Using Phenomena to Drive K-12 Science Inquiry


Phenomena are observable events. Engaging ones stimulate curiosity and drive scientific inquiry. For example, beginning a lesson with one is an effective Engage strategy when using the evidence-based 5E Instructional Model.

Each phenomenon listed below is aligned to a NGSS Disciplinary Core Idea (DCI) and Performance Expectation (PE: what students are expected to be able to do) by grade level. They link to lesson plans, videos, captivating images, activities, and other resources designed to help you meet the DCI and the other components of the 3 Dimensions of the NGSSScience and Engineering Practices (SEPs) and Crosscutting Concepts (CCs). Please note that the phenomena and lesson plans can often be used to meet multiple standards.

We encourage you to think of ways to integrate environmental education and Earth science with the other sciences and content areas. Click here for new BAESI lessons plans that link Earth science with life science and physical science. They incorporate phenomena to engage students and help teach climate change concepts.

Explore amazing phenomena for:

High School Earth and Space Science

  • HS-ESS1-1: Earth’s Place in the Universe (Space Systems)
    Develop a model based on evidence to illustrate the life span of the sun and the role of nuclear fusion in the sun’s core to release energy that eventually reaches Earth in the form of radiation.” [Emphasis is on the energy transfer mechanisms that allow energy from nuclear fusion in the sun’s core to reach Earth. Examples of evidence for the model include observations of the masses and lifetimes of other stars, as well as the ways that the sun’s radiation varies due to sudden solar flares (“space weather”), the 11-year sunspot cycle, and non-cyclic variations over centuries.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include details of the atomic and sub-atomic processes involved with the sun’s nuclear fusion.]
  • HS-ESS1-2: Earth’s Place in the Universe
    Construct an explanation of the Big Bang theory based on astronomical evidence of light spectra, motion of distant galaxies, and composition of matter in the universe.” [Emphasis is on the astronomical evidence of the red shift of light from galaxies as an indication that the universe is currently expanding, the cosmic microwave background as the remnant radiation from the Big Bang, and the observed composition of ordinary matter of the universe, primarily found in stars and interstellar gases (from the spectra of electromagnetic radiation from stars), which matches that predicted by the Big Bang theory (3/4 hydrogen and 1/4 helium).]
  • HS-ESS1-3: Earth’s Place in the Universe
    Communicate scientific ideas about the way stars, over their life cycle, produce elements.” [Emphasis is on the way nucleosynthesis, and therefore the different elements created, varies as a function of the mass of a star and the stage of its lifetime.] [Assessment Boundary: Details of the many different nucleosynthesis pathways for stars of differing masses are not assessed.]
  • HS-ESS1-4: Earth’s Place in the Universe
    Use mathematical or computational representations to predict the motion of orbiting objects in the solar system.” [Emphasis is on Newtonian gravitational laws governing orbital motions, which apply to human-made satellites as well as planets and moons.] [Assessment Boundary: Mathematical representations for the gravitational attraction of bodies and Kepler’s Laws of orbital motions should not deal with more than two bodies, nor involve calculus.]
  • HS-ESS1-5: Earth’s Place in the Universe
    Evaluate evidence of the past and current movements of continental and oceanic crust and the theory of plate tectonics to explain the ages of crustal rocks.” [Emphasis is on the ability of plate tectonics to explain the ages of crustal rocks. Examples include evidence of the ages oceanic crust increasing with distance from mid-ocean ridges (a result of plate spreading) and the ages of North American continental crust decreasing with distance away from a central ancient core of the continental plate (a result of past plate interactions).]
  • HS-ESS1-6: Earth’s Place in the Universe
    Apply scientific reasoning and evidence from ancient Earth materials, meteorites, and other planetary surfaces to construct an account of Earth’s formation and early history.” [Emphasis is on using available evidence within the solar system to reconstruct the early history of Earth, which formed along with the rest of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago. Examples of evidence include the absolute ages of ancient materials (obtained by radiometric dating of meteorites, moon rocks, and Earth’s oldest minerals), the sizes and compositions of solar system objects, and the impact cratering record of planetary surfaces.]
