The framework is based on a rich and growing body of research on teaching and learning in science, as well as on nearly two decades of efforts to define foundational knowledge and skills for K-12 science and engineering. From this work, the committee concludes that K-12 science and engineering education should focus on a limited number of disciplinary core ideas and crosscutting concepts, be designed so that students continually build on and revise their knowledge and abilities over multiple years, and support the integration of such knowledge and abilities with the practices needed to engage in scientific inquiry and engineering design.

The committee recommends that science education in grades K-12 be built around three major dimensions (see Box S-1 for details of each dimension). These dimensions are

•     Scientific and engineering practices

•     Crosscutting concepts that unify the study of science and engineering through their common application across fields

•     Core ideas in four disciplinary areas: physical sciences; life sciences; earth and space sciences; and engineering, technology, and applications of science

To support students’ meaningful learning in science and engineering, all three dimensions need to be integrated into standards, curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Engineering and technology are featured alongside the natural sciences (physical sciences, life sciences, and earth and space sciences) for two critical reasons: (1) to reflect the importance of understanding the human-built world and (2) to recognize the value of better integrating the teaching and learning of science, engineering, and technology.

The broad set of expectations for students articulated in the framework is intended to guide the development of new standards that in turn guide revisions to science-related curriculum, instruction, assessment, and professional development for educators. A coherent and consistent approach throughout grades K-12 is key to realizing the vision for science and engineering education embodied in the framework: that students, over multiple years of school, actively engage in science and engineering practices and apply crosscutting concepts to deepen their understanding of each field’s disciplinary core ideas.

The framework represents the first step in a process that should inform state-level decisions and provide a research-grounded basis for improving science teaching and learning across the country. It is intended to guide standards developers, curriculum designers, assessment developers, state and district science

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement