Full Text of Grade 5-8 NSES


Science as Inquiry (8ASI)

Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry

8ASI1.1 Identify questions that can be answered through scientific investigations. Students should develop the ability to refine and refocus broad and ill-defined questions. An important aspect of this ability consists of students’ ability to clarify questions and inquiries and direct them toward objects and phenomena that can be described, explained, or predicted by scientific investigations. Students should develop the ability to identify their questions with scientific ideas, concepts, and quantitative relationships that guide investigation.

8ASI1.2 Design and conduct a scientific investigation. Students should develop general abilities, such as systematic observation, making accurate measurements, and identifying and controlling variables. They should also develop the ability to clarify their ideas that are influencing and guiding the inquiry, and to understand how those ideas compare with current scientific knowledge. Students can learn to formulate questions, design investigations, execute investigations, interpret data, use evidence to generate explanations, propose alternative explanations, and critique explanations and procedures.

8ASI1.3 Use appropriate tools and techniques to gather, analyze, and interpret data. The use of tools and techniques, including mathematics, will be guided by the question asked and the investigations students design. The use of computers for the collection, summary, and display of evidence is part of this standard. Students should be able to access, gather, store, retrieve, and organize data, using hardware and software designed for these purposes.

8ASI1.4 Develop descriptions, explanations, predictions, and models using evidence. Students should base their explanation on what they observed, and as they develop cognitive skills, they should be able to differentiate explanation from description — providing causes for effects and establishing relationships based on evidence and logical argument. This standards requires a subject knowledge base so the students can effectively conduct investigations, because developing explanations establishes connections between the content of science and the contexts within which students develop new knowledge.

8ASI1.5 Think critically and logically to make the relationships between evidence and explanations. Thinking critically about evidence includes deciding what evidence should be used and accounting for anomalous data. Specifically, students should be able to review data from a simple experiment, summarize the data, and form a logical argument about the cause-and-effect relationships in the experiment. Students should begin to state some explanations in terms of the relationship between two or more variables.

8ASI1.6 Recognize and analyze alternative explanations and predictions. Students should develop the ability to listen and to respect the explanations proposed by other students. They should remain open to and acknowledge different ideas and explanations, be able to accept the skepticism of others, and consider alternative explanations.

8ASI1.7 Communicate scientific procedures and explanations. With practice, students should become competent at communicating experimental methods, following instructions, describing observations, summarizing the results of other groups, and telling other students about investigations and explanations.

8ASI1.8 Use mathematics in all aspects of scientific inquiry. Mathematics is essential to asking and answering questions about the natural world. Mathematics can be used to ask questions; to gather, organize, and present data; and to structure convincing explanations.

Understandings about scientific inquiry

8ASI2.1 Different kinds of questions suggest different kinds of scientific investigations. Some investigations involve observing and describing objects, organisms, or events; some involve collecting specimens; some involve experiments; some involve seeking more information; some involve discovery of new objects and phenomena; and some involve making models.

8ASI2.2 Current scientific knowledge and understanding guide scientific investigations. Different methods, core theories, and standards to advance scientific knowledge and understanding.

8ASI2.3 Mathematics is important in all aspects of scientific inquiry.

8ASI2.4 Technology used to gather data enhances accuracy and allows scientists to analyze and quantify results of investigations.

8ASI2.5 Scientific explanations emphasize evidence, have logically consistent arguments, and use scientific principles, models and theories. The scientific community accepts and uses such explanations until displaced by better scientific ones. When such displacement occurs, science advances.

8ASI2.6 Science advances through legitimate skepticism. Asking questions and querying other scientists’ explanations is part of scientific inquiry. Scientists evaluate the explanations proposed by other scientists by examining evidence, comparing evidence, identifying faulty reasoning, pointing out statements that go beyond the evidence, and suggesting alternative explanations for the same observations.

8ASI2.7 Scientific investigations sometimes result in new ideas and phenomena for study, generate new methods or procedures for an investigation, or develop new technologies to improve the collection of data. All of these results can lead to new investigations.

