Next Gen Science Standards

  • The Cold Spring Harbor Elementary Science Curriculum is a student-centered, problem-solving approach consistent with the New York State Elementary Science Core Curriculum document and the approaches in the National Science Education Standards and the National Academy of Sciences.

    Alongside the newly adopted Common Core Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics, we are currently revising our curricula in anticipating the Revised K-12 Science Standards. These standards are being developed by the National Research Council, the National Science Teachers Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Achieve.  New York State has been a lead partner in the effort to draft and develop the Next Generation Science Standards .  This process will produce a set of high quality, college- and career-ready K–12 Next Generation Science Standards ready for state adoption. More information may be accessed at

    The standards and the curricula will be published on this website when they are completed with guidance from NYSED.

    Next Gen for Fifth Grade scientists:

    Fifth grade students focus on connecting matter and energy flows and cycles to their effect on systems of different scales. Students develop concrete foundational knowledge regarding earth, space, ecological, physical, and technological systems. Students explore cycles of the Earth, moon, and sun. Students consider how matter and energy cycle between all the systems on Earth and how matter is cycled through an ecosystem.

    5. Space Systems

    Understanding of celestial patterns, including constellations, the phases of the moon, and the role of engineering technology in their observation are addressed in fifth grade. This topic builds on the foundational knowledge gained through the exploration of patterns and cycles in first grade and supports later learning in middle school when students use models to extend their knowledge of patterns to eclipses and tides. This topic lends itself to using models to describe patterns and phenomena. Students consider concepts of scale and proportion as they provide evidence to support the idea that the sun is a star, only much closer to Earth than other stars. Students build on their knowledge of using tools to observe things in greater detail to applying the knowledge of how tools work to design their own tool to enhance vision. Students use data and models to describe celestial patterns and patterns observed on Earth as a result of the relative positions and motion of the sun, Earth, and moon. Students are expected to demonstrate understanding of how technology has improved the ability to explore the universe.

    5. Earth’s Surface Systems

    Earth’s major systems builds on understandings of interactions developed in second and fourth grades and supports the middle school topics of Earth’s surface processes, as well as weather and climate systems. This topic lends itself to using models to describe interactions of a natural system while identifying the limitations of the models used and further develops the crosscutting concept of systems. Students extend their understanding of engineering, designing, and evaluating solutions to environmental problems that decrease risks, increase benefits, or meet societal demands. Students are expected to demonstrate understanding of how systems interact in multiple ways shaping land, influencing weather and climate, and how human activities affect these systems and interactions.

    5. Matter and Energy in Organisms and Ecosystems

    The transfer of matter in ecosystems is addressed in fifth grade. This topic builds on second grade understanding of the dependence of organisms on their surroundings and supports middle school understanding of photosynthesis, the cycling and conservation of matter, and the flow of energy. This standard lends itself to developing and using models, and has a strong emphasis on the crosscutting concept of matter and energy. Students are expected to demonstrate understanding of the transfer of matter among organisms in food webs and between organisms and their environment, and the role of the sun in providing energy to organisms.

    5. Structure and Properties of Matter

    Students study the changes of matter and the conservation of total weight in the system. This topic builds on second grade understanding of measuring physical properties of and changes in matter and supports later learning of the atomic theory of matter in middle school. Students form a strong foundation for middle school structures and properties of matter. This topic lends itself to the crosscutting concept of matter and energy and to the practice of modeling, making abstract concepts such as particles too small to see more concrete. Students are expected to apply knowledge of physical and chemical changes to design a solution.