Home » standards

Category Archives: standards

Astronomy Learning Standards

Learning standards for astronomy, and related parts of Earth Science.


Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks Science and Technology/Engineering (2016) 

6.MS-ESS1-1a. Develop and use a model of the Earth-Sun-Moon system to explain the causes of lunar phases and eclipses of the Sun and Moon.

6.MS-ESS1-5(MA). Use graphical displays to illustrate that Earth and its solar system are one of many in the Milky Way galaxy, which is one of billions of galaxies in the universe.

8.MS-ESS1-1b. Develop and use a model of the Earth-Sun system to explain the cyclical pattern of seasons, which includes Earth’s tilt and differential intensity of sunlight on
different areas of Earth across the year

8.MS-ESS1-2. Explain the role of gravity in ocean tides, the orbital motions of planets, their moons, and asteroids in the solar system

HS-ESS1-1. Use informational text to explain that the life span of the Sun over approximately 10 billion years is a function of nuclear fusion in its core. Communicate that stars, through nuclear fusion over their life cycle, produce elements from helium to iron and release energy that eventually reaches Earth in the form of radiation.

HS-ESS1-2. Describe the astronomical evidence for the Big Bang theory, including the red shift of light from the motion of distant 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, which matches that predicted by the Big Bang theory (3/4 hydrogen and 1/4 helium).

HS-ESS1-4. Use Kepler’s laws to predict the motion of orbiting objects in the solar system.
Describe how orbits may change due to the gravitational effects from, or collisions
with, other objects in the solar system. Kepler’s laws apply to human-made satellites as well as planets, moons, and other objects.


A Framework for Science Education

A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas (2012)

Stars’ radiation of visible light and other forms of energy can be measured and studied to develop explanations about the formation, age, and composition of the universe. Stars go through a sequence of developmental stages—they are formed; evolve in size, mass, and brightness; and eventually burn out. Material from earlier stars that exploded as supernovas is recycled to form younger stars and their planetary systems. The sun is a medium-sized star about halfway through its predicted life span of about 10 billion years.

Grade Band Endpoints for ESS1.A

By the end of grade 2. Patterns of the motion of the sun, moon, and stars in the sky can be observed, described, and predicted. At night one can see the light coming from many stars with the naked eye, but telescopes make it possible to see many more and to observe them and the moon and planets in greater detail.

By the end of grade 5. The sun is a star that appears larger and brighter than other stars because it is closer. Stars range greatly in their size and distance from Earth.

By the end of grade 8. Patterns of the apparent motion of the sun, the moon, and stars in the sky can be observed, described, predicted, and explained with models. The universe began with a period of extreme and rapid expansion known as the Big Bang. Earth and its solar system are part of the Milky Way galaxy, which is one of many galaxies in the universe.

By the end of grade 12. The star called the sun is changing and will burn out over a life span of approximately 10 billion years. The sun is just one of more than 200 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy, and the Milky Way is just one of hundreds of billions of galaxies in the universe. The study of stars’ light spectra and brightness is used to identify compositional elements of stars, their movements, and their distances from Earth.

Grade Band Endpoints for ESS1.B

By the end of grade 2. Seasonal patterns of sunrise and sunset can be observed, described, and predicted.

By the end of grade 5. The orbits of Earth around the sun and of the moon around Earth, together with the rotation of Earth about an axis between its North and South poles, cause observable patterns. These include day and night; daily and seasonal changes in the length and direction of shadows; phases of the moon; and different positions of the sun, moon, and stars at different times of the day, month, and year.

Some objects in the solar system can be seen with the naked eye. Planets in the night sky change positions and are not always visible from Earth as they orbit the sun. Stars appear in patterns called constellations, which can be used for navigation and appear to move together across the sky because of Earth’s rotation.

By the end of grade 8. The solar system consists of the sun and a collection of objects, including planets, their moons, and asteroids that are held in orbit around the sun by its gravitational pull on them. This model of the solar system can explain tides, eclipses of the sun and the moon, and the motion of the planets in the sky relative to the stars. Earth’s spin axis is fixed in direction over the short term but tilted relative to its orbit around the sun. The seasons are a result of that tilt and are caused by the differential intensity of sunlight on different areas of Earth across the year.

