Alignment: Overall Summary

​The instructional materials reviewed for Amplify Science Grades 6-8 meet expectations for Alignment to NGSS, Gateways 1 and 2. In Gateway 1, the instructional materials incorporate and integrate the three dimensions and incorporate three-dimensional assessments for and of student learning. The materials also incorporate phenomena and problems that connect to grade-band appropriate DCIs, present phenomena and problems as directly as possible, and consistently include phenomena and problems that drive student learning and use of the three dimensions within and across lessons. Further, the materials elicit, but do not leverage, student prior knowledge and expertise related to phenomena and problems. In Gateway 2, the instructional materials ensure students are aware of how the dimensions connect from unit to unit, incorporate a suggested sequence for the series, and incorporate student tasks related to understanding and explaining phenomena that increase in sophistication across the series. The materials incorporate scientifically accurate use of the three dimensions. Further, the materials include all components and related elements of the DCIs for physical science, life science, and engineering, technology, and applications of science; the earth and space science DCIs are mostly included, with one element missing. The materials include all SEPs and nearly all elements, except are missing four elements of Asking Questions and Defining problems and are missing one element from both Analyzing and Interpreting Data and Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking. The materials include all CCCs and nearly all elements, except are missing one element from Scale, Proportion, and Quantity. Additionally, the materials incorporate multiple instances of nature of science connections to SEPs and DCIs and engineering connections to CCCs.

See Rating Scale
Understanding Gateways

Alignment

|

Meets Expectations

Gateway 1:

Designed for NGSS

0
12
22
26
25
22-26
Meets Expectations
13-21
Partially Meets Expectations
0-12
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway 2:

Coherence and Scope

0
29
48
56
49
48-56
Meets Expectations
30-47
Partially Meets Expectations
0-29
Does Not Meet Expectations

Usability

|

Meets Expectations

Not Rated

Gateway 3:

Usability

0
28
46
54
50
46-54
Meets Expectations
29-45
Partially Meets Expectations
0-28
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway One

Designed for NGSS

Meets Expectations

+
-
Gateway One Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations for Gateway 1: Designed for the NGSS. The materials meet expectations for three-dimensional learning and that phenomena and problems drive learning.

Criterion 1a - 1c

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

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations for Criterion 1a-1c: Three-Dimensional Learning. The materials consistently include and integrate the three dimensions and provide opportunities for students to use SEPs and/or CCCs to support sensemaking with the other dimensions. Additionally, the materials consistently provide three-dimensional learning objectives at the lesson level, incorporate formative assessment tasks to reveal student knowledge and use of the three dimensions, and provide observation guidance and instructional suggestions related to student responses. The materials also consistently provide three-dimensional learning objectives at the chapter and unit levels and incorporate multiple types of summative tasks that reveal student understanding of the three dimensions. 

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 Grades 6-8 meet expectations that the materials consistently integrate the three dimensions in student learning opportunities. Throughout the series, all learning sequences (Chapters) include three dimensions and consistently integrate science and engineering practices (SEPs), crosscutting concepts (CCCs), and disciplinary core ideas (DCIs) in student learning opportunities. 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 levels to support learning.

Overall, the materials consistently demonstrate they were designed to include and integrate the three dimensions. In each unit, Planning for the Unit, the Standards and Goals tab includes a unit level list of each NGSS targeted performance expectation. The Standards and Goals tab also includes connections to other performance expectations, which SEPs and CCCs are focused on in the unit, and describes the student experiences as they build toward these expectations. Further, in the 3-D Statements tab, the chapter and lesson level targeted three dimensions are described to frame the respective chapter and lesson goal(s).

Examples where materials include DCIs, SEPs, and CCCs and integrate them within student learning opportunities:

  • In Grade 6, Unit: Microbiome, Chapter 1: Microorganisms On and In the Human Body, Lesson 1.2, students make a scale model (SEP-MOD-M4) of a microorganism by drawing it at a larger observable scale to gain further understanding that phenomena may not be easily observable to students (CCC-SPQ-M5), as well as, many living things are made of cells which are unobservable at that scale (DCI-LS1.A-M1).
  • In Grade 6, Unit: Ocean’s Atmosphere and Climate, Chapter 3: Ocean Currents and Prevailing Winds, Lesson 3.1, students read and annotate a modified scientific article (SEP-INFO-M1) about factors affecting the movement of the Gulf Stream (CCC-CE-M3), latitude, prevailing winds, energy/temperature, etc. Maps are incorporated into the article and used to predict different aspects of the factors (SEP-MOD-M5). Students gather information about how prevailing winds interact with continents to direct currents and make inferences about the relationship between energy transfer (CCC-EM-M4), prevailing winds, and latitude (DCI-ESS2.D-M1, DCI-PS3.B-M3). Students use a digital simulation (SEP-MOD-M5) to investigate (SEP-INV-M4) the relationship between wind direction and current direction (DCI-ESS2.C-M2, CCC-CE-M3).
  • In Grade 6, Unit: Weather Patterns, Chapter 1: Understanding Rain Clouds, Lesson 1.3, students conduct an investigation and observe two bags of air placed in different temperatures (SEP-INV-M2). To develop an understanding of how and when condensation happens (DCI-ESS2.C-M1), students use a model to explore that air has moisture (SEP-MOD-M5). Students are asked, “What do you observe about the results of each test?” and “What evidence do you have of energy transfer?” prompting students to make statements about cause and effect relationships they observed (CCC-CE-M2).
  • In Grade 6, Unit: Earth’s Changing Climate Engineering Internship, Day 6, students explore how design can have an impact on earth’s rising temperatures (DCI-ESS3.C-M2, DCI-ESS3.D-M1) while they isolate different variables in the Roofmod simulation. Students gather evidence (SEP-INV-M2, SEP-INV-M4, CCC-DATA-M7) on how those changes impact CO2 levels showing the cause and effect relationship that different materials have on the design criteria (CCC-CE-M2). This activity provides students the opportunity to explore how models are important for testing design solutions (DCI-ETS1.B-M4, SEP-MOD-M7).
  • In Grade 7, Unit: Populations and Resources, Chapter 3: Indirect Effects in Ecosystems, Lesson 3.3, students view a graphic of food chains (SEP-MOD-M5) in the jellyfishes’ ecosystem (CCC-SYS-M2) and consider what other populations of organisms might affect (CCC-CE-M3) the size of the jelly population (DCI-LS2.A-M1, M2). In the digital simulation (SEP-MOD-M3) students manipulate populations of organisms without changing their resource or consumer populations (SEP-INV-M4). After they gather data/observations (SEP-DATA-M3) from the simulation, students reflect on the question, “How are these examples of indirect effects?” (SEP-CEDS-M4). Students predict how making a specific change in a population of organisms will indirectly affect another population (CCC-SC-M2). Students write an explanation (SEP-CEDS-M4) of how the change led to an increase in the population of a different organism (DCI-LS2.A-M1, DCI-LS2.A-M2).
  • In Grade 7, Unit: Plate Motion, students explore what happens at plate boundaries (DCI-ESS1.C-M2). In Chapter 1: Introducing Earth’s Outer Layer, Lesson 1.4, students use a paper model to simulate a landform with plate boundaries (SEP-MOD-M5) to understand how land moves at different boundaries and how earthquakes and landforms are caused by the movement (CCC-CE-M2). At the same time, students explore how cause and effect relationships can help predict phenomena as they make claims about plate boundaries.
  • In Grade 7, Unit: Plate Motion Engineering Internship, Day 2, students learn how the planet’s systems interact to shape the earth (DCI-MS-ESS2-2). Students investigate the primary cause of tsunamis by modeling how the plate motion impacts water motion in the physical tank model (CCC-CE-M2). Students model the movement of land, causing the water in the tank to create a wave that moves miniature plastic houses on shore (SEP-MOD-M5).
  • In Grade 7, Unit: Phase Change Engineering Internship, Day 3, students isolate the Phase Change Materials in the Baby Warmer Design Tool to investigate (SEP-INV-M5) the effects of insulating materials in an incubation system to learn how temperature differences (DCI-PS3.A-M3) impact energy transfers from one object to another. Students use mathematical representations to support their design solutions (SEP-MATH-M2).
  • In Grade 8, Unit: Light Waves, students explore how light interacts with materials. In Chapter 2: Light as a Wave, Lesson 2.3, students investigate types of light and what makes them different (DCI-PS4.A-M1). Students use a digital model (SEP-MOD-M5) to determine what makes types of light different from one another. As students use the digital model to edit a custom wave, they explore the cause and effect relationships in natural wave systems between wavelength, frequency, and amplitude, and types of light (DCI-PS4.A-M1) by manipulating wavelength to demonstrate that different types of light with different profiles can be produced (CCC-CE-M2).
  • In Grade 8, Unit: Natural Selection Unit, Chapter 3: Mutation and Adaptive Traits, Lesson 3.3, directs students to, “Show what caused there to be some extremely poisonous newts in the newt population when there were none in the population 200 generations ago. Analyze all four histograms and environment descriptions” (DCI-LS4.C-M1). Students look for patterns that can be used to identify cause and effect relationships (CCC-PAT-M3). Students explain how their model answers the question, “How did a poison-level trait that wasn’t always present in the newt population become the most common trait?” (SEP-CEDS-M2).
  • In Grade 8, Unit: Forces and Motion Engineering Internship, Day 5, students analyze data from previous testing (SEP-DATA-M7) to learn how mass, velocity and impact force affect the criteria of their design challenge (DCI-PS2.A-M2). As students analyze patterns in the data (CCC-PAT-M4, CCC-CE-M1), they plan what design components they will use for future iterations (DCI-ETS1.B-M3).

Indicator 1a.ii

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

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations that the materials are consistently designed to support meaningful student sensemaking with the three dimensions. CCCs and SEPs are used in all learning sequences to support students' sensemaking with the other dimensions in every lesson. Within each Unit Guide, the unit, chapter, and lesson level 3-D Statements provide an overview of the SEPs, CCCs, and DCIs that are addressed in the lessons which make up a larger unit.

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. Additionally, most lessons are targeted for students to build understanding of DCIs and often incorporate the use of a SEP but not always for purposes of sensemaking. However, the materials do consistently provide an opportunity in at least one lesson per chapter for students to engage in using the SEPs and/or the CCCs to meaningfully support student sensemaking with the other dimensions. Most often, the sensemaking is apparent when students are engaged in investigating and explaining cause and effect relationships through various means.

Examples where materials include SEPs and CCCs to meaningfully support student sensemaking with other dimensions:

  • In Grade 6, Unit: Microbiome, Chapter 2: Arguing for the Benefits of Fecal Transplants, Lesson 2.2, students analyze data about a patient’s gut microbiome (SEP-DATA-M4). They compare types and percentages of bacteria present when the patient is healthy to the microbiome composition when the patient is ill. Students use changes in the data to support a claim that the change in microorganisms may be the cause (CCC-CE-M2) of the patient’s illness. This provides students an opportunity to argue from evidence (SEP-ARG-M3) how different microorganisms may be linked to the overall health of the patient. Students also gather information by reading The Human Microbiome article (SEP-INFO-M1) to revise their explanation about why one change in a system (CCC-SYS-M1) could cause Patient 23 to feel sick. Cause and effect relationships are explored by students over time to more deeply understand and apply their knowledge of how microorganisms, while unseen, can play a large role in the overall health of humans (DCI-LS1.A-M3).
  • In Grade 6, Unit: Weather Patterns, Chapter 1: Understanding Rain Clouds, Lesson 1.1, students change different variables in the digital simulation and analyze data (SEP-DATA-M4) showing how the transfer of energy causes air to cool and create condensation resulting in rain (DCI-ESS2.C-M1). Through this data collection process, students begin to make sense of how energy flows through natural systems and understand the impact when the transfer of energy leads to cooling, resulting in possible condensation leading to rain (CCC-EM-M4).
  • In Grade 6, Unit: Earth’s Changing Climate Engineering Internship, Day 4, students create designs for a roof that will have an impact on earth’s rising temperature based on the data previously collected in a digital simulation (SEP-INV-M2). As students analyze the data (SEP-DATA-M7) and make design decisions, they begin to make sense of how designs can have impacts on earth’s rising temperatures (DCI-ESS3.C-M2). Students collect data to determine if their design was able to reduce carbon dioxide. These investigations help students understand how analyzing the similarities and differences in data can be used to develop or modify a design. As students use an iterative testing process to test the different roof models, they gain a deeper understanding and ability to make sense of how cause and effect relationships exist between design choices and environmental impacts (CCC-CE-M2) .
  • In Grade 7, Unit: Plate Motion, Chapter 3: Investigating the Rate of Plate Movement, Lesson 3.1, students use the digital simulation to explore how the rate of plate movement can be predicted and recorded (SEP-MATH-M2). Students find the rate of the plate movement by measuring how far apart the plates moved after millions of years have passed, and divide that distance by the number of years. Students use the calculation to develop an understanding of how mathematical representations can support the scientific conclusion that plates have moved over time. As students identify patterns from a digital simulation, they make sense of the timeline and how plates move to understand how the plate movement has changed the surface of the earth (DCI-ESS2.B-M1). Students identify patterns in historical rates of change and of plate motion. They compare these findings with current rates. Students use their understanding of past and current rates of plate motion (CCC-PAT-M3) to support a claim (SEP-CEDS-M2) about whether two plates moved apart suddenly or gradually.
  • In Grade 7, Unit: Populations and Resources, Chapter 3: Indirect Effects in Ecosystems, Lesson 3.3, students use a digital model to collect data to investigate (SEP-INV-M4) how populations that are not consumers or resources for each other can indirectly affect each other within an ecosystem (DCI-LS2.A-M2). Students use the digital model to change populations on a food web by making changes to populations that are not directly connected. Being able to manipulate populations in the model helps students make sense of how a change in one part of a system can cause large changes in another (CCC-SC-M2). Students then apply what they have learned from using a model to predict how changes to the algae, orca, or walleye pollock populations could indirectly impact the moon jelly population (DCI-LS2.A-M2).
  • In Grade 8, Unit: Light Waves, Chapter 3: More Light Interactions, Lesson 3.3, students build on their understanding from previous lessons that energy from light can change a material when it is absorbed. Students use a digital simulation to model (SEP-MOD-M7) what happens to energy (CCC-EM-M4) when different materials transmit or reflect green laser light. The digital simulation provides students an opportunity to collect information (SEP-DATA-M4) to make sense of how light is transmitted or reflected (DCI-PS4.B-M1) and develop an understanding of how the material is not changed by the energy.
  • In Grade 8, Unit: Force and Motion Engineering Internship, Day 5, students analyze design test results to identify how to modify their design of a supply pod to deliver packages to people after a natural disaster. Students review test data (SEP-DATA-M7) related to mass, velocity, and impact force (DCI-PS2.A-M2) to find similarities and differences in results. The results can then help inform decisions about what design components are used in future iterations (DCI-ETS1.B-M3). The iterative testing of design solutions allows students to better understand how changing parts of their design impacts the outcome and efficiency of their design (CCC-CE-M1) and how to use this understanding to inform future improvements.
  • In Grade 8, Unit: Natural Selection, Chapter 1: Environmental Change and Trait Distribution, Lesson 1.4, students use a digital simulation to collect data (SEP-DATA-M4) between fur traits and temperature. Students use the digital simulation to manipulate the temperature of the environment and identify patterns in the population over time (CCC-PAT-M3). This provides students an opportunity to use patterns in the data to identify cause and effect relationships between temperature and the selection for specific fur traits. Students compare two histograms that are designed through the simulation (SEP-MATH-M2) to support a claim about how fur traits change over time (DCI-LS3.A-M2).

