Alignment: Overall Summary

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet expectations for Alignment to NGSS, Gateways 1 and 2. Gateway 1: Designed for NGSS; Criterion 1: Three-Dimensional Learning partially meets expectations. The materials include three-dimensional learning opportunities and opportunities for student sensemaking with the three dimensions. However, the formative and summative assessments do not consistently measure the three dimensions for their respective objectives. Criterion 2: Phenomena and Problems Drive Learning partially meets expectations. Phenomena and problems are present, connected to DCIs, and presented to students as directly as possible. The materials consistently elicit but inconsistently leverage student prior knowledge and experience related to the phenomena and problems present. Phenomena and problems drive learning and use of the three dimensions at the unit level but not at the chapter or activity level.

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet expectations for Gateway 2: Coherence and Scope. The materials connect units and chapters in a manner that is apparent to students, and student tasks increase in sophistication within and across units. The materials accurately represent the three dimensions across the series and only include scientific content appropriate to the grade level. Further, the materials include all DCI components and all elements for life science, physical science and earth and space science; and engineering, technology, and applications of science. The materials include all of the science and engineering practices at the grade band and nearly all elements of the practices at grade level, with adequate opportunity for students to use practices repeatedly and in multiple contexts. The materials include all of the grade-band crosscutting concepts and provide repeated opportunities for students to use CCCs across the grade band. The materials include NGSS connections to Nature of Science and Engineering elements associated with the SEPs and/or CCCs.

See Rating Scale Understanding Gateways

Alignment

|

Partially Meets Expectations

Gateway 1:

Designed for NGSS

0
14
24
28
19
24-28
Meets Expectations
15-23
Partially Meets Expectations
0-14
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway 2:

Coherence and Scope

0
16
30
34
33
30-34
Meets Expectations
17-29
Partially Meets Expectations
0-16
Does Not Meet Expectations

Usability

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Not Rated

Not Rated

Gateway 3:

Usability

0
30
50
59
N/A
50-59
Meets Expectations
31-49
Partially Meets Expectations
0-30
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway One

Designed for NGSS

Partially Meets Expectations

+
-
Gateway One Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet expectations for Gateway 1: Designed for NGSS; Criterion 1: Three-Dimensional Learning partially meets expectations and Criterion 2: Phenomena and Problems Drive Learning partially meets expectations.

Criterion 1a - 1c

Materials are designed for three-dimensional learning and assessment.
10/16
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet expectations for Criterion 1a-1c: Three-Dimensional Learning. The materials consistently include integration of the three dimensions in at least one learning opportunity per learning sequence and nearly all learning sequences are meaningfully designed for student opportunity to engage in sensemaking with the three dimensions. The materials consistently provide three-dimensional learning objectives at the lesson level that build towards the performance expectations for the larger unit, but do not consistently assess to reveal student knowledge and use of the three dimensions to support the targeted three-dimensional learning objectives. The units also include three-dimensional objectives in the form of 3-D statements and include corresponding assessments but do not consistently address all three dimensions of the objectives.

Indicator 1a

Materials are designed to integrate the Science and Engineering Practices (SEP), Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI), and Crosscutting Concepts (CCC) into student learning.
0/0

Indicator 1a.i

Materials consistently integrate the three dimensions in student learning opportunities.
4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet expectations that they are designed to integrate the Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs), Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs), and Crosscutting Concepts (CCCs) into student learning opportunities. The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 consistently integrate the three dimensions in student learning opportunities. Throughout the grade level, all learning sequences (chapters) include three dimensions and consistently integrate SEPs, CCCs, and DCIs in student learning opportunities (lessons). The materials are designed for students to actively engage in the SEPs and CCCs to deepen understanding of DCIs. Three-dimensional connections are outlined for teachers at the unit, chapter, and lesson level.

Examples of where materials are designed to integrate the three dimensions into student learning opportunities:

  • In Grade 4, Unit: Earth’s Features, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.3: Fossil Formation, students observe and sort fossils (DCI-ESS1.C-E1). Students then read a book to learn about how systems on earth create fossils (DCI-ESS2.B-E1). Students look at images of real fossils and develop questions and record observations about them to try to determine how they were formed (SEP-INFO-E4, SEP-AQDP-E3). Next, students use a simulation to determine how fossils are formed. Students compare the information provided in the book to the information provided by the simulation (CCC-PAT-E2).
  • In Grade 4, Unit: Earth’s Features, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.6: Writing an Argument About Past Environments, students use the type of rock in the outcrop to identify the types of environments associated with three different fossils (DCI-ESS2.B-E2, CCC-PAT-E1). Using evidence from various sources (SEP-CEDS-E2, SEP-INFO-E5), students write a report to the park rangers about the types of fossils, the environment that prehistoric animals lived in (DCI-ESS1.C-E1), and how those environments shaped that location (DCI-ESS2.A-E2, DCI-ESS2.B-E1).
  • In Grade 4, Unit: Waves, Energy and Information, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.4: Exploring Sound Waves, students revisit a reading and are reminded that waves move in patterns (CCC-PAT-E2). Students learn that water in waves hardly moves; instead, the energy of the wave travels through water (DCI-PS4.A-E1, DCI-ESS3.B-E1, and CCC-EM-E3). Students then model a stadium wave and explain how it is related to tsunami waves (SEP-MOD-E6) and to sound energy. Students use an online application to play instruments and observe and explain how sound waves travel (DCI-PS3.A-E2).
  • In Grade 4, Unit: Waves, Energy and Information, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.1: Sound on The Move, students reflect on their own experiences with sound traveling underwater. Students investigate (SEP-INV-E3) how sound travels through different materials (DCI-PS3.A-E2) and make observations by listening. Students write explanations about the ability of sound to travel through certain mediums and read part of a text that helps them visualize the movement of sound and how energy can be transferred as sound waves through different types of matter (CCC-EM-E3, SEP-INFO-E2).
  • In Grade 4, Unit: Energy Conversions, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.1: Energy Convertors, students build two systems in the Energy Conversions Simulation and complete sentences about the energy conversion they observe in those functioning systems. Students build two different energy systems within the simulation (SEP-MOD-E5) and discuss which is the better system to produce enough energy for Ergstown (SEP-ARG-E4). Students then explain where and why an energy system fails (DCI-PS3.A-E2, DCI-PS3.B-E3) being sure to include the idea that energy can move throughout different systems and from one location to another (CCC-EM-E3).
  • In Grade 4, Unit: Energy Conversions, Lesson 3.1: Investigating Energy Sources, students use the Energy Conversions Simulation to explore where the energy for various electrical systems comes from and to discover that it may come from an energy source such as the sun, wind, or fuel. Students examine evidence and ask questions about why the Ergstown hospital still has electricity (SEP-ADQP-E1, SEP-CEDS-E3). Students use the Energy Conversions Simulation to explore where electrical systems obtain their energy from including various sources of energy (DCI-PS3.A-E2, DCI-PS3.B-E2). Students use an informational text to read and record information to synthesize their ideas about energy sources and how energy can be transferred between objects (CCC-EM-E3).
  • In Grade 4, Unit: Vision and Light, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.2: Introducing Animal Senses, students receive a mystery box and use a different sense to determine what is in the box (SEP-INV-E3). Students then discuss their data and collection methods (SEP-CEDS-E1) and how they used their senses and prior experiences to determine what was in each box (DCI-LS1.D-E1). Finally, students look at pictures of animals that show various sense organs (ears, nose, eyes) and discuss how the different structures on each animal functions in collecting information for the animal (CCC-SF-E2).

Indicator 1a.ii

Materials consistently support meaningful student sensemaking with the three dimensions.
4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet expectations that they consistently support meaningful student sensemaking with the three dimensions. Each learning sequence (chapter), includes multiple lessons where students progress towards the goals of the respective chapter and unit. While the materials consistently include opportunities for students to engage in the three dimensions in each chapter, not all lessons provide opportunities for students to build and use all three dimensions for sensemaking. However, the materials do consistently provide an opportunity in at least one lesson per chapter for students to engage in using the science and engineering practices (SEPs) and the crosscutting concepts (CCCs) to meaningfully support student sensemaking with the other dimensions.

Examples where SEPs and CCCs meaningfully support student sensemaking with the other dimensions in the learning sequence:

  • In Grade 4, Unit: Earth’s Features, Chapter 1: How did the fossil get inside the rocky outcrop?, students use graphs to examine data associated with two different snail species (SEP-DATA-E2) to determine why one particular snail species is thriving and one isn’t (DCI-LS4.C-E1). Students are presented with their role as a biomimicry engineer; their goal is to understand how the structure (CCC-SF-E1) of a snail shell is designed and how it helps in the snail’s survival (DCI-LS1.A-E1).
  • In Grade 4, Unit: Earth’s Features, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.5: Making Inferences about Fossils, students interpret how an outcrop has fossils in it. Based on the type of rock in the outcrop (DCI-ESS2.B-E2), students identify the patterns in the types of environments to determine where the three different fossils came from (CCC-PAT-E1). Using evidence from various sources (SEP-CEDS-E2, SEP-INFO-E5), students write a report to the park rangers about the types of fossils and the environment the prehistoric animals lived in (DCI-ESS1.C-E1), and how those environments shaped that location (DCI-ESS2.A-E2, DCI-ESS2.B-E1).
  • In Grade 4, Unit: Waves, Energy and Information, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.4: Exploring Sound Waves, students explore how sound waves travel. Students learn that waves move in predictable patterns (CCC-PAT-E2). Through a demonstration, they see that the energy of the wave travels through water even though water hardly moves (DCI-PS4.A-E1, CCC-EM-E3). Students then engage in a model of stadium waves and explain how it is related to tsunami waves (SEP-MOD-E6). This then helps students transfer the same ideas to sound energy. Students use a computer simulation to play instruments and observe and explain how sound waves travel (DCI-PS3.A-E2).
  • In Grade 4, Unit: Waves, Energy and Information, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.3: Investigating Particles, students observe particle motion and how sound travels through different materials. Students use a digital simulation (SEP-MOD-E4) and read an informational text (SEP-INFO-E4) to visualize sound energy and waves moving through materials (DCI-PS3.A-E2, CCC-EM-E3) at the particle level, and try to find patterns at the particle level (CCC-PAT-E3).
  • In Grade 4, Unit: Energy Conversions, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.1: Energy Convertors, students build two electrical systems in the Energy Conversions Simulation and complete sentences about the energy conversion they observe (SEP-CEDS-E1) in those functioning systems (SEP-MOD-E5 ). Students reflect on their learning to synthesize how energy moves in systems (CCC-SYS-E1) to understand how energy moves and transfers (DCI-PS3.A-E2, DCI-PS3.B-E3).
  • In Grade 4, Unit: Energy Conversions, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.1: Investigating Energy Sources, students explore where electrical-system energy comes from. Students examine evidence about why the hospital still has electricity during a blackout (SEP-CEDS-E3). To understand where energy for an electrical system come from, students create different systems in the Energy Conversions Simulation and observe the source of energy for each system (CCC-EM-E3, CCC-SYS-E2, DCI-PS3.A-E2, and DCI-PS3.B-E2).
  • In Grade 4, Unit: Vision and Light, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.2: Introducing Animal Sense, students learn how humans and other organisms use their senses and specialized organs to gather information about their environment. Using a mystery box, students use their senses to guess what is in each box. Students discuss their observations and combine their data to understand that multiple senses can provide a better idea of the identity of the mystery item (SEP-CEDS-E1). Students then examine pictures of different animals’ organs and relate specific structures to their functions (CCC-SF-E2) to determine how humans and animals use various specialized organs to understand their environment (DCI-LS1.D-E1).
  • In Grade 4, Unit: Vision and Light, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.3: I Mean What You See, students read a book about the importance of light and then use a simulation activity to model how light helps the eyes transmit signals to the brain. Students synthesize information from a story and simulation (SEP-INFO-E4) to make sense of how light plays a valuable role in how animals see (DCI-PS4.B-E1). Students engage in questions about light reflecting into the eye to make sense of how eyes function as sense-collectors for the brain (DCI-LS1.A-E1). As students engage in a simulated model of light and sight (SEP-MOD-E4), they make sense of how the eyes and brain work together (CCC-SF-E1).

Indicator 1b

Materials are designed to elicit direct, observable evidence for the three-dimensional learning in the instructional materials.
0/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 do not meet expectations that they are designed to elicit direct, observable evidence for three-dimensional learning in the instructional materials. Lessons consistently provide learning objectives in the form of 3-D Statements for the lesson. The lesson-level 3-D Statements build to support the 3-D Statements for the chapter, and the chapter-level 3-D Statements build toward the 3-D Statements for the unit. Lessons have assessment tasks that are designed to reveal student knowledge and use of the three dimensions to support the targeted three-dimensional learning objectives, but not consistently. Often, one or more crosscutting concepts (CCCs) within the 3-D Statements are not assessed.

Across the grade, lessons and units consistently incorporate tasks for the purpose of supporting the instructional process. Lessons and units have assessment tasks that are designed to reveal student knowledge and use of some of the dimensions within the targeted objectives. These opportunities are provided through the use of two assessment types used throughout each unit: On-the-Fly Assessment and Critical Juncture. A Pre-Unit Assessment can also be used for formative purposes. This assessment is identical to the End-of-Unit Assessment. While the assessments do not consistently reveal student knowledge and use of the three dimensions for all objectives, each assessment opportunity indicates specific concepts and practices to observe student progress within the learning experiences, followed by suggestions to the teacher based on what might be observed.

Examples where the materials elicit direct, observable evidence of elements of all three dimensions in the learning objectives:

  • In Grade 4, Unit: Waves, Energy, and Information, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.6: Explaining How Sound Energy Travels, this lesson contains one 3-D Statement as the objective, “Students construct explanations about how sound energy travels through water from a mother dolphin to her calf (energy and matter).” The Critical Juncture focuses on how particles collide as sound energy is transferred through different materials. Students begin by discussing particle collisions and energy transfer. Students then use a simulation to listen to different sounds. Students are presented with a memo from the park superintendent and asked to write an explanation (SEP-CEDS-E4) that uses evidence from various sources (SEP-INFO-E4) to explain how sound energy (DCI-PS3.A-E2) is transferred through water. Students compare sound moving through water to sound moving through other mediums at the particle level (DCI-PS3.B-E1, CCC-EM-E3). This is followed by a self-assessment where students answer reflective questions about their readiness to continue learning. Teacher guidance provides sample responses from students that demonstrate understanding of the objective. It also provides a series of targeted activities to tailor instruction and remediate students who do not yet understand how sound travels or particle collision.

