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Resources to Help Minnesota Educators Plan for the New K-12 Science Standards

Resources to Help Minnesota Educators Plan for the New K-12 Science Standards

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) is nearing completion of its update of the state’s K–12 science standards. On July 29, 2019, the state Commissioner of Education approved a draft of the new standards as presented by the Science Standards Review Committee, and now it’s time for Minnesota educators to get a head start on planning for effective implementation.

These updated standards have been developed leveraging the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)—a set of research-based, forward-thinking standards intended to “…give local educators the flexibility to design classroom learning experiences that stimulate students’ interests in science and prepares them for college, careers, and citizenship.” Minnesota has demonstrated its commitment to high-quality science education by being a lead state partner (along with 25 other states) for the NGSS. Minnesota and the rest of the lead state partners have provided leadership to the NGSS standards writing team that developed the NGSS based on A Framework for K–12 Science EducationThese state partners continue to diligently provide guidance and best practices to other states who are considering adoption of the NGSS.

Currently, MDE is in the midst of the formal rulemaking process for the new NGSS-influenced standards, where the nuts-and-bolts of how these standards will actually be implemented and upheld are determined. The department is accepting comments on proposed rules until official adoption of the standards has been declared, so exact timelines are not yet available. However, at this time the Commissioner is recommending that the new science standards be implemented in full for the 2023-24 school year. The Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA-IV) would also begin to assess the new standards in the 2023-24 school year.

To support Minnesota educators in transition process to the new NGSS-influenced standards, we’ve compiled a helpful list of resources to explore:

Understanding NGSS in Minnesota

Minnesota Department of Education (MDE)

The science page of the MDE website is filled with useful resources on science education standards, including graduation requirements in science, a safety checklist for school science facilities, and of course, updates on the new Minnesota Academic Standards Science K–12 for 2019 as they are made available.

NGSS Minnesota State Page

The Minnesota state page on the NGSS website details the state’s science background and its commitment to standards-based learning in science. Under the page’s Recent News section, educators will find a list of recent NGSS Now newsletters that contain rich resources, including relevant research on science education.

NGSS Resource Library

The NGSS website’s Resource Library includes a wealth of tools to help educators in all roles understand and implement the standards. Videos, infographics, and detailed research are available to help educators dig into the nuances of the standards, while training facilitation guides and classroom activity outlines are provided to aid in actual implementation. These tools have been developed and aggregated by various NGSS lead state and organizational partners.

National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)

The NSTA does a great job of summarizing what the NGSS are and why/how they were first developed. This site also contains applicable resources that science educators will find helpful as they plan their curricula:


SciMathMN advocates for effective, engaging, and rigorous STEM education. The nonprofit organization drives several major initiatives, including the Minnesota STEM Teacher Center who, in partnership with the MDE, developed Frameworks, which are resources to “help teachers translate the Minnesota state standards into classroom practice and assist in student achievement of those standards.” Educators can search Frameworks by code or concept and can narrow their search by grade level and subject/strand to get information such as standard codes, benchmarks, and a helpful breakdown of standards in lay terms.

Edmentum’s Science Courses   

Edmentum has relied on the NGSS framework to develop Courseware’s rigorous science courses, with each science standard incorporating three primary facets of NGSS: disciplinary core ideas, science and engineering practices, and crosscutting concepts. Take a look at these insightful blog posts to get a behind-the-scenes look at our process of building and developing science courses:

Interested in learning about all of the courses Edmentum offers? Check out our complete course catalog, which includes 400+ engaging, semester-long courses aligned to Minnesota and national standards in core, elective, CTE, World Language, and advanced subjects.