McHenry County Schools Environmental Education Program

NGSS, E-STEM, and Common Core State Standards

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 The MCSEEP Mission

MCSEEP Presents environmental lessons that will enable students to understand their role as environmental stewards.  MCSEEP seeks to engage students in local environmental conversations with the hope that these learning opportunities will inspire lifelong global environmental action

BIG IDEA:  Earth has many systems to renew itself.

ESSENTIAL QUESTION: How can we as humans protect and conserve Earth's resources so that it remains an inhabitable home for humans. 

 In 2013 MCSEEP adopted the NSTA recommendations for Next Generation Science Standards.  Implementation of the NGSS takes a long-term systemic effort to be realized.  MCSEEP has and will continue to provide excellent environmental education interactive presentations that support teaching in your classroom.

Conceptual Shifts in the NGSS (from NSTA Position Statement: The Next Generation Science Standards)

  1. K-12 science education should reflect the interconnected nature of science as it is practiced and experienced in the real world. 
  2. The NGSS are student performance expectations, not curriculum
  3. The science concepts in the NGSS build coherently from Kindergarten through 12th grade.
  4. The NGSS focus on deeper understanding of content as well as application of content.
  5. Science and engineering are integrated in the NGSS, from kindergarten through 12th grade.
  6. The NGSS is designed to prepare students for college, career, and citizenship.
  7. The NGSS and Common Core State Standards (English language arts and mathematics) are aligned.


Does MCSEEP use my school districts curriculum? 

MCSEEP has chosen to use FOSS NGSS as our benchmark curriculum.  Most of the schools that we teach use FOSS.  Currently many of our topics align with FOSS (prior to NGSS) however, FOSS has updated their modules and we will slowly also as our school communities do. We have experienced other teachers who use different curriculum comment that our presentations do fit within their school's chosen curriculum.   If you would like to talk about your schools curriculum and a better fit with our presentations, please contact the MCSEEP office.

What changes is MCSEEP making to adopt NGSS?

We have learned that many practices we already implement fall into NGSS nicely.  (just a new name!)  However, we have started some much needed and exciting changes including:

  • Updating lessons based on Crosscutting Concepts
  • Including NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas (earth systems and human impact)
  • Listing objectives and performance expectations in lesson (pre and post assessments)
  • integrating CCSS concepts in lesson (language arts - talking in groups, brainstorming, recording ideas)
  • Provide learning resources to schools and training for these materials (our library materials)
  • Creating challenges for schools that can integrate STEM concepts (TREX plastic film recycling, Zero Waste Challenge)
  • Providing extended learning opportunities with professionals (Youth Groundwater Festival)
  • New Technology brought into the classroom to engage students in most recent world environmental reports as well as
  • New Technology to facilitate deeper interactive learning

Are the Standards met listed anywhere for me to review?

Yes.  Click on the CLASSROOM TEACHER link on the MCSEEP home page, or on the left navigation, or here to redirect you to the list of the grade presentations that we teach, objectives, standards, pre and post activities.  Please be aware this is under construction as we add and adjust the standards.  Many of the lessons still state the corresponding Illinois State Standards met.