Examples where the materials do not elicit direct, observable evidence of elements of all three dimensions in the learning objectives:

  • In Grade 4, Unit: Vision and Light, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.1: Investigating Light, this lesson contains one 3-D Statement as the objective, “Students use a digital model to investigate how light allows a predator to see its prey (cause and effect, structure and function).” The On-the-Fly Assessment checks for students’ understanding of the parts of the eye and their functions (DCI-LS1.A-E1, DCI-PS4.B-E1, and CCC-SF-E2); students use a digital simulation to model light entering the eye (SEP-MOD-E4) to show how light affects the ability of an organism to see. As students use the simulation, they are assessed on the ability to manipulate only one variable at a time to produce accurate scientific results (SEP-INV-E1). Students change one variable in the simulation and record the effect of the change to learn about the structures that help animals make sense of information. Teacher guidance provides sample responses from students that demonstrate understanding of the objective. It also provides a series of targeted activities to tailor instruction and remediate students who do not yet understand how organisms are able to see. The materials do not assess student understanding of how cause-and-effect relationships can be tested and used to explain the changes (CCC-CE-E1).
  • In Grade 4: The Earth’s Features, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.2: Exploring Rock Formation and Environment, this lesson contains one 3-D Statement as the objective, “Students obtain and organize evidence from models and Fossil Hunter’s Handbook to support claims about the order in which rock layers form as the environment changes over time (stability and change).” In this lesson, students collect data (SEP-INFO-E4) about rock samples, read about the rock types they have observed, and use the simulation to consider the question, “How do rocks provide information about what an environment was like in the past?” Students investigate in the simulation to build an understanding that certain sediments and kinds of rock form in different environments (DCI-ESS1.C-E1). This activity provides an opportunity for an On-the-Fly Assessment of students’ understanding that different rocks form in different environments. Students record information from the simulation, answer questions, and share responses with class. The materials do not assess student understanding of how patterns can be used as evidence to support an explanation (CCC-PAT-E3).
  • In Grade 4, Unit: Energy Conversions, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.6: Writing an Argument about the Blackout, the lesson contains one 3-D Statement as the objective, “Students make arguments, orally and in writing, based on evidence about what happened to the electrical system the night of the Ergstown blackout (systems and system models, cause and effect).” Students apply information that they had previously learned through readings and simulations in the first part of this chapter. In this lesson, they write an explanation and illustrate the different types of energy including thermal, motion, light, and sound and how energy is transferred between objects (DCI-PS3.A-E2). Students also address the question about what happened on the night of the blackout. Teachers use a variety of different formative assessment strategies including observation of students working, student discussion and questioning about forms of energy (DCI-PS3.A-E2), and an On-the-Fly assessment of student writing tasks where they support their claim (SEP-ARG-E1). Students also self-assess in this lesson through the answering of reflection questions and prompts such as, “I understand where energy in a system comes from.” The teacher materials provide clear instructions for the teacher related to the key ideas that should be looked for such as students being able to identify the energy coming from the lights in the room as a form of light energy. Additional recommendations along with misconceptions to look for are also provided for the teacher. While students refer to electrical systems, they are not assessed on understanding of or any associated elements of this crosscutting concept. Additionally, the materials do not assess student understanding of cause and effect or any associated elements of this CCC.

Indicator 1c

Materials are designed to elicit direct, observable evidence of the three-dimensional learning in the instructional materials.
2/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet expectations that they are designed to elicit direct, observable evidence of the three-dimensional learning in the instructional materials/ Materials consistently provide three-dimensional learning objectives for each unit. The summative tasks are designed to measure students’ achievement of all three dimensions, but only partially assess the dimensions described in the targeted 3-D Statements for the units.

The summative assessments are found in the last lesson of each unit, as an End-of-Unit Assessment. These assessments are designed to reveal students’ understanding of the unit’s core content, including unit-specific disciplinary core ideas (DCIs), science and engineering practices (SEPs), and crosscutting concepts (CCCs). Rubrics are provided for assessing to support teachers in providing additional prompts and understanding whether student responses addressed each prompt.

Examples where the materials provide three-dimensional learning objectives for the learning sequence; summative tasks measure student achievement of the targeted three-dimensional learning objectives:

  • In Grade 4, Unit: Earth’s Features, the unit objective is for students to answer the question, “What was the environment of this place like in the past?” and address the unit-level 3-D Statement, “Students obtain information from text and use physical and digital models to construct understanding about how rock forms and erodes, how rock layers form, and how to use rock layers to infer the environmental changes that have happened in a place (stability and change). They apply their understanding to engage in oral and written argument about the geologic history of Desert Rocks National Park.” In the End-of-Unit Assessment: Part 1, students write a claim about the environment at the time a specific layer in rock formed. Rubric 1 assesses student ability to construct an explanation and support the explanation with evidence and reasoning (SEP-CEDS-E2) about the environment at the time the “unknown” rock layer formed. Rubric 2 assesses student understanding of the DCIs related to how sedimentary rock forms, how fossils can form, and how different rocks can form in different environments (DCI-ESS1.C-E1). Rubric 3 looks for student responses that demonstrate understanding that environments that seem stable today can change or have changed over long periods of time (CCC-SC-E2); however, there is not a question in the assessment to prompt students to provide this information. In Part 2, students support a claim about why more rock layers were exposed in one canyon than another canyon. Rubric 1 assesses student ability to construct an argument and support their claim with evidence and reasoning (SEP-ARG-E4) about the exposed rock layers in the canyons. Rubric 2 assesses student understanding that water can change the earth's surface through erosion and weathering (DCI-ESS2.C-M1).

Examples where the materials provide three-dimensional learning objectives for the learning sequence; summative tasks partially measure student achievement of the targeted three-dimensional learning objectives:

  • In Grade 4, Unit: Energy Conversions, the unit objective is for students to answer the question, “Why does Ergstown keep having blackouts?” and address the unit-level 3-D Statement, “Students investigate—through firsthand experiences, a digital model, and by obtaining information by reading—how electrical systems convert and transfer energy (systems and system models, energy and matter). They use what they learn to design, test, and evaluate improvements to cause the electrical system to be more reliable, even during natural hazards and to make arguments based on evidence for the best improvements (cause and effect).” In the End-of-Unit Assessment, students are provided potential solutions and they select the solution they think is the best to improve the town’s electrical system, then support their choice with evidence and any limitations. Rubric 1 assesses student ability to select a design solution and support the choice with evidence and reasoning (SEP-CEDS-E2). Rubric 2 assesses student understanding of the DCIs related to how energy can be moved from place to place through electrical currents (DCI-PS3.A-E2) and how electrical currents can be used to produce sound, heat, or light (DCI-PS3.B-E3), and the CCC that energy can be transferred various ways and between objects (CCC-EM-E2) and that energy can be conserved. In Part 2, four prompts ask students to identify how the problem could be related to specific components of the system. Rubric 3 uses these answers to assess student understanding that each part of the electrical system has a different function, with the parts working together to function (CCC-SYS-E1) and if one part of the system doesn’t work it can impact the rest of the system. The materials do not assess student understanding of cause and effect or any associated elements of this CCC.
  • In Grade 4, Unit: Vision and Light, the unit objective is for students to answer the question, “Why is an increase in light affecting the health of Tokay geckos in a Philippine rain forest?” and address the unit-level 3-D Statement, “Students ask and investigate questions about the role that animals’ senses, primarily vision, play in survival (structure and function) in order to figure out why there is a decline in the number of Tokay geckos living in one area of a rainforest in the Philippines (cause and effect).” In the End-of-Unit Assessment, students answer questions about how the gecko is able to see prey and why light at night makes it harder for the gecko to see prey. Rubric 1 assesses student ability to construct an explanation and support the explanation with evidence and reasoning (SEP-CEDS-E2) about why the light at night negatively impacts the gecko's ability to see prey. Rubric 2 assesses student understanding of the DCIs related to how animals have external structures (eyes) to help their survival (DCI-LS1.A-E1) and eyes are sense receptors that process light and sight (DCI-LS1.D-E1), and that objects can be seen when light reflected from a prey’s surface enters the gecko’s eye (DCI-PS4.B-E1). Rubric 3 assesses students’ understanding that the eye is a structure that functions by getting light information and that different substructures of the eye have different functions (CCC-SF-E2). The materials do not assess student understanding of cause and effect or any associated elements of this CCC.
  • In Grade 4, Unit: Waves, Energy, and Information, the unit objective is for students to answer the question, “How can a mother dolphin and her calf communicate underwater when they cannot see each other? How can humans use patterns to communicate?” and address the unit-level 3-D Statement, “Using physical and computer models to observe and analyze patterns (patterns), students figure out how sound travels as a wave (energy and matter). They apply that knowledge to explain how dolphins in the fictional Blue Bay send and receive signals underwater when separated (energy and matter) and how humans encode, send, and receive patterns of information for efficient communication across distances (patterns).” In the End-of-Unit Assessment, students label parts of a sound diagram and answer questions about how the sound travels from a computer to a person. Rubric 1 assesses student ability to construct an explanation and support the explanation with evidence and reasoning (SEP-CEDS-E2) about how sound travels through air. Rubric 2 assesses student understanding of the DCIs related to how energy can move from place to place through sound (DCI-PS3.A-E2) waves can differ in amplitude and wavelength (DCI-PS4.A-E2), and that digitized information can be transmitted through computers (DCI-PS4.C-E1). Rubric 3 assesses student understanding that changes in patterns of wavelength or amplitude can result in changes in volume and pitch, although it does not explicitly assess that patterns can be used to identify cause-and-effect relationships (CCC-PAT-M3). The materials do not assess student understanding of energy and matter or any associated elements of this CCC. Additionally, the assessment does not assess the components of the objectives related to sound transmission in water that allows a mother dolphin to communicate with her offspring.

Criterion 1d - 1i

Materials leverage science phenomena and engineering problems in the context of driving learning and student performance.
9/12
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet expectations for Criterion 1d-1i: Phenomena and Problems Drive Learning. The materials include phenomena in 82% of the chapters and problems in 24% of chapters. Of those phenomena and problems, they consistently connect to grade-level appropriate DCIs and are consistently presented to students as directly as possible. Few instances of phenomena or problems driving learning and use of the three dimensions were found within the chapters, as a guiding question is the primary focus of the learning at the chapter level. The materials consistently elicit but inconsistently leverage student prior knowledge and experience related to the phenomena and problems present. The materials consistently incorporate phenomena or problems to drive learning and use of the three dimensions across multiple chapters within each unit.

Indicator 1d

Phenomena and/or problems are connected to grade-level Disciplinary Core Ideas.
2/2
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-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet expectations that phenomena and/or problems are connected to grade-level disciplinary core ideas (DCIs). Within the grade, the materials provide opportunities for students to build an understanding of grade-level DCIs through unit-level or chapter-level phenomena or problems. In many cases, multiple lesson investigations work together to connect to a single phenomenon and/or problem to develop an understanding of corresponding DCIs. Across the series, students engage in a variety of disciplines including life science, earth science, and physical science while developing a deeper understanding of the engineering design cycle as they apply DCIs to the design problem.

Examples of phenomena and problems connected to grade-level-appropriate DCIs or their elements.

  • In Grade 4, Unit Energy Conversions, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.3: Exploring Systems, the design challenge is to make a small electric fan spin. Students are challenged to build a simple electrical system to show that energy can be moved from place to place using currents (DCI-PS3.A-E2). Students must find a solution using only the available materials and then compare their solutions (DCI-ETS1.A-E1).
  • In Grade 4, Unit Energy Conversions, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.4: Designing a Wind Turbine, students receive a message from the mayor of Ergstown asking them to consider wind or solar power to solve the town's power issues. Students are challenged to build a wind turbine that spins as fast as possible so that it can bring more energy to the Ergstown electrical system. In this lesson, students are given a set of materials to test and build a wind turbine (DCI-ETS1.A-E1). Students use their knowledge gained in previous lessons that energy is transferred from one form to another (DCI-PS3.B-E3) to build their wind turbine. The faster the turbine moves, the brighter the light appears. Through this design challenge, students recognize that the faster an object is moving, the more energy it will produce (DCI-PS3.A-E1).
  • In Grade 4, Vision and Light, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.1: Investigating Light, the phenomenon is that a population of tokay geckos in a rainforest in the Philippines has decreased since the installation of new highway lights. Students use a digital simulation to create a model to investigate how light enters the eye (DCI-PS4.B-E1) to allow an animal to see. Students use this information to describe how organisms use their eyes and react to light differently to survive in their environment (DCI-LS1.A-E1).
  • In Grade 4, Unit: Earth’s Features, Chapter 3, Lesson 2.3: Investigating Rock and Environments, the phenomenon is that a rocky outcrop in Desert Rocks National Park has fossils in it. Through the lens of sedimentary rock formation, students consider where the rock formed and the role that water and precipitation affects the qualities of the rocks that are formed (DCI-ESS2.A-E2). Students explain their thinking by developing a sedimentary-rock-formation model, writing about rock-forming environments and how fossil formation occurs in sedimentary rocks (DCI-ESS1.C-E1).
  • In Grade 4, Unit: Waves, Energy, & Information, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.1: Exploring Sound Waves, the phenomena is that dolphins in Blue Bay National Park communicate with one another underwater. Students use a simulation to observe how sound waves move through water particles and this movement transfers energy from one place to another (DCI-PS3.B-E1). In this simulation, students also experiment with different materials to determine what types of medium waves can travel through. Students then revisit their claims about dolphin communication and add to their understanding of communication through water by incorporating particle movement into their dolphin diagrams.