By the end of grade 12. Kepler’s laws describe common features of the motions of orbiting objects, including their elliptical paths around the sun. Orbits may change due to the gravitational effects from, or collisions with, other objects in the solar system. Cyclical changes in the shape of Earth’s orbit around the sun, together with changes in the orientation of the planet’s axis of rotation, both occurring over tens to hundreds of thousands of years, have altered the intensity and distribution of sunlight falling on Earth. These phenomena cause cycles of ice ages and other gradual climate changes.

Earth exchanges mass and energy with the rest of the solar system. It gains or loses energy through incoming solar radiation, thermal radiation to space, and gravitational forces exerted by the sun, moon, and planets. Earth gains mass from the impacts of meteoroids and comets and loses mass from the escape of gases into space. (p.180)


AAAS Benchmarks for Science Literacy Project 2061

Benchmarks: American Association for the Advancement of Science

By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that

Because every object is moving relative to some other object, no object has a unique claim to be at rest. Therefore, the idea of absolute motion or rest is misleading. 10A/M1*
Telescopes reveal that there are many more stars in the night sky than are evident to the unaided eye, the surface of the moon has many craters and mountains, the sun has dark spots, and Jupiter and some other planets have their own moons. 10A/M2

By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that

To someone standing on the earth, it seems as if it is large and stationary and that all other objects in the sky orbit around it. That perception was the basis for theories of how the universe is organized that prevailed for over 2,000 years. 10A/H1*

Ptolemy, an Egyptian astronomer living in the second century A.D., devised a powerful mathematical model of the universe based on continuous motion in perfect circles, and in circles on circles. With the model, he was able to predict the motions of the sun, moon, and stars, and even of the irregular “wandering stars” now called planets. 10A/H2*

In the 1500s, a Polish astronomer named Copernicus suggested that all those same motions could be explained by imagining that the earth was turning around once a day and orbiting around the sun once a year. This explanation was rejected by nearly everyone because it violated common sense and required the universe to be unbelievably large. Worse, it flew in the face of the belief, universally held at the time, that the earth was at the center of the universe. 10A/H3*

Johannes Kepler, a German astronomer, worked with Tycho Brahe for a short time. After Brahe’s death, Kepler used his data to show mathematically that Copernicus’ idea of a sun-centered system worked well if uniform circular motion was replaced with uneven (but predictable) motion along off-center ellipses. 10A/H4*

Using the newly invented telescope to study the sky, Galileo made many discoveries that supported the ideas of Copernicus. It was Galileo who found the moons of Jupiter, sunspots, craters and mountains on the moon, and many more stars than were visible to the unaided eye. 10A/H5

Writing in Italian rather than in Latin (the language of scholars at the time), Galileo presented arguments for and against the two main views of the universe in a way that favored the newer view. His descriptions of how things move provided an explanation for why people might notice the motion of the earth. Galileo’s writings made educated people of the time aware of these competing views and created political, religious, and scientific controversy. 10A/H6*

Tycho Brahe, a Danish astronomer, proposed a model of the universe that was popular for a while because it was somewhat of a compromise of Ptolemy’s and Copernicus’ models. Brahe made very precise measurements of the positions of the planets and stars in an attempt to validate his model. 10A/H7**

The work of Copernicus, Galileo, Brahe, and Kepler eventually changed people’s perception of their place in the universe. 10A/H8** (SFAA)

By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that

Isaac Newton, building on earlier descriptions of motion by Galileo, Kepler, and others, created a unified view of force and motion in which motion everywhere in the universe can be explained by the same few rules. Newton’s system was based on the concepts of mass, force, and acceleration; his three laws of motion relating them; and a physical law stating that the force of gravity between any two objects in the universe depends only upon their masses and the distance between them. 10B/H1*

Newton’s mathematical analysis of gravitational force and motion showed that planetary orbits had to be the very ellipses that Kepler had proposed two generations earlier. 10B/H2*

