Science Education

Purpose Statement

Science is a systematic sense-making process, aimed at figuring out the physical and natural world through observation and investigation.


  • look closely, question deeply, think critically, and connect related data and phenomena to identify patterns
  • pay attention to our place as humans in a complex ecosystem defined by physical laws
  • look for new evidence and constantly revise and critically evaluate claims, theories, and worldviews

As the community of Nebraska educators, it is our responsibility to invite all students to explore the rich nature of science within inclusive and culturally responsive classrooms, and prepare scientifically literate citizens ready to understand, engage, and transform the world.



Vision Statement

All* Nebraska students use scientific literacy to engage in civicminded decision making as they demonstrate readiness for college, career, and lifelong learning. Pre-K to grade 12 students:

  • gather, analyze, and communicate information from multiple sources (including data from their own investigations)
  • make connections between learning and their lives, passions, and postsecondary interests
  • engage in authentic and relevant learning experiences that cultivate curiosity
  • make sense of phenomena
  • design creative and well-researched solutions to local and global problems

Mission Statement

Nebraska high school graduates will enter their profession or higher education having benefited from access to meaningful and dedicated opportunities to learn and practice the three dimensions of science education. Students will draw from the integrated nature of science as well as their prior knowledge to engage with:

  • high-quality instruction and materials at the right level, time, and intensity that include daily opportunities to
    • develop explanations, arguments, and models
    • identify problems, ask questions, and design solutions
    • revise thinking based on multiple sources of evidence and intentional data analysis
  • high expectations for learning and achievement, established and carefully monitored through an embedded 3-D system of assessment as part of an ongoing cycle of instruction


Equity requires that these opportunities and outcomes exist for all Nebraskans, including but not limited to, and unrestricted by race, color, ethnicity, national origin, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, marital status, or political affiliation.
— NDE’s equity statement

Home-Based Science

Professional Learning Opportunities

2017 Science Standards

The standards can also be accessed from the Content Area Standards Webpage.

DRAFT Teacher’s Guides

to Nebraska’s College and Career Ready Standards for Science

Key Instructional Shifts

Implementation Toolkit




Implementation Plan

Parent Guides

Documents for SUPPORTING SCIENCE LEARNING DURING COVID-19 [LINK] compiled by members of the Council of State Science Supervisors (CSSS)


NEW At Home Professional Learning: Explore what it means to Unwrap NCCRS-S through an on-line learning module and supporting resources. Take a glimpse into Nebraska science classrooms and hear from Nebraska educators in these Video-Embedded STEM Teaching Tools.

Introduction to NCCRS-S Online Learning Modules: The Introduction to NCCRS-S modules are designed to present a foundation for future learning in additional courses. In this course, participants are introduced to; the key features of NCCRS-S and phenomena. Instructions for registering.

Nebraska’s College and Career Ready Standards for Science (NCCRS-S) were adopted by the Nebraska State Board of Education on September 8, 2017.  The development of Nebraska’s College and Career Ready Standards for Science were guided by The National Research Council’s A Framework for K-12 Science Education . As standards are only guidelines for instruction and not panaceas for change; moving toward research-based instructional practices requires ongoing, collaborative work among Nebraska’s teaching and learning professionals.

The Teacher’s Guides provide additional support for educators to interpret and implement the standards.  Revisions will continue until all necessary components are included.
K-2 (rev_8_8_18)
3-5 (rev 8_6_18)
6-8 (revised 2/09/18)
HS Physical Science (revised 2/10/18)
HS Earth Space Science (revised 2/18/18)
HS Life Science (revised 2/11/18)

Academic standards provide a framework for ensuring quality teaching and learning, but quality implementation requires key shifts that are essential to fulfill the vision of Nebraska’s College and Career Ready Standards.
Science Only

English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science

This series provides resources to help guide implementation of Nebraska’s College and Career Ready Standards for Science. While not exhaustive, the Toolkit presents a variety of resources to serve the outcomes for successful implementation.
NE Science Implementation Toolkit
Stage 1 Resources
Stage 2 Resources
Stage 3 Resources
Stage 4 Resources

The Implementation Plan is designed to support the gradual implementation of Nebraska’s College and Career Ready Standards for Science while building capacity within all grade bands. State-level supports will be designed following this implementation plan. Local districts are encouraged to develop local implementation plans that meet district needs.

English Versions: K-2  3-5  6-8  9-12
Spanish Versions: K-2  3-5  6-8  9-12

“Science is more than a body of knowledge.
It is a way of thinking; a way of skeptically interrogating the universe
with a fine understanding of human fallibility.”

~ Carl Sagan

For more information contact:

Audrey Webb
Science Specialist
Angie Nimmich
Professional Assistant
Updated March 2, 2021 10:47am