The NGSS and Environmental Education

April 18th, 2014

Last month, the State Education and Environmental Roundtable (SEER), North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE), and National Wildlife Federation (NWF) sponsored a webinar on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and environmental education. The webinar introduced the underlying principles of the NGSS and discussed how environmental educators—including those in informal environments—could be thinking about the NGSS in the context of their education programs.

While the NGSS have not been adopted by every state, 10 states and the District of Columbia have chosen to do so—and that number is growing. As one webinar participant pointed out, informal educators can take the NGSS into account even when the state has not yet adopted them by aligning them with new programs.

The presenters emphasized that although the NGSS do not explicitly address informal education, non-formal educators were included in state reviewer teams, and “inquiry” was woven throughout the NGSS, beginning with the National Research Council’s Framework for K-12 Science Education that the standards are based on. Many of the presenters encouraged educators considering aligning their programs with the NGSS to do so slowly and deliberately—and in fact, many states that have adopted the standards will be implementing them slowly as well, even over a number of years.

If you’re interested in listening to the entire webinar, it’s available here: Note that the webinar is about two hours long, so it may take several minutes to download to your computer.

Have you begun the process of aligning your informal learning programs to the NGSS, and if so, what have been your challenges and successes so far?