The Newtonian system made it possible to account for such diverse phenomena as tides, the orbits of planets and moons, the motion of falling objects, and the earth’s equatorial bulge. 10B/H3*

For several centuries, Newton’s science was accepted without major changes because it explained so many different phenomena, could be used to predict many physical events (such as the appearance of Halley’s comet), was mathematically sound, and had many practical applications. 10B/H4

Although overtaken in the 1900s by Einstein’s relativity theory, Newton’s ideas persist and are widely used. Moreover, his influence has extended far beyond physics and astronomy, serving as a model for other sciences and even raising philosophical questions about free will and the organization of social systems. 10B/H5*

By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that

Prior to the 1700s, many considered the earth to be just a few thousand years old. By the 1800s, scientists were starting to realize that the earth was much older even though they could not determine its exact age. 10D/H1*

In the early 1800s, Charles Lyell argued in Principles of Geology that the earth was vastly older than most people believed. He supported his claim with a wealth of observations of the patterns of rock layers in mountains and the locations of various kinds of fossils. 10D/H2*

In formulating and presenting his theory of biological evolution, British naturalist Charles Darwin adopted Lyell’s claims about the age of the earth and his assumption that the processes that occurred in the past are the same as the processes that occur today. 10D/H3*

By the end of the 5th grade, students should know that

The patterns of stars in the sky stay the same, although they appear to move across the sky nightly, and different stars can be seen in different seasons. 4A/E1

Telescopes magnify the appearance of some distant objects in the sky, including the moon and the planets. The number of stars that can be seen through telescopes is dramatically greater than can be seen by the unaided eye. 4A/E2

Planets change their positions against the background of stars. 4A/E3

The earth is one of several planets that orbit the sun, and the moon orbits around the earth. 4A/E4

Stars are like the sun, some being smaller and some larger, but so far away that they look like points of light. 4A/E5

A large light source at a great distance looks like a small light source that is much closer. 4A/E6** (BSL)

By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that

The sun is a medium-sized star located near the edge of a disc-shaped galaxy of stars, part of which can be seen as a glowing band of light that spans the sky on a very clear night. 4A/M1a

The universe contains many billions of galaxies, and each galaxy contains many billions of stars. To the naked eye, even the closest of these galaxies is no more than a dim, fuzzy spot. 4A/M1bc

The sun is many thousands of times closer to the earth than any other star. Light from the sun takes a few minutes to reach the earth, but light from the next nearest star takes a few years to arrive. The trip to that star would take the fastest rocket thousands of years. 4A/M2abc

Some distant galaxies are so far away that their light takes several billion years to reach the earth. People on earth, therefore, see them as they were that long ago in the past. 4A/M2de

Nine planets of very different size, composition, and surface features move around the sun in nearly circular orbits. Some planets have a variety of moons and even flat rings of rock and ice particles orbiting around them. Some of these planets and moons show evidence of geologic activity. The earth is orbited by one moon, many artificial satellites, and debris. 4A/M3

Many chunks of rock orbit the sun. Those that meet the earth glow and disintegrate from friction as they plunge through the atmosphere—and sometimes impact the ground. Other chunks of rock mixed with ice have long, off-center orbits that carry them close to the sun, where the sun’s radiation (of light and particles) boils off frozen materials from their surfaces and pushes it into a long, illuminated tail. 4A/M4*

By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that

The stars differ from each other in size, temperature, and age, but they appear to be made up of the same elements found on earth and behave according to the same physical principles. 4A/H1a

Unlike the sun, most stars are in systems of two or more stars orbiting around one another. 4A/H1b

On the basis of scientific evidence, the universe is estimated to be over ten billion years old. The current theory is that its entire contents expanded explosively from a hot, dense, chaotic mass. 4A/H2ab

Stars condensed by gravity out of clouds of molecules of the lightest elements until nuclear fusion of the light elements into heavier ones began to occur. Fusion released great amounts of energy over millions of years. 4A/H2cd

Eventually, some stars exploded, producing clouds containing heavy elements from which other stars and planets orbiting them could later condense. The process of star formation and destruction continues. 4A/H2ef