Indicator 1e

Phenomena and/or problems are presented to students as directly as possible.
2/2
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-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet expectations that phenomena and/or problems are presented to students as directly as possible. Across the grade level, lessons present phenomena and problems to students as directly as possible. In multiple instances, students are initially presented the phenomenon or problem through pictures and videos that are accompanied by a scenario.

Examples of phenomena and problems connected to grade-level-appropriate DCIs or their elements.

  • In Grade 4, Unit Energy Conversions, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.3: Exploring Systems, the design challenge is to make a small electric fan spin. Students are challenged to build a simple electrical system to show that energy can be moved from place to place using currents (DCI-PS3.A-E2). Students must find a solution using only the available materials and then compare their solutions (DCI-ETS1.A-E1).
  • In Grade 4, Unit Energy Conversions, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.4: Designing a Wind Turbine, students receive a message from the mayor of Ergstown asking them to consider wind or solar power to solve the town's power issues. Students are challenged to build a wind turbine that spins as fast as possible so that it can bring more energy to the Ergstown electrical system. In this lesson, students are given a set of materials to test and build a wind turbine (DCI-ETS1.A-E1). Students use their knowledge gained in previous lessons that energy is transferred from one form to another (DCI-PS3.B-E3) to build their wind turbine. The faster the turbine moves, the brighter the light appears. Through this design challenge, students recognize that the faster an object is moving, the more energy it will produce (DCI-PS3.A-E1).
  • In Grade 4, Vision and Light, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.1: Investigating Light, the phenomenon is that a population of tokay geckos in a rainforest in the Philippines has decreased since the installation of new highway lights. Students use a digital simulation to create a model to investigate how light enters the eye (DCI-PS4.B-E1) to allow an animal to see. Students use this information to describe how organisms use their eyes and react to light differently to survive in their environment (DCI-LS1.A-E1).
  • In Grade 4, Unit: Earth’s Features, Chapter 3, Lesson 2.3: Investigating Rock and Environments, the phenomenon is that a rocky outcrop in Desert Rocks National Park has fossils in it. Through the lens of sedimentary rock formation, students consider where the rock formed and the role that water and precipitation affects the qualities of the rocks that are formed (DCI-ESS2.A-E2). Students explain their thinking by developing a sedimentary-rock-formation model, writing about rock-forming environments, and how fossil formation occurs in sedimentary rocks (DCI-ESS1.C-E1).
  • In Grade 4, Unit: Waves, Energy, and Information, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.1: Exploring Sound Waves, the phenomena is that dolphins in Blue Bay National Park communicate with one another underwater. Students use a simulation to observe how sound waves move through water particles and this movement transfers energy from one place to another (DCI-PS3.B-E1). In this simulation, students also experiment with different materials to determine what types of medium waves can travel through. Students then revisit their claims about dolphin communication and add to their understanding of communication through water by incorporating particle movement into their dolphin diagrams.

Indicator 1f

Phenomena and/or problems drive individual lessons or activities using key elements of all three dimensions.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 do not meet expectations that phenomena and/or problems drive individual chapters using key elements of all three dimensions. The materials include an Anchor Phenomenon at the unit level. Near the start of most units, students are asked to play the role of a scientist or an engineer tasked with explaining the phenomenon or solving the problem. The phenomenon often drives learning across the unit, but does not typically drive learning and use of the three dimensions within a single lesson or chapter. Instead, a guiding question related to building understanding of the Anchor Phenomenon is presented at the start of each chapter. The lessons within the chapter build towards answering this guiding question and often focuses on learning supporting concepts, rather than specifically focusing on the phenomenon or problem. Typically the Anchor Phenomenon serves as a central component of learning and can be explained through the application of targeted grade-appropriate science and engineering practices (SEPs), crosscutting concepts (CCCs), and disciplinary core ideas (DCIs), this is primarily found at the unit level and not within individual lessons or chapters.

Examples where chapters or lessons within the grade do not use phenomena or problems to drive student learning:

  • In Grade 4, Unit: Energy Conversions, Chapter 2: What makes the devices in Ergstown output or fail to output energy?, a focus statement that has students consider how devices light up, get warm, move, or make sounds drives learning, rather than a phenomenon or problem. Students use a simulation (SEP-MOD-E5) to connect different pathways for energy to transfer between different objects within the town that include lights, music players, and heaters (CCC-EM-E3, DCI-PS3.A-E2).
  • In Grade 4, Unit: Vision and Light, Chapter 2: How does light allow a Tokay gecko to see its prey?, the concept that light is needed to see drives learning, rather than a specific phenomenon or problem. Students compare different structures to their functions then read about the eye to better understand the different parts and their function (CCC-SF-E2). Students then use a digital simulation to manipulate variables (pupil size and amount of light) to model how the amount of light entering the eye affects the ability to see (SEP-MOD-E4) and to show that an object is seen when light reflected from the object’s surface enters the eye (DCI-PS4.B.E1). While this chapter connects to the unit phenomenon, much of the learning within the chapter is focused on general understanding of the role of light in vision.
  • In Grade 4, Unit: Earth’s Features, Chapter 2, the question, “What was the environment of Desert Rocks National Park like in the Past?” drives learning, rather than a specific phenomenon. In this chapter, students compare two types of rock to learn about how they are formed (DCI-ESS2.E-E1) and then engage in a simulation to understand which type of rock is better at preserving fossils (DCI-ESS1.C-E1). Students use a simulation to determine that different sediments build up in different environments and thus form different types of rock (SEP-MOD-E4). Lastly, students observe two samples of sedimentary rock to see what information they give about the environment in which they formed and discuss what caused the different properties of each sample to determine if they were formed in the same way (CCC-CE-E1). While this chapter connects to the unit phenomenon, much of the learning within the chapter is focused on general understanding of how sedimentary rock forms.
  • In Grade 4, Unit: Waves, Energy, and Information, Chapter 2: How does sound energy travel through water from a mother dolphin to her calf?, the concept of how sound waves travel drives learning, rather than a specific phenomenon or problem. Students learn about sound waves at the particle level and how these collisions make different sounds. Students use spring toys and coins to model (SEP-MOD-E6) what happens when particles collide (CCC-EM-E1, DCI-PS3.C-E1) and energy is transferred (DCI-PS3.A-E2). Students examine sound waves using text, simulations, models, and musical instruments to make connections among energy, wave patterns, and different sounds. While this chapter connects to the unit phenomenon, much of the learning within the chapter is focused on general understanding of how energy is transferred in sound waves.
  • In Grade 4, Unit: Waves, Energy, and Information, Chapter 4, the question “How can humans use patterns to communicate?” drives learning, rather than a phenomenon or problem. Students read text to learn about human communication using codes (CCC-PAT-E3). Students are then asked to use a digital device to transmit a message using binary code (SEP-MATH-E2, DCI-PS3.A-E2).

Examples of chapters or lessons that use a problem to drive student learning and engage students with all three dimensions:

  • In Grade 4, Unit: Energy Conversions, Chapter 3, Lessons 3.4 and 3.5, students are challenged to build a wind turbine that spins as fast as possible; this challenge drives student learning. Students build a device that brings more energy to the Ergstown electrical system. Students observe a simple electrical system of a generator and LED light and discuss the parts of the system (SEP-MOD-E5, DCI-PS3.A-E1). Students use the design process (DCI-ETS1.A-E1, DCI-ETS1.B-E3) as they discuss the original design of the models and how they can be modified to transfer energy in different ways between objects to resolve the power issue (CCC-EM-E3). Students ultimately make decisions as to which design is the best to resolve the town's energy problems.

Indicator 1g

Materials are designed to include both phenomena and problems.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 are designed for students to solve problems in 24% (4/17) of the chapters. Throughout the materials, 82% (14/17) of the chapters focus on explaining phenomena.

The Grade 4 materials are designed as four instructional units, further organized into four or five chapters per unit. Each chapter is divided into multiple 60-minute lessons, comprising smaller activities. Each unit is structured to include 20 lessons plus two 60-minute assessment days.

The Energy Conversions unit contains all of the problems for this grade. In Energy Conversions, four different problems are presented to students. Problems are typically presented at the start of a chapter or near the end of the a chapter. Problems are presented to students in the form of an Investigation Question that is answered through a design task. The task is tied back to the Anchor Phenomenon that was introduced at the beginning of the unit.

Examples of problems in the materials:

  • In Grade 4, Unit Energy Conversions, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.3: Exploring Systems, the design challenge is to make a small electric fan spin. Students must design a solution using only the available materials and then compare their solutions. Students build a simple electrical system powered by a solar panel. This design problem provides students experience with a system and its interacting parts, which will help support students’ understanding of the larger electrical system in Ergstown.
  • In Grade 4, Unit: Energy Conversions, Chapter 2: What makes the devices in Ergstown output or fail to output energy?, students are challenged to reduce the number of blackouts in Ergstown. Students assume the role of systems engineers and consider two possible solutions to the blackout problem in Ergstown. Students gather information on whether energy efficient street light bulbs will improve Ergstown’s blackout problem and use a simulation to test the bulbs’ effect on the power grid.
  • In Grade 4, Unit: Energy Conversions, Chapter 3: Lesson 3.4: Designing a Wind Turbine, students receive a message from the mayor of Ergstown asking them to consider wind or solar power to solve the town's power issues. Students are challenged to build a wind turbine that spins as fast as possible so that it can bring more energy to the Ergstown electrical system. Students engage in the design cycle as they explore the available materials and plan, make, and test their wind turbine designs. Students ultimately make decisions as to which design is the best to resolve the town's energy problems.
  • In Grade 4, Unit: Energy Conversions, Chapter 4: Lesson 4.3: System Improvements, students answer the Chapter Investigation Question “How does energy get to the devices all over Ergstown?” Students are given the Design Task of suggesting a solution to reduce the number of blackouts in Ergstown. In this three-session lesson, students make a recommendation for improvements to the whole electrical system in Ergstown using what they have learned about energy conversions and electrical systems. In the final lesson, students present their arguments in a town hall meeting.

All four units contain an Anchor Phenomenon, which set the overarching tone and concept for the lessons and are most often found at the beginning of the instructional unit and continue throughout the instructional unit. The Anchor Phenomenon is introduced during the first chapter of the unit. Subsequent chapters in the unit are designed around guiding questions that help students develop an explanation of the phenomenon.

While the materials for each unit contain sections labeled as Investigative Phenomenon, Predicted Phenomenon, and/or Everyday Phenomenon, these are typically concepts that are presented to fill in gaps of necessary student knowledge, rather than a specific event students are trying to figure out or explain.

Examples of phenomena in the materials:

  • In Grade 4, Unit: Energy Conversions, the Anchor Phenomenon is that Ergstown has frequent blackouts. Each chapter in the unit focuses on answering a question that will support students in explaining this phenomenon. The anchor phenomenon is introduced to students in Lesson 1.1. In this lesson, students are shown a picture of Ergstown and asked to predict why a light will not turn on, and are placed in the role of advisors to the major who needs to solve the issue. Throughout the four chapters in this unit, students investigate electrical systems by building a simple electrical system, using the Energy Conversions Simulation, reading about energy conversions, and constructing an argument about what caused the blackouts in Ergstown.
  • In Grade 4, Unit: Vision and Light, the Anchor Phenomenon is that a population of tokay geckos in a rainforest in the Philippines has decreased since the installation of new highway lights. Each chapter in the unit focuses on answering a question that will support students in explaining this phenomenon. The phenomenon is introduced to students in Lesson 1.1. In this lesson, students are shown a message from a conservation group about the geckos as well as an image of a gecko. Throughout the five chapters in this unit, students engage in investigations and activities to explain how animals use their senses and how lights allow animals to see. At the end of each chapter, students connect their learning back to the phenomenon as they use their understanding of vision, light, and information processing to explain why the light is affecting the gecko population.
  • In Grade 4, Unit: Earth’s Features, the Anchor Phenomenon is that a rocky outcrop in Desert Rocks National Park has fossils in it. Each chapter in the unit focuses on answering a question that will support students in explaining this phenomenon. The phenomenon is introduced to students in Lesson 1.1. In this lesson, students are shown several pictures of Desert Rocks National Park and asked to use their prior knowledge to identify what is in the image and how they think it got there. Throughout the four chapters in this unit, students engage in investigations and activities to explain how fossils and sedimentary rocks form. At the end of each chapter, students connect their learning back to the phenomenon as they explain what the environment of Desert Rocks National Park was like in the past.
  • In Grade 4, Unit: Waves, Energy and Information, the Anchor Phenomenon is that dolphins in Blue Bay National Park communicate with one another underwater. Each chapter in the unit focuses on answering a question that will support students in explaining this phenomenon. The phenomenon is introduced when students receive a message from the park superintendent asking them to find out how mother dolphins and calves communicate over long distances. Throughout the four chapters in this unit, students write a series of scientific explanations with models to demonstrate their growing understanding of how sound waves travel. Students then apply what they’ve learned about waves, energy and patterns in communication to explain how mother dolphins communicate with their calves.

Indicator 1h

Materials intentionally leverage students’ prior knowledge and experiences related to phenomena or problems.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet expectations that they intentionally leverage students’ prior knowledge and experiences related to phenomena or problems. In Grade 4, the materials consistently elicit students’ prior knowledge and experiences related to phenomena and problems, but do not consistently leverage throughout the materials in a way that allows students to build from their own knowledge and experiences. There is one instance where the prior knowledge and experience is leveraged, but this is not consistent for all units. The materials elicit content knowledge from previous activities but also utilize What We Think We Know and Our Experiences charts for the teacher to document students' prior knowledge and experiences related to the phenomenon or problem. The teacher is also directed to post the student thinking charts on the wall so they can return to it throughout the unit. This routine for elicitation of prior knowledge and experience is used consistently across units. The information students share or that is elicited is not incorporated in subsequent activities but instead is frequently connected to at the end of instruction for students to reflect on, missing the opportunity to leverage the prior knowledge and experience.