Indicator 1b

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

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations that they are designed to elicit direct, observable evidence for three-dimensional learning in the instructional materials. Lessons consistently provide learning objectives connected to the 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. The chapter and unit 3-D Statements are found in the Unit Guide; the lesson objectives and lesson 3-D statements are found in the Lesson Brief and are also embedded throughout the lessons.

Across the series, lessons and units consistently incorporate tasks for the purpose of supporting the instructional process, and lessons and units have assessment tasks that are consistently designed to reveal student knowledge and use of all three dimensions. These opportunities are provided through the use of two assessment types used throughout each unit: On-the-Fly Assessment and Critical Juncture Assessment. A Pre-Unit Assessment can also be used for formative purposes. This assessment is identical to the End-of-Unit Assessment. Each Pre-Unit Assessment and Critical Juncture Assessment consists of multiple-choice questions and written-response questions that provide evidence of students’ current level of understanding of the unit content. The results of these assessments are used to provide insight into student preconceptions and current ideas, and place students on the Progress Build, a tool to group students for differentiated instruction.

The individual assessment items primarily assess two dimensions, typically integrating SEPs and DCIs, resulting in a missed opportunity to include CCCs into the formative assessments and related instructional supports. However, all three dimensions are addressed through the combination of formative assessments across a unit. 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 of On-the-Fly and Critical Juncture assessments in the series:

  • In Grade 6, Unit: Metabolism, Chapter 1: Molecules Needed by the Cells, Lesson 1.3: Evaluating Initial Claims about Elisa, students progress toward the objective focused on understanding how a functioning human body contains molecules from food (glucose and amino acids) and molecules from air (oxygen) in its cells. The On-the-Fly Assessment checks for students’ understanding of cells (DCI-LS1.A-M1, DCI-LS1.A-M2) as students develop a model (SEP-MOD-E4) to support their thinking related to how cell systems interact with each other (CCC-SYS-M1). The On-the-Fly Assessment provides teachers with guidance to identify correct responses and supplies prompts the teacher can provide while students revisit the lesson reading materials and simulation.
  • In Grade 7, Unit: Chemical Reactions, Chapter 3: Accounting for Atoms, Lesson 3.4, students progress toward the objective focused on understanding about how possible products of a chemical reaction can be identified based on the atoms that formed the reactants. The On-the-Fly Assessment checks for students’ understanding that models of atoms (SEP-MOD) differ from actual atoms (DCI-PS1.A), and why a model is more useful than looking only at the properties of a substance. Students also apply their understanding that atomic-scale models are useful, but limited tools for visualizing substances at an extremely small scale (CCC-SPQ). This On-the-Fly Assessment provides teachers with guidance to identify correct responses and supplies prompts the teacher can provide while students revisit the lesson materials.
  • In Grade 8, Unit: Light Waves, Chapter 2: Light as a Wave, Lesson 2.4, students progress toward the objective focused on understanding how a material absorbs energy from certain types of light and not others (DCI-PS4.B), and apply the key concepts from the previous chapters to conclude that ultraviolet light can cause skin cancer. The On-the-Fly Assessment checks for whether students understand models (SEP-MOD) that show how different types of light are associated with different changes to the genetic material, and how some types of light are associated with no changes to the genetic material (CCC-CE).
  • In Grade 7, Unit: Plate Motion, Chapter 2: Understanding Plate Boundaries, Lesson 2.6, students complete a Critical Juncture Assessment consisting of 12 multiple-choice questions and two written-response questions to assess students’ understanding of the how earth’s plates move and what happens to plate boundaries during movement (DCI- ESS1.C, DCI- ESS2.B, CCC-PAT, CCC-SPQ, SEP-CEDS). Many of the multiple-choice questions assess at the intersection of the DCI and CCC or the DCI and SEP. The written-response questions require students to apply learning of all three dimensions. The teacher materials provide information for grouping students to scaffold additional instructional support depending on where a student’s score falls on the Progress Build.
  • In Grade 8, Unit: Force and Motion, Chapter 2: Mass and Velocity, Lesson 2.4, students complete a Critical Juncture Assessment that consists of 12 multiple-choice questions and two written-response questions to assess students’ understanding of the relationship between force, mass, and velocity (DCI-PS2.A, CCC-CE, SEP-DATA, SEP-CEDS). Many of the multiple-choice questions assess at the intersection of the DCI and CCC or the DCI and SEP. The written-response questions require students to apply learning of all three dimensions. Teacher materials provide information for grouping students to scaffold additional instructional support depending on where a student’s score falls on the Progress Build.

Indicator 1c

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

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 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 chapter and unit. The summative tasks are consistently designed to measure student achievement of the targeted 3-D Statements for the learning sequences (chapters) and units.

The materials include several types of summative tasks that follow a consistent design across units: End-of-Unit Assessments, End-of-Unit Performance Assessments (Science Seminar), and Investigation Assessments (one per grade). Each End-of-Unit Assessment generally consists of 12-19 multiple-choice questions and two written-response questions in which students analyze and interpret data and construct explanations. This assessment is designed to reveal students’ understanding of the unit’s core content, including unit-specific DCIs, SEPs, and CCCs. The End-of-Unit Performance Assessment is delivered as a Science Seminar. Students engage in a multicomponent performance task requiring integrated engagement with targeted DCIs and several science and engineering practices. This assessment task includes students submitting a written scientific argument to demonstrate their grasp of the targeted DCIs, SEPs, and CCCs. The Investigation Assessments provide one opportunity in each grade to summatively assess an embedded performance in which students plan and conduct investigations.

Examples of summative tasks designed to measure student achievement of the targeted 3-D Statements for the chapter and/or unit:

  • In Grade 6, Unit: Earth’s Changing Climate, the End-of Unit Assessment consists of 19 multiple-choice questions and two written-response questions to assess students’ achievement in relation to the unit level learning objective using “digital and physical models and analyze global temperature data in order to construct explanations of how changes to the atmosphere affect Earth’s temperature by altering the energy flow (energy and matter) into and out of Earth’s system (systems and system models), disrupting a dynamic but stable system (stability and change).” Overall, the multiple-choice and written-response questions assess student understanding of the relevant DCIs related to earth systems (DCI-ESS2.A, DCI-ESS2.D, DCI-ESS3.B, DCI-ESS3.C, DCI-ESS3.D). The written-response questions measure student understanding of two SEPs (SEP-DATA, SEP-CEDS) and stability and change (CCC-SC).
  • In Grade 7, Unit: Chemical Reactions, the End-of Unit Assessment consists of 12 multiple-choice questions and two written-response questions to assess students’ achievement in relation to the unit level learning objective of using “digital and physical models and hands-on observations to investigate how atoms are rearranged into different patterns to form new substances during chemical reactions.” Overall, the multiple-choice questions assess student understanding of the relevant DCIs related to structure and properties of matter (DCI-PS1.A) and chemical reactions (DCI-PS1.B). Additionally, the written-response questions measure student understanding of three SEPs (SEP-MOD, SEP-DATA, SEP-CEDS). While students apply two CCCs (CCC-SPQ, CCC-EM) in both the multiple-choice and written-response items, neither CCC is explicitly assessed.
  • In Grade 8, Unit: Harnessing Human Energy, the End-of Unit Assessment consists of four written-response questions to assess students’ achievement in relation to the unit level learning objective to “investigate energy, the relationship between kinetic and potential energy, and the ways energy is transferred and converted...” Overall, the prompts assess student understanding of energy (DCI-PS3.A, CCC-EM). While students apply early ideas of scientific explanations (SEP-CEDS), the SEPs are not explicitly assessed, partly due to this being a launch unit for the year.
  • In Grade 6, Unit: Ocean, Atmosphere, and Climate, Chapter 4: Science Seminar, students “analyze evidence and make oral and written arguments—using what they have learned about energy transfer and the effect of ocean currents and prevailing winds on air temperature (cause and effect, energy and matter)—to determine whether the air temperature in South China during the late Carboniferous period was warmer or cooler than the air temperature in that location today.” The Science Seminar includes a performance task where students construct a scientific argument to assess their understanding of large-scale system interactions (DCI-ESS2.B) related to weather and climate (DCI-ESS2.D), four SEPs (SEP-DATA, SEP-CEDS, SEP-ARG, SEP-INFO), and two CCCs (CCC-CE, CCC-SC) are addressed.
  • In Grade 7, Unit: Chemical Reactions, Chapter 4: Science Seminar, students “analyze evidence and make oral and written arguments—using what they have figured out about substances at the macroscale and atomic scale and about how atoms rearrange during a chemical reaction (scale, proportion, and quantity; patterns)—to create models that distinguish between suspects who could and could not have made hydrofluoric acid.” The Science Seminar includes a performance task where students construct a scientific argument to assess their understanding of the relevant DCIs related to structure, properties of matter (DCI-PS1.A), chemical reactions (DCI-PS1.B) and three SEPs (SEP-CEDS, SEP-ARG, SEP-INFO). While students apply ideas of scale, proportion, and quantity (CCC-SPQ) by referring to the correct model while constructing their argument, the CCC is not directly assessed.
  • In Grade 8, Unit: Evolutionary History, Chapter 4: Science Seminar, students “analyze evidence and construct oral and written arguments, using what they have learned about shared and distinct body structures and common ancestor populations (stability and change), to determine whether a new fossil is more closely related to ostriches or to crocodiles.” The Science Seminar includes a performance task where students construct a scientific argument to assess their understanding about the evidence of common ancestry and diversity (DCI-LS4.A), four SEPs (SEP-DATA, SEP-CEDS, SEP-ARG, SEP-INFO), and patterns (CCC-PAT) in morphological features.
  • In Grade 8, Unit: Force and Motion, Chapter 2: Mass and Velocity, Lesson 2.1, Investigation Assessment, students engage in a performance task to answer the question, “If the same strength force is exerted on two objects, why might they be affected differently?” Students plan and conduct an investigation (SEP-INV, SEP-DATA, SEP-MATH, SEP-INFO) to determine how exerting the same strength force on different objects can result in different effects (DCI-PS2.A, CCC-CE).

Criterion 1d - 1i

Materials leverage science phenomena and engineering problems in the context of driving learning and student performance.
9/10
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Criterion Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations for Criterion 1d-1i: Phenomena and Problems Drive Learning. The materials consistently incorporate phenomena and problems that connect to grade-band appropriate DCIs and present phenomena and problems to students as directly as possible. The materials consistently incorporate lesson level phenomena or problems that address the three dimensions and drive students' learning across activities within the lesson. The materials provide information regarding how phenomena and problems are present in the materials, with students expected to solve problems in 14-25% of the lessons and explain phenomena in 75-86% of the lessons within each grade. However, the materials consistently elicit, but do not leverage, students' prior knowledge and experience related to phenomena and problems. The materials consistently incorporate unit-level phenomena or problems driving students’ learning and use of the three dimensions across multiple lessons. 

Indicator 1d

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

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations that phenomena and/or problems are connected to grade-band DCIs. Materials consistently connect phenomena and problems to grade-band appropriate DCIs and/or their elements. Lesson level investigations connect directly to the Investigative Phenomenon or problem, helping students make sense with the identified DCIs. Multiple lesson investigations and activities are coordinated to work together to explain the anchor and/or investigative phenomenon and bridge learning of and with the associated DCIs. Across the series, students engage in making sense of phenomena and solving problems that require students to utilize and deepen their understanding of the associated DCIs.

Examples of phenomena that connect to grade-band DCIs present in the materials:

  • In Grade 6, Unit: Microbiome, the anchor phenomenon is “a fecal transplant cured a patient suffering from a potentially deadly C. difficile infection.” Throughout the unit, students investigate the scale of microorganisms living on and in the human body (DCI-LS1.A-M1) and the human microbiome making up the gut. Students learn how fecal transplants can change the gut environment for harmful and helpful bacteria (DCI-LS1.A-M2) and the effects of interacting body systems within multicellular functions (DCI-LS1.A-M3). This helps students answer the question, “How can fecal transplants cure patients infected with harmful bacteria?”
  • In Grade 7, Unit: Plate Motions, the anchor phenomenon is about how fossils of an extinct reptile are found in two locations separated by thousands of kilometers of ocean. Throughout the unit, students learn about plate motion at or near plate boundaries (DCI-ESS1.C-M2) and GPS data to understand plate motion (DCI-ESS1.C-M2). This helps students answer the question, “Why are fossils of species that once lived together found in different locations on Earth now?”
  • In Grade 8, Unit: Life Waves, the anchor phenomenon is about how Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world. Students investigate how different materials change when they absorb energy from light (DCI-PS4.B-M1). They use this knowledge to analyze and interpret evidence of how different wavelengths of light from the sun can cause skin cancer by causing damage to genetic material (DCI-PS4.B-M3). This helps students construct explanations about the cause of Australia’s high rate of skin cancer.
  • In Grade 7, Unit: Populations and Resources, Chapter 2: Energy and Changes to Populations, Lesson 2.2, the phenomenon is about how yeast provided with more sugar produce more bubbles. Throughout this lesson, students investigate how sugar undergoes a series of chemical reactions within living organisms (yeast) that break it down and rearrange the molecules, forming new molecules to support growth, reproduction, or release of energy (DCI-LS1.C-M2).
  • In Grade 8, Unit: Earth, Moon, and Sun, Chapter 2: Moon Phases, the phenomenon is about how the appearance of the moon as seen from earth changes from night to night. Throughout the chapter, students investigate and model how the apparent motion of the moon can be observed, described, predicted, and explained with models (DCI-ESS1.A-M1).

Examples of problems that connect to grade-band DCIs present in the materials:

  • In Grade 6, Unit: Earth’s Changing Climate Engineering Internship, students design a roof modification meeting three criteria: reducing the city’s climate impact, preserving the city’s historic value, and keeping costs low. Throughout this unit, students identify human-caused impacts on the earth's systems.  Students also identify the positive impacts they can have through activities and technologies (DCI-ESS3.C-M2) as they evaluate how different design decisions impact the climate.
  • In Grade 8, Unit: Natural Selection Engineering Internship, Day 4, students continue to solve the problem of how parasites that cause malaria are becoming resistant to antimalarial drugs. In order to design a malaria treatment to reduce the amount of parasites that build resistance to the antimalarial drug, students run tests in the MalariaMed Design Tool to understand how different drugs, doses, and duration of treatment impact drug-resistance traits (DCI-LS4.C-M1).

Indicator 1e

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

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations that phenomena and/or problems are presented to students as directly as possible. Across the series, all lessons present phenomena and problems to students as directly as possible through video, simulations, or hands-on investigations. Every unit has an Anchor Phenomenon or problem and lessons incorporate Investigative or Everyday Phenomena.