Physical Science (8BPS)

Properties and changes of properties in matter

8BPS1.1 A substance has characteristic properties, such as density, a boiling point, and solubility, all of which are independent of the amount of the sample. A mixture of substances often can be separated into the original substances using one or more of the characteristic properties.

8BPS1.2 Substances react chemically in characteristic ways with other substances to form new substances (compounds) with different characteristic properties. In chemical reactions, the total mass is conserved. Substances often are placed in categories or groups if they react in similar ways; metals is an example of such a group.

8BPS1.3 Chemical elements do not break down during normal laboratory reactions involving such treatments as heating, exposure to electric current, or reaction with acids. There are more than 100 known elements that combine in a multitude of ways to produce compounds, which account for the living and nonliving substances that we encounter.

Motions and forces

8BPS2.1 The motion of an object can be described by its position, direction of motion, and speed. That motion can be measured and represented on a graph.

8BPS2.2 An object that is not being subjected to a force will continue to move at a constant speed and in a straight line.

8BPS2.3 If more than one force acts on an object along a straight line, then the forces will reinforce or cancel one another, depending on their direction and magnitude. Unbalanced forces will cause changes in the speed or direction of an object’s motion.

Transfer of energy

8BPS3.1 Energy is a property of many substances and is associated with heat, light, electricity, mechanical motion, sound, nuclei and the nature of a chemical. Energy is transferred in many ways.

8BPS3.2 Heat moves in predictable ways, flowing from warmer objects to cooler ones, until both reach the same temperature.

8BPS3.3 Light interacts with matter by transmission (including refraction), absorption, or scattering (including reflection). To see an object, light from that object — emitted by or scattered from it — must enter the eye.

8BPS3.4 Electrical circuits provide a means of transferring electrical energy when heat, light, sound, and chemical changes are produced.

8BPS3.5 In most chemical and nuclear reactions, energy is transferred into or out of a system. Heat, light, mechanical motion, or electricity might all be involved in such transfers.

8BPS3.6 The sun is a major source of energy for changes on the earth’s surface. The sun loses energy by emitting light. A tiny fraction of that light reaches the earth, transferring energy from the sun to the earth. The sun’s energy arrives as light with a range of wavelengths, consisting of visible light, infrared, and ultraviolet radiation.

Life Science (8CLS)

Structure and function in living systems

8CLS1.1 Living systems at all levels of organization demonstrate the complimentary nature of structure and function. Important levels of organization for structure and function include cells, organs, tissues, organ systems, whole organisms, and ecosystems.

8CLS1.2 All organisms are composed of cells — the fundamental unit of life. Most organisms are single cells; other organisms, including humans, are multicellular.

8CLS1.3 Cells carry on the many functions needed to sustain life. They grow and divide, thereby producing more cells. This requires that they take in nutrients, which they use to provide energy for the work that cells do and to make the materials that a cell or an organism needs.

8CLS1.4 Specialized cells perform specialized functions in multicellular organisms. Groups of specialized cells cooperate to form a tissue, such as a muscle. Different tissues are in turn grouped together to form larger functional units, called organs. Each type of cell, tissue, and organ has a distinct structure and set of functions that serve the organism as a whole.

8CLS1.5 The human organism has systems for digestion, respiration, reproduction, circulation, excretion, movement, control, and coordination, and for protection from disease. These systems interact with one another.

8CLS1.6 Disease is a breakdown in structures or functions of an organism. Some diseases are the result of intrinsic failures of the system. Others are the result of damage by infection by other organisms.

Reproduction and Heredity

8CLS2.1 Reproduction is a characteristic of all living systems; because no individual organism lives forever, reproduction is essential to the continuation of every species. Some organisms reproduce asexually. Other organisms reproduce sexually.

8CLS2.2 In many species, including humans, females produce eggs and males produce sperm. Plants also produce sexually — the egg and sperm are produced in the flowers of flowering plants. An egg and sperm unite to begin development of a new individual. That new individual receives genetic information from its mother (via the egg) and its father (via the sperm). Sexually produced offspring never are identical to either of their parents.

