Introduction to the Five Tools and Processes

Learning about and using the Five Tools and Processes for NGSS is a rigorous professional development experience. The process assumes that teachers are already familiar with how to read a NGSS standards page. Teachers should also be familiar with the conceptual shifts in the NGSS, the innovations in NGSS, and the research on how students learn science.

To help provide this information, an Introduction session to the Five Tools and Processes for NGSS was developed. This two-hour session provides an introduction to NGSS and sets the stage for learning how to use the Five Tools and Processes. An overview of the Five Tools and Processes is included in this introductory session. If teachers are already very familiar with the NGSS, facilitators can modify the introductory session and use it as a brief review of the innovations in NGSS, the conceptual shifts, and research on learning and focus more on the overview of the Five Tools and Processes for NGSS.

To learn more, read the Foreword to the Five Tools and Processes by Rodger W. Bybee.


The purpose of Tool 1 is to help teachers develop an understanding of the three dimensions of the NGSS and to use these dimensions to develop a blueprint for designing an instructional unit.

In Tool 2, teachers start to plan the assessment and evidence of learning for their unit by taking performance expectations from the NGSS and developing evidence of learning specifications.

The purpose of Tool 3 is to introduce and deepen teachers’ understanding of the BSCS 5E Instructional Model by developing a storyline anchored in phenomena and conceptual flow that aligns with the 5Es and provides an integrated approach to instruction.

In Tool 4 teachers use the storyline and conceptual flow based on the 5E model to outline an instructional sequence with key questions for each activity and the ideal student responses.

The purpose of Tool 5 is to develop a three-dimensional performance task to help teachers evaluate what students have learned as a result of NGSS-aligned instruction.