Examples of phenomena that are presented to students as directly as possible:

  • In Grade 6, Unit: Thermal Energy, anchor, investigative, and everyday phenomena are used to drive instruction. Students watch a video to learn about the anchor phenomenon about how two different heating systems can heat the Riverdale School. Although this phenomenon is more aligned to a problem that needs to be solved, there are several investigative and everyday phenomena to be explored throughout this unit and presented to student directly. In Chapter 1: Understanding Temperature, Lesson 1.2, students are given direct, hands-on experience to explore how food coloring disperses more rapidly in warm water than in cold water. In Lesson 1.3, students use the Thermal Energy simulation to explore the molecular activity of heated and cooled liquid to directly observe a phenomenon unobservable in real life. Further, in Chapter 2: Temperature and Energy, Lesson 2.1, students watch a video to observe what happens to air around heated water. Students are prompted to make predictions based on the experience.
  • In Grade 7, Unit: Rock Transformations, students are presented with the phenomenon about how the rocks of the Rocky Mountains and the rock of the Great Plains have similar mineral composition. In Chapter 1: Rock Formations, students interact with this phenomenon as directly as possible by watching a video, interacting with a digital simulation, and engaging in a hands-on investigation to explore processes leading to the formation of rocks that cannot be observed first-hand.
  • In Grade 8, Unit: Natural Selection, Chapter 1: Environmental Change and Trait Distribution, Lesson 1.2, students are presented with the Investigative Phenomenon, “Individuals in an population can look different.” Students look at an image of a population of dogface butterflies to determine similarities and differences found within the population.


Examples of problems that are presented to students as directly as possible:

  • In Grade 7, Unit: Phase Change Engineering Internship, students watch a video depicting examples of babies in incubators and explain the importance of incubators to the health of babies with medical conditions.
  • In Grade 8, Unit: Force and Motion Engineering Internship, students are asked to “design a supply drop pod for areas affected by natural disaster.” Students would be unable to directly observe a supply drop in an area of natural disaster. Instead, students are introduced to the problem as directly as possible using a video. Students engage in a simulation to test different solutions to the design problem.

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 Grades 6-8 meet expectations that phenomena and/or problems drive individual lessons or activities using key elements of all three dimensions. At the start of most lessons, students are asked to play the role of a scientist or engineer tasked with explaining the phenomenon or solving the problem. Each activity in the lesson is designed for students to work towards explaining the phenomenon or solving the problem in the context of the role they play. Students engage in all three dimensions as they work through the activities to make sense of the phenomenon or solve the problem.

Examples of individual lessons or activities that are driven by phenomena using key elements of all three dimensions:

  • In Grade 6, Unit: Thermal Energy, Chapter 2: Temperature and Energy, Lesson 2.1, students investigate the phenomena about how pouring hot water into a cup will gradually warm the air when it is enclosed inside a box. Students use the Thermal Energy Simulation to identify patterns (SEP-MOD-M5, CCC-PAT-M3) in molecular motion to learn that molecules have kinetic energy. Students use the model to show the faster molecules are moving, the more kinetic energy they have (CCC-EM-M2; DCI-PS3.A-M4).
  • In Grade 6, Unit: Traits and Reproduction, Chapter 1: Exploring Variation in Spider Silk, Lesson 1.2, students investigate the phenomena about how the quality of silk produced by spiders in the same species varies in strength and flexibility. Students use the Traits and Reproduction simulation to model (SEP-MOD-M4) how chromosome rearrangement during sexual reproduction causes silk traits to vary between parents and offspring. as well as, between sibling spiders (DCI-LS3.A-M2, CCC-SF-M1, CCC-CE-M3).
  • In Grade 7, Unit: Chemical Reactions, Chapter 2: Explaining Chemical Reactions, Lesson 2.1, students investigate the phenomenon of calcium chloride and sodium carbonate solutions mixing together and reacting to form new substances. Students use the digital simulation to investigate (SEP-INV-M2) how atoms can rearrange to form new substances during a chemical reaction (DCI-PS1.B-M1, CCC-CE-M2).
  • In Grade 7, Unit: Geology on Mars, Chapter 1: Comparing Earth and Rocky Planets, Lesson 1.2, students investigate the phenomenon about how images of the surface of mars shows landforms looking similar to those on earth. Students use an interactive digital tool, Google Mars™ (CCC-SYS-M2, SEP-MOD-M5) to search for landforms similar to those on earth, especially those that could have been formed by flowing water or lava (DCI-ESS2.A-M2). Students use the information to support a claim about whether the same geologic processes have shaped earth have also shaped mars over time (SEP-ARG-M3).
  • In Grade 8, Unit: Evolutionary History, Chapter 1: Finding Species Similarities, Lesson 1.3, students investigate the phenomenon about how many of their body structures are similar to those in blue whales. Students use the Evolutionary History simulation to gather information (SEP-INFO-M1), compare body structures, and geographic location of extinct animals to existing animals. Students use patterns in common body structures (CCC-PAT-M4) to help map ancestral connections on an evolutionary tree, showing common body structures provides evidence that whales and humans share a common ancestor (DCI-LS4.A-M2).

Examples of individual lessons or activities that are driven by problems using key elements of all three dimensions:

  • In Grade 6, Unit: Earth’s Changing Climate Engineering Internship, Day 4, students create designs for a roof that will have an impact on earth’s rising temperature. As students analyze the data (SEP-DATA-M7) and make design decisions, they begin to make sense of how design can have an impact on earth’s rising temperatures (DCI-ESS3.C-M2). Students collect data to determine if their design was able to reduce carbon dioxide. Students use an iterative process to test different roof models and make sense of cause and effect relationship between designs choices and environmental impacts (CCC-CE-M2).
  • In Grade 8, Unit: Natural Selection Engineering Internship, Day 4, students continue to solve the problem about how parasites that cause malaria are becoming resistant to antimalarial drugs. In order to design a malaria treatment to reduce the amount of parasites that build resistance to the antimalarial drug, students run tests in the MalariaMed Design Tool to understand the cause and effect relationship (CCC-CE-M2) that different drugs, doses, and duration of treatment have on drug-resistance traits (DCI-LS4.C-M1). Using the MaleriaMed design tool allows students to use a model to generate data to test ideas about natural systems (SEP-MOD-M7, DCI-ETS1.B-M4). Students run isolated tests to better understand how there is a systematic process for evaluating solutions (DCI-ETS1.B-M2) as they design their malaria treatment.

Indicator 1g

Materials are designed to include appropriate proportions of phenomena vs. problems based on the grade-band performance expectations.
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Indicator Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 were designed for students to solve problems in 14-25% of the lessons within each grade compared to 15% of the NGSS grade-band performance expectations designed for solving problems. Throughout the materials 75-86% of the lessons within each grade focused on explaining phenomena.

Across the series, problems were typically found in the Engineering Internships which engaged students in a 12-24 day investigation driven by the problems that provided opportunities to make sense of the DCIs, CCCs, and SEPs. In Grade 6, two Engineering Internships were evident each consisting of 12 days. In Grade 7 and Grade 8, one 12-day and one 24-day Engineering Internship were evident. There are two Engineering Internships focused on each of the following science disciplines: earth, life, physical.

Examples of problems:

  • In Grade 6, Unit: Earth’s Changing Climate Engineering Internship, students design a roof modification that meets three criteria: reducing the city’s climate impact, preserving the city’s historic value, and keeping costs low. Throughout this unit, students identify human-caused impacts on Earth's systems and the positive impacts that they can have through activities and technologies as they evaluate how different design decisions impact the climate.
  • In Grade 7, Unit: Phase Change Engineering Internship, students design a portable baby incubator that uses phase change materials that meet three criteria: keep the baby’s average temperature as close to 37 degrees Celsius, minimize the time the baby spends outside of the healthy temperature range, and keep costs low.
  • In Grade 8, Engineering Internship: Forces and Motion, students are put into the role of a mechanical engineer and presented with a problem involving the design of delivery pods that will be dropped in areas experiencing a natural disaster. Students design delivery pods that meet the following criteria: 1) limiting the amount of damage to the cargo during the drop; 2) reusing the pod’s shell as much as possible and 3) minimizing the cost of the pod as much as possible. Students use their knowledge about forces and motion to design models, to test those models using the simulation and to analyze that data to deepen their understanding of force and motion and structure and function.

Across the series, phenomena were typically found in the seven other chapters that were not considered Engineering Internships. In these chapters, phenomena drove instruction throughout the learning sequence and supported sensemaking around the DCIs, CCCs, SEPs. These chapters were either 12 or 24 days long and each grade level had topics from each of the following science disciplines: earth, life, physical.

Examples of phenomena:

  • In Grade 6, Unit: Microbiome, the phenomenon is that “a fecal transplant cured a patient suffering from a potentially deadly C. difficile infection.” Throughout the unit, students investigate the scale of microorganisms that live on and in the human body and the human microbiome that makes up the gut. They learn how fecal transplants can change the gut environment for harmful and helpful bacteria and the effects of interacting body system within multicellular functions.
  • In Grade 7, Unit: Populations and Resources, Chapter 2: Energy and Changes to Populations, Lesson 2.2, the phenomenon is that yeast provided with more sugar produce more bubbles. Throughout this lesson, students investigate how sugar undergoes a series of chemical reactions within living organisms (yeast) that break it down and rearrange the molecules, forming new molecules that support growth, reproduction, or release energy.
  • In Grade 8, Unit: Natural Selection, the phenomenon is that the rough-skinned newt population changed over time to become poisonous. Throughout the unit, students learn about genetic variation, adaptive traits and mutations through the simulation, hands-on activities, and texts to then construct their own explanation of how the newts came to be poisonous over time.

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 Grades 6-8 partially meet expectations that materials intentionally leverage students’ prior knowledge and experiences related to phenomena or problems. Materials elicit but do not leverage students’ prior knowledge and experience to phenomena and problems across the series. Throughout the units, student prior knowledge is consistently elicited to connect the phenomenon or problem to prior learning or experiences. Prior knowledge is often elicited in the warm up or introduction of investigations by asking students questions about what they already know or remember related to the problem or phenomenon; this is intended to activate their learning prior to subsequent lessons and activities. However, there are missed opportunities for the materials to leverage students’ prior knowledge and experience in a way that allows them to make connections between what they are learning and their own knowledge, and to build on the knowledge and experience students bring from both inside and outside of the classroom.

Examples where materials elicit students’ prior knowledge and experience related to phenomena or problems, but missed opportunities to leverage that knowledge and experience within future learning:

  • In Grade 6, Unit: Metabolism Engineering Internship, students design “a health bar to meet the metabolic needs of populations affected by natural disasters.” Before students are introduced to the problem, their prior knowledge is elicited by asking students what they know about engineers, food engineers, and knowledge of engineered food. Students are also asked what they know about modeling and how models can be useful when things take too long or are too small to observe.
  • In Grade 6, Unit: Metabolism, students investigate human body processes in order to make sense of the phenomenon of a young patient who feels tired all the time. In Chapter 1: Molecules Needed by the Cells, student prior knowledge is elicited by asking what they know regarding what the human body needs to function. In Chapter 4: Metabolism and Athletic Performance, students are asked what they know about blood doping is elicited prior to watching a video about an athlete whose improved performance has led to suspicions about blood doping.
  • Grade 7, Unit: Rock Transformation, students make sense of the phenomenon about how the Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains have rocks with similar mineral composition. In Chapter 1, student prior knowledge of how rocks form is elicited before students observe the rocks; students are asked about rocks they have seen in their daily life. It is then explained to students about how rocks have different amounts and types of minerals.
  • In Grade 8, Unit: Force and Motion, students investigate the phenomenon about how an asteroid sample-collecting pod moved in the opposite direction instead of docking at the space station. In Chapter 1: Force and Velocity, student prior knowledge of force and motion is elicited. Students are asked about how an object’s motion can change when it is sitting on a table and how it can change when it is sliding across the table. These questions activate what students know about how objects move in different situations, including the situation presented with the space pod motion.

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 Grades 6-8 meet expectations that the materials embed phenomena or problems across multiple lessons for students to use and build knowledge of all three dimensions. Materials consistently use phenomena or problems to drive student learning and to engage with all three dimensions across multiple lessons. In each grade level two units, Engineering Internship, engage students in problems that are embedded across multiple lessons and the other seven units embed Anchor Phenomena at the unit level driving learning across multiple lessons. Additionally, the three dimensions are consistently used to make sense of the Anchor Phenomena and solve problems across the series. The Anchor Phenomena drive learning and use of the three dimensions within the chapters, lessons, and activities of the unit. The engineering problems drive learning and use of the three dimensions within the days and activities of the Engineering Internships.

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

  • In Grade 6, Unit: Traits and Reproduction, the phenomenon is “spider offspring have different silk flexibility traits, even though they have the same parents.” Students create physical and visual models (SEP-MOD-M6) as they investigate the structure and function (CCC-SF-M1) of protein molecules to help support them as they construct explanations about gene combinations, inheritance, proteins, and traits (DCI-LS3.A-M2). In Chapter 1: Exploring Variation in Spider Silk, students investigate the variation in silk flexibility among spiders as they construct visual models (SEP-MOD-M6) to illustrate how the structure of protein molecules cause differences in traits (DCI-LS3.A-M2; CCC-SF-M1). In Chapter 2: Examining Spider Genes, students investigate the unit phenomenon by using a digital model (SEP-MOD-M6) to explain what causes Darwin’s bark spider offspring to make different silk proteins to affect variation in spider silk flexibility (DCI-LS3.A-M2; CCC-SF-M1).
  • In Grade 7, Unit: Phase Changes, the phenomenon is “images taken by a space probe show that a methane lake on Titan disappeared.” In Chapter 1: Describing Phase Change at Two Scales, students investigate phase changes (DCI-PS1.A-M6) at the micro and macro scale (CCC-SPQ-M1). They use a digital simulation (SEP-MOD-M5) to test and analyze different claims about what happened on Titan. In Chapter 3: Investigating Attraction and Phase Change, students gather information to help explain the timeline for when the lake evaporated. Students use a digital model (SEP-MOD-M5) to predict whether adding or removing energy always leads to a phase change (DCI-PS1.A-M6). Students then construct a model (SEP-MOD-M3) and write an explanation for why the methane lake did not change phase until the summer was almost over.
  • In Grade 8, Unit: Evolutionary History, the phenomenon is the “Mystery Fossil at the Natural History Museum has similarities with both wolves and whales.” Throughout the unit, students use digital and physical models (SEP-MOD-M5) to investigate the body structure (CCC-SF-M1) of both extinct and living species (DCI-LS4.A-M2). In Chapter 1: Finding Species Similarities, students use a digital model (SEP-MOD-M5) to discover patterns of body structures (CCC-SF-M1) in organisms as evidence of common ancestry (DCI-LS4.A-M2). In Chapter 3: Identifying Related Species, students analyze and interpret evidence (SEP-CEDS-M3) about differences in shared structures (DCI-LS4.A-M2; CCC-SF-M1) to construct an argument based on evidence about whether the mystery fossil is more closely related to wolves or whales.

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

  • In Grade 7, Unit: Plate Motion Engineering Internship, the design problem is “Design a better tsunami warning system for Sri Lanka.” Students perform iterative tests and analyze data to uncover patterns (CCC-PAT-M3) about geologic activity and plate motion to predict events (DCI-ESS3.B-M1). Students submit their design for feedback and refine their designs. Students then compile all their evidence from research and tests to submit a proposal, supporting a claim (SEP-ARG-M3) about how they have optimized their design solutions.
  • In Grade 6, Unit: Earth’s Changing Climate Engineering Internship, the design problem is “Design a plan to reduce the city’s climate impact using white or solar roofs on buildings citywide.” Students test and modify their roof designs (SEP-CEDS-M7, SEP-CEDS-M8) to meet the defined criteria. Throughout the unit, students identify human-caused impacts on earth's systems and the positive impacts they can have through activities and technologies (DCI-ESS3.C-M2) as they evaluate how different design decisions impact the climate (CCC-CE-M2).

Gateway Two

Coherence and Scope

Meets Expectations

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Gateway Two Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations for Gateway 2: Coherence and Scope. The materials meet expectations that the materials are designed for coherence and include the full scope of the three dimensions.