8CLS2.3 Every organism requires a set of instructions for specifying its traits. Heredity is the passage of these instructions from one generation to another.

8CLS2.4 Hereditary information is contained in genes, located in the chromosomes of each cell. Each gene carries a single unit of information. An inherited trait of an individual can be determined by one or by many genes, and a single gene can influence more than one trait. A human cell contains many thousands of different genes.

8CLS2.5 The characteristics of an organism can be described in terms of a combination of traits. Some traits are inherited and others result from interactions with the environment.

Regulation and behavior

8CLS3.1 All organisms must be able to obtain and use resources, grow, reproduce, and maintain stable internal conditions while living in a constantly changing external environment.

8CLS3.2 Regulation of an organism’s internal environment involves sensing the internal environment and changing physiologic activities to keep conditions within the range required to survive.

8CLS3.3 Behavior is one kind of response an organism can make to an internal or environmental stimulus. A behavioral response requires coordination and communication at many levels, including cells, organ systems, and whole organisms. Behavioral response is a set of actions determined in part by heredity and in part from experience.

8CLS3.4 An organism’s behavior evolves through adaptation to its environment. How a species moves, obtains food, reproduces, and responds to danger are based in the species’ evolutionary history.

Populations and ecosystems

8CLS4.1 A population consists of all individuals of a species that occur together at a given place and time. All populations living together and the physical factors with which they interact compose an ecosystem.

8CLS4.2 Populations of organisms can be categorized by the function they serve in an ecosystem. Plants and some microorganisms are producers — they make their own food. All animals, including humans, are consumers, which obtain food by eating other organisms. Decomposers, primarily bacteria and fungi, are consumers that use waste materials and dead organisms for food. Food webs identify the relationships among producers, consumers, and decomposers in an ecosystem.

8CLS4.3 For ecosystems, the major source of energy is sunlight. Energy entering ecosystems as sunlight is transferred by producers into chemical energy through photosynthesis. That energy then passes from organism to organism in food webs.

8CLS4.4 The number of organisms an ecosystem can support depends on the resources available and abiotic factors, such as quantity of light and water, range of temperatures, and soil composition. Given adequate biotic and abiotic resources and no disease or predators, populations (including humans) increase at rapid rates. Lack of resources and other factors, such as predation and climate, limit the growth of populations in specific niches in the ecosystem.

Diversity and adaptations of organisms

8CLS5.1 Millions of species of animals, plants, and microorganisms are alive today. Although different species might look dissimilar, the unity among organisms becomes apparent from an analysis of internal structures, the similarity of their chemical processes, and the evidence of common ancestry.

8CLS5.2 Biological evolution accounts for the diversity of species developed through gradual processes over many generations. Species acquire many of their unique characteristics through biological adaptation, which involves the selection of naturally occurring variations in populations. Biological adaptations include changes in structures, behaviors, or physiology that enhance survival and reproductive success in a particular environment

8CLS5.3 Extinction of a species occurs when the environment changes and the adaptive characteristics of a species are insufficient to allow its survival. Fossils indicate that many organisms that lived long ago are extinct. Extinction of species is common; most of the species that have lived on the earth no longer exist.

Earth and Space Science (8DESS)

Structure of the earth system

8DESS1.1 The solid earth is layered with a lithosphere; hot, convecting mantle; and dense, metallic core.

8DESS1.2 Lithospheric plates on the scales of continents and oceans constantly move at rates of centimeters per year in response to movements in the mantle. Major geological events, such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and mountain building, result from these plate motions.

8DESS1.3 Land forms are the result of a combination of constructive and destructive forces. Constructive forces include crustal deformation, volcanic eruption, and deposition of sediment, while destructive forces include weathering and erosion.

8DESS1.4 Some changes in the solid earth can be described as the "rock cycle." Old rocks at the earth’s surface weather, forming sediments that are buried, then compacted, heated, and often recrystallized into new rock. Eventually, those new rocks may be brought to the surface by the forces that drive plate motions, and the rock cycle continues.

