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Science practices

Students will understand the nature of science and engineering by:

  • asking questions and defining problems;
  • developing and using models;
  • planning and carrying out investigations;
  • analyzing and interpreting data;
  • using mathematics and computational thinking;
  • constructing explanations and designing solutions;
  • engaging in argument from evidence; and
  • obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information.

Science cross-cutting concepts

Students will understand the following organizational structures that connect core ideas:

  • patterns;
  • cause and effect;
  • scale, proportion and quantity;
  • systems and system models;
  • energy and matter in systems;
  • structure and function; and
  • stability and change of systems.

Science content


  • Forces and interactions: Pushes and pulls
    • What happens if you push or pull an object harder?
  • Interdependent relationships in ecosystems: animals, plants and their environment
    • Where do animals live and why do they live there?
  • Weather and climate
    • What is the effect of sunlight on Earth’s surface?
    • What is the weather like today and how is it different from yesterday?

Grade 1

  • Waves: Light and sound
    • What happens when materials vibrate? What happens when there is no light?
  • Structure, function and information processing
    • What are some ways plants and animals meet their needs so that they can survive and grow?
    • How are parents and their children similar and different?
  • Space systems: Patterns and cycles
    • What objects are in the sky and how do they seem to move?

Grade 2

  • Structure and properties of matter
    • How are materials similar and different from one another, and how do the properties of materials relate to their use?
  • Interdependent relationships in ecosystems
    • What do plants need to grow?
    • How many types of living things live in a place?
  • Earth’s systems: Processes that shape the Earth
    • How does land change and what are some things that cause it to change?
    • What are the different kinds of land and bodies of water?

Grade 3

  • Forces and interactions
    • How do equal and unequal forces on an object affect the object?
    • How can magnets be used?
  • Inheritance and variation of traits: Life cycles and traits
    • How are organisms’ life cycles similar and different?
    • How do organisms vary in their traits?
    • How do variations in traits help organisms to survive and reproduce?
  • Weather and climate
    • What is typical weather in different parts of the world and during different times of the year?
    • How can the impact of weather-related hazards be reduced?

Grade 4

  • Energy
    • What is energy and how is it related to motion?
    • How is energy transferred?
    • How can energy be used to solve a problem?
  • Structure, function and information processing
    • How do internal and external structures support the survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction of plants and animals?
  • Earth’s systems: Processes that shape the Earth
    • How can water, ice, wind and vegetation change the land? What patterns of Earth’s features can be determined with the use of maps?

Grade 5

  • Structure and properties of matter
    • When matter changes, does its weight change?
    • Can new substances be created by combining other substances?
  • Matter and energy in organisms and ecosystems
    • Where does energy in food come from and what is it used for?
    • How does matter cycle through ecosystems?
  • Space systems: Stars and the solar system
    • How do lengths and directions of shadows or relative lengths of day and night change from day to day, and how does the appearance of some stars change in different seasons?
  • Earth’s systems
    • How much water can be found in different places on Earth?

Grade 6 – Earth and space sciences

  • Space systems
    • What is Earth’s place in the universe?
    • What makes up our solar system and how can the motion of Earth explain seasons and eclipses?
  • History of Earth
    • How do people figure out that the Earth and life on Earth have changed over time?
    • How does the movement of tectonic plates impact the surface of Earth?
  • Earth’s systems
    • How do the materials in and on Earth’s crust change over time?”
    • How does water influence weather, circulate in the oceans, and shape Earth’s surface?
  • Weather and climate
    • What factors interact and influence weather and climate?
  • Human impacts
    • How can natural hazards be predicted?
    • How do human activities affect Earth systems?

Grade 7 – Life sciences

  • Structure, function, and information processing
    • How do the structures of organisms contribute to life’s functions?
  • Growth, development, and reproduction of organisms
    • How do organisms grow, develop, and reproduce?
  • Matter and energy in organisms and ecosystems
    • How do organisms obtain and use matter and energy?
    • How do matter and energy move through an ecosystem?
  • Interdependent relationships in ecosystems
    • How do organisms interact with other organisms in the physical environment to obtain matter and energy?
  • Natural selection and adaptations
    • How does genetic variation among organisms in a species affect survival and reproduction?
    • How does the environment influence genetic traits in populations over multiple generations?

Grade 8 – Physical sciences

  • Structure and properties of matter
    • How can particles combine to produce a substance with different properties?
  • Chemical reactions
    • What happens when new materials are formed? What stays the same and what changes?
  • Forces and Interactions
    • How can one describe physical interactions between objects and within systems of objects?
  • Energy
    • How can energy be transferred from one object or system to another?
  • Waves and electromagnetic radiation
    • What are the characteristic properties of waves and how can they be used?

Grades 9-12 – Physical Sciences

  • Matter and its interactions
    • How can one explain the structure, properties, and interactions of matter?
  • Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
    • How can one explain and predict interactions between objects and within systems of objects?
  • Energy
    • How is energy transferred and conserved?
  • Waves and Their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer
    • How are waves used to transfer energy and send and store information?

Grades 9-12 – Life Sciences

  • From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
    • How do organisms live and grow?
  • Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
    • How and why do organisms interact with their environment, and what are the effects of these interactions?
  • Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits
    • How are characteristics of one generation passed to the next?
    • How can individuals of the same species and even siblings have different characteristics?
  • Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
    • What evidence shows that different species are related?

Grades 9-12 – Earth & Space Sciences

  • Earth’s Place in the Universe
    • What is the universe, and what is Earth’s place in it?
  • Earth’s Systems
    • How and why is Earth constantly changing?
  • Earth and Human Activity
    • How do Earth’s surface processes and human activities affect each other?

Grades 9-12 – Engineering Design

  • In all science classes, students will engage with major global issues at the interface of science, technology, society and the environment.
    • Three stages—defining the problem, developing possible solutions, and improving designs