  • HS-ESS2-1: Earth’s Systems
    Develop a model to illustrate how Earth’s internal and surface processes operate at different spatial and temporal scales to form continental and ocean-floor features.” [Emphasis is on how the appearance of land features (such as mountains, valleys, and plateaus) and sea-floor features (such as trenches, ridges, and seamounts) are a result of both constructive forces (such as volcanism, tectonic uplift, and orogeny) and destructive mechanisms (such as weathering, mass wasting, and coastal erosion).] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include memorization of the details of the formation of specific geographic features of Earth’s surface.]
  • HS-ESS2-2: Earth’s Systems
    Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth’s surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.” [Examples should include climate feedbacks, such as how an increase in greenhouse gases causes a rise in global temperatures that melts glacial ice, which reduces the amount of sunlight reflected from Earth’s surface, increasing surface temperatures and further reducing the amount of ice. Examples could also be taken from other system interactions, such as how the loss of ground vegetation causes an increase in water runoff and soil erosion; how dammed rivers increase groundwater recharge, decrease sediment transport, and increase coastal erosion; or how the loss of wetlands causes a decrease in local humidity that further reduces the wetland extent.]
  • HS-ESS2-3: Earth’s Systems
    Develop a model based on evidence of Earth’s interior to describe the cycling of matter by thermal convection.” [Emphasis is on both a one-dimensional model of Earth, with radial layers determined by density, and a three-dimensional model, which is controlled by mantle convection and the resulting plate tectonics. Examples of evidence include maps of Earth’s three-dimensional structure obtained from seismic waves, records of the rate of change of Earth’s magnetic field (as constraints on convection in the outer core), and identification of the composition of Earth’s layers from high-pressure laboratory experiments.]
  • HS-ESS2-4: Earth’s Systems
    Use a model to describe how variations in the flow of energy into and out of Earth’s systems result in changes in climate.” [Examples of the causes of climate change differ by timescale, over 1-10 years: large volcanic eruption, ocean circulation; 10-100s of years: changes in human activity, ocean circulation, solar output; 10-100s of thousands of years: changes to Earth’s orbit and the orientation of its axis; and 10-100s of millions of years: long-term changes in atmospheric composition.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment of the results of changes in climate is limited to changes in surface temperatures, precipitation patterns, glacial ice volumes, sea levels, and biosphere distribution.]
  • HS-ESS2-5: Earth’s Systems
    Plan and conduct an investigation of the properties of water and its effects on Earth materials and surface processes.” [Emphasis is on mechanical and chemical investigations with water and a variety of solid materials to provide the evidence for connections between the hydrologic cycle and system interactions commonly known as the rock cycle. Examples of mechanical investigations include stream transportation and deposition using a stream table, erosion using variations in soil moisture content, or frost wedging by the expansion of water as it freezes. Examples of chemical investigations include chemical weathering and recrystallization (by testing the solubility of different materials) or melt generation (by examining how water lowers the melting temperature of most solids).]
  • HS-ESS2-6: Earth’s Systems
    Develop a quantitative model to describe the cycling of carbon among the hydrosphere, atmosphere, geosphere, and biosphere.” [Emphasis is on modeling biogeochemical cycles that include the cycling of carbon through the ocean, atmosphere, soil, and biosphere (including humans), providing the foundation for living organisms.]
  • HS-ESS2-7: Earth’s Systems