Increasingly sophisticated technology is used to learn about the universe. Visual, radio, and X-ray telescopes collect information from across the entire spectrum of electromagnetic waves; computers handle data and complicated computations to interpret them; space probes send back data and materials from remote parts of the solar system; and accelerators give subatomic particles energies that simulate conditions in the stars and in the early history of the universe before stars formed. 4A/H3

Mathematical models and computer simulations are used in studying evidence from many sources in order to form a scientific account of the universe. 4A/H4

As the earth and other planets formed, the heavier elements fell to their centers. On planets close to the sun (Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars), the lightest elements were mostly blown or boiled away by radiation from the newly formed sun; on the outer planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto) the lighter elements still surround them as deep atmospheres of gas or as frozen solid layers. 4A/H5** (SFAA)

Our solar system coalesced out of a giant cloud of gas and debris left in the wake of exploding stars about five billion years ago. Everything in and on the earth, including living organisms, is made of this material. 4A/H6** (SFAA)


The Writing Revolution

The Atlantic, October 2012

By Peg Tyre

in 2009, when Monica DiBella entered New Dorp, a notorious public high school on Staten Island, her academic future was cloudy. Monica had struggled to read in early childhood, and had repeated first grade. During her elementary-school years, she got more than 100 hours of tutoring, but by fourth grade, she’d fallen behind her classmates again. In the years that followed, Monica became comfortable with math and learned to read passably well, but never seemed able to express her thoughts in writing. During her freshman year at New Dorp, a ’70s-style brick behemoth near a grimy beach, her history teacher asked her to write an essay on Alexander the Great. At a loss, she jotted down her opinion of the Macedonian ruler: “I think Alexander the Great was one of the best military leaders.” An essay? “Basically, that wasn’t going to happen,” she says, sweeping her blunt-cut brown hair from her brown eyes. “It was like, well, I got a sentence down. What now?” Monica’s mother, Santa, looked over her daughter’s answer—six simple sentences, one of which didn’t make sense—with a mixture of fear and frustration. Even a coherent, well-turned paragraph seemed beyond her daughter’s ability. An essay? “It just didn’t seem like something Monica could ever do.”

For decades, no one at New Dorp seemed to know how to help low-performing students like Monica, and unfortunately, this troubled population made up most of the school, which caters primarily to students from poor and working-class families. In 2006, 82 percent of freshmen entered the school reading below grade level. Students routinely scored poorly on the English and history Regents exams, a New York State graduation requirement: the essay questions were just too difficult. Many would simply write a sentence or two and shut the test booklet. In the spring of 2007, when administrators calculated graduation rates, they found that four out of 10 students who had started New Dorp as freshmen had dropped out, making it one of the 2,000 or so lowest-performing high schools in the nation. City officials, who had been closing comprehensive high schools all over New York and opening smaller, specialized ones in their stead, signaled that New Dorp was in the crosshairs.

And so the school’s principal, Deirdre DeAngelis, began a detailed investigation into why, ultimately, New Dorp’s students were failing. By 2008, she and her faculty had come to a singular answer: bad writing. Students’ inability to translate thoughts into coherent, well-argued sentences, paragraphs, and essays was severely impeding intellectual growth in many subjects. Consistently, one of the largest differences between failing and successful students was that only the latter could express their thoughts on the page.

If nothing else, DeAngelis and her teachers decided, beginning in the fall of 2009, New Dorp students would learn to write well. “When they told me about the writing program,” Monica says, “well, I was skeptical.” With disarming candor, sharp-edged humor, and a shy smile, Monica occupies the middle ground between child and adult—she can be both naive and knowing. “On the other hand, it wasn’t like I had a choice. I go to high school. I figured I’d give it a try.”