8DESS1.5 Soil consists of weathered rocks and decomposed organic material from dead plants, animals, and bacteria. Soils are often found in layers, with each having a different chemical composition and texture.

8DESS1.6 Water, which covers the majority of the earth’s surface, circulates through the crust, oceans, and atmosphere in what is known as the "water cycle." Water evaporates from the earth’s surface, rises and cools as it moves to higher elevations, condenses as rain or snow, and falls to the surface where it collects in lakes, oceans, soil, and in rocks underground.

8DESS1.7 Water is a solvent. As it passes through the water cycle it dissolves minerals and gases and carries them to the oceans.

8DESS1.8 The atmosphere is a mixture of nitrogen, oxygen, and trace gases that include water vapor. The atmosphere has different properties at different elevations.

8DESS1.9 Clouds, formed by the condensation of water vapor, affect weather and climate.

8DESS1.10 Global patterns of atmospheric movement influence local weather. Oceans have a major effect on climate, because water in the oceans holds a large amount of heat.

8DESS1.11 Living organisms have played many roles in the earth system, including affecting the composition of the atmosphere, producing some types of rocks, and contributing to the weathering of rocks.

Earth's history

8DESS2.1 The earth processes we see today, including erosion, movement of lithospheric plates, and changes in atmospheric composition, are similar to those that occurred in the past. Earth history is also influenced by occasional catastrophes, such as the impact of an asteroid or comet.

8DESS2.2 Fossils provide important evidence of how life and environmental conditions have changed.

Earth in the solar system

8DESS3.1 The earth is the third planet from the sun in a system that includes the moon, the sun, eight other planets and their moons, and smaller objects, such as asteroids and comets. The sun, an average star, is the central and largest body in the solar system.

8DESS3.2 Most objects in the solar system are in regular and predictable motion. Those motions explain such phenomena as the day, the year, phases of the moon, and eclipses.

8DESS 3.3 Gravity is the force that keeps planets in orbit around the sun and governs the rest of the motion in the solar system. Gravity alone holds us to the earth’s surface and explains the phenomena of the tides.

8DESS3.4 The sun is the major source of energy for phenomena on the earth’s surface, such as growth of plants, winds, ocean currents, and the water cycle. Seasons result from variations in the amount of the sun’s energy hitting the surface, due to the tilt of the earth’s rotation on its axis and the length of the day.

Science and Technology (8EST)

Abilities of technological design

8EST1.1 Identify appropriate problems for technological design. Students should develop their abilities by identifying a specified need, considering its various aspects, and talking to potential users or beneficiaries. They should appreciate that for some needs, the cultural backgrounds and beliefs of different groups can affect the criteria for a suitable product.

8EST1.2 Design a solution or product. Students should make and compare different proposals in the light of the criteria they have selected. They must consider constraints - such as cost, time, tradeoffs, and materials needed - and communicate ideas with drawings and simple models.

8EST1.3 Implement a proposed solution. Students should organize materials and other resources, plan their work, make good use of group collaboration where appropriate, choose suitable tools and techniques, and work with appropriate measurement methods to ensure adequate accuracy.

8EST1.4 Evaluate completed technological designs or products. Students should use criteria relevant to the original purpose or need, consider a variety of factors that might affect acceptability and suitability for intended users or beneficiaries, and develop measures of quality with respect to such criteria and factors; they should also suggest improvements and, for their own products, try proposed modifications.

8EST1.5 Communicate the process of technological design. Students should review and describe any completed piece of work and identify the stages of problem identification, solution design, implementation and evaluation.

Understandings about science and technology

8EST2.1 Scientific inquiry and technological design have similarities and differences. Scientists propose explanations for questions about the natural world, and engineers propose solutions relating to human problems, needs and aspirations. Technological solutions are temporary; technologies exist within nature and so they cannot contravene physical or biological principles; technological solutions have side effects; and technologies cost, carry risks, and provide benefits.

8EST2.2 Many different people in different cultures have made and continue to make contributions to science and technology.