    Construct an argument based on evidence about the simultaneous coevolution of Earth’s systems and life on Earth.” [Emphasis is on the dynamic causes, effects, and feedbacks between the biosphere and Earth’s other systems, whereby geoscience factors control the evolution of life, which in turn continuously alters Earth’s surface. Examples include how photosynthetic life altered the atmosphere through the production of oxygen, which in turn increased weathering rates and allowed for the evolution of animal life; how microbial life on land increased the formation of soil, which in turn allowed for the evolution of land plants; or how the evolution of corals created reefs that altered patterns of erosion and deposition along coastlines and provided habitats for the evolution of new life forms.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include a comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms of how the biosphere interacts with all of Earth’s other systems.]
  • HS-ESS3-1: Earth and Human Activity
    Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity.” [Examples of key natural resources include access to fresh water (such as rivers, lakes, and groundwater), regions of fertile soils such as river deltas, and high concentrations of minerals and fossil fuels. Examples of natural hazards can be from interior processes (such as volcanic eruptions and earthquakes), surface processes (such as tsunamis, mass wasting and soil erosion), and severe weather (such as hurricanes, floods, and droughts). Examples of the results of changes in climate that can affect populations or drive mass migrations include changes to sea level, regional patterns of temperature and precipitation, and the types of crops and livestock that can be raised.]
  • HS-ESS3-2: Earth and Human Activity
    Evaluate competing design solutions for developing, managing, and utilizing energy and mineral resources based on cost-benefit ratios.” [Emphasis is on the conservation, recycling, and reuse of resources (such as minerals and metals) where possible, and on minimizing impacts where it is not. Examples include developing best practices for agricultural soil use, mining (for coal, tar sands, and oil shales), and pumping (for petroleum and natural gas). Science knowledge indicates what can happen in natural systems—not what should happen.]
  • HS-ESS3-3: Earth and Human Activity
    Create a computational simulation to illustrate the relationships among the management of natural resources, the sustainability of human populations, and biodiversity.” [Examples of factors that affect the management of natural resources include costs of resource extraction and waste management, per-capita consumption, and the development of new technologies. Examples of factors that affect human sustainability include agricultural efficiency, levels of conservation, and urban planning.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment for computational simulations is limited to using provided multi-parameter programs or constructing simplified spreadsheet calculations.]
  • HS-ESS3-4: Earth and Human Activity
    Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.” [Examples of data on the impacts of human activities could include the quantities and types of pollutants released, changes to biomass and species diversity, or areal changes in land surface use (such as for urban development, agriculture and livestock, or surface mining). Examples for limiting future impacts could range from local efforts (such as reducing, reusing, and recycling resources) to large-scale geoengineering design solutions (such as altering global temperatures by making large changes to the atmosphere or ocean).]
  • HS-ESS3-5: Earth and Human Activity
    Analyze geoscience data and the results from global climate models to make an evidence-based forecast of the current rate of global or regional climate change and associated future impacts to Earth’s systems.” [Examples of evidence, for both data and climate model outputs, are for climate changes (such as precipitation and temperature) and their associated impacts (such as on sea level, glacial ice volumes, or atmosphere and ocean composition).] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment is limited to one example of a climate change and its associated impacts.]
  • HS-ESS3-6: Earth and Human Activity
    Use a computational representation to illustrate the relationships among Earth systems and how those relationships are being modified due to human activity.” [Examples of Earth systems to be considered are the hydrosphere, atmosphere, cryosphere, geosphere, and/or biosphere. An example of the far-reaching impacts from a human activity is how an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide results in an increase in photosynthetic biomass on land and an increase in ocean acidification, with resulting impacts on sea organism health and marine populations.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include running computational representations but is limited to using the published results of scientific computational models.]


