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New NGSS Lesson Plans

Science Buddies is excited to announce the immediate availability of twenty NGSS-aligned lesson plans for K-12 STEM educators.

Collage of screenshots show the standards, lesson and materials for a Science Buddies project

A collage of screenshots show a materials page for a balloon car project on the website ScienceBuddies.org. Other screenshots show links to class materials such as videos and worksheets as well as a lesson flow plan with links and a list of NGSS alignments.

As the 2017-2018 school year gets underway, Science Buddies has stocked its Teacher Resources section with 20 new and/or updated, full-featured Lesson Plans. Lesson Plans are now aligned with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) to make it easier for teachers to plan hands-on classroom science activities that tie in with NGSS objectives.

Designed to help teachers lead hands-on learning activities, regardless of prior experience with the topic, Lesson Plans contain background and summary information for teachers to help provide a foundation for the activity. The steps of the activity are accompanied by discussion questions and sample answers. In addition, Lesson Plans contain a downloadable worksheet and a quiz (available both in PDF and Google Classroom format). Some Lesson Plans also contain supplemental materials like an overview video for students and/or a guided slideshow or presentation file for classroom use.

A Lesson Plan Walkthrough

In this post, we will use the Balloon Car Lesson Plan as an example for an in-depth walk-through of the new Lesson Plan format. Over the last year, Science Buddies has tested and refined the new design of our free, NGSS-aligned Lesson Plans and gotten feedback from teachers in the Science Buddies community. All new Lesson Plans at Science Buddies follow this teacher-tested format.

Lesson Plans are located in the Teachers Resources section of the Science Buddies site and can also be found using the Science Buddies search engine. (In coming months, Science Buddies will be adding additional search filters to allow educators to easily locate Lesson Plans by grade level and NGSS performance expectation(s).)

Each Lesson Plan uses a system of navigation "tabs" to hold information. Each tab is shown and described below.


When you visit a Lesson Plan, you start on the Summary tab. This main screen offers an overview of the STEM activity, provides the NGSS-alignment information, and features a short video or overview picture of the activity:

Cropped screenshot of a Science Buddies project summary page

A screenshot of a project summary page on the website ScienceBuddies.org shows a navigation bar, example video, project details and an NGSS alignment rubric. The navigation bar is at the top of the page, the video is directly under the navigation bar, the project details are on the right of the page and the NGSS alignment information is at the bottom of the page.

The screenshot above highlights the following information available on the Summary tab:

  1. Tabs: use the tabs at the top of a lesson plan to access the sections of the plan. The Teacher Prep and Lesson Plan tabs are accessible to teachers only.
  2. Video or photo: the introductory photo or video provides a short and engaging overview of the activity. (For Lesson Plans that contain a video, Google Classroom users can assign the video to students from the Lesson tab.)
  3. NGSS: the NGSS-alignment information appears beneath the summary. The performance objectives met by the activity are listed, and the aspects of NGSS Three Dimensional Learning covered by the activity are shown in the color-coded table.
  4. Overview: this summary box notes the target grade level, the amount of time required for the activity, the key area of science, and important concepts covered in the activity. This information is especially helpful for teachers as they search for and schedule in-class activities to meet their curriculum needs.


On the Materials tab, teachers will find a full list of required materials for the activity.

Cropped screenshot of a Science Buddies project materials page

A screenshot of a project materials page on the website ScienceBuddies.org shows an image of all the materials needed for a particular experiment as well as a list of the materials below the image.

Teacher Prep

The Teacher Prep tab contains background information for teachers about the science in the lesson and describes any steps that need to be done in advance in preparation for the in-class activity. When first accessing the Teacher Prep tab, parts of the explanatory material are "hidden" from view. To view the in-depth background information, click the "Continue reading" link.

Cropped screenshot of a Science Buddies project teacher prep page

A screenshot of a teacher prep page for a project on the website ScienceBuddies.org shows an image of the completed project as well as additional readings for the project. Other sections on the bottom of the page outline prep work required for the project as well as links to additional background information.

To hide the expanded background information, click the "Collapse text" link.

Cropped screenshot of a Science Buddies project teacher prep page with expanded background information

A screenshot of a teacher prep page for a project on the website ScienceBuddies.org shows an image of the completed project as well as additional readings for the project that can be expanded or collapsed with a link.


The Lesson tab contains materials to help guide the in-class activity. The key elements of the Lesson screen are highlighted in the screenshot below:

Cropped screenshot of a Science Buddies project lesson page

A screenshot of a lesson page for a project on the website ScienceBuddies.org shows a lesson flow plan. Icons mark questions and answers to facilitate discussion in the engage section of the page, and learning objectives and a class materials list are located on the right of the page.

  1. Lesson Flow: the Lesson is presented in a sequential format that guides educators from start to finish. The "Lesson Flow" links at the top of the page allow educators to jump to specific sections of the Lesson, as needed. The Lesson Flow includes the following sections: Engage > Explore > Reflect > Assess > Make Career Connections > Variations.
  2. Steps and discussion questions and answers: steps to do with the class are accompanied by questions for the class, marked with the question mark icon. Sample answers/explanations are marked with the speech balloons icon. These question/answer pairs are provided to help teachers facilitate in-class discussion throughout the activity and to help provide important concept questions at relevant points of the activity.
  3. Learning Objectives: the learning objectives for the activity are shown in a box on the right. This provides an overview of the activity's purpose.
  4. Class Materials: the Class Materials box lists resources teachers can use during and after the activity. All Lesson Plans contain an online quiz (for Google Classroom users), a downloadable quiz (PDF), and a downloadable worksheet (PDF). Some Lessons Plans also include an assignable video and a downloadable presentation or slideshow file for in-class use.

If there is a video available for the Lesson, teachers can also assign the video to students as a Google Classroom assignment. These videos developed by Science Buddies staff scientists are a great way to get students excited about the in-class activity in advance!

Cropped screenshot of a Create Assignment button for Google Classroom under a video on ScienceBuddies.org

Accessing Lesson Plans

Summary information and the required materials are visible to all users of the Science Buddies site. Accessing the Teacher Prep and Lesson tabs, however, requires being logged in with an educator account. In addition, teachers who are logged in as Google Classroom teachers have the ability to use the Create Assignment button to assign parts of the Lesson Plan, like the video or online quiz.

For more information about Google Classroom, see the Google Classroom area at Science Buddies.


Science Buddies' scientists and staff have worked hard to develop thorough Lesson Plan materials to help educators lead engaging NGSS-aligned STEM activities with students. We would love to hear what you think about Lesson Plans, what you try with your students, and how it goes. Share your feedback with the Science Buddies community by leaving a review on the Reviews tab of the Lesson Plan, or reach out to us with feedback and your story by emailing scibuddy@sciencebuddies.org.

Development of NGSS-aligned Lesson Plans and the new Lesson Plan format was sponsored by the Cisco Foundation.

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