementary Science and Engineering Principles.

View the poster showing the Middle School and High School Science and Engineering Practices.  

Thanks again to the EUP Mathematics and Science Center for sharing their work with us. 

Free Copy of the NGSS

To download a free copy of the NGSS, or to order a printed copy of the NGSS.

Free NGSS App

You can download the free Next Generation Science Standards App.  Download the iPad App.  Download the iPhone App.

In the NGSS Classroom with Teacher Kristin Mayer Video Series

These 8 videos introduce science teachers to important strategies based on the Framework for K-12 Science Education and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). This collection of videos highlights the major shifts in science instruction, explore the new role of the teacher, and demonstrate new instructional strategies in the high school classroom. The project was led by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) with funding from Disney, and the video and lesson development was led by CREATE for STEM Institute at Michigan State University, in partnership with Concord Consortium, and The University of Michigan. View the video series.

NGSS Videos on the Teaching Channel

Four NGSS videos are now available through the Teaching Channel.  Achieve and Teaching Channel collaborated to produce videos that present an overview of key innovation in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and a deeper dive into each of the NGSS' three dimentions.  View the videos . 

NGSS Professional Development Workshops from CREATE for STEM

Getting to Know the Next Generation of Science Standards is a set of training materials being developed by partners from CREATE for STEM Institute at Michigan State University and Michigan NGSS External Review Team members for use by trainers providing professional development about the Next Generation of Science Standards (NGSS) to teachers. The training materials are in-depth and incorporate instructional components including activities to support the teachers' interaction with the content. As indicated below, some workshops are complete and availabe for use, some in development, and some currently undergoing review by members of the Michigan NGSS External Review Team. The next step will be to pilot the materials. Down the road, these materials will be housed as part of a common website with rich video material and resources. View the resources. 

NGSS on Twitter

Follow the conversation on the Next Generation Science Standards on Twitter. Just use #NGSS.

NGSS on Pinterest

Follow along with NGSS resources on Pinterest, provided by GLOBE.  

Bozeman Science and the NGSS

Have you heard of Bozeman Science?  Paul Anderson maintains the Bozeman resources.  Paul has been teaching high school science for the last nineteen years.  He has been teaching science on YouTube for the last three years.  Paul spent the first seven years teaching all of the science classes at a small rural school in northern Montana.  Paul is currently a science teacher and technology specialist at Bozeman High School.  This video series covers the concepts contained within the K-12 Science Framework. It contains 8 practices, 7 crosscutting concepts, and 44 disciplinary core ideas.  View the series on YouTube

Implementing the NGSS: Hallmarks of a Fully Realized School System

DePaul University convened a working group to provide a set of recommendations to districts and schools around the upcoming transition to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The working group included 19 members from universities (both science and education experts), schools systems (both within and outside of CPS, including teachers, principals, network administrators, and central office administrators) and non formal educational institutions. The essential question that was addressed by the group was how we can ensure that all students receive a high quality, rigorous education in science that will prepare them to be informed citizens and demonstrate to them the personal and societal value of science and engineering. In the report the group described the hallmarks or elements of an educational system that is fully aligned with the NGSS, focusing on three clusters of actions: curriculum and instruction, assessment, and system capacity. The group presented this picture to serve as a vision for districts, schools, and classrooms as administrators and teachers begin their conversations about how to implement these "fewer, clearer and higher" standards. Following these hallmarks, the group outlined some suggestions for closing the gap between the current reality and the vision for K-12 science education. Download the policy brief.

Achieve and the Teaching Channel Releases New Classroom Videos Demonstrating Transitions to NGSS

The featured classroom examples illustrate how some educators are transitioning instruction to help students meet the goals of the NGSS. The snapshots demonstrate how specific teachers are beginning to transition to the standards and offer guidance to educators currently considering how to best engage students in three-dimensional learning.

Michigan Merit Curriculum

NGSS Overview for Principals

Participate in our NGSS online course 

Explore 8 Science and Engineering Practices


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