Middle School Earth and Space Science


High School Life Science


Middle School Life Science


High School Physical Science


Middle School Physical Science

  • MS-PS1-1: Matter and its Interactions
    Develop models to describe the atomic composition of simple molecules and extended structures. [Emphasis is on developing models of molecules that vary in complexity. Examples of simple molecules could include ammonia and methanol. Examples of extended structures could include sodium chloride or diamonds. Examples of molecular-level models could include drawings, 3D ball and stick structures, or computer representations showing different molecules with different types of atoms.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include valence electrons and bonding energy, discussing the ionic nature of subunits of complex structures, or a complete description of all individual atoms in a complex molecule or extended structure is not required.]
  • MS-PS1-2: Matter and its Interactions
    Analyze and interpret data on the properties of substances before and after the substances interact to determine if a chemical reaction has occurred.” [Examples of reactions could include burning sugar or steel wool, fat reacting with sodium hydroxide, and mixing zinc with hydrogen chloride.] [Assessment boundary: Assessment is limited to analysis of the following properties: density, melting point, boiling point, solubility, flammability, and odor.]
  • MS-PS1-3: Matter and its Interactions
    Gather and make sense of information to describe that synthetic materials come from natural resources and impact society.” [Emphasis is on natural resources that undergo a chemical process to form the synthetic material. Examples of new materials could include new medicine, foods, and alternative fuels.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment is limited to qualitative information.]
  • MS-PS1-4: Matter and its Interactions
    Develop a model that predicts and describes changes in particle motion, temperature, and state of a pure substance when thermal energy is added or removed.” [Emphasis is on qualitative molecular-level models of solids, liquids, and gases to show that adding or removing thermal energy increases or decreases kinetic energy of the particles until a change of state occurs. Examples of models could include drawing and diagrams. Examples of particles could include molecules or inert atoms. Examples of pure substances could include water, carbon dioxide, and helium.]
  • MS-PS1-5: Matter and its Interactions
    Develop and use a model to describe how the total number of atoms does not change in a chemical reaction and thus mass is conserved.” [Emphasis is on law of conservation of matter and on physical models or drawings, including digital forms, that represent atoms.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include the use of atomic masses, balancing symbolic equations, or intermolecular forces.]
  • MS-PS1-6: Matter and its Interactions
    Undertake a design project to construct, test, and modify a device that either releases or absorbs thermal energy by chemical processes.” [Emphasis is on the design, controlling the transfer of energy to the environment, and modification of a device using factors such as type and concentration of a substance. Examples of designs could involve chemical reactions such as dissolving ammonium chloride or calcium chloride.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment is limited to the criteria of amount, time, and temperature of substance in testing the device.]
  • MS-PS2-1: Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
    Apply Newton’s Third Law to design a solution to a problem involving the motion of two colliding objects.” [Examples of practical problems could include the impact of collisions between two cars, between a car and stationary objects, and between a meteor and a space vehicle.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment is limited to vertical or horizontal interactions in one dimension.]
  • MS-PS2-2: Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
    Plan an investigation to provide evidence that the change in an object’s motion depends on the sum of the forces on the object and the mass of the object.” [Emphasis is on balanced (Newton’s First Law) and unbalanced forces in a system, qualitative comparisons of forces, mass and changes in motion (Newton’s Second Law), frame of reference, and specification of units.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment is limited to forces and changes in motion in one-dimension in an inertial reference frame and to change in one variable at a time. Assessment does not include the use of trigonometry.]
  • MS-PS2-3: Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
    Ask questions about data to determine the factors that affect the strength of electric and magnetic forces.” [Examples of devices that use electric and magnetic forces could include electromagnets, electric motors, or generators. Examples of data could include the effect of the number of turns of wire on the strength of an electromagnet, or the effect of increasing the number or strength of magnets on the speed of an electric motor.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment about questions that require quantitative answers is limited to proportional reasoning and algebraic thinking.]
  • MS-PS2-4: Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