8EST2.3 Science and technology are reciprocal. Science helps drive technology, as it addresses questions that demand more sophisticated instruments and provides principles for better instrumentation and technique. Technology is essential to science, because it provides instruments and techniques that enable observations of objects and phenomena that are otherwise unobservable due to factors such as quantity, distance, location, size and speed. Technology also provides tools for investigations, inquiry, and analysis.

8EST2.4 Perfectly designed solutions do not exist. All technological solutions have tradeoffs, such as safety, cost, efficiency, and appearance. Engineers often build in back-up systems to provide safety. Risk is part of living in a highly technological world. Reducing risk often results in new technology.

8EST2.5 Technological designs have constraints. Some constraints are unavoidable, for example, properties of materials, or effects of weather and friction; other constraints limit choices in the design, for example, environmental protection, human safety, and aesthetics.

8EST2.6 Technological solutions have intended benefits and unintended consequences. Some consequences can be predicted, others cannot.

Science in Personal and Social Perspectives (8FSPSP)

Personal health

8FSPSP1.1 Regular exercise is important to the maintenance and improvement of health. The benefits of physical fitness include maintaining healthy weight, having energy and strength for routine activities, good muscle tone, bone strength, strong heart/lung systems, and improved mental health. Personal exercise, especially developing cardiovascular endurance, is the foundation of physical fitness.

8FSPSP1.2 The potential for accidents and the existence of hazards imposes the need for injury prevention. Safe living involves the development and use of safety precautions and the recognition of risk in personal and social dimensions.

8FSPSP1.3 The use of tobacco increases the risk of illness. Students should understand the influence of short-term social and psychological factors that lead to tobacco use, and the possible long-term detrimental effects of smoking and chewing tobacco.

8FSPSP1.4 Alcohol and other drugs are often abused substances. Such drugs change how the body functions and can lead to addiction.

8FSPSP1.5 Food provides energy and nutrients for growth and development. Nutrition requirements vary with body weight, age, sex, activity, and body functioning.

8FSPSP1.6 Sex drive is a natural human function that requires understanding. Sex is also a prominent means of transmitting diseases. The diseases can be prevented through a variety of precautions.

8FSPSP1.7 Natural environments may contain substances (for example, radon and lead) that are harmful to human beings. Maintaining environmental health involves establishing or monitoring quality standards related to use of soil, water, and air.

Populations, resources, and environments

8FSPSP2.1 When an area becomes overpopulated, the environment will become degraded due to the increased use of resources.

8FSPSP2.2 Causes of environmental degradation and resource depletion vary from region to region and from country to country.

Natural hazards

8FSPSP3.1 Internal and external processes of the earth system cause natural hazards, events that change or destroy human and wildlife habitats, damage property, and harm or kill humans. Natural hazards include earthquakes, landslides, wildfires, volcanic eruptions, floods, storms, and even possible impacts of asteroids.

8FSPSP3.2 Human activities also can induce hazards through resource acquisition, urban growth, land-use decisions, and waste disposal. Such activities can accelerate many natural changes.

8FSPSP3.3 Natural hazards can present personal and societal challenges because misidentifying the change or incorrectly estimating the rate and scale of change may result in either too little attention and significant human costs or too much cost for unneeded preventative measures.

Risks and benefits

8FSPSP4.1 Risk analysis considers the type of hazard and estimates the number of people that might be exposed and the number likely to suffer consequences. The results are used to determine the options for reducing or eliminating risks.

8FSPSP4.2 Students should understand the risks associated with natural hazards (fires, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions), with chemical hazards (pollutants in air, water, soil, and food), with biological hazards (pollen, viruses, bacterial, and parasites), social hazards (occupational safety and transportation), and with personal hazards (smoking, dieting, and drinking).

8FSPSP4.3 Individuals can use a systematic approach to thinking critically about risks and benefits. Examples include applying probability estimates to risks and comparing them to estimated personal and social benefits.

8FSPSP4.4 Important personal and social decisions are made based on perceptions of benefits and risks.

