Each unit is designed to take 8 to 9 weeks. Depending on the amount of material, and complexity of the topic, individual lessons may take 2 – 4 class periods. Units frequently require student computer use to access software, datasets for assignments, and videos related to content. While each unit focuses on a specific ecosystem in the United States, Amazonia, or the Arctic, students also conduct hands-on or web-based investigations locally.

In addition to disciplinary content, the curriculum strongly emphasizes science practices (for example, constructing evidence-based arguments), and several cross-cutting concepts (for example, systems and system models, stability and change). These three components – disciplinary content, science practices, and cross-cutting concepts – are all core components of the Framework for the Next Generation Science Standards.

Visit Next Generation Science Standards for more information about K-12 science standards.