Examples where the materials elicit prior knowledge and experience related to phenomena and problems, but miss the opportunity to leverage:

  • In Grade 4, Unit: Vision and Light, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.1: Pre-Unit Assessment, the Anchor Phenomenon is that a population of tokay geckos in a rainforest in the Philippines has decreased since the installation of new highway lights. In the Writing Initial Explanations activity, the materials elicit students’ prior knowledge and experiences related to how they see, how their sight changes at different times, and object recognition. In a whole class share out, students reveal prior knowledge and it is placed on the What We Think We Know chart for them to refer back to. Then, students engage in a classroom discussion to bring forward their experiences to be placed on the Our Experiences chart. While these charts are eliciting student prior knowledge and experience, there is a missed opportunity to leverage; the information students share is not incorporated in subsequent activities.
  • In Grade 4, Unit: Earth’s Features, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.1: Pre-Unit Assessment, the Anchor Phenomenon is that a rocky outcrop in Desert Rocks National Park has fossils in it. Students are asked how they think the fossil found at Desert Rocks Canyon got into the rock. Students write about how they think they could use the fossil and the layers in the rocky outcrop to learn about what Desert Rocks Canyon was like in the past. In the Writing Initial Explanations activity, the materials elicit students’ prior knowledge and experiences of different rock formations and locations, fossils, and changes in environment over time. In a whole class share out, students reveal prior knowledge and it is placed on the What We Think We Know chart for them to refer back to. Then, students engage in a classroom discussion to bring forward their experiences to be placed on the Our Experiences chart. While these charts are eliciting student prior knowledge and experience, there is a missed opportunity to leverage; the information students share is not incorporated in subsequent activities.
  • In Grade 4, Unit: Energy Conversions, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.1: Pre-Unit Assessment, the Anchor Phenomenon is that Ergstown has frequent blackouts. Students share their experiences with blackouts and share why blackouts could pose a problem in a city. In the Introducing the Problem activity, the materials elicit students’ prior knowledge and experiences of electrical devices, power sources, and power lines. In a whole class share out, students reveal prior knowledge and it is placed on the What We Think We Know chart for them to refer back to. Then, students engage in a classroom discussion to bring forward their experiences to be placed on the Our Experiences chart. While these charts are eliciting student prior knowledge and experience, there is a missed opportunity to leverage; the information students share is not incorporated in subsequent activities.

Example where the materials elicit and leverage students’ prior knowledge and experiences of a phenomenon:

  • In Grade 4, Unit: Waves, Energy and Information, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.1: Sound on the Move, the phenomenon is that a mother dolphin can communicate with her baby through the water. In Lesson 1.1: Pre-Unit Assessment, the teacher prompts elicit previous knowledge and experiences related to hearing sound underwater, how students can change the way they sound, and communicating over a distance. In a whole class share out, students reveal prior knowledge and it is placed on the What We Think We Know chart for them to refer back to. Then, students engage in a classroom discussion to bring forward their experiences to be placed on the Our Experiences chart. In Lesson 2.1: Sound on the Move, students leverage their experiences as they connect hearing underwater to understand that a mother dolphin can make sounds that travel through the water.

Indicator 1i

Materials embed phenomena or problems across multiple lessons for students to use and build knowledge of all three dimensions.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet expectations that they embed phenomena or problems across multiple lessons for students to use and build knowledge of all three dimensions. The instructional materials consistently use phenomena or problems to drive student learning and to engage with all three dimensions across multiple chapters and lessons across the unit. Each chapter of the unit consists of multiple lessons and is associated with a question that focuses the chapter around a component of understanding the Anchor Phenomenon. The phenomenon or problem does not drive learning of all lessons within the chapters; many lessons are driven by a science topic or concept that builds background knowledge that can then be applied to the phenomenon or problem. However, each unit contains opportunities where the phenomenon or problem is driving learning across multiple lessons and multiple chapters. The materials consistently provide multimodal opportunities for students to develop, evaluate, and revise their thinking as students figure out phenomena or solve problems. Students have frequent opportunities to engage in multimodal learning to develop, evaluate, and revise their thinking across and/or within each unit.

Examples of phenomena that drive students’ learning and use of the three dimensions across multiple lessons in the unit:

  • In Grade 4, Unit: Energy Conversions, the Anchor Phenomenon is that “Ergstown has frequent blackouts.” Within this unit, students engage in a series of lessons to develop an understanding of energy and electricity to explain the blackouts in the fictional town of Ergstown. In Chapters 1 and 2, students discuss and investigate electricity by making objects move, spin, or light up (DCI-PS3.A-E2, DCI-PS3.B-E3). Students investigate and experiment with the components of a small electrical system and what happens if one part of the system does not work (SEP-INV-E3, CCC-EM-E3). In Chapter 3, students observe the flow of energy in a generator and use a small crank to light up a bulb. Students also design and test a wind turbine created to light-up a bulb (DCI-PS3.A-E1). Students explore sources of energy and the ability to generate electricity and use this knowledge to create a wind turbine. In Chapter 4, students investigate and model the components of electrical systems. Students begin gathering data and evidence about blackouts and consider design solutions to solve the problem in Ergstown. Students incorporate all the learning in the above chapters to prepare a system improvement plan that they will present in a mock town hall meeting.
  • In Grade 4, Unit: Vision and Light, the Anchor Phenomenon is that a population of tokay geckos in a rainforest in the Philippines has decreased since the installation of new highway lights. In Chapter 1, students learn about their senses then relate that learning to how the gecko uses its senses to get information about its environment. In Chapter 2, students read about the eye to better understand its structure and function (CCC-SF-E2) and also determine that light is necessary to see an object (CCC-CE-E1). Students use a digital simulation to model light entering into the eye and to manipulate variables that can affect the eye being able to see (SEP-MOD-E4, DCI-PS4.B.E1). Students connect this learning to how the gecko is able to see its prey. In Chapter 3, students participate in a digital card-sort to order steps that must occur for an animal to see their prey. Students show and discuss how animals are able to use perception and memories (DCI-LS1.D.E1) as well as light to see an object (DCI-PS4.B.E1). They use this information to figure out how the gecko knows that it is looking at its prey. In Chapter 4, students view images to observe what animals see. Students use a digital simulation to observe how amounts of light affect certain animals (SEP-MOD-E3, SEP-INV-E3) to explain why the increased light from the highway is negatively affecting the population of geckos.
  • In Grade 4, Unit: Earth’s Features, the Anchor Phenomenon is that a rocky outcrop in Desert National Park has fossils in it. This phenomenon drives learning in Chapters 1 and 2. Students read about rock formation and make a model of sedimentary rock (SEP-MOD-E4) to understand fossils and rock formation (DCI-ESS1.C-E1). They discuss their models and the limitations, then predict (CCC-PAT-E2) how the outcrop could have changed over time (CCC-SC-E2). Students look at examples of river canyons to collect more evidence and investigate what could have caused differences in rock layers, then compare it to the outcrop (SEP-AQDP-E3). Based on the type of rock in the outcrop (DCI-ESS2.B-E2), students identify the types of environments that three different fossils came from. Using evidence from various sources (SEP-CEDS-E2, SEP-INFO-E5), students write a report to the park rangers about the types of fossils, the environment the prehistoric animals lived in (DCI-ESS1.C-E1), and how those environments shaped that location (DCI-ESS2.A-E2, DCI-ESS2.B-E1).
  • In Grade 4, Unit: Waves, Energy and Information, the Anchor Phenomenon is that dolphins in Blue Bay National Park communicate with one another underwater. In Chapter 1, students take on the role of marine scientists to investigate how dolphins communicate with each other using simulation models (SEP-MOD-E6); these models show the patterns produced as sound and energy move through matter as waves (DCI-PS4.A-E1, CCC-EM-E3). In Chapter 2, students use a simulation to examine sound energy moving as waves at the particle level. Students determine that sound energy creates a vibration within water particles which helps the sound travel (DCI-PS3.A-E2) from one location to another. Students see that this transfer of energy moves in a pattern (CCC-PAT-E3) that develops when these particles vibrate matter and that it moves in a wave. They then revise their sound model (SEP-MOD-E3) to show their understanding of how a dolphin can use sound waves to communicate through water. In Chapter 3, students explore how changing a sound wave’s height (amplitude) changes the volume of the sound. Students identify the connection between amplitude and volume. Using a simulation model (SEP-MOD-E6), students determine that different patterns of sound waves produce different sounds. These different sounds allow for a dolphin calf to know which call comes from its mother.

Gateway Two

Coherence and Scope

Meets Expectations

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Gateway Two Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet expectations for Gateway 2: Coherence and Scope.

Criterion 2a - 2g

Materials are coherent in design, scientifically accurate, and support grade-level and grade-band endpoints of all three dimensions.
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet expectations for Criterion 2a-2g: Coherence and Full Scope of the Three Dimensions. The materials support students in understanding connections between chapters and units. The materials, and corresponding suggested sequence, reveal student tasks related to explaining phenomena or solving problems that increase in sophistication within each unit and across units. The materials accurately represent the three dimensions across the series, with the exception of an inaccuracy regarding erosion, and only include scientific content appropriate to the grade level. Further, the materials include all DCI components and all elements for physical science, life science, and earth and space science; and engineering, technology, and applications of science. The materials include all of the science and engineering practices at the grade band and nearly all elements of the practices at grade level, with adequate opportunity for students to use practices repeatedly and in multiple contexts. The materials include all of the grade-band crosscutting concepts and provide repeated opportunities for students to use CCCs across the grade band. The materials include NGSS connections to Nature of Science and Engineering elements associated with the SEPs and/or CCCs.

Indicator 2a

Materials are designed for students to build and connect their knowledge and use of the three dimensions across the series.
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Indicator 2a.i

Students understand how the materials connect the dimensions from unit to unit.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet expectations that students understand how the materials connect the dimensions from chapter to chapter. The materials include four units comprising four to five chapters per unit. The Science Program Guide provides a recommended scope and sequence. The Unit Overview and Unit Map sections of the teacher materials provide information and support for teachers explaining how the chapters within a unit connect to each other. The Lesson Overview section of the teacher materials provides information and support for teachers that explains how the lessons within a chapter connect to each other. The first lesson of the unit (following the Pre-Unit Assessment) provides prompts that give context and goals for the entire unit. The first lesson of each subsequent chapter in the unit usually connects prior learning between the chapters in the unit. In three out of the four units in Grade 3, the final chapter connects to one or more disciplinary core ideas (DCIs) that are the focus of the unit, but not to the question presented in the Unit Map that provides context for the unit. While there are connections between chapters within each unit, there is not a connection between each unit and other units in the recommended sequence.

Examples of student learning experiences that demonstrate connections across chapters:

  • In Grade 4, Unit: Energy Conversions, the Unit Map presents the question, “Why does Ergstown keep having blackouts?” Across this unit, students have multiple opportunities to apply scientific ideas about energy to solve design problems (SEP-CEDS-E4) as they figure out how energy can be transferred from place-to-place through electrical currents (DCI-PS3.A-E2) as they try to solve Ergstown’s blackout problem. In Chapter 1, students take the role of a systems engineer and are introduced to the blackout in fictional Ergstown. Throughout all of the chapters, students use simulations to determine what is causing the blackout and how better to balance the draw of electricity needed. Students learn about the electrical system of the town and try to explain what happened on the night of the blackout. Throughout this chapter and then again in Chapters 2 and 3, students conduct investigations to determine what caused the blackout and what happens when different variables are manipulated. As they manipulate these different variables, they construct explanations of cause, which they report back to the mayor of the town. In Chapter 3, students determine where electricity comes from within the town. In Chapter 4, students present their findings to the town and argue for the best solution to improve the electrical grid and reduce the number of blackouts.
  • In Grade 4, Unit: Vision and Light, the Unit Map presents the question, “Why is an increase in light affecting the health of Tokay geckos in a Philippine rain forest?” Across this unit, students have multiple opportunities to develop and use models (SEP-MOD-E4) to understand the relationship between light and the structures of the eye (DCI-PS4.B-E1, DCI-LS1.A-E1) and determine why increased light impacts the gecko populations. In Chapter 1, students take the role of conservation biologists to figure out why a population of geckos decreased after a new highway light was installed. Students investigate the senses of humans and animals (DCI-LS1.D-E1) to recognize how senses are used to survive in specific environments. In Chapter 2, students explore the relationship between light and the sense of sight; students use a digital simulation to model how light affects our ability to see an object. Students manipulate variables such as light, angle of light, and covering of objects to display a model allowing the object to be seen, then they observe and record the effects of various manipulations. Students learn that light must be present and angled so that it touches an object and reflects into the eye for an object to be seen (DCI-PS4.B-E1). In the final lesson of Chapter 2, students use information obtained through the models as well as data cards to write an explanation describing how light allows animals to see. In Chapter 3, students learn how light allows animals to see their prey. In Chapter 4, students use digital models to observe how different animals see with varying amounts of light to determine how animals can see at night. The models show that organisms rely on light entering the eye and structures in the eye processing the information and sending it to the brain. In Chapter 5, students plan an investigation about their own senses. While this connects to an understanding of internal and external structures serving various functions for behavior and survival, it does not directly connect to the unit’s question.
  • In Grade 4, Unit: Waves, Energy, and Information, the Unit Map presents the question, “How can a mother dolphin and her calf communicate underwater when they cannot see each other? How can humans use patterns to communicate?” Across this unit, students have multiple opportunities to observe patterns in waves (CCC-PAT-E3) as they learn about waves and sound energy to figure out how a mother dolphin can communicate with her calf while underwater. In Chapter 1, students take the role of marine scientists and learn about dolphin communication and model how sound travels underwater. Students read several texts about waves and sound energy and how waves move in patterns. In Chapter 2, students use simulations to visualize sound energy and waves moving through different materials in different ways. Students use models to investigate particle collisions as sound energy moves and is transferred through water (DCI-PS3.B-E1, DCI-PS3.C-E). In Chapter 3, students use a simulation to learn about wave patterns and how wave amplitude and wavelength make specific sound patterns. Students listen to various dolphin calls and match them to wave diagrams. In Chapter 4, students address the second question in the Unit Map and learn about different forms of human communication.

Indicator 2a.ii

Materials have an intentional sequence where student tasks increase in sophistication.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet expectations that they have an intentional sequence where student tasks increase in sophistication. Materials are designed with a recommended sequence and student tasks related to explaining phenomena and/or solving problems increase in sophistication within each unit and across the grade band.