Criterion 2a - 2g

49/56
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Criterion Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations for the Criterion 2a-2g: Coherence and Full Scope of the Three Dimensions. The materials consistently demonstrate connections across chapters for students and provide supports for teachers to help students see the connections, including a suggested and intentional sequence, and student tasks related to explaining phenomena increasing in sophistication across the series. The materials present DCIs, SEPs, and CCCs in a scientifically accurate manner and do not inappropriately include scientific content and ideas outside of the grade-band DCIs. Further, the materials include all DCIs components and all elements for physical science, life science, and engineering, technology, and applications of science; the earth and space science DCI components are included, with one element missing. The materials include all SEPs and nearly all elements, except four missing elements from Asking Questions and Defining Problems and one element from both Analyzing and Interpreting Data and Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking. The materials include all CCCs and nearly all elements, except one missing element from Scale, Proportion, and Quantity. Additionally, the materials incorporate multiple instances of nature of science connections to SEPs and DCIs and engineering connections to 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 Grades 6-8 meet expectations that students understand how the materials connect the dimensions from unit to unit. The materials include nine units per grade with generally three to four chapters per unit. A chapter in this series is equivalent to EdReports' definition of a unit. Amplify Science Grades 6-8 is consistently designed to connect each chapter within a single unit. Student learning builds within a unit with the goal of explaining the overarching Anchor Phenomenon by the end of the unit. The materials provide support for teachers demonstrating how the dimensions connect within a unit in the Unit Overview and Unit Map; the Lesson Overview Compilation sections of the teacher material provide prompts to help students connect and transition learning between lessons within the same chapter. Teachers are also prompted to connect lesson level learning to the Anchor Phenomenon to ensure students see the connection throughout the unit. In student-facing materials, the first lesson of the unit (following the Pre-Unit Assessment) provides teacher prompts giving context and goals for the entire unit. The Warm-Up Activity, located in the first lesson of each subsequent chapter within the unit, connects prior learning between the chapters in the unit.

Examples of student learning experiences that demonstrate connections across chapters and also incorporate teacher prompts to ensure students see connections:

  • In Grade 6, Unit: Microbiome, two chapters are designed to build student understanding of microbes in the context of understanding the human microbiome. Within Chapter 1: Microorganisms On and In the Human Body, students develop an understanding of scale, especially as it relates to microorganisms and the size of cells in the human body (DCI-LS1.A-M1, CCC-SPQ-M5). Students also conduct an investigation (SEP-INV-M4) to learn about microorganisms living on and in the human body. In Chapter 2: Arguing for the Benefits of Fecal Transplants, students share observations from the prior investigation. The materials direct the teacher to inform students about the new chapter focus on how the microorganism can affect the overall health of the human body. Students investigate the human biome to learn how microorganisms also live within the human body and some of those are important for maintaining health and others cause disease (DCI-LS1.A-M1, DCI-LS1.A-M3). Students review a case study of a patient being treated first with antibiotics and then with a fecal transplant procedure.  Students then analyze and interpret data (SEP-DATA-M4) while following the changes in health of the patient and the treatment they received (CCC-SC-M1).
  • In Grade 7, Unit: Rock Transformations, the first three chapters are designed to build and connect with each other by tracking how the flow of energy and cycling of matter (CCC-EM-M2) drive geological processes and distribute minerals throughout the earth’s surface (DCI-ESS2.A-M1). In Chapter 1: Rock Formations, students use physical and digital models (SEP-MOD-M5) to show how sediment can be transformed into sedimentary rock through compaction and cementation while magma can be transformed into igneous rock through cooling. In Chapter 2: Sediment and Magma, Lesson 2.1, teachers are directed to remind students that they determined the rock from the two different locations did not form as one rock formation and then separate. Students read the Chapter 2 Question and the teacher points out two new claims about the rocks. Students show their understanding of how rocks form by adding the initial rock material and transformation process to their models from the previous chapter (SEP-MOD-M5). In Chapter 3: Movement of Rock Formations, students revisit the prior two claims, with an additional Chapter 3 Question of how rock can move after it has formed. Students complete a simulation helping them explain how the rock in the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains most likely formed and moved. In Chapter 4: Rock Transformations on Venus, the Warm-Up Lesson asks students whether they think rocks on other planets also transform. Throughout the chapter, students apply understanding from prior learning about how energy flow drives the geological processes on earth (CCC-EM-M2), and use their understanding to support a claim about the types of rocks that might be found by a future lander on venus.
  • In Grade 8, Unit: Force and Motion, the first three chapters are designed to help students apply principles of Newton’s Laws of Motion to explain why a fictional asteroid-sample-collecting pod moved in the opposite direction as intended. In Chapter 1: Force and Velocity, students investigate the relationship between the force exerted on an object and the object’s changes in velocity (DCI-PS2.A.-M2). Students use a spring launcher to move a lid, observing the motion of the lid (SEP-INV-M1) to develop the understanding how larger forces cause larger change in motion of the object (CCC-CE-M2). In Chapter 2: Mass and Velocity, students focus on the thrusters of the fictional pod to further build their understanding of the relationship between the force exerted on an object, the mass of the object, and the object’s change in velocity. Students use launchers of the same strength on objects of different masses (SEP-INV-M1) to determine differences in the movement of the objects (CCC-CE-M2). In Chapter 3: Collisions, students build on their findings of the pod having more mass than usual and only slowed down. In Lesson 3.1, the teacher is directed to emphasize the pod crashing into the space station (show in video on Lesson 1.2), causing both the pod and the space station to move in opposite directions. Lessons in this chapter help students build their understanding of how forces in collisions are of equal strength but push in opposite directions, and the effects are different for objects of unequal mass (DCI-PS2.A-M2). Students investigate collisions of common objects and apply their findings leading to the conclusion that the difference in mass caused the pod to move more than the space station, and in an opposite direction. (DCI-PS2.A-M1). In Chapter 4: Force, Motion, and Movie Sets, Lesson 4.1, the teacher explains to the students how they will apply what they have “learned about force, mass, and velocity changes to help a film student recreate the collision from a movie she saw.” Throughout this chapter, students apply understanding from prior chapters about how force, mass, and velocity change to a new problem including the new variable of friction.

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 Grades 6-8 meet expectations that the materials have an intentional sequence where student tasks increase in sophistication. Across the series, each unit is designed around an Anchor Phenomenon or engineering problem. Each chapter within the unit is designed to support learning towards explaining the Anchor Phenomenon or solving the engineering problem. The lessons within each chapter also support students in explaining and using Investigative and Everyday Phenomena to build towards an understanding and explanation of the Anchor Phenomenon for the unit. As students progress through the series, the materials connect learning of the three dimensions between modules within a grade level and across the entire grade band. The way students engage with and use the three dimensions also increases in sophistication across the grades. The increase in sophistication was most evident in student tasks focused on understanding and explaining phenomena that require students to analyze and use data, model, and conduct investigations.

The materials provided an integrated sequence and a discipline-specific sequence. The examples below come from the integrated sequence; the discipline-specific sequence was not reviewed.

Example of student tasks focused on understanding and explaining phenomena with increasing sophistication across the series:

  • In Grade 6, Unit: Metabolism, students investigate the phenomenon of exercise, increasing heart rate, and collect a small sample of heart rate data to analyze changes using simple statistics to look for trends in the data (SEP-DATA-M5). In Grade 6, Unit: Earth’s Changing Climate, students analyze maps and large sets of temperate and rainfall data spanning several hundred years (SEP-DATA-M1, SEP-DATA-M2) to explain trends in global climate change and predict future changes. In Grade 7, Unit: Plate Motion, students analyze maps and large sets of earthquake data spanning across the globe (SEP-DATA-M1, SEP-DATA-M2) to explain why certain areas have greater frequency of earthquakes and support a claim for why improved technological tools for measuring seismic waves increases the accuracy (SEP-DATA-M6) of predicting damage of future earthquakes. In Grade 8, Unit: Natural Selection, students create mathematical algorithms (SEP-MATH-M3) to create a model that generates data (SEP-MOD-M4) to provide evidence (SEP-DATA-M4) for changes in the frequency of a gene in a population when environments change. Students collect increasingly larger and more complicated sets of data and use more complex collection techniques as they advance from grade to grade.
  • As students conduct investigations across the series to explain phenomena, they use increasingly more sophisticated system models. In Grade 6, Unit: Metabolism, students investigate cells as small systems that make up all living things and are able to perform life functions. Students gather information and use a simulation to show how the body has systems on a larger scale and how they contribute to the health and function of the cell’s system (CCC-SYS-M1). In Grade 6, Unit: Microbiome, students build on the idea about how cells can perform life functions and apply how these functions may affect the entire body as a system as they analyze how bacteria could affect a person’s health. In Grade 7, Unit: Populations and Resources, students use a simulated model to decrease a population by changing the resources within a system. Students use the model to make sense of how changes to a system (CCC-SYS-M2) can have direct and indirect effects. In Grade 8, Unit: Natural Selection, students determine how changing systems affect populations (CCC-SYS-M2). They use a model to introduce abiotic factors to an environment and show how factors within an environment change resulting in how populations and traits may change over time to survive. Students initially explain how components of a system interact to form a system in Grade 6. Students then show how changes within systems impact other components of the system later in Grades 6 and 7. Finally, students show how systems interact with other systems and are part of larger and complex systems in Grade 8.

Indicator 2b

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

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations that the materials present disciplinary core ideas, science and engineering practices, and crosscutting concepts in a way that is scientifically accurate. Across the series, the teacher materials, student materials, and assessments accurately represent the three dimensions.

Indicator 2c

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

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations that the materials do not inappropriately include scientific content and ideas outside of the grade-band disciplinary core ideas. Across the series, the materials consistently incorporate student learning opportunities to learn and use DCIs appropriate to the 6-8 grade-band.

Indicator 2d

Materials incorporate all grade-band Disciplinary Core Ideas:
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Indicator 2d.i

Physical Sciences
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations that materials incorporate all grade-band disciplinary core ideas for physical sciences. Across the series, the materials incorporate all physical science DCI components and associated grade-band elements; PS1.A-M6, PS1.B-M3, and PS2.A-M3 are only partially incorporated. The physical science DCIs are present within each grade level throughout the series, with the majority being included in Grades 7 and 8. In some cases, students read and annotate articles through a process called Active Reading, which is often followed by other opportunities for students to engage in multiple activities related to the DCI in the context of other dimensions. Often students work with the SEPs and CCCs to build and use knowledge of the physical science DCIs.

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

  • PS1.A-M1. In Grade 7, Unit: Chemical Reactions, Chapter 1: Properties and Atoms, Lesson 1.4, students read and annotate the article “Atomic Zoom In” learning about the types of atoms and formation of molecules.
  • PS1.A-M2. In Grade 7, Unit: Chemical Reactions, Chapter 1: Properties and Atoms, Lesson 1.3, students investigate properties of unknown substances to collect evidence in support or to refute provided claims about the substances.
  • PS1.A-M3. In Grade 7, Unit: Phase Change, Chapter 1: Properties and Atoms, Lesson 1.3, students gather evidence of the liquid to gas phase change when observing a model of a cup of hot water covered by a plastic cup.
  • PS1.A-M4. In Grade 7, Unit: Phase Change, Chapter 1: Describing Phase Change at Two Scales, Lesson 1.3, students work with a simulated model to view kinetic energy and molecule-level attraction of different substances, including solids, liquids, and gases.
  • PS1.A-M5. In Grade 7, Unit: Chemical Reactions, Chapter 1: Properties and Atoms, Lesson 1.4, students read and annotate the article “Atomic Zoom In.” This article includes references of crystal structures in the form of gems.
  • PS1.B-M1. In Grade 7, Unit: Chemical Reactions, Chapter 3: Accounting for Atoms, Lesson 3.2, students use a simulation to investigate the rearrangement of reactants to form products in a chemical reaction.
  • PS1.B-M2. In Grade 7, Unit: Chemical Reactions, Chapter 3: Accounting for Atoms, Lesson 3.2, students explore what happens to atoms of a substance when it burns and how atoms cannot be created or destroyed, but the atoms of the original substance are rearranged. The simulation does not show students how the mass stays the same. Students read about conservation of matter during their second read of “What Happens when Fuel Burns”.  
  • PS2.A-M1. In Grade 8, Unit: Force and Motion, Chapter 3: Collisions, Lesson 3.2, students investigate the relationship of force, mass, and resulting velocity changes when a moving object collides with a stationary object and when two moving objects collide.
  • PS2.A-M2. In Grade 8, Unit: Force and Motion, Chapter 1: Force and Velocity, Lesson 1.5, students use a simulation to model how changing the strength of a force changes the velocity of an object. In Lesson 1.6, students build on their understanding to explore the relationship between mass, velocity, and force.
  • PS2.B-M1. In Grade 8, Unit: Magnetic Fields, Chapter 3: Exploring the Strength of Magnetic Force, Lesson 3.1, students use pairs of magnets to investigate attraction and repulsion. In Chapter 4: Designing Roller Coasters, Lesson 4.1, students evaluate different roller coaster systems and their use of electromagnetic forces to determine the best roller coaster design, including materials, and number and placement of magnets.
  • PS2.B-M2. In Grade 8, Unit: Earth, Moon, and Sun, Chapter 2: Moon Phases, Lesson 2.4, students read and annotate the article “Gravity in the Solar System” discussing the characteristics of gravitational forces.
  • PS2.B-M3. In Grade 8, Unit: Magnetic Fields, Chapter 1: Modeling Magnetic Force, Lesson 1.2, students explore attractive and repulsive forces of magnets through a hands-on activity, directed by the investigative question “How do magnets move objects?” In Lesson 1.3, students model the force field lines of magnets and deepen their understanding of magnetic force fields using the simulation.
  • PS3.A-M1. In Grade 8, Unit: Magnetic Fields, Chapter 2: Investigating Potential Energy, Lesson 2.1, students read the article “The Potential for Speed” to learn how the force of gravity pulls on objects with mass to give them speed when skiing, skydiving, and jumping on a trampoline.
  • PS3.A-M2. In Grade 8, Unit: Magnetic Fields, Chapter 2: Investigating Potential Energy, Lesson 2.2, students create three systems showing conversion of potential energy to kinetic energy (e.g., holding ball above the ground, rubber ball and pom pom, two attracting magnets, etc.)
  • PS3.A-M3. In Grade 6, Unit: Oceans, Atmosphere, and Climate, Chapter 1: Air Temperature, Lesson 1.2, students use a simulation to see how the change of temperature in air mass is due to input and output of energy. In Grade 7, Unit: Phase Change, Engineering Internship, students analyze data from the Futura BabyWarmer Design Tool to investigate the effects of insulating materials in an incubation system on energy transfer and temperature change.
  • PS3.A-M4. In Grade 6, Unit: Thermal Energy, Chapter 1: Understanding Temperature, Lesson 1.3, students use a simulated model to manipulate type of material (e.g., brick, iron, wood) to observe how heat would move through a material and transfer to other materials. The simulation model shows molecular structure and movement of energy through the material. In Grade 7, Unit: Phase Change, Engineering Internship students read the dossier to collect information about how thermal change affects kinetic and potential energy.
  • PS3.B-M1. In Grade 8, Unit: Force and Motion, Chapter 3: Collisions, Lesson 3.3, students use a simulation to model collisions between similar and different objects to show changes in energy in each object following the collision.
  • PS3.B-M2. In Grade 6, Unit: Oceans, Atmosphere, and Climate, Chapter 1.4.3, students use a simulation to model energy transfer, and temperature changes from the sun to the surface, water, and air.
  • PS3.B-M3. In Grade 6, Unit: Oceans, Atmosphere, and Climate, Chapter 3.3.2, students read and annotate the article “The Gulf Stream” to better understand concepts of ocean currents and prevailing winds, and the driving processes behind them to develop questions about how energy is spontaneously transferred out of hotter regions (i.e., the equator) or objects and into colder regions (i.e., East of Coast of North America and Western Europe).
  • PS3.C-M1. In Grade 8, Unit: Force and Motion, Chapter 3: Collisions, Lesson 3.1, students read and annotate the article “Crash” and develop questions regarding how and why objects interacting with each other are affected. In Lesson 3.2 students use objects to model collisions and observe their effects.
  • PS3.D-M1. In Grade 7, Unit Matter and Energy in Ecosystems, Chapter 1: Photosynthesis, Lesson 1.3, students read and annotate the article “Sunlight and Life” as they learn about the chemical process of photosynthesis. In Lesson 1.4, students complete a Warm-Up Activity to refresh what they read, apply what they learned to explain a before (including carbon dioxide and water) and after picture (including an energy storage molecule and oxygen) of a chloroplast, and engage in a photosynthesis simulation to understand variables related photosynthesis.  Students also learn how changes to the variables related to photosynthesis affects other organisms in the ecosystem.
  • PS3.D-M2. In Grade 6, Unit: Matter and Energy in Ecosystems, Chapter 2: Cellular Respiration in Ecosystems, Lesson 2.2, students observe cellular respiration through a simulation to answer the question, “How do organisms give off carbon dioxide?” Students use the information to model how organisms give off carbon dioxide and compare models with other students to determine how well those models answer the questions and demonstrate the chemical reaction of cellular respiration.  
  • PS4.A-M1. In Grade 8, Unit: Light Waves, Chapter 2: Light as a Wave, Lesson 2.3 students use a simulation to customize types of light waves and explore wave patterns. Students also discover how light travels as waves, carries energy, and how light has amplitude and wavelength.
  • PS4.A-M2. In Grade 8, Unit: Light Waves, Chapter 2: Light as a Wave, Lesson 2.3, students read and annotate the article “Why No One Can Hear You Scream in Space” to develop questions about sound waves and what is needed for them to be transmitted.
  • PS4.B-M1. In Grade 8, Unit: Light Waves, Chapter 1: Changes Caused by Light, Lesson 1.3, students use a simulation to investigate the transmission, absorption, and reflection of light on different materials. Students also investigate if the material is changed by the light. When light shines on an object, it is reflected, absorbed, or transmitted through the object, depending on the object’s material and the frequency (color) of the light.
  • PS4.B-M2. In Grade 8, Unit: Light Waves, Chapter 3: More Light Interactions, Lesson 3.1, students investigate the behavior of light when it encounters different materials. Students observe light when it is reflected, transmitted, and absorbed.
  • PS4.B-M3. In Grade 8, Unit: Light Waves, Chapter 3: More Light Interactions, Lesson 3.3, students use a simulation to manipulate variables related to brightness (sun and a light bulb), color (different color lasers), and frequency (custom waves manipulated by wavelength and amplitude) of light waves and how those affect light behavior when interacting with different media (plant, solar panel, glass, aluminum foil, melanin, and genetic material). Students use the information to answer the question, “What happens to energy when light is transmitted through or reflected off a material?”
  • PS4.B-M4. In Grade 8, Unit: Light Waves, Chapter 2: Light as a Wave, Lesson 2.3, students read and annotate the article “Why No One Can Hear You Scream in Space” to develop questions about how light and sound waves are different in space as a result of sound waves needing to move through a medium.
  • PS4.C-M1. In Grade 8, Unit: Light Waves, Chapter 3: More Light Interactions, Lesson 3.1, students read the article “How Fibre Optic Communication Works” to learn how light can be digitized to transmit information over long distances without noise interference.

