The Unit 4 Science Team is committed to implementing the Illinois Learning Standards in Science/Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in a student-centered environment.

The NGSS implemented throughout Unit 4 in Grades K-12 foster critical thinking, problem-solving, and data analysis. Students learn how to make sense of the world around them and to cultivate skills to prepare students for college and careers. Our NGSS-aligned curriculum also builds scientific literacy that empowers students to interpret and make informed decisions about the relevant issues they face today and in the future.


3D Learning

  • The three dimensions of the Next Generation Science Standards include disciplinary core ideas (the content), crosscutting concepts (the big ideas that span all science areas), and science and engineering practices (how scientists investigate). Students at Unit 4 learn science through investigating phenomenon using the science and engineering practices to develop their understanding of science concepts. Students gain a deeper understanding of scientific concepts when they are coupled with scientific practices and overarching crosscutting concepts as compared to when they learn about the three dimension separately.

Hands-On Learning

  • The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) call for students to engage in hands-on learning to ensure an understanding of science concepts that goes far beyond the pages of a book. Students are able to observe and experiment using scientific equipment and everyday materials to form and deepen their understanding of why their world works the way it does. We know that students come to our classrooms with a diversity of background knowledge which they leverage as they seek to create a common understanding of the shared hands-on experience.
  • 9-12 Science Lab Classrooms provide students with access to brand new laboratory facilities with flexible seating arrangements. Teachers can move the desks to the perimeter of the room so that students can perform lab activities or the desks have many options for configurations that enhance the students learning experience. Classrooms are paired with a common workspace separated by sliding glass doors. Students may use the area to collaborate on specialized projects.


Phenomena Based Inquiry

  • What is a phenomenon? A phenomenon is something that a student might observe or experience either in everyday life, or provide through a hands-on investigation that causes the student to wonder and seek to explain.
  • Anchoring student learning in the context of a phenomenon supports student agency for wanting to build science and engineering knowledge. Students are able to identify an answer to "why do I need to learn this?" before they even know what the "this" is. By centering science education on phenomena that students are motivated to explain. The focus of learning shifts from learning about a topic to figuring out why or how something happens. For example, instead of simply learning about the topics of photosynthesis and mitosis, students are engaged in building evidence-based explanatory ideas that help them figure out how a tree grows.

Claims, Evidence, Reasoning

  • As students have built their understanding of the NGSS through hands-on learning and investigation of phenomena, they are asked to make a claim and provide evidence they collected from their hands-on investigations to support their reasoning about how a phenomenon works.



Students will develop understandings of concepts in the NGSS for High School Science by engaging in activities embedded in real-world phenomenon.

District Adopted Science Curriculum for Required Science Courses:

Additional support for engaging in lab work during remote learning for the 2020-2021 school year:


Resources for Families:

Family Guide to the Next Generation Science Standards for Grades 9-12

English / Spanish

District Curriculum Resources for Student Learning:

  • Miller-Levine Biology - Students access the curriculum and resources by clicking on the Google Waffle and scrolling down to the McGraw Hill icon.
  • Resources Available:
    • Virtual Laboratory Investigations
    • Simulations
    • Digital Textbook with audio and embedded videos; Students can take digital notes and annotate the text within the platform
    • Self-Assessment Tools
  • Living by Chemistry - Students access the curriculum and resources by clicking on the Clever icon pinned on the Task Bar at the bottom of the screen on a District Chromebook.
  • Resources Available
  • Resources Available

Support for engaging in lab work during remote learning for the 2020-2021 school year:

Pivot Interactives

Careers in Science

  • Suggested course sequence for students interested in majoring in science

Khan Academy is a free website that provides students with additional support and opportunities for enrichment.

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