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Wisconsin's Standards for Science

Wisconsin Standards for Science (pdf)

Wisconsin Standards for Science (.doc)

Standards Webinar Image  Introductory Video on the Wisconsin Standards for Science - recording of webinar from Oct. 12, 2018 (download to view - large file). Slides from the webinar  (notes provide the transcript). 


National Academy's Framework for K-12 Science Education - this foundational document provides background information by grade level on the content, practices, and crosscutting concepts throughout our standards. A helpful read to understand 3D instruction ideas and progressions in our standards. 

Standards document split up by specific elementary grades instead of grade bands - thank you to Rosholt educators Cindy Byers, Megan Bodig, Erin Pliska, Linda Mezich, Renee Eron, and John Parks, along with Amy Jonas of CESA 5 for creating this document. Middle School and High School delineation of standards is up to local control; this document is just one example of how that might look.

This brief (10 min) video provides an overview of how the Wisconsin Standards for Science are different from the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), including some unique features of our standards to support educators. 

You can download the powerpoint slides from this video here in .pptx format w/ the notes, or here as a pdf.

Learning Opportunities

The series of webinars from NSTA's NGSS@NSTA collection features national speakers, including many from the NGSS writing team. It's a great place for flexible learning on these standards across a wide range of topics, including storylines, engineering, phenomenon-based instruction, K-5 science by grade level, and evaluating resources. 

Statewide Science Survey Results - this survey was sent out across Wisconsin during fall 2017 to gather information about standards usage, instructional materials, high school course sequences, professional development opportunities, elementary science structures, and teacher recruitment. 


Over time, we'll add several appendices to support implementation of these standards. 

Appendix A - ideas for Wisconsin connections related to the disciplinary core ideas (content) in these standards, as well as related engineering extensions. Thank you to the Standards Writing Committee for creating this list. 

Standards vs. Curriculum

The standards set clear and specific goals for teaching and learning, but they are not meant to serve as curriculum. Instead, they should help school districts to develop curriculum units that focus on having students investigate phenomena and solve problems. 

Can we still use the NGSS? 

The Wisconsin Standards for Science (WSS) build from the National Research Council's Framework for K-12 Science Education and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). While minor language modifications have been made in the WSS and a section on the nature of science and engineering has been added, both standards include the same disciplinary core ideas, science and engineering practices, and crosscutting concepts. Districts that have been using the NGSS through the past several years may continue to use those standards. 

Advanced Science Content

Not all students will elect to pursue more advanced science courses such as advanced placement. The science standards do not represent the level of achievement expected in these higher level courses. Rather, they try to capture the knowledge and skills expected of all students to be a scientifically literate citizen.

Examples of Science in Wisconsin

These standards reflect change and reform taking place in science education. They recognize that students and teachers learn together. They also illustrate that science education is an active process that embodies intellectual and cultural traditions important in the practice of contemporary science. Such traditions are honored in every school district in Wisconsin. School districts are encouraged to incorporate the richness of their state and local area in a curriculum aimed at achieving the standards.


Safety is a fundamental concern in all experimental science. Teachers of science must know and apply the necessary safety regulations in the use, storage, and care of materials used by students. Safety while learning science requires thorough planning, management, and continuous monitoring of student activities both at school and during any science-related activities. Students must also take responsibility for their own safety and perform experiments as instructed.

For questions about this information, contact Kevin Anderson (608) 266-3319