New Dorp’s Writing Revolution, which placed an intense focus, across nearly every academic subject, on teaching the skills that underlie good analytical writing, was a dramatic departure from what most American students—especially low performers—are taught in high school. The program challenged long-held assumptions about the students and bitterly divided the staff. It also yielded extraordinary results. By the time they were sophomores, the students who had begun receiving the writing instruction as freshmen were already scoring higher on exams than any previous New Dorp class. Pass rates for the English Regents, for example, bounced from 67 percent in June 2009 to 89 percent in 2011; for the global-­history exam, pass rates rose from 64 to 75 percent. The school reduced its Regents-repeater classes—cram courses designed to help struggling students collect a graduation requirement—from five classes of 35 students to two classes of 20 students.

…[Why were the students previously failing?]

…. New Dorp students were simply not smart enough to write at the high-school level. You just had to listen to the way the students talked, one teacher pointed out—they rarely communicated in full sentences, much less expressed complex thoughts… Scharff, a lecturer at Baruch College, a part of the City University of New York, kept pushing, asking: “What skills that lead to good writing did struggling students lack?” …

Maybe the struggling students just couldn’t read, suggested one teacher.

A few teachers administered informal diagnostic tests the following week and reported back. The students who couldn’t write well seemed capable, at the very least, of decoding simple sentences. A history teacher got more granular. He pointed out that the students’ sentences were short and disjointed. What words, Scharff asked, did kids who wrote solid paragraphs use that the poor writers didn’t? Good essay writers, the history teacher noted, used coordinating conjunctions to link and expand on simple ideas—words like for, and, nor, but, or, yet, and so. Another teacher devised a quick quiz that required students to use those conjunctions. To the astonishment of the staff, she reported that a sizable group of students could not use those simple words effectively. The harder they looked, the teachers began to realize, the harder it was to determine whether the students were smart or not—the tools they had to express their thoughts were so limited that such a judgment was nearly impossible.

The exploration continued. One teacher noted that the best-written paragraphs contained complex sentences that relied on dependent clauses like although and despite, which signal a shifting idea within the same sentence. Curious, Fran Simmons devised a little test of her own. She asked her freshman English students to read Of Mice and Men and, using information from the novel, answer the following prompt in a single sentence:

“Although George …”

She was looking for a sentence like: Although George worked very hard, he could not attain the American Dream.

Some of Simmons’s students wrote a solid sentence, but many were stumped. More than a few wrote the following: “Although George and Lenny were friends.”

A lightbulb, says Simmons, went on in her head. These 14- and 15-year-olds didn’t know how to use some basic parts of speech. With such grammatical gaps, it was a wonder they learned as much as they did. “Yes, they could read simple sentences,” but works like the Gettysburg Address were beyond them—not because they were too lazy to look up words they didn’t know, but because “they were missing a crucial understanding of how language works. They didn’t understand that the key information in a sentence doesn’t always come at the beginning of that sentence.”

Some teachers wanted to know how this could happen. “We spent a lot of time wondering how our students had been taught,” said English teacher Stevie D’Arbanville. “How could they get passed along and end up in high school without understanding how to use the word although?”

…The Hochman Program, as it is sometimes called, would not be un­familiar to nuns who taught in Catholic schools circa 1950. Children do not have to “catch” a single thing. They are explicitly taught how to turn ideas into simple sentences, and how to construct complex sentences from simple ones by supplying the answer to three prompts—but, because, and so. They are instructed on how to use appositive clauses to vary the way their sentences begin. Later on, they are taught how to recognize sentence fragments, how to pull the main idea from a paragraph, and how to form a main idea on their own. It is, at least initially, a rigid, unswerving formula. “I prefer recipe,” Hochman says, “but formula? Yes! Okay!”

…Within months, Hochman became a frequent visitor to Staten Island. Under her supervision, the teachers at New Dorp began revamping their curriculum. By fall 2009, nearly every instructional hour except for math class was dedicated to teaching essay writing along with a particular subject. So in chemistry class in the winter of 2010, Monica DiBella’s lesson on the properties of hydrogen and oxygen was followed by a worksheet that required her to describe the elements with subordinating clauses—for instance, she had to begin one sentence with the word although.

Although … “hydrogen is explosive and oxygen supports combustion,” Monica wrote, “a compound of them puts out fires.”