    Construct and present arguments using evidence to support the claim that gravitational interactions are attractive and depend on the masses of interacting objects.” [Examples of evidence for arguments could include data generated from simulations or digital tools; and charts displaying mass, strength of interaction, distance from the Sun, and orbital periods of objects within the solar system.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include Newton’s Law of Gravitation or Kepler’s Laws.]
  • MS-PS2-5: Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
    Conduct an investigation and evaluate the experimental design to provide evidence that fields exist between objects exerting forces on each other even though the objects are not in contact.” [Examples of this phenomenon could include the interactions of magnets, electrically-charged strips of tape, and electrically-charged pith balls. Examples of investigations could include first-hand experiences or simulations.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment is limited to electric and magnetic fields, and limited to qualitative evidence for the existence of fields.]
  • MS-PS3-1: Energy
    Construct and interpret graphical displays of data to describe the relationships of kinetic energy to the mass of an object and to the speed of an object.” [Emphasis is on descriptive relationships between kinetic energy and mass separately from kinetic energy and speed. Examples could include riding a bicycle at different speeds, rolling different sizes of rocks downhill, and getting hit by a wiffle ball versus a tennis ball.]
  • MS-PS3-2: Energy
    Develop a model to describe that when the arrangement of objects interacting at a distance changes, different amounts of potential energy are stored in the system.” [Emphasis is on relative amounts of potential energy, not on calculations of potential energy. Examples of objects within systems interacting at varying distances could include: the Earth and either a roller coaster cart at varying positions on a hill or objects at varying heights on shelves, changing the direction/orientation of a magnet, and a balloon with static electrical charge being brought closer to a classmate’s hair. Examples of models could include representations, diagrams, pictures, and written descriptions of systems.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment is limited to two objects and electric, magnetic, and gravitational interactions.]
  • MS-PS3-3: Energy
    Apply scientific principles to design, construct, and test a device that either minimizes or maximizes thermal energy transfer.” [Examples of devices could include an insulated box, a solar cooker, and a Styrofoam cup.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include calculating the total amount of thermal energy transferred.]
  • MS-PS3-4: Energy
    Plan an investigation to determine the relationships among the energy transferred, the type of matter, the mass, and the change in the average kinetic energy of the particles as measured by the temperature of the sample.” [Examples of experiments could include comparing final water temperatures after different masses of ice melted in the same volume of water with the same initial temperature, the temperature change of samples of different materials with the same mass as they cool or heat in the environment, or the same material with different masses when a specific amount of energy is added.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include calculating the total amount of thermal energy transferred.]
  • MS-PS3-5: Energy
    Construct, use, and present arguments to support the claim that when the kinetic energy of an object changes, energy is transferred to or from the object.” [Examples of empirical evidence used in arguments could include an inventory or other representation of the energy before and after the transfer in the form of temperature changes or motion of object.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include calculations of energy.]
  • MS-PS4-1: Waves and their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer
    Use mathematical representations to describe a simple model for waves that includes how the amplitude of a wave is related to the energy in a wave.” [Emphasis is on describing waves with both qualitative and quantitative thinking.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include electromagnetic waves and is limited to standard repeating waves.]
  • MS-PS4-2: Waves and their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer
    Develop and use a model to describe that waves are reflected, absorbed, or transmitted through various materials.” [Emphasis is on both light and mechanical waves. Examples of models could include drawings, simulations, and written descriptions.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment is limited to qualitative applications pertaining to light and mechanical waves.]
  • MS-PS4-3: Waves and heir Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer
    Integrate qualitative scientific and technical information to support the claim that digitized signals are a more reliable way to encode and transmit information than analog signals.” [Emphasis is on a basic understanding that waves can be used for communication purposes. Examples could include using fiber optic cable to transmit light pulses, radio wave pulses in wifi devices, and conversion of stored binary patterns to make sound or text on a computer screen.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include binary counting. Assessment does not include the specific mechanism of any given device.]