Within the grade, the recommended sequence of units is Vision and Light, Energy Conversions, Waves, Energy and Information, and Earth’s Features, in that order. Within each of these units, there is a single anchor phenomenon that is presented to the students with investigative phenomenon utilized within the individual units. Although the units are provided in a recommended order, there is no specific increase of rigor as these units are presented. Approaches to the assessment of the different dimensions are also consistent and similar throughout each unit. However, the learning tasks within the unit increase in sophistication as students work towards explaining phenomena or solving problems.

Example of student tasks with increasing in sophistication within a unit:

  • In Grade 4, Unit: Earth’s Features, students construct scientific explanations and arguments about how the rocks and fossils in Desert Rocks National Park can be used to infer the environmental history of the area. Students first look at evidence and learn how claims must be supported by evidence (SEP-ARG-E2). Students engage in discourse about their claims and write an argument about this area’s past (SEP-ARG-E4). As students gain more evidence about the rocky desert outcrop, they refine their arguments based on new evidence about what could have caused changes in the landscape (SEP-ARG-E1, SEP-ARG-E5). Students conduct investigations and use models to determine how rocks are formed and changed over long periods of time. They use evidence-based claims and scientific reasoning about earth systems to make an argument about the types of organisms in the area and the types of changes that could have occurred to the landscape to explain their disappearance (SEP-ARG-E4).
  • In Grade 4, Unit: Waves, Energy, and Information, students study the properties of sound waves as they engage with various models. Initially, students read about and use a model to understand tsunamis, large waves, and compare stadium waves and spring toys as models to understand how energy moves in a wave-like motion (SEP-MOD-E4). Students then use a simulation where they play instruments and begin to observe the relationships between sounds and waveforms (SEP-MOD-E6). Students examine the relationships between collisions and sound using a simulator (SEP-MOD-E4) and through an investigation with coins and spring toys (SEP-MOD-E6). Students continue to use the sound simulator to manipulate wave forms to make connections between the shape of the waves and their impact on sound (SEP-MOD-E6). Throughout this unit, students engage in modeling with more sophistication as they explain the phenomenon by creating and revising a model for how sound travels underwater (SEP-MOD-E2).

In each K-5 grade level, there is one unit that emphasizes the practice of investigation, one that emphasizes the practice of modeling, and one that emphasizes the engineering practice of design. In addition, in Grades 3–5, there is also one unit that emphasizes the practice of argumentation. As students progress through the series, the materials connect learning of the three dimensions across the entire grade band. The way students engage with and use the three dimensions also increases in sophistication across the investigation, modeling, design, and argumentation units.

Examples of student tasks increasing in sophistication across grade levels:

  • Investigation Units: Each grade contains a unit focused on students developing the science practices related to investigations. Grade 3 and Grade 4 show continued increasing complexity and ask students to utilize practices within clearly defined investigations and topics, but Grade 5 does not show a clear increase over the previous two grades. In Grade 3, the Inheritance and Traits unit focuses on inherited traits and specifically asks “What is the origin of the traits of Wolf 44—a wolf that appears to be different from the rest of its pack?” Investigations throughout this particular unit focus on how traits are inherited. Students are investigating the process by which animals (different ones are utilized within the unit) inherit traits that are similar to and different from other animals. They use science and engineering practices (SEPs) to ask questions (SEP-ADQP-E3), investigate the phenomenon and other related information (SEP-INV-E3), and collect data on the topic to help inform their conclusions (SEP-CEDS-E1). In Grade 4, students build on their investigation skills with the Vision and Light unit, which focuses on how animals obtain information through their senses. This unit emphasizes the practice of asking of questions; students then need to investigate and collect information to answer a question (SEP-ADQP-E1, SEP-ADQP-E3) as well as use modeling to draw conclusions (SEP-MOD-E3, SEP-MOD-E4, and SEP-DATA-E2). The practices of asking questions and conducting investigations increase in complexity compared to Grade 3. The Grade 4 unit adds the use of data to the modeling process and investigation process around the phenomenon, which is an increase in the complexity from the prior investigation unit in Grade 3. Additionally, students continue to build the practice of constructing explanations and arguing from evidence. In Grade 5, the Patterns of Earth and Sky unit informs students that, “different sections of an ancient artifact show what the sky looked like from one location and depict different stars.” The phenomenon in this unit does not fully connect chapter-to-chapter, nor is there a clear unit to unit connection with prior grades. The Investigation aspects within this unit focus largely on the use of developing and using models (SEP-MOD-E3 and SEP-MOD-E4), but show no additional connections to the prior to units focused on investigations.
  • Argumentation Units: Each grade contains a unit focused on students developing the science practices related to investigations. Grades 3–5 show continued increasing complexity and ask students to utilize practices related to argumentation. In Grade 3, students use data to make predictions about the climate and evaluate different types of evidence (SEP-ARG-E2) in the Weather and Climate unit. Students practice organizing evidence and making claims by engaging in evidence circles (SEP-ARG-E1). Students work in groups to review evidence provided by the teacher and make claims and write an argument together about the weather on three islands. These skills are built upon in Grade 4, Earth’s Features unit, when students collect evidence from a rocky outcrop to study fossils in this area and make claims about the area’s history. To explain the fossil phenomenon, students first learn that claims must be supported by evidence (SEP-ARG-E2); then, they engage in discourse about their claims and write an argument about this area’s past (SEP-ARG-E4). As students gain more evidence about the rocky desert outcrop, they refine their arguments based on new evidence about what could have caused changes in the landscape on their own (SEP-ARG-E1, SEP-ARG-E5). In Grade 5, Ecosystem Restoration unit, students examine a rainforest ecosystem and use investigations and models to collect their own data that supports their arguments (SEP-ARG-E4) about what factors could be impacting the lives of the organisms in the ecosystem that are not thriving. Students learn about the components of good argumentation and use scientific reasoning to discuss why the animals in the ecosystem are not thriving (SEP-ARG-E3). At the end of the series, students are using their arguments, that are inclusive of claims, evidence, and reasoning to justify a plan to restore the reforested rainforest (SEP-ARG-E5).
  • Modeling Units: Each grade contains a unit focused on students developing the science practices related to modeling. Grades 3–5 show continued increasing complexity and ask students to utilize practices related to modeling. In Grade 3, the Balancing Forces unit introduces students to the unit phenomenon of the floating train. Students take on the role of an engineer and seek information to explain why the train floats; this requires students to explain balanced and unbalanced forces. By asking questions (SEP-ADQP-E4) across the entire unit, students explore and learn how different forces act on objects. Questions build on each other as students move throughout the unit. Students are also engaged in the use of the simulation to create models (SEP-MOD-E4). Some examples of models within the simulation have students demonstrating how a magnetic force causes the train to “float” and how balanced forces act on the train. Investigations outside of the simulation ask students to explore how gravity affects different objects pulling them towards the earth and to read about the use of a hoverboard. In addition to the use of models within these explorations, students continue to ask questions (SEP-ADQP-E4, SEP-INV-E1, SEP-INV-E3). In Grade 4, the Waves, Energy, and Information unit has students study the properties of sound waves to explain the phenomenon of sound moving through water. Students use tsunamis, stadium waves, and spring toys as models to understand wave-like motion (SEP-MOD-E4). Students use musical instruments, collision investigations, and a digital simulator (SEP-MOD-E4) to make connections between sounds and waves. By the end of the unit, students use models to manipulate waves and sounds and to make connections among waves, collisions, and sounds. Students continue to use the sound simulator to manipulate waveforms to make connections between the shape of the wave and its impact on sound (SEP-MOD-E6). To explain the phenomena, students creating and revising a model for how sound travels under water (SEP-MOD-E2). In Grade 5, the Modeling Matter unit has students use models to understand the forces among molecules (SEP-MOD-E3) and use digital simulations to make predictions about how molecules in salad dressing will behave. Students use and create models to make predictions about scientific phenomena.

Indicator 2b

Materials present Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI), Science and Engineering Practices (SEP), and Crosscutting Concepts (CCC) in a way that is scientifically accurate.*
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet expectations that they present disciplinary core ideas (DCIs), science and engineering practices (SEPs), and crosscutting concepts (CCCs) in a way that is scientifically accurate. Across the grade, the teacher materials, student materials, and assessments accurately represent the three dimensions and are free from scientific inaccuracies in three of the four units.

Within the Earth’s Features unit, the process of weathering was consistently misidentified as erosion. The materials combined and referred to the three processes of weathering, erosion, and deposition as a single process of erosion.

Examples of inaccuracies in the materials

  • In Grade 4, Unit: Earth’s Features, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.1: Rocky Wonders, erosion is defined as “breaking down and moving rocks” in the Rocky Wonders book and in Activity 2, Step 6. The teacher prompt is "There’s a word on page 5 that you’ll see a lot in the book: erosion. Based on what you just read, what do you think it means?” followed by the expected student response of “When rock, soil, or sand is worn down over time and moved from one place to another.”
  • In Grade 4, Unit: Earth’s Features, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.2: Exposing Rock, students define erosion and post a vocabulary card. In Activity 1, Step 5, erosion is defined as “when rock, soil, or sand is worn down and moved from one place to another.”

Indicator 2c

Materials do not inappropriately include scientific content and ideas outside of the grade-level Disciplinary Core Ideas.*
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet expectations that they do not inappropriately include scientific content and ideas outside of the grade-level disciplinary core ideas (DCIs). Across the grade, the materials consistently incorporate student learning opportunities to learn and use DCIs appropriate to the grade.

Indicator 2d

Materials incorporate all grade-level Disciplinary Core Ideas.
0/0

Indicator 2d.i

Physical Sciences
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet expectations that they incorporate all grade-level disciplinary core ideas (DCIs) for physical sciences. Across the grade, the materials include all of the associated elements of the physical science DCIs. These are found in two units: Waves, Energy, and Information and Energy Conversions.

Examples of grade-level physical science DCI elements present in the materials:

  • PS3.A-E1. In Grade 4, Unit: Energy Conversions, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.4: Designing a Wind Turbine, students engage in a design challenge to build a wind turbine. Students evaluate two different proposed solutions to determine which is the best for Ergstown; they determine which turbine spins the fastest, thus producing the most energy.
  • PS3.A-E2. In Grade 4, Unit: Waves, Energy and Information, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.1: Sound on the Move, students use a simulation that shows how energy causes particles in different materials to move. Students relate the energy and vibrations to sound.
  • PS3.A-E2. In Grade 4, Unit: Energy Conversions, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.4: Electrical Energy, students engage in the use of a digital simulation to investigate electrical systems. Students visualize how energy flows from one place to another through electrical currents and gather evidence within the simulation about which devices have energy as an input.
  • PS3.A-E2. In Grade 4, Unit: Energy Conversions, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.5: Forms of Energy, students create basic electrical systems that help to demonstrate that devices produce motion, sound, or light as energy outputs. Students use an LED bulb to demonstrate light as the output.
  • PS3.A-E2. In Grade 4, Unit: Waves, Energy and Information, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.2: Visualizing How Sound Travels, students use a sound-simulation activity and connect vibrations with sound. Students then read a book about particle movement and learn that energy is transferred through particle collisions.
  • PS3.B-E1. In Grade 4, Unit: Waves, Energy and Information, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.2: Visualizing How Sound Travels, students use a sound simulation activity and connect vibrations with sound. Students then read a book about particle movement and learn that energy is transferred through particle collisions helping to understand how energy is transferred from one object to another.
  • PS3.B-E1. In Grade 4, Unit: Waves, Energy and Information, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.4: Investigating Collisions, students use a spring toy and a coin collision investigation to model energy transfer and how during these particle collisions, energy is released as sound.
  • PS3.B-E2: In Grade 4, Unit: Energy Conversions, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.4: Design Arguments About Devices, students read pages from It’s All Energy to learn that light is a form of energy that can be transferred from place to place. Later in the lesson, students use the Sim to compare the amount of light energy transferred by old streetlights and LED streetlights.
  • PS3.B-E3. In Grade 4, Unit: Energy Conversions, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.4: Electrical Energy, students engage in the use of a digital simulation to investigate electrical systems and how energy is transferred from one point to another. Students visualize how energy flows and gather evidence within the simulation about which devices have energy as an input.
  • PS3.B-E3. In Grade 4, Energy Conversions, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.5: Forms of Energy, students develop a basic electrical system within the simulation. Students use their reader to discuss how motion, sound, and light can be forms of output of electrical energy.
  • PS3.C-E1: In Grade 4, Unit: Waves, Energy, and Information, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.4:Investigating Collisions, students push a nickel into a penny and observe that when the two objects collide, the contact forces transfer energy and change the motion of both the nickel and the penny.
  • PS3.D-E1. In Grade 4, Unit: Energy Conversions, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.4: System Improvements, students gather and evaluate all evidence within the simulation from this unit to provide a solution to the problem in Ergstown, which involves understanding how energy is produced, stored, and transferred to locations that need energy.
  • PS4.A-E1. In Grade 4, Unit: Waves, Energy and Information, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.3: Warning: Tsunami!, students read a text about tsunamis to begin to learn about waves moving through water. Students then model waves with slinkies to begin to see that waves move in regular patterns.
  • PS4.A-E1. In Grade 4, Unit: Waves, Energy and Information, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.4: Exploring Sound Waves, students use a simulation, view a video about stadium waves, and practice “doing the waves” to see that water barely moves, only up and down, as the energy of a wave passes through water.
  • PS4.A-E2. In Grade 4, Unit: Waves, Energy and Information, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.1: Investigating Amplitude, students use a sound-wave simulator to explore how changing a sound wave’s height (amplitude) changes the volume of the sound.
  • PS4.A-E2. In Grade 4, Unit: Waves, Energy, and Information, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.2: Investigating Wavelength, students create a reed-like instrument using a straw to explore pitch and then connect the idea of pitch to wavelength by manipulating a simulation.
  • PS4.C-E1. In Grade 4, Unit: Waves, Energy, and Information, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.1: Human Communication, students read a text, Patterns in Code, to learn that humans use codes and digitized information to transmit messages over long distances.
  • PS4.C-E1. In Grade 4, Unit: Waves, Energy and Information, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.3: Communicating with Codes, students use a code communicator to communicate an image to a classmate from across the room by sending a message using binary code.

Indicator 2d.ii

Life Sciences
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet expectations that they incorporate all grade-level disciplinary core ideas (DCIs) for life sciences. Across the grade, the materials include all the associated elements of the Life Science DCIs. All of the life science DCI elements are found in one unit: Vision and Light.

Examples of grade-level life science DCI elements present in the materials:

  • LS1.A-E1. In Grade 4, Unit: Vision and Light, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.1: Investigating Light, students engage in a digital simulation that manipulates light to affect what the eye is able to see. Students observe that our eye is a structure that sends information to our brain to affect our behavior, survival, and actions.
  • LS1.D.E1. In Grade 4, Unit: Vision and Light, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.2: Introducing Animal Senses, students participate in a class activity where they use a variety of their senses. Students then look at a series of images and conduct a class discussion regarding what actions and responses would be associated with the images.

Indicator 2d.iii

Earth and Space Sciences
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet expectations that they incorporate all grade-level disciplinary core ideas (DCIs) for earth and space sciences. Across the grade, the materials include all the associated elements of the Earth and Space Science DCIs. All of the earth and space science DCI elements are found across all units in Grade 4.

Examples of grade-level earth and space science DCI elements present in the materials:

  • ESS1.C-E1. In Grade 4, Unit: Earth’s Features, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.4: Environmental Change, students use a simulation to order rock layers. They work with diagrams to apply ideas about how geologists infer the order of past environments. Students complete an investigation in the sim, which enables them to connect the order in which rock layers formed to the order of past environments in a location.
  • ESS1.C-E1. In Grade 4, Unit: Earth’s Features, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.5: Students’ Arguments, students use maps of the locations of volcanoes and earthquakes to infer how those geological occurrences correlate to local, regional and global patterns of rock formations.
  • ESS2.A-E2. In Grade 4, Unit: Earth’s Features, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.1: Rocky Wonders, students read the book Rocky Wonders and discuss causes of erosion, how erosion shapes land, and how water, wind, ice, and plants can cause erosion.
  • ESS2.B-E1. In Grade 4, Unit: Earth’s Features, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.5: Students’ Arguments, students are reminded that geologists use maps to figure out what might have happened in the past. Students view maps of the United States and the world; they use the maps to identify land and water features, identify locations of volcano and earthquake activity, and identify ocean ridges and trenches.
  • ESS2.E-E1. In Grade 4, Unit: Vision and Light, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.1: Seeing Like a Shrimp an Smelling Like a Snake, students read how sense receptors help the star-nosed mole survives in its environment; students discuss this survival strategy and also discuss how the mole changes its environment as it digs tunnels. In Lesson 4.6, students reflect on how humans change the environment when they build roads or other structures.
  • ESS3.A-E1. In Grade 4, Unit: Energy Conversions, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.1: Investigating Energy Sources, students read pages from the book It’s All Energy to learn about different fuels that humans use for energy, including renewability, cost, and environmental impacts. Students then relate these energy sources back to how Ergstown gets its energy.
  • ESS3.B-E1. In Grade 4, Unit: Waves, Energy, and Information, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.3: Warning: Tsunami!, students learn about tsunamis, ways to detect tsunamis, and plans to help people escape from tsunamis.

Indicator 2d.iv

Engineering, Technology, and Applications of Science
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed Grades 3–5 meet expectations that they incorporate all grade-band and grade-level disciplinary core ideas (DCIs) for engineering, technology, and applications of science (ETS) and all associated elements. In Grade 3, no performance expectations (PEs) are associated with physical, life, or earth and space science DCIs that also connect to an ETS DCI. However, the materials do include opportunities for students to engage with ETS elements in this grade.

Examples of ETS DCI elements present in the Grade 3 materials:

  • ETS1.A-E1. In Grade 3, Unit: Environments and Survival, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.2: Planning Designs, students learn solutions to a problem may be limited by available materials and resources (constraints), and that the success of a solution is determined by how well it meets specific criteria. Students are presented with a design challenge of developing a robot that will remove invasive species. Students are given a list of criteria that the robot must do and have the constraint of a limited amount of materials to use.
  • ETS1.B-E1. In Grade 3, Unit: Environments and Survival, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.2: Planning Designs, students learn that it is important to research a problem before beginning to design a solution, and that testing a solution involves investigating how well the design performs. Students use books and videos to research how a giraffe’s neck allows it to successfully get food and how the shape of the giraffe’s teeth allow it to grind-up its food. Students test their solutions to determine how well the teeth on their design performs.
  • ETS1.B.E2. In Grade 3, Unit: Weather and Climate, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.3: Preparing for Natural Hazards, students learn the importance of testing designs to identify failure points, then use those tests to determine where to improve their design. Students build a hurricane-proof structure to meet a set of criteria, then perform a series of tests to determine if their structures meet that criteria. Students come back together and discuss the features of each of their designs that were effective and ineffective each performance test.
  • ETS1.B-E3. In Grade 3, Unit: Environments and Survival, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.2: Planning Designs and Lesson 4.3: Making and Testing Designs, students learn that communicating with peers about proposed solutions is an important part of the design process, and shared ideas can lead to improved designs. Students communicate their design ideas before constructing their robot. In Lesson 4.3, students share their results of their tests on their design and then use the shared ideas from the class to improve their design.

In Grade 4, two PEs are associated with physical, life, or earth and space science DCIs that also connect to an ETS DCI. The materials include opportunities for students to engage with these ETS elements in this grade.

Examples of the Grade 4 grade-level ETS DCI elements present in the materials:

  • ETS1.A-E1. In Grade 4, Unit: Energy Conversions, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.3: Exploring Systems, students learn that solutions to a problem may be limited by available materials and resources (constraints) and that the success of a solution is determined by how well it meets specific criteria. Students build a simple electrical system model that is powered by a solar panel using materials that are provided to them in a bag.
  • ETS1.C-E1. In Grade 4, Unit: Energy Conversions, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.4: System Improvements, students learn that testing different designs can help them determine which solves the problem. Students share data from their design tests with their classmates. Students use a listening strategy to provide input on the designs. After this, students receive a memo from the mayor asking them to consider two potential designs and recommend one.

In Grade 5, no PEs associated with physical, life, or earth and space science DCIs connect to an ETS DCI. However, the materials do include opportunities for students to engage with ETS elements in this grade.

Examples of ETS DCI elements present in the Grade 5 materials:

  • ETS1.A-E1. In Grade 5, Unit: The Earth System, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.7: Design Freshwater Collection Systems, students learn that solutions to a problem may be limited by available materials and resources (constraints) and that the success of a solution is determined by how well it meets specific criteria. Students are challenged to design a system that will provide fresh water from salt water. They discuss constraints that engineers would face with this design and then are presented with constraints on the materials they can use. Students also determine that providing fresh water would be the indication of success.
  • ETS1.B-E1. In Grade 5, Unit: Modeling Matter, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.1: Investigating Dissolving: Why do some salad dressings have sediments and others do not?, students begin to design a salad dressing that must have particles dissolve. Past lessons contribute to the research that must be done before designing a solution. Testing is also done to see how the dressing performs with various ingredients.
  • ETS1.B-E2. In Grade 5, Unit: The Earth System, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.4: Iterating on Freshwater Collection Systems, students discuss how testing their designs can identify failure points and this information can be used to determine what aspects of the design needs to be improved. Students measure how much freshwater their initial systems collect. Students then identify where their design failed and record which aspects of their design did not work and which aspects succeeded. Students improve their design based on the test results. This includes an explanation of why they think these successes and failures occurred.
  • ETS1.B-E3. In Grade 5, Unit: The Earth System, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.4: Iterating on Freshwater Collection Systems, students learn that communicating with peers about proposed solutions is an important part of the design process, and that shared ideas can lead to improved designs. After completing their design of a freshwater collection system, students participate in an Engineer’s Jigsaw routine to see other groups’ designs and discuss their successes and failures. Students gather information from the jigsaw routine about how they can redesign their own systems. They discuss these plans in their groups and then improve their design.

The Grades 3–5 band includes three DCI PEs that are designed to be taught at any point across the grade band. These PEs include five elements. The materials provide opportunities to engage with ETS DCIs and their elements in all three grades within this band.

Examples of the 3–5 grade-band ETS DCI elements present in the materials:

  • ETS1.A-E1. In Grade 3, Unit: Weather and Climate, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.3: Preparing for Natural Hazards, students learn that solutions to a problem may be limited by available materials and resources (constraints) and that the success of a solution is determined by how well it meets specific criteria. Students are tasked to design a structure that would be protective against the damage caused by a hurricane. Students are given a specific amount of tape, craft sticks, straws, scissors, and a single index card to build a structure to meet a set of criteria. Their structure must hold a penny above water, stay upright through wind and rain, be stable, and fit in a given container.
  • ETS1.B-E1. In Grade 3, Unit: Environments and Survival, Chapter 4, lesson 4.2: Planning Designs, students learn that it is important to research a problem before beginning to design a solution and that testing a solution involves investigating how well the design performs. Students use books and videos to research how a giraffe’s neck allows it to successfully get food and how the shape of the giraffe’s teeth allow it to grind-up its food. Students test their solutions to determine how well the teeth on their design performs.
  • ETS1.B-E2. In Grade 5, Unit: The Earth System, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.4: Iterating on Freshwater Collection Systems, students discuss how testing their designs can identify failure points and this information can be used to determine what aspects of the design needs to be improved. Students measure how much freshwater their initial systems collect. Students then identify where their design failed and record which aspects of their design did not work and which aspects succeeded. Students improve their design based on the test results. This includes an explanation of why they think these successes and failures occurred.
  • ETS1.B-E3. In Grade 5, Unit: The Earth System, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.4: Iterating on Freshwater Collection Systems, students learn that communicating with peers about proposed solutions is an important part of the design process, and that shared ideas can lead to improved designs. After completing their design of a freshwater collection system, students participate in an Engineer’s Jigsaw routine to see other groups’ designs and discuss their successes and failures. Students gather information from the jigsaw routine about how they can redesign their own systems. They discuss these plans in their groups and then improve their design.
  • ETS1.C-E1. In Grade 4, Unit: Energy Conversions, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.4: System Improvements, students learn that testing different designs can help them determine which solves the problem. Students share data from their design tests with their classmates. Students utilize a listening strategy to provide input on the designs. After this, students receive a memo from the mayor asking them to consider two potential designs and recommend one.

Indicator 2e

Materials incorporate all grade-band Science and Engineering Practices.
0/0

Indicator 2e.i

Materials incorporate grade-level appropriate SEPs within each grade.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet expectations that they incorporate all grade-level science and engineering practices (SEPs) and associated elements. Across the grade level, the units fully incorporate all the grade-level SEPs but do not incorporate all elements associated with grade-level performance expectations. One element is missing (SEP-DATA-E4). In addition, opportunities for students to fully meet the grade-band endpoint for the element SEP-MOD-E4 are missing; the materials do not require students to develop their own models.

Across the grade, students are provided opportunities to engage with the SEPs multiple times and in multiple contexts. Students repeatedly engage with grade-band elements of SEPs multiple times across the units; students have multiple opportunities to conduct investigations, use models, analyze data, and obtain information from text or other media to support explanations they construct about phenomena.

Examples of SEP elements associated with grade-level performance expectations present in the materials:

  • AQDP-E3. In Grade 4, Unit: Earth’s Features, students look at examples of river canyons and compare them to the outcrop; they ask questions about what could have caused differences in rock layers, leading to additional evidence-collection.
  • MOD-E3. In Grade 4, Unit: Earth’s Features, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.4: Modeling Erosion: Speed, students use the stream table model to construct their ideas about erosion and continue to investigate the question, “What affects the amount of rock that water can erode? Students discuss how they could use the Erosion Model to test how the speed of water affects erosion.
  • MOD-E6. In Grade 4, Unit: Waves, Energy, and Information, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.3: How Sounds Can Differ, students use a digital simulation model where they manipulate wave patterns to show that changes in wavelength and amplitude affect a sound’s volume and pitch.
  • INV-E3. In Grade 4, Unit: Vision and Light, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.2: Investigating What Different Animals See, students use a digital simulation to observe what animals can see using various amounts of light.
  • DATA-E2. In Grade 4, Unit: Earth’s Features, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.2: Exploring Rock Formation and Environment, students collect data about rock samples, read about the rock types they’ve observed, and use the simulation to consider the question, “How do rocks provide information about what an environment was like in the past? Students observe two rock samples⁠—conglomerate and sandstone⁠—and record their observations about how sedimentary rocks differ. Students share preliminary ideas about where the rocks may have formed.
  • CEDS-E2. In Grade 4, Unit: Waves, Energy, and Information, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.1: Sound on the Move, students collect data during a teacher-led investigation where they listen to how sounds change when they move through different materials. They use their observations to explain how different materials can impact how sound travels.
  • CEDS-E3. In Grade 4, Unit: Energy Conversions, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.1: Investigating Energy Sources, students gather evidence and information to explain why the hospital lights and devices continue to work during a blackout. In this activity, students are examining evidence and asking questions about why the hospital still has electricity.
  • CEDS-E5. In Grade 4, Unit: Energy Conversions, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.1: Blackout!, students determine construct circuits and make them fail. Another group analyzes the failed circuit to determine what is the failure point and provides solutions for fixing the circuit. Students then apply this understanding to the blackout problem in Ergstown and compare multiple solutions for minimizing the town’s blackouts.
  • ARG-E4. In Grade 4, Unit: Waves, Energy, and Information, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.6: Discussing Dolphin Communication, students synthesize information they have gathered through digital models, investigations, and scientific texts to formulate a claim about how dolphins communicate with one another underwater. As a class, students engage in a science forum to explain this phenomenon and support their arguments with evidence and data.
  • INFO-E4. In Grade 4, Unit: Vision and Light, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.3: Investigating Animal Senses, students obtain information from text to explain how animals use their senses to acquire food and survive.

Example of SEP elements associated with grade-level performance expectations partially present in the materials:

  • MOD-E4. In Grade 4, Unit: Vision and Light, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.1: Energy Converters, students use a digital simulation to manipulate variables (pupil size and amount of light) to model how the amount of light entering the eye affects the ability to see. Students do not have opportunities to develop their own models.

Example of SEP elements associated with grade-level performance expectations not present in the materials:

  • DATA-E4. Analyze data to refine a problem statement or the design of a proposed object, tool, or process.

Indicator 2e.ii

Materials incorporate all SEPs across the grade band.
4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 3–5 meet expectations that they incorporate all grade-level science and engineering practices (SEPs) and associated elements. Across the grade band, the units fully incorporate all the SEPs and elements associated with the performance expectations (PEs) within the 3–5 grade band.

Across the grade band, students are provided opportunities to engage with the SEPs multiple times and in multiple contexts. Students repeatedly engage with grade-band elements of SEPs multiple times across the units; students have multiple opportunities to conduct investigations, develop and use models, analyze data, and obtain information from text or other media to support explanations they construct about phenomena. Many SEP elements were met multiple times across the units and grade levels.

Examples of SEP elements associated with performance expectations within the 3–5 grade band present in the materials:

  • AQDP-E3. In Grade 3, Unit: Balancing Forces, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.1: Discovering Non-Touching Forces, students ask questions about what causes the train to rise and how magnets are part of the train moving. Students then investigate the questions they had as they manipulate the magnets in different ways.
  • AQDP-E5. In Grade 3, Unit: Environments and Survival, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.2: Planning Designs, students define the design problem of building a robot that will remove an invasive plant species from a tree. Students develop a system, in the form of a robot, to solve their design problem. Students work within the criteria of an effective removal and the constraints of materials available for their system.
  • MOD-E3. In Grade 4, Unit: Earth’s Features, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.4: Modeling Erosion: Speed, students use the stream table model to construct their ideas about erosion and continue to investigate the question, “What affects the amount of rock that water can erode? Students discuss how they could use the Erosion Model to test how the speed of water affects erosion.
  • MOD-E4. In Grade 5, Unit: Modeling Matter, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.5: Models of Emulsifiers, students use a digital simulation and knowledge from this unit to create a nanoscale drawing that highlights the behavior of molecules in solutions. Students are able to predict how molecules will behave even though we are not able to see them.
  • MOD-E6. In Grade 4, Unit: Waves, Energy, and Information, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.3: How Sounds Can Differ, students use a digital simulation model where they manipulate wave patterns to show that changes in wavelength and amplitude affect a sound’s volume and pitch.
  • INV-E1. In Grade 5, Unit: Earth’s Systems, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.7: Designing Freshwater Collection Systems, students are introduced to a hands-on design challenge: to design and build freshwater collection systems that will get freshwater from saltwater and then collect the freshwater for people to use. Students control variables by using the same amount of hot, colored salt water. Students all have the same amount of time. The measurement technique of the resulting fresh water is identical. Students do two trials, the second one after revisions of their devices. Students reflect on what they have learned so far to help them design their systems, identifying evaporation and condensation as processes that can distill freshwater from saltwater.
  • INV-E3. In Grade 3, Unit: Environment and Survival, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.3: Making and Testing Designs, students make and test their first test-versions of the neck design, share their designs and test results with another pair, and then revise their test-versions based on new ideas. Students are reminded of the procedure for neck-testing, take turns testing their giraffe-inspired necks, and record test data in their notebooks. Students share their designs and test results with another pair, and then record their new data about their designs. Students make a second test-version of the robot necks and test them.
  • DATA-E1. In Grade 5, Unit: Earth’s Systems, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.2: Making Sense of Where Raindrops Form, students begin by predicting which areas of the atmosphere in a simulated landscape will have the most condensation. They use The Earth System Simulation to collect data on where and at what temperatures water vapor condenses in the atmosphere. They then graph their data set in The Earth System Data Tool to look for patterns, concluding that more condensation occurs high in the atmosphere because it is colder there.
  • DATA-E2. In Grade 4, Unit: Earth’s Features, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.2: Exploring Rock Formation and Environment, students collect data about rock samples, read about the rock types they’ve observed, and use the simulation to consider the question, “How do rocks provide information about what an environment was like in the past? Students observe two rock samples⁠—conglomerate and sandstone⁠—and record their observations about how sedimentary rocks differ. Students share preliminary ideas about where the rocks may have formed.
  • DATA-E4. In Grade 3, Unit: Environments and Survival, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.3: Making and Testing Designs, students test their initial design for the RoboGrazer. Students measure and record the length of the robot neck and test how many leaves are touched within 30 seconds. Students share their data with classmates, analyzing which designs best met the criteria. Students then use that information to refine their designs.
  • MATH-E3. In Grade 3, Unit: Weather and Climate, Chapter 1, Lessons 1.2 and 1.3, students learn that data needs to be accurately recorded to recognize and predict patterns. Students perform a short experiment to determine the most effective way to measure rain data and collect temperature data. While students record and graph quantities to address scientific questions related to volume and temperature, they don’t specifically use quantities related to area, weight, or time.
  • MATH-E3. In Grade 5, Unit: Earth’s Systems, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.2: Making Sense of Where Raindrops Form, students use The Earth System Simulation to collect data on where and at what temperatures water vapor condenses in the atmosphere. They record and graph temperature, atmosphere height, and number of molecules for various landscapes to show that water vapor condenses at colder, higher elevations. Students then use the information from different condensation patterns on the different landscapes to future out why more water vapor gets cold over the west side of the island. While students record and graph quantities to address scientific questions, they don’t specifically use quantities related to area, volume, weight, or time.
  • CEDS-E2. In Grade 3, Unit: Weather and Climate, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.2: Dangerous Weather Ahead, students use evidence from a text, Dangerous Weather Ahead, from a digital simulation, Weather and Climate Practice Tool, and from weather maps to construct an explanation about why natural disasters happen in some areas and not in others.
  • CEDS-E3. In Grade 4, Unit: Energy Conversions, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.1: Investigating Energy Sources, students gather evidence and information to explain why the hospital lights and devices continue to work during a blackout. In this activity, students are examining evidence and asking questions about why the hospital still has electricity.
  • CEDS-E5. In Grade 4, Unit: Energy Conversions, Chapter 4, students construct circuits and make them fail. Another group analyzes the failed circuit to determine what is the failure point and provides solutions for fixing the circuit. Students then apply this understanding to the blackout problem in Ergstown and compare multiple solutions for minimizing the town’s blackouts.
  • ARG-E4. In Grade 5, Unit: Modeling Matter, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.2: Investigating Dissolving, students use evidence from a digital simulation along with observations from a lab on dissolving to support the argument that molecules exist and are moving, but are too small to see. This data also supports the argument that molecules have charges and specific arrangements that influence the solubility of substances.
  • ARG-E6. In Grade 3, Unit: Environments and Survival, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.5: Presenting Design Arguments, students learn that they will participate in a Biomimicry Engineering Conference in which they will present design arguments for how their RoboGrazer designs meet the criteria. Students prepare their arguments by reviewing their test data and describing how their designs meet each of the criteria. Then the engineering conference begins, and students present their designs and design arguments and listen to others present.
  • INFO-E4. In Grade 5, Unit: Ecosystem Restoration, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.3: Matter Makes it All Up, students use information from a digital simulation model and the text, Matter Makes it All Up, to describe how animals use food to grow.

Indicator 2f

Materials incorporate all grade-band Crosscutting Concepts.
8/8
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 3-5 meet expectations that they incorporate all grade-level crosscutting concepts (CCCs) and associated elements. Across the grade band, the units incorporate all of the elements associated with the performance expectations within the 3-5 grade band.

Across the grade band, students have multiple opportunities to engage with the grade-level CCCs that are implicitly connected to SEPs or DCIs as they build toward grade-level performance expectations. For example, students have frequent opportunities to conduct investigations or use a model to observe or test cause and effect relationships (SEP-MOD-E6), such as when they observe that mixing two substances can cause a new substance to form (DCI-PS1.B-E1). Students have multiple opportunities to use tests to gather evidence to support or refute ideas; however, opportunities to explicitly discuss this idea (CCC-CE-E1) are limited. When the materials provide opportunities to make the crosscutting concepts explicit for students, this is generally through sentence frames to help students use targeted CCCs, or through teacher prompts that provide explicit connections and guide student discussions about how scientists and engineers use different CCCs to answer scientific questions or solve engineering problems.

Examples of CCC elements associated with performance expectations within the 3-5 grade band present in the materials:

  • PAT-E1. In Grade 3, Unit: Weather and Climate, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.2: Discovering Climate Through Data, students analyze monthly weather data organized in graphs from three different places over the course of three years. Students analyze yearly patterns and recognize that the repetitive patterns represent the climate for that area.
  • PAT-E2. In Grade 3, Unit: Inheritance and Traits, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.3: Investigating Sparrow Offspring, students use the knowledge of inheritance patterns obtained throughout the unit to make predictions of the sparrow offspring that will result from designated parents.
  • PAT-E3. In Grade 4, Unit: Earth’s Features, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.4: Sedimentary Rock Formation, students investigate rock samples and patterns of rock formation in the simulation to learn about how sedimentary rock forms. Students use a simulation to investigate the patterns of sedimentary rock formation. Students observe rocks forming in the simulation and record their observations about how this process happens. In doing so, students begin to make sense of the patterns that water and sediment have in a rock formation. Finally, students reflect on the information they gathered from the simulation by making a prediction of how the rock samples they observed at the beginning of the lesson may have formed.
  • CE-E1. In Grade 3, Unit: Balancing Forces, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.1: Exploring Forces in a Chain Reaction, students watch a video about chain reactions, develop their own set of chain reactions, and explain how different forces caused each reaction. Throughout the series of reactions, students are demonstrating the relationships of the components in the series of interactions in a system. Teacher prompts focus students on what caused each object to start moving and the effect of the movement, additionally, they help students understand that scientists use cause and effect relationships to test and explain change or relationships.
  • CE-E1. In Grade 4, Unit: Earth’s Features, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.2: Exploring Rock Formation and Environment, students observe two samples of sedimentary rock to see what information they give about the environment in which they formed and discuss what caused the different properties of each sample to determine if they were formed in the same way. Students use the cause-and-effect relationship to explain change. SYS-E2. In Grade 3, Unit: Environment and Survival, students examine population data for two snail species where one is thriving and one is not. After reflecting on survival in snails and other organisms in particular environments, students describe the snail’s environment in terms of the different components and their interactions as they examine snail population data across different environments and with various predators. Students think about the causes of these differences and predict what would happen if another organism was introduced to the system.
  • SPQ-E1. In Grade 5, Unit 2: Modeling Matter, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.5: Making Sense of Solubility, students read information about molecules to understand that they exist at a small scale then use a simulation that models varying degrees of solubility to evaluate explanations of two solutions and discuss what is happening at the molecular level.
  • SPQ-E1. In Grade 5, Unit: Patterns in the Night Sky, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.4: Distances to the Stars, students investigate why stars look so small. Students use the simulation to investigate the distance from earth to the sun and to other stars. Students use the data that was collected to create a scale model of the earth, sun, and four other stars as they build understanding that natural systems can be immensely large.
  • SPQ-E1. In Grade 4, Unit: Earth’s Features, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.4: students use the Earth’s Features Sim to explore how various processes on earth can occur over very long time periods.
  • SPQ-E2. In Grade 3, Unit: Weather and Climate, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.2: Future Weather on Three Islands, students perform a short experiment to determine the most effective way to measure rain data. As they measure rainfall and compare varying data with other groups, they learn that standard units are vital when communicating measurements.
  • SYS-E2. In Grade 4, Unit: Environment and Survival, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.2: Investigating Needs for Survival, students consider what organisms need to survive; they complete the Investigating Needs for Survival activity and investigate an organism with particular needs. Students read about four different environments (systems) and consider whether their organism can meet its needs in each of the four systems. Students start to think about the relationship between an organism and the system it is a part of.
  • SYS-E2. In Grade 5, Unit: The Earth System, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.1: Investigating the Movement of Water Vapor, students examine how the shape of the land and movement of water vapor within the atmosphere affects rainfall. Students consider the island’s shape, landscape, direction of wind, and compare that to other islands using the online simulation and then use the simulation program to model what factors affect how water vapor moves in the air. Students describe each component of this system and how they interact to produce the patterns of rainfall.
  • EM-E2. In Grade 5, Unit: Ecosystem Restoration, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.5: Modeling How Animals Use Plant Matter, students use a simulation and a text about alligators to understand how animals grow from food at a molecular level. In the simulation, students track the volume of matter eaten to see that the matter that animals consume help the animals grow or becomes waste. Students begin to understand how matter moves within an ecosystem.
  • EM-E3. In Grade 4, Unit: Waves, Energy, and Information, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.4: Exploring Sound Waves, students are introduced to energy moving through the water as they examine the wave patterns caused by tsunamis. They learn that the water (the matter) hardly moves as energy is transferred but rather as the energy wave moves through, water moves perpendicularly, not with the wave. The students then look at how the energy from the waves causes damage as it approaches land. The waves impact land and energy is transferred to objects as the wave moves over them, causing additional energy transfer, sound, and damage. They model this by simulating a sports stadium wave and “pass” energy to one another.

Indicator 2g

Materials incorporate NGSS Connections to Nature of Science and Engineering
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 3–5 meet expectations that they incorporate NGSS connections to the nature of science (NOS) and engineering. The NOS and engineering elements are represented and attended multiple times throughout the grade-band units. They are used in correlation with the content and not used as isolated lessons. The NOS and Engineering elements are used in a variety of fashions throughout the units including videos, readings, and class discussions. Although most of the elements are present in the lessons, they are not explicitly called out in the instructional material.

Examples of grade-band connections to NOS elements associated with SEPs present in the materials:

  • VOM-E1. In Grade 4, Unit: Vision and Light, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.2: Crow Scientist, students read a text describing the investigations of a wildlife biologist. Students read about the scientist asking questions about crow behavior and then determining how to investigate the questions.
  • VOM-E2. In Grade 5, Unit: Ecosystem Restoration, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.3: Differences in Soil, students read about an ecologist in A Walk in the Woods, and how that scientist uses various methods to collect data about soil composition and health. Students then use the ecologist's data to make claims about soil health.
  • BEE-E1. In Grade 3, Unit: Weather and Climate, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.2: Seeing the World Through Numbers, students read about organizing data to better make sense of it. In the text, Seeing the World Through Numbers, students read about a boy and his friends and how they compare temperature patterns from around the world. They then discuss how the patterns can help people make predictions about weather.
  • BEE-E2. In Grade 4, Unit: Waves, Energy, and Information, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.4: Seeing Sound, students read the text, Seeing Sound, and discover the different ways that scientists use tools to visualize sounds to make sense of the world. Students discuss how tools and technologies are important for helping these professionals accurately see sound.
  • OTR-E1. In Grade 3, Unit: Inheritance and Traits, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.1: Scorpion Scientist, students read a book called, Scorpion Scientist. The text describes a scientist gathering evidence that can be used to identify new species of scorpions. The scientist asks questions and performs investigations to seek answers on how to classify the new species and if that classification will result in changes to classification of current identified scorpions.
  • ENP-E1. In Grade 3, Unit: Balancing Forces, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.2: Discussing Gravity Acting Between Two Objects, students use a reading strategy related to setting a purpose for reading and complete a Gravity Anticipatory Chart to record their understanding and questions about gravity. Within the Reader, Handbook of Forces, students read about gravity and how it is a force that acts on objects without touching. Students read about how objects such as the earth exert a force called gravity that pulls you towards it.
  • ENP-E2. In Grade 5, Unit: Modeling Matter, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.2: Science You Can’t See, students read text describing how science and scientists can describe the ocean floor, atomic structure, and other natural events we can not see.

Examples of grade-band connections to NOS elements associated with CCCs present in the materials:

  • WOK-E1. In Grade 3, Unit: Inheritance and Traits, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.1: Scorpion Scientist, students read a text that describes how a scientist asks questions and investigates to answer their questions, and how this can lead to answers. The text also describes answers leading to more questions to gain new knowledge.
  • HE-E2. In Grade 4, Unit: Vision and Light, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.2: Crow Scientist, students read a text where a wildlife biologist describes the team he works with to conduct investigations.
  • HE-E3. In Grade 5, Unit: Modeling Matter, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.7: Break It Down, students read text describing how scientists separate mixtures to provide water and save lives.
  • HE-E4. In Grade 3, Unit: Environment and Survival, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.1: Pre Unit Assessment, students read the book, Biomimicry, which is about scientists who study organisms to get ideas for solutions to design problems. The teacher leads discussion about how engineers design solutions to problems and that they use their imaginations to get design ideas from observing organisms’ traits.

Examples of grade-band connections to ENG elements associated with CCCs present in the materials:

  • INTER-E3. In Grade 5, Unit: Earth’s Systems, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.4: Iterating on Freshwater Collection Systems, students discuss how the engineers in the book revised their designs for pumps using the same process that the students use to improve their freshwater reclamation models.
  • INTER-E4. In Grade 5, Unit: Earth’s Systems, Chapter 2: Why does more rain form over West Ferris than East Ferris?, students read text and discuss how engineers use the design process to plan, make, and test water treatment systems.
  • INFLU-E1. In Grade 4, Unit: Energy Conversions, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.1: Pre Unit Assessment, students discuss what happens when the power goes out in Ergstown and within the discussion, the teacher helps students make connections to the ideas that an engineers’ work is determined by people’s want and needs, and that people’s lives and interactions are influenced by the technologies that engineers develop.
  • INFLU-E3. In Grade 4, Unit: Waves, Energy and Information, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.3: Communicating with Codes!, after discussing the various ways that humans communicate with one another, students create a communication plan and use codes to communicate with one another. Students recognize that, although humans can be far apart, they can still communicate and interact across long distances by using new technology.

Gateway Three

Usability

Not Rated

+
-
Gateway Three Details
This material was not reviewed for Gateway Three because it did not meet expectations for Gateways One and Two

Criterion 3a - 3d

Materials are designed to support teachers not only in using the materials, but also in understanding the expectations of the standards.

Indicator 3a

Materials include background information to help teachers support students in using the three dimensions to explain phenomena and solve problems (also see indicators 3b and 3l).
N/A

Indicator 3b

Materials provide guidance that supports teachers in planning and providing effective learning experiences to engage students in figuring out phenomena and solving problems.
N/A

Indicator 3c

Materials contain teacher guidance with sufficient and useful annotations and suggestions for how to enact the student materials and ancillary materials. Where applicable, materials include teacher guidance for the use of embedded technology to support and enhance student learning.
N/A

Indicator 3d

Materials contain explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research-based strategies.
N/A

Criterion 3e - 3k

Materials are designed to support all students in learning.

Indicator 3e

Materials are designed to leverage diverse cultural and social backgrounds of students.
N/A

Indicator 3f

Materials provide appropriate support, accommodations, and/or modifications for numerous special populations that will support their regular and active participation in learning science and engineering.
N/A

Indicator 3g

Materials provide multiple access points for students at varying ability levels and backgrounds to make sense of phenomena and design solutions to problems.
N/A

Indicator 3h

Materials include opportunities for students to share their thinking and apply their understanding in a variety of ways.
N/A

Indicator 3i

Materials include a balance of images or information about people, representing various demographic and physical characteristics.
N/A

Indicator 3j

Materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies.
N/A

Indicator 3k

Materials are made accessible to students by providing appropriate supports for different reading levels.
N/A

Criterion 3l - 3s

Materials are designed to be usable and also to support teachers in using the materials and understanding how the materials are designed.

Indicator 3l

The teacher materials provide a rationale for how units across the series are intentionally sequenced to build coherence and student understanding.
N/A

Indicator 3m

Materials document how each lesson and unit align to NGSS.
N/A

Indicator 3n

Materials document how each lesson and unit align to English/Language Arts and Math Common Core State Standards, including the standards for mathematical practice.
N/A

Indicator 3n.i

Materials document how each lesson and unit align to English/Language Arts Common Core State Standards.
N/A

Indicator 3n.ii

Materials document how each lesson and unit align to Math Common Core State Standards, including the standards for mathematical practice.
N/A

Indicator 3o

Resources (whether in print or digital) are clear and free of errors.
N/A

Indicator 3p

Materials include a comprehensive list of materials needed.
N/A

Indicator 3q

Materials embed clear science safety guidelines for teacher and students across the instructional materials.
N/A

Indicator 3r

Materials designated for each grade level are feasible and flexible for one school year.
N/A

Indicator 3s

Materials contain strategies for informing students, parents, or caregivers about the science program and suggestions for how they can help support student progress and achievement.
N/A

Criterion 3t - 3y

Materials are designed to assess students and support the interpretation of the assessment results.

Indicator 3t

Assessments include a variety of modalities and measures.
N/A

Indicator 3u

Assessments offer ways for individual student progress to be measured over time.
N/A

Indicator 3v

Materials provide opportunities and guidance for oral and/or written peer and teacher feedback and self reflection, allowing students to monitor and move their own learning.
N/A

Indicator 3w

Tools are provided for scoring assessment items (e.g., sample student responses, rubrics, scoring guidelines, and open-ended feedback).
N/A

Indicator 3x

Guidance is provided for interpreting the range of student understanding (e.g., determining what high and low scores mean for students) for relevant Science and Engineering Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Disciplinary Core Ideas.
N/A

Indicator 3y

Assessments are accessible to diverse learners regardless of gender identification, language, learning exceptionality, race/ethnicity, or socioeconomic status.
N/A

Criterion 3z - 3ad

Materials are designed to include and support the use of digital technologies.

Indicator 3z

Materials integrate digital technology and interactive tools (data collection tools, simulations, modeling), when appropriate, in ways that support student engagement in the three dimensions of science.
N/A

Indicator 3aa

Digital materials are web based and compatible with multiple internet browsers. In addition, materials are “platform neutral,” are compatible with multiple operating systems and allow the use of tablets and mobile devices.
N/A

Indicator 3ab

Materials include opportunities to assess three-dimensional learning using digital technology.
N/A

Indicator 3ac

Materials can be customized for individual learners, using adaptive or other technological innovations.
N/A

Indicator 3ad

Materials include or reference digital technology that provides opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate with each other (e.g., websites, discussion groups, webinars, etc.).
N/A
abc123

Additional Publication Details

Report Published Date: 10/08/2020

Report Edition: 2018

Title ISBN Edition Publisher Year
Waves, Energy, and Information Book Set 978-1-64089-483-9 Amplify Education 2018
Energy Conversions Book Set 978-1-64089-540-9 Amplify Education 2018
Earth’s Features Book Set 978-1-64089-660-4 Amplify Education 2018
Vision and Light Book Set 978-1-64089-662-8 Amplify Education 2018
Energy Conversions Investigation Notebook 978-1-943228-79-9 Amplify Education 2018
Waves, Energy, and Information Investigation Notebook 978-1-943228-88-1 Amplify Education 2018
Vision and Light Book Investigation Notebook 978-1-943228-96-6 Amplify Education 2018
Earth’s Features Investigation Notebook 978-1-945192-86-9 Amplify Education 2018

About Publishers Responses

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Once a review is complete, publishers have the opportunity to post a 1,500-word response to the educator report and a 1,500-word document that includes any background information or research on the instructional materials.

Please note: Beginning in spring 2020, reports developed by EdReports.org will be using an updated version of our review tools. View draft versions of our revised review criteria here.

Educator-Led Review Teams

Each report found on EdReports.org represents hundreds of hours of work by educator reviewers. Working in teams of 4-5, reviewers use educator-developed review tools, evidence guides, and key documents to thoroughly examine their sets of materials.

After receiving over 25 hours of training on the EdReports.org review tool and process, teams meet weekly over the course of several months to share evidence, come to consensus on scoring, and write the evidence that ultimately is shared on the website.

All team members look at every grade and indicator, ensuring that the entire team considers the program in full. The team lead and calibrator also meet in cross-team PLCs to ensure that the tool is being applied consistently among review teams. Final reports are the result of multiple educators analyzing every page, calibrating all findings, and reaching a unified conclusion.

Rubric Design

The EdReports.org’s rubric supports a sequential review process through three gateways. These gateways reflect the importance of standards alignment to the fundamental design elements of the materials and considers other attributes of high-quality curriculum as recommended by educators.

Advancing Through Gateways

  • Materials must meet or partially meet expectations for the first set of indicators to move along the process. Gateways 1 and 2 focus on questions of alignment. Are the instructional materials aligned to the standards? Are all standards present and treated with appropriate depth and quality required to support student learning?
  • Gateway 3 focuses on the question of usability. Are the instructional materials user-friendly for students and educators? Materials must be well designed to facilitate student learning and enhance a teacher’s ability to differentiate and build knowledge within the classroom. In order to be reviewed and attain a rating for usability (Gateway 3), the instructional materials must first meet expectations for alignment (Gateways 1 and 2).

Key Terms Used throughout Review Rubric and Reports

  • Indicator Specific item that reviewers look for in materials.
  • Criterion Combination of all of the individual indicators for a single focus area.
  • Gateway Organizing feature of the evaluation rubric that combines criteria and prioritizes order for sequential review.
  • Alignment Rating Degree to which materials meet expectations for alignment, including that all standards are present and treated with the appropriate depth to support students in learning the skills and knowledge that they need to be ready for college and career.
  • Usability Degree to which materials are consistent with effective practices for use and design, teacher planning and learning, assessment, and differentiated instruction.

Science K-5 Rubric and Evidence Guides

The science review rubric identifies the criteria and indicators for high quality instructional materials. The rubric supports a sequential review process that reflects the importance of alignment to the standards then considers other high-quality attributes of curriculum as recommended by educators.

For science, our rubrics evaluate materials based on:

  • Three-Dimensional Learning
  • Phenomena and Problems Drive Learning
  • Coherence and Full Scope of the Three Dimensions
  • Design to Facilitate Teacher Learning
  • Instructional Supports and Usability

The Evidence Guides complement the rubric by elaborating details for each indicator including the purpose of the indicator, information on how to collect evidence, guiding questions and discussion prompts, and scoring criteria.

To best read our reports we recommend utilizing the Codes for NGSS Elements document that provides the code and description of elements cited as evidence in each report.

 

The EdReports rubric supports a sequential review process through three gateways. These gateways reflect the importance of alignment to college and career ready standards and considers other attributes of high-quality curriculum, such as usability and design, as recommended by educators.

Materials must meet or partially meet expectations for the first set of indicators (gateway 1) to move to the other gateways. 

Gateways 1 and 2 focus on questions of alignment to the standards. Are the instructional materials aligned to the standards? Are all standards present and treated with appropriate depth and quality required to support student learning?

Gateway 3 focuses on the question of usability. Are the instructional materials user-friendly for students and educators? Materials must be well designed to facilitate student learning and enhance a teacher’s ability to differentiate and build knowledge within the classroom. 

In order to be reviewed and attain a rating for usability (Gateway 3), the instructional materials must first meet expectations for alignment (Gateways 1 and 2).

Alignment and usability ratings are assigned based on how materials score on a series of criteria and indicators with reviewers providing supporting evidence to determine and substantiate each point awarded.

For ELA and math, alignment ratings represent the degree to which materials meet expectations, partially meet expectations, or do not meet expectations for alignment to college- and career-ready standards, including that all standards are present and treated with the appropriate depth to support students in learning the skills and knowledge that they need to be ready for college and career.

For science, alignment ratings represent the degree to which materials meet expectations, partially meet expectations, or do not meet expectations for alignment to the Next Generation Science Standards, including that all standards are present and treated with the appropriate depth to support students in learning the skills and knowledge that they need to be ready for college and career.

For all content areas, usability ratings represent the degree to which materials meet expectations, partially meet expectations, or do not meet expectations for effective practices (as outlined in the evaluation tool) for use and design, teacher planning and learning, assessment, differentiated instruction, and effective technology use.

Math K-8

Math High School

ELA K-2

ELA 3-5

ELA 6-8


ELA High School

Science Middle School

X