Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District

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Curriculum » Science


Next Generation Science Standards
At A Glance
(Intermediate School Level)


- This year we will be transitioning to the Next Generation Science Standards, or NGSS, at the intermediate school level. The NGSS are a new set of science standards, adopted by the state of California in 2013, that focus on engaging students in the practices of science and engineering, such as designing solutions, carrying out investigations, and developing models to explain occurrences in the natural world.

- The Next Generation Science Standards proposed two curricular models for intermediate level science to be adopted by districts: the integrated model and the discipline-specific model.

- California’s preferred model is the integrated model, and it was selected by PVPUSD for our intermediate school program. This means that students in grades 6-8 will learn about physical science, earth science, and life science concepts throughout each year as an integrated study. In years past, we taught the discipline-specific model in which students learned about one science subject per year: earth science in 6th grade, life science in 7th grade, and physical science in 8th grade.

- The decision that was made involved the entire intermediate school team, including all science teachers at all three intermediate schools, grades 6-8.

- This school year, we will be undergoing a transitional phase as we shift from the California State Science Standards to the Next Generation Science Standards. This process was designed to ensure that students will be taught all content standards by the end of 8th grade, regardless of when they started intermediate school. The concepts students will learn this year include:

  • 6th grade: Heat energy, weather & climate, cells & organisms, genetics
  • 7th grade: Cells & organisms, genetics, chemistry
  • 8th grade: Physics, astronomy, chemistry

- For questions about the new standards, please contact Mrs. Keller, Executive Director of Curriculum at

- For access to the full text of the standards, please visit and scroll down to “NGSS Documents.”