Engaging Phenomena for Elementary Science: Grades K-5


Grade 5 Science

Grade 4 Science

  • 4-LS1-1: From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
    Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.” [Examples of structures could include thorns, stems, roots, colored petals, heart, stomach, lung, brain, and skin.] [Assessment Boundary for grade 4: Assessment is limited to macroscopic structures within plant and animal systems.]
  • 4-LS1-2: From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
    Use a model to describe that animals receive different types of information through their senses, process the information in their brain, and respond to the information in different ways.” [Emphasis is on systems of information transfer.] [Assessment Boundary for grade 4: Assessment does not include the mechanisms by which the brain stores and recalls information or the mechanisms of how sensory receptors function.]
  • 4-ESS1-1: Earth’s Place in the Universe
    Identify evidence from patterns in rock formations and fossils in rock layers to support an explanation for changes in a landscape over time.” [Examples of evidence from patterns could include rock layers with marine shell fossils above rock layers with plant fossils and no shells, indicating a change from land to water over time; and, a canyon with different rock layers in the walls and a river in the bottom, indicating that over time a river cut through the rock.] [Assessment Boundary for grade 4: Assessment does not include specific knowledge of the mechanism of rock formation or memorization of specific rock formations and layers. Assessment is limited to relative time.]
  • 4-ESS2-1: Earth’s Systems
    Make observations and/or measurements to provide evidence of the effects of weathering or the rate of erosion by water, ice, wind, or vegetation.” [Examples of variables to test could include angle of slope in the downhill movement of water, amount of vegetation, speed of wind, relative rate of deposition, cycles of freezing and thawing of water, cycles of heating and cooling, and volume of water flow.] [Assessment Boundary for grade 4: Assessment is limited to a single form of weathering or erosion.]
  • 4-ESS2-2: Earth’s Systems
    Analyze and interpret data from maps to describe patterns of Earth’s features.” [Maps can include topographic maps of Earth’s land and ocean floor, as well as maps of the locations of mountains, continental boundaries, volcanoes, and earthquakes.]
  • 4-ESS3-1: Earth and Human Activity
    Obtain and combine information to describe that energy and fuels are derived from natural resources and their uses affect the environment.” [Examples of renewable energy resources could include wind energy, water behind dams, and sunlight; non-renewable energy resources are fossil fuels and fissile materials. Examples of environmental effects could include loss of habitat due to dams, loss of habitat due to surface mining, and air pollution from burning of fossil fuels.]
  • 4-ESS3-2: Earth and Human Activity
    Generate and compare multiple solutions to reduce the impacts of natural Earth processes on humans.” [Examples of solutions could include designing an earthquake resistant building and improving monitoring of volcanic activity.] [Assessment Boundary for grade 4: Assessment is limited to earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions.]
  • 4-PS3-1: Energy
    Use evidence to construct an explanation relating the speed of an object to the energy of that object. [Assessment Boundary for grade 4: Assessment does not include quantitative measures of changes in the speed of an object or on any precise or quantitative definition of energy.]
  • 4-PS3-2: Energy
    Make observations to provide evidence that energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents.[Assessment Boundary for grade 4: Assessment does not include quantitative measurements of energy.]
  • 4-PS3-3: Energy
    Ask questions and predict outcomes about the changes in energy that occur when objects collide.” [Emphasis is on the change in the energy due to the change in speed, not on the forces, as objects interact.] [Assessment Boundary for grade 4: Assessment does not include quantitative measurements of energy.]
  • 4-PS3-4: Energy
    Apply scientific ideas to design, test, and refine a device that converts energy from one form to another.” [Examples of devices could include electric circuits that convert electrical energy into motion energy of a vehicle, light, or sound; and, a passive solar heater that converts light into heat. Examples of constraints could include the materials, cost, or time to design the device.] [Assessment Boundary for grade 4: Devices should be limited to those that convert motion energy to electric energy or use stored energy to cause motion or produce light or sound.]
  • 4-PS4-1: Waves and Their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer
    Develop a model of waves to describe patterns in terms of amplitude and wavelength and that waves can cause objects to move.” [Examples of models could include diagrams, analogies, and physical models using wire to illustrate wavelength and amplitude of waves.] [Assessment Boundary for grade 4: Assessment does not include interference effects, electromagnetic waves, non-periodic waves, or quantitative models of amplitude and wavelength.]
  • 4-PS4-2: Waves and Their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer
    Develop a model to describe that light reflecting from objects and entering the eye allows objects to be seen.[Assessment Boundary for grade 4: Assessment does not include knowledge of specific colors reflected and seen, the cellular mechanisms of vision, or how the retina works.]
  • 4-PS4-3: Waves and Their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer
    Generate and compare multiple solutions that use patterns to transfer information.” [Examples of solutions could include drums sending coded information through sound waves, using a grid of 1’s and 0’s representing black and white to send information about a picture, and using Morse code to send text.]

