Disciplinary Core Ideas

Disciplinary Core Ideas: The Ultimate Guide

What are Disciplinary Core Ideas?

An integral part of three-dimensional science instruction, Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs) represent the big ideas in STEM. DCIs are the dimension most reminiscent of “traditional” science instruction, with the four components closely resembling the classical division of science: Life Science; Earth and Space Science; Physical Science; and Engineering, Technology, and the Application of Science.

Within these topics are myriad concepts and ideas that increase in complexity as students progress from one grade to the next, gradually establishing a deeper understanding of phenomena and the world around them. Of course, the dimensions shouldn’t be viewed in complete isolation—DCIs are taught through the lenses of Crosscutting Concepts (themes that apply across all science disciplines) and Science and Engineering Practices (skills and actions that scientists and engineers use to carry out their work).

Disciplinary Core Ideas Blog Series

Throughout this blog series, we will take a look at each of the four disciplinary core ideas in depth, following the progression in each throughout kindergarten, elementary, and middle school.

Life Science

Examine living organisms as part of whole systems, studying how they interact in the biosphere with their environments and other organisms.

Physical Science

Understand how every system and process on Earth is dependent on physical and chemical subprocesses.

Earth and Space Science

Investigate the structure, composition, and history of the Universe—as well as Earth’s place within it.

Engineering, Technology, and the Application of Science

Uncover how engineering design can be used to create new technology in response to problems or to explore new applications of science.

Disciplinary Core Ideas Printable Poster Series

Download our free printable posters to serve as a reminder for your students that Disciplinary Core Ideas are an important part of completing successful 3-D science investigations.

Explore Disciplinary Core Ideas with a Dedicated 3-D Science Program

To ensure that you hit the three dimensions, you need the support of a good 3-D science program. Twig Science Next Gen is a phenomena-based science program for Grades PK/TK–8 created specifically to ensure that all students have an interwoven understanding of Crosscutting Concepts, Science and Engineering Practices, and Disciplinary Core Ideas. 

In Twig Science Next Gen, students experience dozens of different STEM roles as they become creative problem solvers, making sense of engaging, real-world phenomena. To learn more about how Twig Science Next Gen can help you incorporate the crosscutting concepts into your curriculum, contact us today.

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Twig Science Next Gen