Examples of grade-band physical science DCI elements partially addressed in the materials:

  • PS1.A-M6. In Grade 7, Unit: Phase Change, Engineering Internship, students analyze data from the Futura BabyWarmer Design Tool, and investigate the effects of insulating materials in an incubation system on energy transfer and temperature change.
  • PS1.B-M3. In Grade 6, Unit: Metabolism, Chapter 3: Cellular Respiration, Lesson 3.2, students investigate how chemical reactions release energy and compare the reactions to cellular respiration. In Grade 7, Unit: Chemical Reactions, Chapter 3: Accounting for Atoms, Lesson 3.2, students read the article “What Happens When Fuel Burns,” which describes how energy is given off in a reaction. In Grade 7, Unit: Matter and Energy in Ecosystems, Chapter 1: Photosynthesis, Lesson 1.3, students read the article, “Sunlight and Life” to learn about how the process of photosynthesis results in energy being stored.
  • PS2.A-M3. In Grade 8, Unit: Force and Motion, Chapter 1: Force and Velocity, Lesson 1.2, the teacher demonstrates and defines frame of reference and discusses arbitrarily chosen units for distance and velocity. Students are then asked to provide other examples of units that describe velocity.

Indicator 2d.ii

Life Sciences
4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations that materials incorporate all grade-band disciplinary core ideas for life sciences. Across the series, the materials incorporate all life science DCI components and associated grade-band elements; LS1.C-M2 and LS1.D-M1 are only partially incorporated. The life science DCIs are incorporated within each grade level throughout the series. In some cases, students read and annotate articles through a process called Active Reading, often followed by other opportunities for students to engage in multiple activities related to the DCI in the context of other dimensions. Students frequently work with the SEPs and CCCs to build and use knowledge of the life science DCIs.

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

  • LS1.A-M1. In Grade 6, Unit: Microbiome, Chapter 1: Microorganism On and In the Human Body, Lesson 1.2, students watch a video and read the article “Cells” to build baseline knowledge encompassing all living things are made of cells, cells are the smallest living unit, and organisms may be unicellular or multicellular. Students continue to build understanding in Lesson 1.3.
  • LS1.A-M2. In Grade 6, Unit: Microbiome, Chapter 1: Molecules Needed by the Cells, Lesson 1.2, students read the article “Cells” to read information about a cell’s structures and functions. Then in Unit: Metabolism, Chapter 2: Body Systems, Lesson 2.1, students model how the cell membrane lets nutrients into the cell and lets wastes out of the cell.
  • LS1.A-M3. Unit: Metabolism, Chapter 2: Body Systems, Lesson 2.1, students use the Metabolism Sim to model how different body systems work together and how their functions are impacted by various medical conditions (i.e., anemia, asthma, diabetes, pancreas injury).
  • LS1.B-M1. In Grade 6, Unit: Traits and Reproduction, Chapter 3: Investigating Spider Inheritance, Lesson 3.3, students use a simulation to investigate how genetic information is transferred when spiders are randomly paired and produce offspring. As Homework in Lesson 3.3, students read the article “Sea Anemones: Two Ways to Reproduce” to learn about inheritance differences between sexual and asexual reproduction.
  • LS1.B-M2. In Grade 6, Unit: Traits and Reproduction, Chapter 3: Investigating Spider Inheritance, Lesson 3.1, students use the simulation to investigate how mating different spiders results in new combinations of traits in their offspring. As Homework, students read the article “Invasion of the Periodical Cicada” to learn about an adaptive trait that increases the cicadas’ chances of reproducing.
  • LS1.B-M3. In Grade 6, Unit: Traits and Reproduction, Chapter 3: Investigating Spider Inheritance, Lesson 3.2, use the simulation to gather information on how each parent spider passes one gene copy of each feature to its offspring. As Homework, students read the article "Why the Corpse Flower Smells so Bad" to learn how plants sometimes depend on special features or animal behaviors to help them sexually reproduce.
  • LS1.B-M4. In Grade 6, Unit: Traits and Reproduction, Lesson 4.1 students use the simulation to investigate mutations and the effects on spider offspring. As Homework, students read the article “Growing Giant Pumpkins” to learn how farmers select pumpkins containing the trait for growing large, and also the need to provide optimum environmental factors for the pumpkins to reach their maximum size.
  • LS1.C-M1. In Grade 7, Unit: Matter and Energy in Ecosystems, Chapter 1: Photosynthesis, Lesson 1.3, students read the article “Sunlight and Life” which discusses the chemical reaction during photosynthesis. Then in Grade 8, Unit: Light Waves, Chapter 2: Light as a Wave, Lesson 2.2, students read the article “Harvesting Sunlight” and are reminded how plants use energy from the sun to produce food.
  • LS2.A-M1. In Grade 7, Unit: Matter and Energy in Ecosystems, Chapter 3: Carbon Movement in Ecosystems, Lesson 3.2, students play “The Carbon Game” to determine the effects of carbon on the organisms in the system. In Unit: Populations and Resources, Chapter 1: Stability and Change in Populations, Lesson 1.2, students use a simulation to explore the relationships between organism in an ecosystem by observing organisms being eaten by other organisms and pursuing prey as predators.
  • LS2.A-M2. In Grade 7, Unit: Populations and Resources, Chapter 3: Indirect Effects in Ecosystems, Lesson 3.3, students view a graphic of food relationships in an ocean ecosystem and observe the walleye, pollock, and jelly populations compete for the same resource, zooplankton. In Grade 8, Unit: Natural Selection, Chapter 2: Natural Selection and Reproduction, Lesson 2.2, students use the natural selection simulation to show how resource availability can affect the longevity of a population and its reproduction, as well as, contributing to adaptive traits over time.
  • LS2.A-M3. In Grade 6, Unit: Population and Resources, Chapter 2: Energy and Changes to Populations, Lesson 2.4, students use a simulation model to control resource availability, which determines the rate of growth for the population.
  • LS2.A-M4. In Grade 7, Unit: Population and Resources, Chapter 1: Stability and Change in Populations, Lesson 1.2, students read an article titled “Arctic Ecosystems” that describes multiple food relationships, predatory and otherwise, between organisms. In Chapter 3: Indirect Effects in Ecosystems, Lesson 3.3, students use a population simulation to determine the effect of many populations in an area with limited resources.
  • LS2.B-M1. In Grade 7, Unit: Matter and Energy in Ecosystems, Chapter 2: Cellular Respiration in Ecosystems, Lesson 2.2, students use an ecosystem simulation to watch how matter and energy are transferred between producers, consumers, and decomposers in an ecosystem.
  • LS2.C-M1. In Grade 7, Unit: Matter and Energy in Ecosystems, Chapter 1: Photosynthesis, Lessons 1.3 and 1.6, students read an article on “Biodome Files” and use an ecosystem simulation to determine what happened to the fictional biodome. Students look at needs of biodomes, as well as, claims regarding what affected the organisms in the biodome to where they could not function as a system. Students then use evidence to support a claim about the cause of the biodome issues.
  • LS2.C-M2. In Grade 7, Unit: Populations and Resource, Chapter 3: Indirect Effects in Ecosystems, Lesson 3.1, students read the article, “Jelly Population Explosion” comparing two populations in Africa and how changes to an ecosystem can lead to shifts in populations. In later lessons, students apply their learning to explain the changes in the Arctic population.
  • LS3.A-M1. In Grade 8, Unit: Natural Selection, Chapter 3: Mutation and Adaptive Traits, Lesson 3.1, students read and annotate the article “Mutations” about protein mutations and the changes to the structures and functions in lobsters, cane toads, and bed bugs.
  • LS3.A-M2. In Grade 6, Unit: Traits and Reproduction, Chapter 1: Exploring Variation in Spider Silk, Lesson 1.2, students use a simulation to manipulate the gene variation inside spider cells and observe the effect on offspring.
  • LS3.B-M1 and LS3.B-M2. In Grade 6, Unit: Traits and Reproduction, Chapter 3: Investigating Spider Inheritance, Lesson 3.3, students use a simulation model to show reproduction between two spiders. The simulation shows chromosomes from both parents. Students can pair up egg and sperm cells to create an offspring and analyze the traits and genes acquired. Students can also choose to mutate sperm or egg cells and to analyze the effect of the mutation.
  • LS4.A-M1. In Grade 8, Unit: Evolutionary History, Chapter 1: Finding Species Similarities, Lesson 1.3, students read the article “How You are Like a Blue Whale” to understand how the fossil record documents the existence and changes of life forms over time, as well as, the many forms organisms take throughout history.
  • LS4.A-M2. In Grade 8, Unit: Evolutionary History, Chapter 1: Finding Species Similarities, Lesson 1.2, students use information they have learned about fossils to group organism cards into at least two groups based on ways the organisms are similar to each other. Students are applying what they have learned to determine where a new fossil should be classified based on similar structure evidence.
  • LS4.A-M3. In Grade 8, Unit: Evolutionary History, Chapter 3: Identifying Related Species, Lesson 3.1, students read the article “Comparing Embryos: Evidence for Common Ancestors" to gather information and view visual evidence of embryos from a chicken, tortoise, salamander and fish for similarities and differences.
  • LS4.B-M1. In Grade 8, Unit: Natural Selection, Chapter 1: Environmental Change and Trait Distribution, Lesson 1.4, students analyze histograms to determine how the distribution of traits over time has affected the populations.
  • LS4.B-M2. In Grade 8, Unit: Natural Selection, Chapter 3: Mutation and Adaptive Traits, Lesson 3.2, students read the article "How to Make a Venomous Cabbage" to gather information on how scientists can use genetic engineering to change an organism’s genes so the organism has different traits than it normally would.
  • LS4.C-M1. In Grade 8, Unit: Natural Selection, Chapter 2: Natural Selection and Reproduction, Lesson 2.2, students create a model to help explain how beak strength traits are passed down, and how the distribution of traits in a bird population can change.
  • LS4.D-M1. In Grade 7, Unit: Populations and Resources, Chapter 3: Indirect Effects in Ecosystems, Lesson 3.1, students read the article “Jelly Population Explosion" to gather information about how human change can affect populations, including setting fishing limits to help with biodiversity.

Examples of grade-band life science DCIs partially addressed in the materials:

  • LS1.C-M2. In Grade 6, Unit: Metabolism, Chapter 3: Cellular Respiration, Lesson 3.1, students use the Metabolism Simulation to investigate the interaction of body systems at an organ and cellular level, and how food is broken down and rearranged to form new molecules in the body to release energy. Within the simulation, students can change the amount and type of food, the amount of energy needed, and various medical conditions to see how each variable changes the speed and efficiency of the processes. Students are able to zoom-in to see the cellular respiration process inside the cells. However, the materials do not help students make the connection of how the chemical reactions support growth.
  • LS1.D-M1. In Grade 8, Unit: Light Waves, Chapter 4: Science Seminar, Lesson 4.2, students support a claim about whether crabs near the ocean floor can see the plankton they eat and the color the plankton appear. This partially addresses this element in terms of light and photoreceptors/eyes, but does not address the other sense receptors or how memories are stored.

Indicator 2d.iii

Earth and Space Sciences
2/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 partially meet expectations that materials incorporate all grade-band disciplinary core ideas for earth and space sciences. Across the series, the materials incorporate all of the earth and space science DCI components and most of the grade-band elements. The earth and space science DCIs are incorporated within each grade level throughout the series. In some cases, students read and annotate articles through a process called Active Reading, sometimes followed by other opportunities for students to engage in multiple activities related to the DCI in the context of other dimensions. Students frequently work with the SEPs and CCCs to build and use knowledge of the earth and space science DCIs.

