The following are FAQs that we have received over time and during our development of the Core Knowledge ScienceTM (CKSciTM) program.

Will Core Knowledge develop CKSci for grades 6–8?

We plan to start the development of CKSci Grades 6–8 in early 2021 and will post these units online as they are completed.

How does the K–5 Science Sequence (2020) differ from the 2010 CK Science Sequence?

Thanks to ongoing research in the field, our understanding of how children learn continues to evolve. In the subject area of science, students benefit from both reading about concepts and ideas, and from hands-on experiences.

Following the release of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), the Core Knowledge Foundation updated and enhanced the science portion of the 2010 Core Knowledge Sequence. The result is the revised K-5 Core Knowledge Science Sequence (2020) and the comprehensive Core Knowledge Science (CKSci) curriculum.

While there have been some shifts in the grade levels at which certain topics are recommended, the fundamental principles of pedagogy inherent to the Core Knowledge approach, such as the importance of building a sequential, coherent and cumulative knowledge base, have been retained.

If my school has already developed science lessons based on the 2010 CK Sequence, do we have to change to the K–5 Science Sequence (2020)?

Longtime followers of the 2010 Core Knowledge Sequence are not expected to abandon what they have been doing. Any Core Knowledge school that has already developed effective lessons and gathered high-quality materials based on the 2010 Sequence should feel free to continue following that instructional path. Core Knowledge schools in states that have adopted NGSS (or NGSS-influenced standards) will find the K–5 Core Knowledge Science Sequence is a useful guide to pursuing a new path aligned with those state standards. Planning, communication, and collaboration will be critical in making the transition from the 2010 Science Sequence to the revised K–5 Science Sequence, to avoid gaps and ensure continuity in building knowledge grade by grade.

How does CKLA relate to the CKSci program?

CKLA (Core Knowledge Language Arts) offers early exposure to many of the same Disciplinary Core Ideas as CKSci, supporting a student’s learning progression toward an ever more complex understanding of science.

CKLA lays a foundation of knowledge and literacy about a topic before students are expected to investigate phenomena through the lens of scientific practices and crosscutting concepts. CKLA covers many of the same topics (e.g., light, sound, habitats, astronomy, etc.) that are part of CKSci, specifically for the purpose of building background knowledge and literacy for/with informational texts. Certain topics and content in the CKLA Knowledge Strand (a.k.a. the Listening and Learning Strand) are presented at one grade earlier than expected by the Next Generation Science Standards but within the correct grade band progressions outlined by the National Research Council.

For a detailed look at how CKLA domains relate to the Next Generation Science Standards, review this 2014 NGSS alignment. Domain titles are specifically found in the left-hand column for each grade.

What advantages does the K–5 Core Knowledge Science Sequence offer over the 2010 Science Sequence?

Thanks to ongoing research in the field, our understanding of how children learn continues to evolve. In the subject area of science, in particular, students benefit from not just reading about concepts and ideas, but from hands-on experiences. Following the release of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), the Core Knowledge Foundation used this opportunity to update and enhance the science portion of the 2010 Core Knowledge Sequence. The result of this effort is the revised 2019 Core Knowledge Science Sequence.

Relative to the 2010 Science Sequence, the revised K–5 Science Sequence (2020) also incorporates the NGSS emphasis on scientific practice. NGSS prescribes a multi-dimensional approach to science learning and instruction, integrating core ideas, hands-on practices, and crosscutting concepts, as well as applications of scientific knowledge in engineering and technology. Many of these NGSS principles are reflected in the K–5 Core Knowledge Science Sequence, which also retains, from the 2010 Sequence, the characteristic Core Knowledge emphasis on specific content carefully sequenced to build coherently from one grade to the next.

Even an experienced and scientifically-knowledgeable educator can get confused in navigating the maze of hyperlinks that make up the online NGSS guidelines. One aim of the K–5 CK Science Sequence is to offer a valid interpretation of NGSS requirements in the form of focused, user-friendly, and content-specific guidelines of practical use to teachers.

Will the Core Knowledge Foundation provide curriculum materials based on the K–5 Science Sequence (2020)?

Yes! The K–5 Core Knowledge Science Sequence is the organizing framework for the new Core Knowledge Science program, CKSciTM. Check our Download Curriculum webpage for updates on units available for free download.

Are there plans to develop Core Knowledge Science units on the human body?

Yes! While the NGSS guidelines do not reference teaching about the human body, the Core Knowledge Foundation considers student knowledge of this topic an important part of students’ instruction and learning. We are presently developing units on the human body for Grades K-2 and will begin posting these units online for download in early 2021. We also hope to start development of human body units for Grades 3-8 later in 2021, but cannot currently project when these materials will be posted online.

Why align Core Knowledge Science to the NGSS framework?

According to the National Science Teachers Association, “Nearly two-thirds of U.S. students live in states that have education standards influenced by A Framework for K-12 Science Education and/or the Next Generation Science Standards.” (The Framework, a 2012 report from the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, provided the research base and structural recommendations that underlie NGSS.) Given the growing influence of NGSS, the Core Knowledge Foundation decided to update the science sections of the 2010 CK Sequence to support teachers by providing them with revised Core Knowledge guidelines and curricular materials more likely to align with their state-required standards in science.