The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are distinct from prior science standards in that they integrate three dimensions within each standard and have intentional connections across standards. To provide guidance and clarification to all users of the standards, the writers have created a system architecture that highlights the NGSS as well as each of the three integral dimensions and connections to other grade bands and subjects. The standards are organized in a table with three main sections: 1) performance expectation(s), 2) the foundation boxes, and 3) the connection boxes. The video below explains how the standards are structured and describes the different components of the organizational tables in which the standards are arranged. As states, districts, and educators implement the NGSS, this video can serve as an introduction to help understand how the standards are organized.
As a supplement to the video, please see the annotated figure of the standards table below. From top to bottom are seen the title, the topic label row, the performance expectation(s) (the assessable component), the foundation boxes (containing Practices, Disciplinary Core Ideas and Crosscutting Concepts), and the connection boxes.
For detailed information about the system architecture of the standards, read: How to Read the Next Generation Science Standards