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

  • ESS1.A-M1. In Grade 8, Unit: Earth, Moon, and Sun, Chapter 1: Light and Dark on the Moon, Lesson 1.2, students use the Earth, Moon, and Sun Simulation to observe and predict movements of the earth and moon, relative to the sun, and explain the effects of these movements. In Lesson 1.3, students create a physical model to visualize the patterns of light and dark similar to the sun’s reflection on the moon’s surface as it travels around earth.
  • ESS1.B-M1. In Grade 8, Unit: Earth, Moon and Sun, Chapter 2: Moon Phases, Lesson 2.4, students compare and contrast our star and galaxy with others. Students use the Earth, Moon, and Sun Modeling Tool to order and match the correct phases of the moon. As Homework, students read “Gravity in the Solar System” to connect their understanding of how the moon moves around the earth to how planets move around the sun.
  • ESS1.B-M2. In Grade 8, Unit: Earth, Moon and Sun, Chapter 3: Lunar Eclipses, Lesson 3.1, students use the Earth, Moon, and Sun Simulation to create a three-view mode to observe how an eclipse of the sun and/or moon can occur. As Homework, students read the article, “The Endless Summer of the Arctic Tern” to answer questions about how the earth’s tilt is relative to its orbit around the sun and how the tilt and orbit impact seasons.
  • ESS1.B-M3. In Grade 8, Unit: Earth, Moon and Sun, Chapter 2: Moon Phases, Lesson 2.4, students read and annotate the article, “Gravity in the Solar System” that provides them an explanation of the beginning of the solar system.
  • ESS1.C-M1. In Grade 7, Unit: Plate Motion, Chapter 1: Introducing Earth’s Outer Layer, Lesson 1.1, students investigate fossils and cross sections of land to learn how land can help determine the relative age of fossils.
  • ESS1.C-M2. In Grade 7, Unit: Plate Motion Engineering Internship, Day 2, students gather, analyze, and apply evidence from the digital model in the dossier about the patterns of landforms at different plate boundaries. In “Plate Motion and Tsunamis”, students read about the effect of tectonic processes on the seafloor.
  • ESS2.A-M1. In Grade 7, Unit: Geology on Mars, Chapter 1: Comparing Earth and Rocky Planets, Lesson 1.2, students watch a video about how earth’s different systems interact to create and cause flow on earth. Students use “Google Mars” to identify physical landforms similar in appearance to landforms on earth. Students also use information from their investigation to build understanding of how similar landforms on other planets may be evidence of the planet having similar geological system actions.
  • ESS2.A-M2. In Grade 7, Unit: Plate Motion, Chapter 1: Introducing Earth’s Outer Layer, Lesson 1.2, students compare core samples from different world geographic locations to determine what the land is like underneath earth’s surface.
  • ESS2.B-M1. In Grade 6, Unit: Ocean, Atmosphere, and Climate, Chapter 4: Science Seminar, Lesson 4.1, students compare maps, from ancient to modern, to link ancient climate to modern climate on the same land mass in different locations. In Grade 7, Unit: Plate Motion, Chapter 3: Investigating the Rate of Plate Movement, Lesson 3.3, students use a hands-on model to reconstruct and provide evidence for an explanation for the possible locations of land and oceans 200 million years ago.
  • ESS2.C-M2. In Grade 6, Unit: Ocean, Atmosphere, and Climate, Chapter 3: Ocean Currents and Prevailing Winds, Lesson 3.3, students use a diagram of ocean currents to help them apply previous knowledge to make a claim about what causes ocean currents.
  • ESS2.C-M3. In Grade 6, Unit: Ocean, Atmosphere, and Climate, Chapter 2: Ocean Currents, Lesson 2.1, students read and annotate the article “The Ocean in Motion” to make sense of why shoes are washing up on ocean shores and how they managed to get into the ocean. Students also use this information, along with an additional diagram, to relate how sunlight and latitude affect water temperature and movement to construct an explanation as to where the shoes are coming from, as well as, how and why they travel in predictable patterns due to currents.
  • ESS2.C-M4. In Grade 6, Unit: Ocean, Atmosphere and Climate, Chapter 3: Ocean Currents and Prevailing Winds, Lesson 3.3, students read an article to learn how changes in energy and density, among other complex interactions, drive the movement of deep ocean currents.
  • ESS2.D-M1. In Grade 6, Unit: Ocean, Atmosphere, and Climate, Chapter 3: Ocean Currents and Prevailing Winds, Lesson 3.1, students use a model to determine how currents are influenced by winds and land masses.
  • ESS2.D-M2. In Grade 6, Unit: Weather Patterns, Chapter 3: Exploring Wind and Pressure, Lesson 3.2, students read the article “How We Predict the Weather” to understand how meteorologists use models to read patterns, calculate probability, and provide good estimates for weather predictions.
  • ESS2.D-M3. In Grade 6, Unit: Ocean, Atmosphere, and Climate, Chapter 2: Ocean Currents, Lesson 2.3, students evaluate a map of ocean currents and explain the reason for the location of the great garbage patch.
  • ESS3.B-M1. In Grade 6, Unit: Ocean, Atmosphere, and Climate, Chapter 1: Air Temperature, Lesson 1.2, students read an article about the effect of El Nino in different regions, including drought, landslides, and malaria. In Grade 7, Unit: Plate Motion Engineering Internship, students analyze and apply evidence from the digital model and dossier about the patterns of landforms at different plate boundaries and determine if earthquakes at those plate boundaries are capable of causing tsunamis.
  • ESS3.D-M1. In Grade 6, Unit: Earth’s Changing Climate,Chapter 3: Human Activity and Climate, Lesson 3.1, students investigate impacts of human activities on the atmosphere using the Earth’s Changing Climate Simulation. After using the simulation, students watch the video, “Combustion” before analyzing and evaluating data about human impacts. In Unit: Earth’s Changing Climate Engineering Internship, students create roof modification designs as a way to reduce climate impact.

Examples of grade-band earth and space science DCI elements partially addressed in the materials:

  • ESS1.A-M2. In Grade 8, Unit: Earth, Moon, and Sun, Chapter 4: Science Seminar, Lesson 4.1, students compare and contrast our galaxy and star with others. Students use a visual of the planet, Kepler-47c, as it orbits around two stars. While students are told that earth is part of the Milky Way galaxy, there is little in the unit to build an understanding that there are many galaxies in the universe.
  • ESS2.C-M1. In Grade 6, Unit: Weather Patterns, Chapter 1: Understanding Rain Clouds, Lesson 1.2, students use a simulation to explore how the amount of surface water and temperature affects the amount of water vapor in the air. In Lesson 1.3, students use physical and digital models to investigate how energy transfer from air parcels result in condensation. Crystallization and downhill flows on land are not included in the materials.
  • ESS2.C-M5. In Grade 7, Unit: Geology on Mars, Chapter 2: Using Models as Evidence, Lesson 2,1, students read the article “Investigating Landforms on Venus” to gather information about how movement of materials underground can form observable land features above ground. In Lesson 2.2, students complete a hands-on modeling activity using stream tables, water, and soil to create land formations on the surface. Underground formation changes are not included in the materials.
  • ESS3.A-M1. In Grade 6, Unit: Earth’s Changing Climate, Chapter 1: Climate and the Atmosphere, Lesson 1.2, students read the article “The Effects of Climate Change” to understand how humans depend on earth’s biosphere for food. Students also see how changes in temperature impact the hydrosphere, atmosphere, biosphere, and geosphere, and are changing the patterns of where living things can exist. In Chapter 2: Energy Entering and Leaving Earth’s System, Lesson 2.2, students read the article “Past Climate Changes on Earth” to understand how changes to the climate in the past may have limited the ability of some creatures to survive. Students do not develop the understanding of how uneven distribution of resources can be caused by geological processes.
  • ESS3.C-M1. In Grade 7, Unit: Populations and Resources, Chapter 3: Indirect Effects in Ecosystems, Lesson 3.2, students read an article, “Jelly Population Explosion” describing the effects of sardine fishing practices on the jelly population by reducing the competition for zooplankton. This reading partially addresses the element by emphasizing how humans can damage natural habitats. It does not address the components of the element related to extinction or positive impacts for organisms.

Example of a grade-band earth and space science DCI element missing from the materials:

  • ESS3.C-M2.  The materials do not include the element of how typically as human populations and per capita consumption of natural resources increase, so do the negative impacts on earth unless the activities and technologies involved are engineered otherwise.

Indicator 2d.iv

Engineering, Technology, and Applications of Science
4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6-8 meet expectations that materials incorporate all grade-band disciplinary core ideas for engineering, technology, and applications of science (ETS). Across the series, the materials incorporate all ETS DCIs and associated grade-band elements, primarily during the Engineering Internships units. Students engage with engineering-related DCIs as they simultaneously engage with the science DCIs (life, physical, earth/space).

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

  • ETS1.A-M1. In Grade 8, Unit: Natural Selection Engineering Internship, students make a design decision about the combination of drugs to use for a malaria drug treatment meeting the following criteria: minimizing the drug resistance in the malaria parasite population, minimizing patient side effects, and keeping costs low. Students read articles in the dossier and work in the MalariaMed Design Tool to isolate variables to learn more about the criteria and constraints.
  • ETS1.B-M1. In Grade 6, Unit: Metabolism Engineering Internship, students use a design tool to test their recipe to determine how the ingredients they select impact metabolism, cost, and taste. Students use the data to redesign their recipe and submit their recipe to the project director for feedback on how to improve their design.
  • ETS1.B-M2. In Grade 8, Unit Forces and Motion Engineering Internship, students use mathematical thinking to graph and analyze patterns in data from their iterative tests. They look closely at relationships between mass, velocity, impact force, and each of the design criteria to design an emergency pod for delivering supplies.   
  • ETS1.B-M3. Grade 7, Unit: Phase Changes Engineering Internship, students begin designing an effective portable incubator to keep a baby warm. They use a digital model to test their solutions, using what they know about phase change, energy transfer, and insulation. Students consider the different models tested in the BabyWarmer Design Tool to decide which parts of their different solutions should be included within the optimal solution.
  • ETS1.B-M4. In Grade 7, Unit: Plate Motion Engineering Internship, students use the digital Tsunami Alert Design Tool and a physical model to understand wind-driven tsunami waves and to gather evidence to design a tsunami warning system.
  • ETS1.C-M1. In Grade 6, Unit: Earth’s Changing Climate Engineering Internship, students iteratively test their roof designs in the RoofMod Design Tool to create a roof meeting the following criteria: reducing climate impact, maintaining historical character, and keeping costs low. Students communicate their strongest design solutions to the project director for feedback and use the feedback to create their optimal design.
  • ETS1.C-M2. In Grade 6: Unit: Metabolism Engineering Internship, students use a design tool to collect data on their recipe for a health bar to see how it compares with the criteria. Students analyze the data obtained from the design tool to prepare a final proposal that justifies their design choices and how they meet the criteria.

Indicator 2e

Materials incorporate all grade-band Science and Engineering Practices.
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Indicator 2e.i

Asking Questions and Defining Problems
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Indicator Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6-8 do not meet expectations that the materials incorporate the science and engineering practice of Asking Questions and Defining Problems and all grade-band elements across the series. Across the series, the materials fully incorporate only half of the grade-band elements. Elements SEP-AQDP-M1 and SEP-AQDP-M3 are considered missing because materials did not require or explicitly prompt students to ask their own questions to investigate or gather data to support and build their ideas. Elements SEP-AQDP-M5 and SEP-AQDP-M6 are considered missing because they are not incorporated into the core materials, instead they are only incorporated in an optional homework assignment. 

Examples of grade-band elements of Asking Questions and Defining Problems present in the materials:

  • AQDP-M2. In Grade 6, Unit: Ocean, Atmosphere, and Climate, Chapter 4: Science Seminar, Lesson 4.1, teachers are prompted to ask students, “What questions do you have about the evidence?” as students annotate the provided Evidence Cards and prepare their explanation to answer the Science Seminar question.
  • AQDP-M4. In Grade 8, Unit: Earth, Moon, and Sun, Chapter 4: Science Seminar, Lesson 4.1, students are provided with sentence starters including, “Why do you think that?” to facilitate student-to-student discussions about the evidence they are sorting as they develop and revise their claim.
  • AQDP-M7. In Grade 6, Unit: Traits and Reproduction, Chapter 2: Examining Spider Genes, Lesson 2.4, students use the Write and Share routine to share their ideas and challenge those of their group related to the gene evidence they are providing. As part of the routine, students are prompted to make comments or ask questions that challenge the evidence, argument, or explanation. After the routine, students revise their explanations based on questions or feedback they have received.
  • AQDP-M8 In Grade 6, Unit: Metabolism Engineering Internship, students solve a design problem by developing a nutrition bar meeting multiple criteria and constraints. On Day 10, students apply what they learned from designing their nutrition bar and define a new engineering problem related to food scarcity, food packaging or meeting metabolic needs. Students identify criteria through a criteria brainstorm protocol.

Examples of grade-band elements of Asking Questions and Defining Problems missing from the materials, not requiring or explicitly prompting students to ask questions:

  • AQDP-M1. In Grade 6, Unit: Thermal Energy, Chapter 2: Temperature and Energy, Lesson 2.2, students annotate an article with regard to unexpected results when reading “How Air Conditioners are Heating the City.” Later in Chapter 3: Changes in Temperature, Lesson 3.2, students work with the Energy Cube Model to complete their models and clarify any questions they have. Students are not explicitly guided or expected to ask questions.
  • AQDP-M3. In Grade 8, Unit: Force and Motion, Chapter 1: Force and Velocity, Lesson 1.3, students use a simulation to gather data answering the question, “What makes an object’s motion change?” Students try to determine how to exert a force (independent variable) to cause an object’s velocity to change (dependent variable), but students do not ask questions to determine the relationships.

Examples of grade-band elements of Asking Questions and Defining Problems missing from the materials, but were included in optional activities only:

  • AQDP-M5. In Grade 8, Unit: Magnetic Fields, Chapter 3: Exploring the Strength of Magnetic Force, Lesson 3.5, students generate one question to be investigated. Students also cite evidence needed to answer the question.
  • AQDP-M6. In Grade 8, Unit: Magnetic Fields, Chapter 3: Exploring the Strength of Magnetic Force, Lesson 3.5, students are guided to ask new questions about their investigation into magnets, record their questions, and explain a hypothesis they created about what they think will happen if they followed their plan for investigating their new questions about magnets.

Indicator 2e.ii

Developing and Using Models
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Indicator Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6-8 meet expectations that the materials incorporate the science and engineering practice of Developing and Using Models and all grade-band elements across the series. Elements of this SEP were not included from above or below the grade band without connecting to the grade-band elements of this SEP. The materials include numerous opportunities for students to develop or use models within each grade level and across the series.