Science and technology in society

8FSPSP5.1 Science influences society through its knowledge and world view. Scientific knowledge and the procedures used by scientists influence the way many individuals in society think about themselves, others, and the environment. The effect of science on society is neither entirely beneficial nor entirely detrimental.

8FSPSP5.2 Societal challenges often inspire questions for scientific research, and social priorities often influence research priorities through the availability of funding for research.

8FSPSP5.3 Technology influences society through its products and processes. Technology influences the quality of life and the ways people act and interact. Technological changes are often accompanied by social, political, and economic changes that can be beneficial or detrimental to individuals and to society. Social needs, attitudes, and values influence the direction of technological development.

8FSPSP5.4 Science and technology have advanced through contributions of many different people, in different cultures, at different times in history. Science and technology have contributed enormously to economic growth and productivity among societies and groups within societies.

8FSPSP5.5 Scientists and engineers work in many different settings, including colleges and universities, businesses and industries, specific research institutes, and government agencies.

8FSPSP5.6 Scientists and engineers have ethical codes requiring that human subjects involved with research be fully informed about risks and benefits associated with the research before the individuals choose to participate. This ethic extends to potential risks to communities and property. In short, prior knowledge and consent are required for research involving human subjects or potential damage to property.

8FSPSP5.7 Science cannot answer all questions and technology cannot solve all human problems or meet all human needs. Students should understand the difference between scientific and other questions. They should appreciate what science and technology can reasonably contribute to society and what they cannot do. For example, new technologies often will decrease some risks and increase others.

History and Nature of Science (8GHNS)

Science as a human endeavor

8GHNS1.1 Women and men of various social and ethnic backgrounds - and with diverse interests, talents, qualities, and motivations - engage in the activities of science, engineering, and related fields such as the health professions. Some scientists work in teams, and some work alone, but all communicate extensively with others.

8GHNS1.2 Science requires different abilities, depending on such factors as the field of study and type of inquiry. Science is very much a human endeavor, and the work of science relies on basic human qualities, such as reasoning, insight, energy, skill, and creativity - as well as on scientific habits of mind, such as intellectual honesty, tolerance of ambiguity, skepticism, and openness to new ideas.

Nature of science

8GHNS2.1 Scientists formulate and test their explanations of nature using observation, experiments, and theoretical and mathematical models. Although all scientific ideas are tentative and subject to change and improvement in principle, for most major ideas in science, there is much experimental and observational confirmation. Those ideas are not likely to change greatly in the future. Scientists do and have changed their ideas about nature when they encounter new experimental evidence that does not match their existing explanations.

8GHNS2.2 In areas where active research is being pursued and in which there is not a great deal of experimental or observational evidence and understanding, it is normal for scientists to differ with one another about the interpretation of the evidence or theory being considered. Different scientists might publish conflicting experimental results or might draw different conclusions from the same data. Ideally, scientists acknowledge such conflict and work towards finding evidence that will resolve their disagreement.

8GHNS2.3 It is part of scientific inquiry to evaluate the results of scientific investigations, experiments, observations, theoretical models, and the explanations proposed by other scientists. Evaluation includes reviewing the experimental procedures, examining the evidence, identifying faulty reasoning, pointing out statements that go beyond the evidence, and suggesting alternative explanations for the same observations. Although scientists may disagree about explanations of phenomena, about interpretation of data, or about the value of rival theories, they do agree that questioning, response to criticism, and open communication are integral to the process of science. As scientific knowledge evolves, major disagreements are eventually resolved through such interactions between scientists.

History of science

8GHNS3.1 Many individuals have contributed to the traditions of science. Studying some of these individuals provides further understanding of scientific inquiry, science as a human endeavor, the nature of science, and the relationships between science and society.

8GHNS3.2 In historical perspective, science has been practiced by different individuals in different cultures. In looking at the history of many peoples, one finds that scientists and engineers of high achievement are considered to be among the most valued contributors to their culture.

8GHNS3.3 Tracing the history of science can show how difficult it was for scientific innovators to break through the accepted ideas of their time to reach the conclusions that we currently take for granted.



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