Unless … “hydrogen and oxygen form a compound, they are explosive and dangerous.”

If … This was a hard one. Finally, she figured out a way to finish the sentence. If … “hydrogen and oxygen form a compound, they lose their original properties of being explosive and supporting combustion.”

As her understanding of the parts of speech grew, Monica’s reading comprehension improved dramatically. “Before, I could read, sure. But it was like a sea of words,” she says. “The more writing instruction I got, the more I understood which words were important.”

Classroom discussion became an opportunity to push Monica and her classmates to listen to each other, think more carefully, and speak more precisely, in ways they could then echo in persuasive writing.

PEG TYRE is the director of strategy at the Edwin Gould Foundation and the author of The Good School: How Smart Parents Get Their Kids the Education They Deserve.

New MA science standards

The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is adopting revised science standards. They are based on the Next Generation Science Standards, which itself is based on A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas (2012), from the National Research Council of the National Academies.

Board of edNext Gen Science Standards

External link: Adoption of 2016 Science and Technology/Engineering Standards

The Board of Early Education and Care (EEC) is scheduled to vote to adopt the Pre-Kindergarten STE standards on February 9, 2016. …Assuming the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education votes to adopt the 2016 STE Standards, the Department will then copyedit the full 2016 Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Curriculum Framework. The Framework includes the standards and a variety of additional guidance and supporting materials….

We expect to publish and post the completed 2016 STE Curriculum Framework in early spring 2016. At that point, the Department will distribute copies … to schools… for their use in improving curriculum, instruction, and assessment in science and technology/engineering starting in the 2016-17 school year….high school STE MCAS assessments will be revised later on a timetable that provides fair notice to students and schools with respect to the science testing component of the state’s Competency Determination (high school graduation) requirement.

Science, engineering, and technology permeate nearly every facet of modern life and hold the key to solving many of humanity’s most pressing current and future challenges. The United States’ position in the global economy is declining, in part because U.S. workers lack fundamental knowledge in these fields. To address the critical issues of U.S. competitiveness and to better prepare the workforce, A Framework for K-12 Science Education proposes a new approach to K-12 science education that will capture students’ interest and provide them with the necessary foundational knowledge in the field.

A Framework for K-12 Science Education outlines a broad set of expectations for students in science and engineering in grades K-12. These expectations will inform the development of new standards for K-12 science education and, subsequently, revisions to curriculum, instruction, assessment, and professional development for educators.

The high school Introductory Physics standards build from middle school and allow grade 9 or 10 students to explain additional and more complex phenomena central to the physical world. The standards expect students to apply a variety of science and engineering practices to three core ideas of physics:

Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions support students’ understanding of ideas related to why some objects move in certain ways, why objects change their motion, and why some materials are attracted to each other while others are not. This core idea helps students answer the question, “How can one explain and predict interactions between objects and within systems of objects?” Students are able to demonstrate their understanding by applying scientific and engineering ideas related to Newton’s Second Law, total momentum, conservation, system analysis, and gravitational and electrostatic forces.

A focus on Energy develops students’ understanding of energy at both the macroscopic and atomic scale that can be accounted for as either motions of particles or energy stored in fields. This core idea helps students answer the question, “How is energy transferred and conserved?” Energy is understood as quantitative property of a system that depends on the motion and interactions of matter and radiation within that system, and the total change of energy in any system is always equal to the total energy transferred into or out of the system. Students apply their understandings to explain situations that involve conservation of energy, energy transfer, and tracing the relationship between energy and forces.

Waves and Their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer support students’ understanding of the physical principles used in a wide variety of existing and emerging technologies. As such, this core idea helps students answer the question, “How are waves used to transfer energy and send and store information?”

Students are able to apply understanding of how wave properties and the interactions of electromagnetic radiation with matter can transfer information across long distances, store information, and investigate nature on many scales. Models of electromagnetic radiation as either a wave of changing electric and magnetic fields or as particles are developed and used. Students understand that combining waves of different frequencies can make a wide variety of patterns and thereby encode and transmit information. Students can demonstrate their understanding by explaining how the principles of wave behavior and wave interactions with matter are used in technological devices to transmit and capture information and energy.

PS1. Matter and Its Interactions

HS-PS1-8. Develop a model to illustrate the energy released or absorbed during the processes of fission, fusion, and radioactive decay.

Clarification Statements:

  • Examples of models include simple qualitative models, such as pictures or diagrams.

  • Types of radioactive decays include alpha, beta, and gamma.

State Assessment Boundary:

  • Quantitative calculations of energy released or absorbed are not expected in state assessment.

[Note: HS-PS1-1, HS-PS1-2, HS-PS1-3, HS-PS1-4, HS-PS1-5, HS-PS1-6, and HS-PS1-7 are found in Chemistry.]

PS2. Motion and Stability:  Forces and Interactions

HS-PS2-1. Analyze data to support the claim that Newton’s second law of motion is a mathematical model describing change in motion (the acceleration) of objects when acted on by a net force.

Clarification Statements:

  • Examples of data could include tables or graphs of position or velocity as a function of time for objects subject to a net unbalanced force, such as a falling object, an object rolling down a ramp, and a moving object being pulled by a constant force.

  • Forces can include contact forces, including friction, and forces acting at a distance, such as gravity and magnetic forces.

State Assessment Boundary:

  • Variable forces are not expected in state assessment.

HS-PS2-2. Use mathematical representations to show that the total momentum of a system of interacting objects is conserved when there is no net force on the system.

Clarification Statement:

  • Emphasis is on the qualitative meaning of the conservation of momentum and the quantitative understanding of the conservation of linear momentum in interactions involving elastic and inelastic collisions between two objects in one dimension.

HS-PS2-3. Apply scientific principles of motion and momentum to design, evaluate, and refine a device that minimizes the force on a macroscopic object during a collision.*

Clarification Statement:

  • Both qualitative evaluations and algebraic manipulations may be used.

HS-PS2-4. Use mathematical representations of Newton’s Law of Gravitation and Coulomb’s Law to both qualitatively and quantitatively describe and predict the effects of gravitational and electrostatic forces between objects.

Clarification Statement:

  • Emphasis is on the relative changes when distance, mass or charge, or both are changed; as well as the relative strength comparison between the two forces.

State Assessment Boundaries:

  • State assessment will be limited to systems with two objects.

  • Permittivity of free space is not expected in state assessment.

HS-PS2-5. Provide evidence that an electric current can produce a magnetic field and that a changing magnetic field can produce an electric current.

Clarification Statement:

  • Examples of evidence can include movement of a magnetic compass when placed in the vicinity of a current-carrying wire, and a magnet passing through a coil that turns on the light of a Faraday flashlight.

State Assessment Boundary:

  • Explanations of motors or generators are not expected in state assessment.

HS-PS2-9(MA). Evaluate simple series and parallel circuits to predict changes to voltage, current, or resistance when simple changes are made to a circuit.

Clarification Statements:

  • Predictions of changes can be represented numerically, graphically, or algebraically using Ohm’s Law.

  • Simple changes to a circuit may include adding a component, changing the resistance of a load, and adding a parallel path, in circuits with batteries and common loads.

  • Simple circuits can be represented in schematic diagrams.

State Assessment Boundary:

  • Use of measurement devices and predictions of changes in power are not expected in state assessment.

HS-PS2-10(MA). Use free-body force diagrams, algebraic expressions, and Newton’s laws of motion to predict changes to velocity and acceleration for an object moving in one dimension in various situations.

Clarification Statement:

  • Predictions of changes in motion can be made numerically, graphically, and algebraically using basic equations for velocity, constant acceleration, and Newton’s first and second laws.

  • Forces can include contact forces, including friction, and forces acting at a distance, such as gravity and magnetic forces.

[Note: HS-PS2-6, HS-PS2-7(MA), and HS-PS2-8(MA) are found in Chemistry.]

PS3. Energy

HS-PS3-1. Use algebraic expressions and the principle of energy conservation to calculate the change in energy of one component of a system when the change in energy of the other component(s) of the system, as well as the total energy of the system including any energy entering or leaving the system, is known. Identify any transformations from one form of energy to another, including thermal, kinetic, gravitational, magnetic, or electrical energy, in the system.