Examples of grade-band elements of Developing and Using Models present in the materials:

  • MOD-M1. In Grade 7, Unit: Chemical Reactions, Chapter 3: Accounting for Atoms, Lesson 3.4, in the On-The-Fly Assessment, students are asked to explain what information they can obtain from the atomic scale models and how the atoms shown are different from actual atoms to identify limitations of models.
  • MOD-M2. In Grade 6, Unit: Ocean, Atmosphere, and Climate, Chapter 3: Ocean Currents and Prevailing Winds, Lesson 3.3, students use the Modeling Tool to show the effects of wind on land and air temperature. Students then change variables (stop or reverse direction of the wind) in the Ocean, Atmosphere, and Climate Sim to create the effect of changing the air temperature at a location. Students develop their initial model based on what happens as they change variables.
  • MOD-M3 In Grade 7, Unit: Populations and Resources, Chapter 2: Energy and Changes to Populations, Lesson 2.1, students use a simulation to study changes in populations of organisms and dependency on food resources. Students determine the factors impacting the system are uncertain and not predictable when trying to predict organism populations.
  • MOD-M4. In Grade 6, Unit: Ocean, Atmosphere, and Climate, Chapter 3: Ocean Currents and Prevailing Winds, Lesson 3.3, students use the Modeling Tool to show the relationship between wind on land and air temperature. Students predict the effect of changing the air temperature at a location and use the Ocean, Atmosphere, and Climate Sim to test the effects of changing variables. In Lesson 3.4, students revise their models, incorporating any new evidence from the simulation.
  • MOD-M5 In Grade 6, Unit: Weather Patterns, Chapter 1: Understanding Rain Clouds, Lesson 1.6, students use the Modeling Tool to create models for two storms to show whether low or high amounts of surface water can affect the amount of rain in a town.
  • MOD-M6 In Grade 6, Unit: Metabolism, Chapter 1: Molecules Needed by the Cells, Lesson 1.3, students read the article “Molecules Cells Need” then use the Metabolism Modeling Tool to represent their ideas about the molecules found in a healthy cell.
  • MOD-M7 In Grade 7, Unit: Plate Motion Engineering Internship: Tsunami Warning Systems, students use a virtual simulation as a model to test their design solution as they collect data on earthquake magnitude.

Indicator 2e.iii

Planning and Carrying Out Investigations
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Indicator Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6-8 meet expectations that the materials incorporate the science and engineering practice of Planning and Carrying Out Investigations and all grade-band elements across the series. Across the series, the materials partially address SEP-INV-M3. Elements of this SEP were not included from above or below the grade band without connecting to the grade-band elements of this SEP. The materials include numerous opportunities for students to plan and carry out investigations within each grade level and across the series.

Examples of grade-band elements of Planning and Carrying Out Investigations present in the materials:

  • INV-M1. In Grade 8, Unit: Force and Motion, Chapter 2: Mass and Velocity, Lesson 2.1, students individually plan an investigation of the forces on different objects. Students identify variables (independent, dependent), controls, what tools are needed to measure the results, and how many trials they will need to conduct for each object.
  • INV-M2. In Grade 6, Unit: Ocean, Atmosphere, and Climate, Chapter 1: Air Temperature, Lesson 1.3, students use a simulation to generate data about the investigative question, “How does air get energy?” In Chapter 2: Ocean Currents, Lesson 2.3, students build on what they have learned using the simulation to collaboratively plan an investigation where students identify variables (independent, dependent, and controls), and tools needed to gather data.
  • INV-M4. In Grade 7, Unit: Plate Motion Engineering Internship, students collect data to inform their design for a tsunami warning system. Students then use a simulation to test their design and collect new data.
  • INV-M5. In Grade 8, Unit: Natural Selection Engineering Internship, Day 5, students optimize the treatment solution for malaria to prevent it leading to drug resistance. Students isolate and test variables in the MalariaMed Simulation to test how different drugs, doses, and number of days can be changed to optimize the design solution.


Example of a grade-band element of Planning and Carrying Out Investigations partially addressed in the materials:

  • INV-M3. In Grade 7, Unit: Population and Resources, Chapter 1: Stability and Change in Populations, Lesson 1.4, students are introduced to evidence collection by sampling and compare evidence cards to evaluate which sample provides a better representation of the population. While students evaluate different samples, they do not evaluate the accuracy of various methods for collecting data.

Indicator 2e.iv

Analyzing and Interpreting Data
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Indicator Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6-8 partially meet expectations that the materials incorporate the science and engineering practice of Analyzing and Interpreting Data and all grade-band elements across the series. Across the series, the materials incorporate nearly all grade-band elements; the materials do not address SEP-DATA-M5. Elements of this SEP were not included from above or below the grade band without connecting to the grade-band elements of this SEP. The materials include numerous opportunities for students to analyze and interpret data within each grade level and across the series.

Examples of grade-band elements of Analyzing and Interpreting Data present in the materials:

  • DATA-M4. In Grade 8, Unit: Natural Selection, Chapter 4: Science Seminar, Lesson 4.1, students use a graphic to gather evidence about how colors of light penetrate ocean water. They interpret the data in the graphic to support or refute a claim about whether crabs can see plankton in deep water.
  • DATA-M6. In Grade 8, Unit: Force and Motion, Chapter 2: Mass and Velocity, Lesson 2.1, students explore the relationship between mass, force, and change in velocity by planning and conducting investigations with physical materials. Students predict how many trials are planned and the teacher explains how multiple data points are needed to account for errors in testing and improved ability of students to identify patterns. The materials also provide support to help teachers understand how instantaneous velocity can’t be found using tools in this lesson.
  • DATA-M7. In Grade 6, Unit: Traits and Reproduction, Chapter 3, Investigating Spider Inheritance, Lesson 3.2, the teacher demonstrates how to use the Traits and Reproduction Simulation to mate two spiders, Otis and Anne. Students mate these same two spiders on their devices. The Lesson Guide prompts teachers to address how students may generate different offspring from the the teacher's generated example. The teacher is prompted to ask students to “compare trials and then discuss why the results are different.”
  • DATA-M8. In Grade 7, Unit: Phase Changes Engineering Internship, students design solutions and test them in a digital model using what they know about phase change, energy transfer, and insulation to meet the design criteria.


Examples of grade-band elements of Analyzing and Interpreting Data partially addressed in the materials:

  • DATA-M1. In Grade 6, Unit: Ocean, Atmosphere, and Climate, Chapter 3: Human Activity and Climate, Lesson 3.1, students use the Earth’s Changing Climate Simulation to test different human activities and the changes they make to carbon dioxide or methane in the atmosphere. The sim generates graphs which students can analyze and interpret trends in temperature, surface ice, absorbed energy, carbon dioxide, and methane, based on the variables they changed. The materials do not require students to identify whether the trends are linear or nonlinear.
  • DATA-M2. In Grade 7, Unit: Plate Motion, Chapter 2: Understanding Plate Boundaries, Lesson 2.4, students use the Plate Motion Sim to compare visual models showing plate boundary changes over large time periods and distances. Students compare changes in boundaries for convergent and divergent plate movements. While students are building an understanding of temporal/spatial changes, they are not required to identify relationships.
  • DATA-M3. In Grade 6, Unit: Earth’s Changing Climate, Chapter 1: Climate and Atmosphere, Lesson 1.5, students examine graphs showing a correlation between increased carbon dioxide or methane and increased temperature. In Chapter 2: Energy Entering and Leaving Earth’s System, Lesson 2.1, students read a message from the head climatologist acknowledging their evidence shows a correlation and requesting students “investigate how an increase in carbon dioxide or methane could cause increased temperature.” The Lesson Guide provides prompts for teachers explaining the difference between correlation and causation. While the two concepts of correlation and causation are included, addressed and differentiated within this unit, it is not a focus of the materials; the Science Notes in the Lesson Guide acknowledge “distinguishing correlation from causation is not a focus of this unit,” resulting in students not being required to distinguish between causal and correlational relationships.


Example of a grade-band element of Analyzing and Interpreting Data missing from the materials:

  • DATA-M5. The materials do not incorporate the element for students to apply concepts of statistics and probability (including mean, median, mode, and variability) to analyze and characterize data, using digital tools when feasible.

Indicator 2e.v

Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking
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Indicator Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6-8 partially meet expectations that the materials incorporate the science and engineering practice of Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking and across the series. Across the series, the materials incorporate nearly all grade-band elements; the materials did not address SEP-MATH-M3 due to students not creating algorithms to solve a problem. Elements of this SEP were not included from above or below the grade-band without connecting to the grade-band elements of this SEP. The materials include numerous opportunities for students to use mathematics and computational thinking within each grade level and across the series.

Examples of grade-band elements of Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking present in the materials:

  • MATH-M1. In Grade 8, Unit: Natural Selection, Chapter 1: Environmental Change and Trait Distribution, Lesson 1.4, students use a simulation to analyze population data for 50 generations to predict the population of an organism due to a specific trait.
  • MATH-M2. In Grade 8, Unit: Force and Motion Engineering Internship, students use mathematical thinking to graph and analyze patterns in data from their iterative tests; looking closely at relationships between mass, velocity, and impact force; and analyzing each of their design criteria.
  • MATH-M4 In Grade 6, Unit: Weather Patterns, Chapter 2: Investigating Temperature, Lesson 2.3, students use the simulation to identify proportional relationships between energy transferred, the height of the parcel in the troposphere, and the amount of rain.
  • MATH-M5. In Grade 7, Unit: Plate Motion Engineering Internship, students use data to compare proposed solutions to their design challenge using the simulation.

Examples of grade-band elements of Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking missing from the materials:

  • MATH-M3. The materials do not incorporate the element requiring students to create algorithms (a series of ordered steps) to solve a problem.

Indicator 2e.vi

Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
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Indicator Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6-8 meet expectations that the materials incorporate the science and engineering practice of Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions and all grade-band elements across the series. Across the series, the materials incorporate all grade-band elements. Elements of this SEP were not included from above or below the grade-band without connecting to the grade-band elements of this SEP. The materials include numerous opportunities for students to construct explanations and design solutions within each grade level and across the series.

Examples of grade-band elements of Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions present in the materials:

  • CEDS-M1. In Grade 6, Unit Weather Patterns, Chapter 1: Understanding Rain Clouds Lesson 1.5, students use a simulation to gather data to answer the question, “What causes an air parcel to cool?” Students construct an explanation predicting future storm strength by analyzing temperature, wind, and humidity.
  • CEDS-M2. In Grade 6, Unit: Weather Patterns, Chapter 1: Understanding Rain Clouds, Lesson 1.6, students construct a visual model to explain the effect of increased surface water on the amount of rainfall.
  • CEDS-M3. In Grade 7, Unit: Geology on Mars, Chapter 1: Comparing Earth and Rocky Planets, Lesson 1.2, and Chapter 3: Analyzing New Evidence, Lesson 3.2, students compare igneous and sedimentary rock samples from earth and data collected about rocks on mars to determine if landforms on mars could possibly serve as evidence that there was once water on the surface of mars.
  • CEDS-M4. In Grade 7, Unit: Plate Motion, Chapter 3: Investigating the Rate of Plate Movement, Lesson 3.4, students use evidence collected through scientific articles, GPS data, and fossil records to explain how the Mesosaurus fossils spread so far apart.  
  • CEDS-M5. In Grade 6, Unit: Oceans, Atmosphere, and Climate, Chapter 4: Science Seminar, Lesson 4.1, students compare the location of South China during the late Carboniferous period to a current global map before making a claim about whether the air is warmer today than in the past. Students evaluate provided evidence cards and determine whether each card provides evidence supporting their claim or disproving their claim.
  • CEDS-M6. In Grade 7, Unit: Plate Motion Engineering Internship, students apply scientific principles about plate boundaries, earthquakes, and tsunamis to design a tsunami warning system.
  • CEDS-M7. In Grade 7, Unit: Plate Motion Engineering Internship, students test a design of a tsunami warning system.  Students compare their design to the criteria and constraints several times throughout the process.
  • CEDS-M8. In Grade 7, Unit: Plate Motion Engineering Internship, students receive and discuss design feedback, consider design trade-offs, and use the digital model to revise and test their sensor plans to create optimal designs.

Indicator 2e.vii

Engaging in Argument from Evidence
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Indicator Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6-8 meet expectations that the materials incorporate the science and engineering practice of Engaging in Argument from Evidence and all grade-band elements across the series. Across the series, the materials incorporate all grade-band elements. Elements of this SEP were not included from above or below the grade-band without connecting to the grade-band elements of this SEP. The materials include numerous opportunities for students to engage in argument from evidence within each grade level and across the series.

Examples of grade-band elements of Engaging in Argument from Evidence present in the materials:

  • ARG-M1. In Grade 6, Unit: Ocean, Atmosphere, and Climate, Chapter 1: Air Temperature, Lesson 1.3, students collaborate to evaluate two claims related to how air gets energy and whether the evidence supports one of the two claims.
  • ARG-M2. In Grade 6, Unit: Ocean, Atmosphere, and Climate, Chapter 2: Ocean Currents, Lesson 2.3, students describe evidence supporting the claims they made regarding the air temperature of Buenos Aires and Cape Town in a student to student discussion.
  • ARG-M3. In Grade 8, Unit: Light Waves, Chapter 4: Science Seminar, Lesson 4.1, students use provided evidence cards to determine which evidence best supports or refutes claims when answering the question, “Can the crabs see the plankton they eat near the ocean floor?” Students sort and discuss the evidence cards, then write a claim using appropriate evidence from the cards to support their claim and reasoning.  
  • ARG-M4. In Grade 8, Unit: Phase Change, Chapter 4: Science Seminar, Lesson 4.1, students evaluate the Liquid Oxygen Machine to determine why it is producing less liquid oxygen than normal. Students use the Modeling Tool to determine why the tank is not working to its optimum capacity.
  • ARG-M5. In Grade 6, Unit: Earth’s Changing Climate Engineering Internship, Day 10, students apply what they learned from designing the roof modification during a brainstorm session. Groups of students brainstorm possible solutions, constraints, and criteria, then evaluate which proposed design is the best solution to meet all criteria to reduce a city’s climate impact on the environment.

Indicator 2e.viii

Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information
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Indicator Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6-8 meet expectations that the materials incorporate the science and engineering practice of Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information and all grade-band elements across the series. Across the series, the materials incorporate nearly all grade-band elements. Elements of this SEP were not included from above or below the grade-band without connecting to the grade-band elements of this SEP. The materials include numerous opportunities for students to obtain, evaluate, and communicate information within each grade level and across the series.

Examples of grade-band elements of Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information present in the materials:

  • INFO-M1. In Grade 7, Unit: Plate Motion Engineering Internship, students gather and analyze evidence while reading the dossier about the patterns of landforms occurring at different plate boundaries and whether earthquakes at the plate boundaries are capable of causing tsunamis.  
  • INFO-M2. In Grade 8, Unit: Evolutionary History, Chapter 1: Finding Species Similarities, Lesson 1.4, students engage in Active Reading strategies to analyze qualitative information along with a visual display in the article, “The Great Tree of Life” to support the claim about all mammals sharing evolutionary origins.
  • INFO-M3. In Grade 6, Unit: Weather Patterns, Chapter 3: Exploring Wind and Pressure, Lesson 3.2, students work independently to consider what information is more trustworthy based on the source to help them determine severity of storms. Students use the Evidence Criterion and the Evidence Gradient to sort stronger and weaker sources based on the criterion.
  • INFO-M5. In Grade 7, Unit: Phase Change Engineering Internship, students analyze data from the Futura BabyWarmer Design Tool and investigate the effects of insulating materials in an incubation system on energy transfer and temperature change. Students develop a proposal based on their design including their design based criteria, design priorities, and trade-offs in their optimal design.

Example of a grade-band element of Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information partially addressed in the materials:

  • INFO-M4. The instructional materials provide scientific text for students to read and analyze information aligned to specific core ideas. Additionally, the materials provide opportunities for students to use evidence to support or refute their own claims or those of others’ in their class. However, students are not afforded opportunity to evaluate data, hypotheses, and/or conclusions in scientific and technical texts with competing information or accounts.

