Next Generation Science Standards is something I know nothing about. I am not a teacher. I live in NY which is not listed on the wiki page as having an interest in this. Reading the standards is too tedious for me. I see words like holistic and I start to glaze over. However, I do think that students should be involved in more place-based science education. When I was in school I learned about the ecology of the Amazon and all the ecology around me was ignored. I don’t know if that’s still the case or if Next Generation Science Standards have anything to do with that.
Wikipedia has an article about this:
The standards have actually been made intentionally more readable, I think. The NGSS at an elementary school level have made massive improvements and lend themselves really well to study of local/backyard ecosystems and biology. Here’s an excerpt from Grade 2 NGSS standards in CA:
2 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
2-LS2 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and DynamicsaaStudents who demonstrate understanding can:
2-LS2-1. Plan and conduct an investigation to determine if plants need sunlight and water to grow. [Assessment Boundary: Assessment is limited to testing one variable at a time.]
2-LS2-2. Develop a simple model that mimics the function of an animal in dispersing seeds or pollinating plants.
Disciplinary Core Ideas
LS2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems
Plants depend on water and light to grow. (2-LS2-1)
Plants depend on animals for pollination or to move their seeds around. (2-LS2-2)
2. Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
2-LS4 Biological Evolution: Unity and DiversityaaStudents who demonstrate understanding can:
2-LS4-1. Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats. [Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on the diversity of living things in each of a variety of different habitats.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include specific animal and plant names in specific habitats.]
Of course, even in the late 90s, my elementary school was doing local ecosystem stuff, especially w/ the salmon lifecycle, so maybe California has just been leading well - I’m not sure how other states compare.