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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM ON PHONE OR TABLET NSES-NGSS Comparison National Science Education Standards (1996) Next Generation Science Standards (2013) As a result of the activities in grades K–4, all students should develop K-PS2-1. Plan and conduct an investigation to compare the effects of different strengths or different directions of pushes and pulls on the motion of an object. ● ● ● ● abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry understanding about scientific inquiry As a result of the activities in grades K–4, all students should develop ● ● understanding about position and motion of objects K-PS2-2. Analyze data to determine if a design solution works as intended to change the speed or direction of an object with a push or a pull. 3-PS2-1. Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence of the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object. (NRC 1996) (NGSS Lead States 2013) The content listed in this table’s two columns may seem parallel on the surface. But whereas NSES describes the end result of processes, NGSS de- scribes the processes themselves. The latter approach leads to more active questions and invites learners to launch their own investigations. Veteran teachers may be asking what happened to the ubiquitous word “inquiry,” which guided so much of curriculum development for so many years. The concept of inquiry still exists in NGSS. But in NSES, it was vague, almost impossible to assess, and in many ways frustrating. By contrast, NGSS’s Science and Engineering Practices define very specific skill sets that we use to inquire, investigate, and develop solutions. Thinking of all these historic milestones in education as a progression, not as separate paths is essential. Moving from one level of understanding to the next never means abandoning the wisdom of the past. As Piaget wrote about cognitive schema, educators all over the world were observing them. Bybee and other leaders used the constructivist learning theory that was be- ing implemented in classrooms all over the United States. And many of the same people who crafted NSES in the 1990s worked on the Framework. Mean- while, most teachers were already creating many three-dimensional educa- tional environments. The Framework recognized this and provided a body of research and best practice on which educators could rely to build more such environments. Tomorrow’s early childhood STEM education will enrich what we have today, not replace it. Early childhood teachers and caregivers should recognize in the Frame- work and NGSS the positive things they are already doing. Then they can use these documents to do even greater things. While the documents do not spe- cifically discuss the prerequisite skills necessary at levels before kindergarten, Introduction | 5 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL