Crosscutting Concepts

Check out these ideas to help implement the CCC of the NGSS.

I gotta say, I don’t really like the next gen standards. I mean, really?!! The only part I can really wrap my brain around right now are the crosscutting concepts. Whether you point them out (the fact that you teach them) or not, I have to believe that a good teacher teaches these things anyway… because that’s what science is. But alright, the powers that be have given us yet another thing to do in addition to the already very full job. So being the positive chickadee that I am, I will find a way to make this fun.

I have 2 ideas pertaining to CCCs.

Idea #1: Interactive bulletin board: So I loooove the honeycomb pattern. Sue me. It’s so versatile. You can arrange any which way you want, and it SO lends itself to seeing how relationships exist among things. Pretty much ANY thing. Put it along the top of your classroom, a bulletin board, narrow cabinet doors, whatever. So I went and bought some AMAZE-BALLS clip art from NGSS Nerd, you can find it HERE. She’s amazing, btw.

img_02411Seriously, can you IMAGINE the possibilities with this one? You can have a separate part of the room for EACH crosscutting concept! You can be adding on to these ALL YEAR LONG. You can check these bad boys out in my store right HERE.

Idea #2: T-shirt, baby. Yes, you CAN get sharpie marker to set in cotton and not bleed. There are some tricks, though. First, create your shirt. Use permanent sharpie markers and 100% cotton shirts. Once complete, iron on the highest setting the shirt allows. Allow shirt to cool. Soak shirt in very cold salt water solution. I leave mine overnight, just to be sure. Wash it by hand first, cold water always. After that, you can wash it in cold water with other laundry. If you add one drawing per chapter, students will leave school at the end of the year with a super cool science shirt! So fun!




I hope you can use these ideas as you go about implementing the Next Gen Science Standards.

Enjoy teaching again!!!



NGSS: The Basics

NGSS: From the beginning. For any science teacher who needs to start at the beginning and figure out how to adopt and execute each part of the NGSS.

NGSS the basics

This entry is written for all those who have not had the time of day to even glance at the NGSS, and don’t know where to start.

We’re aligning to Next Gen Standards.

Yikes. Enough to put you over.

With each overhaul in education, new buzzword, or new set of standards, it means one thing for educators: more work. More work for you! More work for YOU! More work for everyone!

Curriculum directors need only say “we’re adopting this, that, the other thing,” and if you’re lucky enough to have their full support, they help guide the way. Not everyone is so lucky.

So I began. Research. Read. Print. Repeat. For the first couple of hours, it feels like you’re spinning your wheels, and that’s without even beginning the daily lesson plans.

First I printed these… the actual standards. All I’ll need, right? Wrong. This is an overview. The top section breaks it down by grade and area of science. Awesome.


Standards are written like an encyclopedia, but I can extract key ideas for sure.

Then I’m looking at the bottom- what the heck are these things? The bottom of the pages are broken into three sections: Science and Engineering Practices, Disciplinary Core Ideas, and Crosscutting Concepts. They have designated colors: blue, orange, and green, respectively. (This now makes sense with the icon used for NGSS.) And if you’ve seen the acronyms SEP, DCI, and CCC everywhere, this is where they came from.

My next step was to look into each of these areas more in-depth, and how I can integrate each of them into my daily lesson planning. After very little digging (if we’re being honest here) these are the links I found to be MUCH more helpful than the initial standards that I printed.

For each of these links, click on the “download” button in the top right corner, this will give you the matrices and break everything down- nice and pretty and understandable.

Science and Engineering Practices

Disciplinary Core Ideas

Crosscutting Concepts


Now we’re getting somewhere. I have to admit, the Crosscutting Concepts intrigue me the most. These are very basic themes that each run either directly, or indirectly, throughout nearly every topic in science. Example: Cause and Effect. One aspect of this particular concept is to use the cause and effect relationship to make predictions about outcomes. At the high school level, it addresses creating a desired effect by altering the cause.

So now what? How do I ensure that IΒ  am addressing the CCC or the SEP while teaching the DCI? (Look at me being all technical!)

Enter your email to follow my blog and take a dive into the NGSS with me (along with a bunch of other cool stuff)! I am going to be looking at concrete ways to adopt and execute each part of the NGSS, so we can master all three portions: the DCI, SEP, and CCC. I promise to take baby steps.

Enjoy teaching again!