Clarification Statement:

  • Systems should be limited to two or three components; and to thermal energy, kinetic energy, or the energies in gravitational, magnetic, or electric fields.

HS-PS3-2. Develop and use a model to illustrate that energy at the macroscopic scale can be accounted for as either motions of particles and objects or energy stored in fields.

Clarification Statements:

  • Examples of phenomena at the macroscopic scale could include evaporation and condensation, the conversion of kinetic energy to thermal energy, the gravitational potential energy stored due to position of an object above the Earth, and the energy stored (electrical potential) of a charged object’s position within an electrical field.

  • Examples of models could include diagrams, drawings, descriptions, and computer simulations.

HS-PS3-3. Design and evaluate a device that works within given constraints to convert one form of energy into another form of energy.*

Clarification Statements:

  • Emphasis is on both qualitative and quantitative evaluations of devices.

  • Examples of devices could include Rube Goldberg devices, wind turbines, solar cells, solar ovens, and generators.

  • Examples of constraints could include use of renewable energy forms and efficiency.

State Assessment Boundary:

  • Quantitative evaluations will be limited to total output for a given input in state assessment.

HS-PS3-4a. Provide evidence that when two objects of different temperature are in thermal contact within a closed system, the transfer of thermal energy from higher temperature objects to lower temperature objects results in thermal equilibrium, or a more uniform energy distribution among the objects and that temperature changes necessary to achieve thermal equilibrium depend on the specific heat values of the two substances.

Clarification Statement:

  • Energy changes should be described both quantitatively in a single phase (Q = mc∆T) and conceptually in either a single phase or during a phase change.

HS-PS3-5. Develop and use a model of magnetic or electric fields to illustrate the forces and changes in energy between two magnetically or electrically charged objects changing relative position in a magnetic or electric field, respectively.

Clarification Statements:

  • Emphasis is on the change in force and energy as objects move relative to each other.

  • Examples of models could include drawings, diagrams, and texts, such as drawings of what happens when two charges of opposite polarity are near each other.

[Note: HS-PS3-4b is found in Chemistry.]

PS4. Waves and Their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer

HS-PS4-1. Use mathematical representations to support a claim regarding relationships among the frequency, wavelength, and speed of waves traveling within various media. Recognize that electromagnetic waves can travel through empty space (without a medium) as compared to mechanical waves that require a medium.

Clarification Statements:

  • Emphasis is on relationships when waves travel within a medium, and comparisons when a wave travels in different media.

  • Examples of situations to consider could include electromagnetic radiation traveling in a vacuum and glass, sound waves traveling through air and water, and seismic waves traveling through the Earth.

  • Relationships include v = λf, T = 1/f, and the qualitative comparison of the speed of a transverse (including electromagnetic) or longitudinal mechanical wave in a solid, liquid, gas, or vacuum.

State Assessment Boundary:

  • Transitions between two media are not expected in state assessment.

HS-PS4-3. Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning behind the idea that electromagnetic radiation can be described either by a wave model or a particle model, and that for some situations involving resonance, interference, diffraction, refraction, or the photoelectric effect, one model is more useful than the other.

Clarification Statement:

  • Emphasis is on qualitative reasoning and comparisons of the two models.

State Assessment Boundary:

  • Calculations of energy levels or resonant frequencies are not expected in state assessment.

HS-PS4-5. Communicate technical information about how some technological devices use the principles of wave behavior and wave interactions with matter to transmit and capture information and energy.*

Clarification Statements:

  • Emphasis is on qualitative information and descriptions.

  • Examples of technological devices could include solar cells capturing light and converting it to electricity; medical imaging; and communications technology.

  • Examples of principles of wave behavior include resonance, photoelectric effect, and constructive and destructive interference.

State Assessment Boundary:

  • Band theory is not expected in state assessment.

[Note: HS-PS4-2 and HS-PS4-4 from NGSS are not included.]

Also see: A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas (2012)