Grade 3

  • 3-LS1-1: From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
    Develop models to describe that organisms have unique and diverse life cycles but all have in common birth, growth, reproduction, and death.” [Changes organisms go through during their life form a pattern.] [Assessment Boundary for grade 3: Assessment of plant life cycles is limited to those of flowering plants. Assessment does not include details of human reproduction.]
  • 3-LS2-1: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
    Construct an argument that some animals form groups that help members survive.
  • 3-LS3-1: Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits
    Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence that plants and animals have traits inherited from parents and that variation of these traits exists in a group of similar organisms.” [Patterns are the similarities and differences in traits shared between offspring and their parents, or among siblings. Emphasis is on organisms other than humans.] [Assessment Boundary for grade 3: Assessment does not include genetic mechanisms of inheritance and prediction of traits. Assessment is limited to non-human examples.]
  • 3-LS3-2: Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits
    Use evidence to support the explanation that traits can be influenced by the environment.” [Examples of the environment affecting a trait could include normally tall plants grown with insufficient water are stunted; and, a pet dog that is given too much food and little exercise may become overweight.]
  • 3-LS4-1: Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
    Analyze and interpret data from fossils to provide evidence of the organisms and the environments in which they lived long ago. [Examples of data could include type, size, and distributions of fossil organisms. Examples of fossils and environments could include marine fossils found on dry land, tropical plant fossils found in Arctic areas, and fossils of extinct organisms.] [Assessment Boundary for grade 3: Assessment does not include identification of specific fossils or present plants and animals. Assessment is limited to major fossil types and relative ages.]
  • 3-LS4-2: Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
    Use evidence to construct an explanation for how the variations in characteristics among individuals of the same species may provide advantages in surviving, finding mates, and reproducing.” [Examples of cause and effect relationships could be plants that have larger thorns than other plants may be less likely to be eaten by predators; and, animals that have better camouflage coloration than other animals may be more likely to survive and therefore more likely to leave offspring.]
  • 3-LS4-3: Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
    Construct an argument with evidence that in a particular habitat some organisms can survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all.” [Examples of evidence could include needs and characteristics of the organisms and habitats involved. The organisms and their habitat make up a system in which the parts depend on each other.]
  • 3-LS4-4: Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
    Make a claim about the merit of a solution to a problem caused when the environment changes and the types of plants and animals that live there may change.” [Examples of environmental changes could include changes in land characteristics, water distribution, temperature, food, and other organisms.] [Assessment Boundary for grade 3: Assessment is limited to a single environmental change. Assessment does not include the greenhouse effect or climate change.]
  • 3-ESS2-1: Earth’s Systems
    Represent data in tables and graphical displays to describe typical weather conditions expected during a particular season.” [Examples of data could include average temperature, precipitation, and wind direction.] [Assessment Boundary for grade 3: Assessment of graphical displays is limited to pictographs and bar graphs. Assessment does not include climate change.]
  • 3-ESS2-2: Earth’s Systems
    Obtain and combine information to describe climates in different regions of the world.
  • 3-ESS3-1: Earth and Human Activity
    Make a claim about the merit of a design solution that reduces the impacts of a weather-related hazard.” [Examples of design solutions to weather-related hazards could include barriers to prevent flooding, wind resistant roofs, and lightning rods.]
  • 3-PS2-1: Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
    Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence of the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object.” [Examples could include an unbalanced force on one side of a ball can make it start moving; and, balanced forces pushing on a box from both sides will not produce any motion at all.] [Assessment Boundary for grade 3: Assessment is limited to one variable at a time: number, size, or direction of forces. Assessment does not include quantitative force size, only qualitative and relative. Assessment is limited to gravity being addressed as a force that pulls objects down.]
  • 3-PS2-2: Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
    Make observations and/or measurements of an object’s motion to provide evidence that a pattern can be used to predict future motion.” [Examples of motion with a predictable pattern could include a child swinging in a swing, a ball rolling back and forth in a bowl, and two children on a see-saw.] [Assessment Boundary for grade 3: Assessment does not include technical terms such as period and frequency.]
  • 3-PS2-3: Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
    “Ask questions to determine cause and effect relationships of electric or magnetic interactions between two objects not in contact with each other.” [Examples of an electric force could include the force on hair from an electrically charged balloon and the electrical forces between a charged rod and pieces of paper; examples of a magnetic force could include the force between two permanent magnets, the force between an electromagnet and steel paperclips, and the force exerted by one magnet versus the force exerted by two magnets. Examples of cause and effect relationships could include how the distance between objects affects strength of the force and how the orientation of magnets affects the direction of the magnetic force.] [Assessment Boundary for grade 3: Assessment is limited to forces produced by objects that can be manipulated by students, and electrical interactions are limited to static electricity.]
  • 3-PS2-4: Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
    Define a simple design problem that can be solved by applying scientific ideas about magnets.” [Examples of problems could include constructing a latch to keep a door shut and creating a device to keep two moving objects from touching each other.]

Grade 2

Grade 1