Proposed wording for the Science Common Expectations
and their associated Benchmarks

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Understanding science and technology allows students to make informed decisions and to understand how these decisions impact the world. In this increasingly complex and technologically dependent world, it is important that all citizens have a basic understanding of science and technology. It is the responsibility of each person to make informed decisions regarding such diverse issues as siting landfills, emerging diseases, and advanced computer network systems and to understand how these issues impact the current and future quality of life. These science expectations were designed to provide high school graduates with essential knowledge to apply science concepts in today's society and to continue their education about science topics beyond their formal schooling.

At the completion of high school, students are expected to:

  Expectation By the end of the 4th grade By the end of the 8th grade By the end of the 12th grade
1. Demonstrate abilities necessary to understand and do scientific inquiry. Create and/or use categories or simple keys to organize objects, organisms, events, and observations.

Select instruments, make observations, and measure mass and volume of familiar objects; evaluate observations and measurements made by other persons.

Evaluate a simple procedure to carry out a scientific investigation.

Analyze a series of events or cycles, discuss the patterns, and make predictions.

Demonstrate an understanding of safe use of materials in science activities.

Devise a classification system for a set of objects or a group of organisms.

Distinguish between observation and inference given a representation of a scientific situation.

Identify and apply science safety procedures.

Demonstrate an understanding of the use of measuring devices and report data in appropriate units.

Use the International System of Units and appropriate measuring devices, statistical methods, and mathematical principles in problem solving.

Design and perform investigations to test ideas, analyze, and communicate the results and conclusions through various media.

Explain how and why scientific theories and models (e.g., models of the universe, models of the atom, and genetics) are continually developing in response to new evidence and changes in technology.

Critique information from popular sources to determine its scientific validity and apply scientifically valid information to decision making.

2. Demonstrate an understanding of science as a human endeavor, of the nature of scientific knowledge, and of historical perspectives. Conduct investigations that begin with a question and progress toward communicating an answer to the question.

Recognize through stories how men and women have contributed to the development of science.

Recognize that there are rewarding careers in science.

Engage in scientific investigations to provide an historical perspective on the scientific enterprise as philosophical, social, and human.

Understand scientific inquiry, the nature of scientific knowledge, and the interactions between science and society through historical examples.

Identify ways that scientific knowledge has evolved over time and recognize that science is tentative in nature.

Distinguish between fact, theory and beliefs.

Contribute to the scientific enterprise through individual and group projects and field studies.

Conduct investigations ethically and report methods and outcomes honestly.

Investigate contributions made to science knowledge and technological inventions by diverse cultures throughout history.

3. Demonstrate an understanding about science and technology and their relationship, and have abilities of technological design. Distinguish between natural objects and objects made by humans.

Make models of useful things and use and observe the tools and instruments used in science.

Design a solution to a problem.

Study technological products and systems in the world (e.g., zippers, can-openers, and bridges).

Evaluate the usefulness of a product or design.

Describe the relationship between technology and science.

Propose and implement a design for a product.

Evaluate and communicate risks and benefits of technological developments (e.g., cars, electricity, plastic, and computers).

Explain the interdependence between science and technology.

Identify new problems or needs to change and improve current technological designs.

Demonstrate thoughtful planning for a piece of technology or technique using models and simulations in the process.

Implement proposed solutions to problems or needs.

Evaluate and communicate tests of their solutions and the consequences.

4. Demonstrate an understanding of the structure of atoms, properties of matter, chemical reactions, motions and forces, and interactions of energy and matter. Explain the operation of a simple mechanical device.

Identify characteristics of a simple physical change.

Explain and/or predict the motion of objects and/or describe the effects of some objects on other objects.

Describe interactions of matter and energy (e.g., simple machines and flashlights, ocean and light waves).

Apply the concept of force and inertia to predict the motion of objects.

Describe chemical and physical interactions (e.g., dissolving sugar, rusting metals).

Relate the structure and function of matter to its properties in physical biological and earth/space systems.

Use and apply the laws of motion to describe and predict the net effects of forces and motion of objects or systems.

Utilize models of atomic and molecular structures to explain and predict how chemical reactions and physical changes occur.

Recognize the various types of energy, energy conservation, and energy transformations.

Analyze the results of changing one or more components of simple systems.

5. Demonstrate an understanding of energy in the earth system, geochemical cycles, origin and evolution of the earth system, and origin and evolution of the universe. Make predictions about the weather from observed conditions and weather maps.

Identify evidence and show examples of changes in the earth's surface.

Identify and/or describe the relationship between human activity and the environment.

Describe the results of earth changing processes (e.g., erosion).

Apply concepts of the earth's rotation, tilt, and revolution to an understanding of time, season, and tides.

Describe interactions of matter and energy throughout the lithosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere (e.g., water, carbon, and nitrogen cycles, and weather).

Relate how geologic and meteorlogic processes (e.g., weathering, erosion, glaciation, and rock formation) and cycles (e.g., geochemical cycles and plate tectonics) affect past, present, and future changes in the Earth's features, weather, and climate.

Relate planetary cycles and astronomic observations to natural phenomena that affect the Earth, the solar system, and the universe.

Understand the cyclic and finite nature of resources on Earth.

6. Demonstrate an understanding of the cell, the molecular basis of heredity; biological evolution; interdependence of organisms; matter, energy, and organization in living systems; and behavior of organisms. Demonstrate an understanding of the basic needs of living things.

Identify ways in which organisms react to changing environments.

Distinguish between living and nonliving things and provide justification for these distinctions.

Analyze and/or evaluate various nutritional plans for humans.

Trace the flow of energy and/or interrelationships of organisms in an ecosystem.

Compare and contrast the characteristics of plants and animals.

Explain biological diversity in terms of the transmission of genetic characteristics.

Describe how organisms accomplish basic life functions at various levels of organization and structure.

Relate the effect(s) of biotic and abiotic factors to living things (e.g., growth, reproduction, metabolism, and behavior).

Relate the structure and stability of ecosystems and nonliving components and predict the biotic and abiotic environmental changes on such systems.

Explain the interrelation of the structure and function of DNA to protein synthesis, heredity, and genetic variability of groups of organisms over the course of generations.

7. Demonstrate an understanding of personal and community health, population growth, natural resources, environmental quality, natural and human induced hazards, and science and technology in local, national, and global challenges. Describe how scientific knowledge and technological inventions contribute to better health, protecting the environment, and personal decision-making.

Understand characteristics and changes in populations due to social practices and availability of resources.

Analyze risks and benefits of personal choices and behaviors (e.g., smoking, hang-gliding, diet, and exercise).

Investigate the impact of overpopulation and increased use of resources.

Identify ways that human activities can induce hazards and accelerate many natural changes (e.g., urban growth and waste disposal).

Explain ways that natural hazards impact human populations (e.g., floods, earthquakes, and tornadoes).

Investigate communities and the connection among populations, environmental quality, and competition for resources.

Identify mechanisms and behaviors to reduce and modify hazards and risks for personal and community health.

Design an investigation that will increase their understanding of science and technology related to local, national, and global societal challenges.

Assess potential danger and risk in different naturally occurring (e.g., floods and tornadoes) and human-induced (e.g., overpopulation and water pollution) hazards.

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