Indicator 2f

Materials incorporate all grade-band Crosscutting Concepts.
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Indicator 2f.i

Patterns
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Indicator Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6-8 meet expectations that the materials incorporate the crosscutting concept of Patterns and all grade-band elements across the series. Across the series, the materials incorporate all grade-band elements. Elements of this CCC were not included from above or below the grade-band without connecting to the grade-band elements of this CCC. The materials include numerous opportunities for students to engage in understanding patterns within each grade level and across the series.

Examples of grade-band elements of Patterns present in the materials:

  • PAT-M1. In Grade 7, Unit: Chemical Reactions, Chapter 4: Science Seminar, Lesson 4.1, students solve a crime by identifying an unknown substance. Students compare physical properties (color, odor, and phase at room temperature) of four corrosive substances with observations the officer at the scene recorded. Students investigate possible suspects who recently ordered different chemical substances. Students determine what patterns of atoms (numbers and types) make up the unknown substance and then determine which suspect recently ordered substances with the corresponding atoms that could be rearranged in the same pattern as the unknown substance.
  • PAT-M2. In Grade 7, Unit: Plate Motion, Chapter 3: Investigating the Rate of Plate Movement, Lesson 3.1, students use a simulation to calculate the rate and direction of plate movement. In Lesson 3.3, students read “A Continental Puzzle” to learn how patterns in fossils and rock composition of mountain ranges across continents provide evidence further helping students understand rates of past plate motion as they construct a paper model of Gondwanaland.  
  • PAT-M3. In Grade 6, Unit: Ocean, Atmosphere, and Climate, Chapter 1: Air Temperature, Lesson 1.4, students synthesize visual information from world maps showing global air temperature and incoming energy from the sun, to answer the question, “Why do different locations have different air temperatures?” Students use the Modeling Tool to show how patterns in latitude correlate to incoming energy from the sun, and the explanation of why locations of similar latitude have similar air temperatures.
  • PAT-M4. In Grade 8, Unit: Light Waves, Chapter 1: Changes Caused by Light, Lesson 1.1, students use a map of skin cancer rates to discern patterns in rates of skin cancer in different geographical locations.

Indicator 2f.ii

Cause and Effect
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Indicator Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6-8 meet expectations that the materials incorporate the crosscutting concept of Cause and Effect and all grade-band elements across the series. Across the series, the materials incorporate all grade-band elements. Elements of this CCC were not included from above or below the grade-band without connecting to the grade-band elements of this CCC. The materials include numerous opportunities for students to engage in understanding cause and effect within each grade level and across the series.

Examples of grade-band elements of Cause and Effect present in the materials:

  • CE-M1. In Grade 6, Unit: Earth’s Changing Climate, Chapter 1: Climate and Atmosphere, Lesson 1.5, students examine graphs showing a correlation between increased carbon dioxide or methane and increased temperature. In Chapter 2: Energy Entering and Leaving Earth’s System, Lesson 2.1, students read a message from the head climatologist acknowledging their evidence and how it shows a correlation prompting students to “investigate how an increase in carbon dioxide or methane could cause increased temperature.” The Lesson Guide provides prompts for teachers explaining the difference between correlation and causation. While the two concepts of correlation and causation are addressed and differentiated within this unit, this is not a focus of the materials; the Science Notes in the Lesson Guide acknowledge “distinguishing correlation from causation is not a focus of this unit.”
  • CE-M2. In Grade 6, Unit: Earth’s Changing Climate Engineering Internship, students isolate variables in the design tool to gather evidence for how their roof modifications affect the project criteria. Students use the Futura Workspace model to evaluate the cause and effect relationship of these variables to determine their future design.
  • CE-M3 In Grade 7, Unit: Populations and Resources, Chapter 3: Indirect Effects in Ecosystems, Lesson 3.2, students are prompted to think about direct and indirect effects on populations and on one another.  Students manipulate variables in a simulation to see how various causes contribute to understand population change to help student gather evidence to explain how the greenleaf population decreased.

Indicator 2f.iii

Scale, Proportion, and Quantity
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Indicator Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6-8 partially meet expectations that the materials incorporate the crosscutting concept of Scale, Proportion, and Quantity and grade-band elements across the series. Across the series, the materials incorporate nearly all grade-band elements and the materials do not incorporate SPQ-M4. Elements of this CCC were not included from above or below the grade-band without connecting to the grade-band elements of this CCC. The materials include numerous opportunities for students to engage in understanding scale, proportion, and quantity within each grade level and across the series.

Examples of grade-band elements of Scale, Proportion, and Quantity present in the materials:

  • SPQ-M1. In Grade 8, Unit: Light Waves, Chapter 2: Light as a Wave, Lesson 2.3, students use the Light Waves Simulation to manipulate wavelength and amplitude of light to better understand how amplitude and wavelength affect the type of light. The simulation allows students to make and test custom wavelengths between 1 meter and 1x10-14 meters.
  • SPQ-M2. In Grade 6, Unit: Metabolism, Chapter 2: Body Systems, Lesson 2.2 student read the article, “Patient Stories: Problems with Body Systems (Anemia)” to learn how low iron consumption in the diet (large scale) can lead to lower numbers of red blood cells and less oxygen delivery to cells (small scale), resulting in a person feeling tired (large scale).
  • SPQ-M3. In Grade 8, Unit: Force and Motion, Chapter 1: Force and Velocity, Lesson 1.5, students use the Force and Motion Simulation to investigate the proportional relationship between force, mass, and velocity to build an understanding of how changing the force acting against an object will proportionally change the velocity the object travels.
  • SPQ-M5. In Grade 6, Unit: Microbiome, Chapter 1: Microorganisms On and In the Human Body, Lesson 1.3, students read steps of how swabbing a human hand to prepare a culture in a petri dish allows scientists to see if microorganisms too small to be seen are living on the human hand. Students then view an image of a culture grown on a petri dish to learn how organisms that can’t be observed at one scale, can be observed through a microscope or when they are allowed to reproduce to form large colonies at a scale large enough to be seen.

Example of a grade-band element of Scale, Proportion, and Quantity missing from the materials:

  • SPQ-M4. The materials do not include opportunities for students to represent scientific relationships through usage of algebraic expressions and equations.

Indicator 2f.iv

Systems and System Models
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Indicator Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6-8 meet expectations that the materials incorporate the crosscutting concept of Systems and System Models and all grade-band elements across the series. Across the series, the materials incorporate all grade-band elements. Elements of this CCC were not included from above or below the grade-band without connecting to the grade-band elements of this CCC. The materials include numerous opportunities for students to engage in understanding systems and system models within each grade level and across the series.

Examples of grade-band elements of Systems and System Models present in the materials:

  • SYS-M1. In Grade 6, Unit: Metabolism, Chapter 2: Body Systems, Lesson 2.2, students read “Patient Stories: Problems with Body Systems” and learn how body systems work together as part of a larger system in the human body.
  • SYS-M2. In Grade 6, Unit: Earth’s Changing Climate, Chapter 2: Energy Entering and Leaving Earth’s Systems, Lesson 2.3, students use prior information learned (the link between increasing carbon dioxide and methane to increasing global average temperatures) to create a model explaining why energy enters and leaves the system.
  • SYS-M3. In Grade 7, Unit: Plate Motion Engineering Internship, students discuss the limitations of their models for a tsunami wave warning system.

Indicator 2f.v

Energy and Matter
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Indicator Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6-8 meet expectations that the materials incorporate the crosscutting concept of Energy and Matter and all grade-band elements across the series. Across the series, the materials incorporate all grade-band elements. Elements of this CCC were not included from above or below the grade-band without connecting to the grade-band elements of this CCC. The materials include numerous opportunities for students to engage in understanding energy and matter within each grade level and across the series.

Examples of grade-band elements of Energy and Matter present in the materials:

  • EM-M1. In Grade 7, Unit: Chemical Reactions, Chapter 3: Accounting for Atoms, Lesson 3.2, students learn from a simulation how atoms are not destroyed, but rearranged, during the burning of fuel.
  • EM-M2. In Grade 6, Unit: Weather Patterns, Chapter 1: Understanding Rain Clouds, Lesson 1.3, students investigate energy transfers from the warm air parcel to the cold surrounding air and how the energy transfer impacts rainfall totals.
  • EM-M3. In Grade 6, Unit: Metabolism, Chapter 3: Cellular Respiration, Lesson 3.2, students read the article, “Cellular Respiration” describing how chemical energy is released from cellular respiration and how it is used for cell growth and repair. In Grade 8, Unit: Light Waves, Chapter 1: Changes Caused by Light, Lesson 1.2, students watch a video to learn how light carries energy from one place to another. Also, in Grade 8, Unit: Magnetic Fields, Chapter 2: Investigating Potential Energy, Lesson 2.3, students use a simulation to explore potential (stored) and kinetic (motion) energy.
  • EM-M4. In Grade 6, Unit: Weather Patterns, Chapter 1: Understanding Rain Clouds, Lesson 1.3, students track the flow of energy between the sun, land/ocean, and air.

Indicator 2f.vi

Structure and Function
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6-8 meet expectations that the materials incorporate the crosscutting concept of Structure and Function and all grade-band elements across the series. Across the series, the materials incorporate all grade-band elements. Elements of this CCC were not included from above or below the grade-band without connecting to the grade-band elements of this CCC. The materials include numerous opportunities for students to engage in understanding structure and function within each grade level and across the series.

Examples of grade-band elements of Structure and Function present in the materials:

  • SF-M1. In Grade 6, Unit: Traits and Reproduction, Chapter 1: Exploring Variation in Spider Silk, Lesson 1.3, students model the structure of proteins and how they connect to form strands of spider silk to see which protein combinations provide the most flexible strands. Students use this model to develop an understanding of the function of a protein molecule and its dependency on the structure and how it interacts with other protein molecules.
  • SF-M2. In Grade 8, Unit: Forces and Motion Engineering Internship, Day 2, students plan designs for a container with the goal of minimizing damage to an egg in a fall. Students determine the properties of materials and how to assemble the materials into a design to best protect the egg during a fall.  

Indicator 2f.vii

Stability and Change
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6-8 meet expectations that the materials incorporate the crosscutting concept of Stability and Change and all grade-band elements across the series. Across the series, the materials incorporate all grade-band elements. Elements of this CCC were not included from above or below the grade-band without connecting to the grade-band elements of this CCC. The materials include numerous opportunities for students to engage in understanding stability and change within each grade level and across the series.

Examples of grade-band elements of Stability and Change present in the materials:

  • SC-M1. In Grade 8, Unit: Natural Selection, Chapter 1: Environmental Change and Trait Distribution, Lesson 1.4, students use a simulation to manipulate the temperature of an environment.  Students then observe how the manipulation of temperature affected the organisms that lived there for at least 50 generations. Students analyze and compare the starting and ending histograms to identify possible changes to the organisms in the system.  
  • SC-M2. In Grade 7, Unit: Populations and Resources, Chapter 4: Science Seminar, Lesson 4.4, students use a graphic of a food web to determine how the increase in the shark population would affect the other organism populations in the same ecosystem.
  • SC-M3. In Grade 6, Unit: Earth’s Changing Climate, Chapter 2: Energy Entering and Leaving Earth’s System, Lesson 2.2, students read and annotate the article “Past Climate Changes on Earth” to gather information about the gradual changes in the earth’s climate over time.
  • SC-M4. In Grade 6, Unit: Thermal Energy, Chapter 2: Temperature and Energy, Lesson 2.4, students investigate what causes the transfer of energy between two things to stop and reach equilibrium. Students create a physical model to show how the energy between two objects transfers until their temperatures are equal, and they reach a stable state. As a reflection, students use a digital model to examine four different systems and determine whether they will change or remain stable if they come in contact.

Indicator 2g

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

​The instructional materials for Grade 6-8 meet expectations that materials the materials incorporate grade-band NGSS connections to nature of science (NOS) and engineering (ENG) within individual lessons or activities within each grade level. Elements from all three of the following categories are included in the materials:

  • grade-band nature of science elements associated with SEPs
  • grade-band nature of science elements associated with CCCs
  • grade-band engineering elements associated with CCCs


The NOS and engineering elements are represented and attended to multiple times throughout the year and at all grade levels. They are used to enrich the content and are not taught as separate lessons. The NOS and Engineering elements are embedded in a variety of learning activities, including videos, readings, investigations, and class discussions.

When present, the Teacher Support section of the Lesson Brief often provides a rationale and pedagogical goals for understanding the elements. However, the materials do not specifically highlight the inclusion of the elements in the Standards section of the Lesson Brief as part of the 3-D Statements for the lesson. 

The materials incorporate connections to NOS elements associated with SEPs and are addressed in a range of units across different disciplines and grades. While present, these elements are not always explicit to students (e.g., NOS-VOM-M1, NOS-VOM-M2).

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

  • NOS-VOM-M1. In Grade 8, Unit: Force and Motion Engineering Internship, students use a digital model to create and test pods. Through design feedback, discussions on design trade-offs (cause and effect), and uses, students revise their models to create optimal designs.
  • NOS-VOM-M2.  In Grade 6, Unit: Earth’s Changing Climate, Chapter 1: Climate and the Atmosphere, Lesson 1.2, students analyze and discuss the quality of the data and discuss why scientists may disagree on the interpretation of the data.
  • NOS-VOM-M3. In Grade 6, Unit: Weather Patterns, Chapter 3: Exploring Wind and Pressure, Lesson 3.2, students work independently to consider what information is more trustworthy based on the source. Then, students use the Evidence Criterion and the Evidence Gradient to sort stronger and weaker sources.  
  • NOS-BEE-M1. In Grade 8, Unit: Light Waves, Chapter 3: More Light Interactions, Lesson 3.6, students use the Reasoning Tool to help explain how the evidence they gathered supports one of the given claims. This process helps students understand how reasonings are used to make clear and convincing arguments.
  • NOS-BEE-M2. In Grade 7, Unit: Populations and Resources, Chapter 1: Stability and Change in Populations, Lesson 1.4, students evaluate evidence of the Moon Jellyfish population through sampling.
  • NOS-OTR-M1. In Grade 8, Unit: Light Waves, Chapter 2: Light as a Wave, Lesson 2.1, students continuously update their claims when new information is discovered.
  • NOS-OTR-M3. In Grade 6, Unit: Oceans, Atmosphere, and Climate, Chapter 3: Ocean Currents and Prevailing Winds, Lesson 3.4, students review the original, provided claims after having revised them throughout the unit as they gathered information.
  • NOS-ENP-M1. In Grade 8, Unit: Magnetic Fields, Lesson 1.4, the background support provided to teachers prompts them to make the idea of “theories are explanations for observable phenomena” explicit to students as they do the Active Reading activity of Earth’s Geomagnetism.
  • NOS-ENP-M2. In Grade 7, Unit: Populations and Resources, Chapter 1: Stability and Change in Populations, Lesson 1.4, students are instructed that evidence for populations is analyzed through sampling, using scientific studies on jellyfish populations as the example. This example shows how scientists are able to get a more accurate understanding of changes in population when evidence is gathered on populations over time.
  • NOS-ENP-M3. In Grade 8, Unit: Force and Motion, Chapter 3: Collisions, Lesson 3.4, students investigate Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion using the simulation of docking a pod with the space station. The Teaching Support for this investigation prompts teachers to not name the law as to reduce student confusion.  
  • NOS-ENP-M5. In Grade 8, Unit Evolutionary History, the unit background information in the Teacher Guide addresses possible student preconceptions on evolution, and prompts teachers to be explicit in discussing the difference in the use of the the term “theory” as used in science versus the common use outside of science.

The materials incorporate connections to NOS elements associated with CCCs. The materials present these elements and across the disciplines and grades. For example, NOS-HE-M1 and NOS-HE-M4 are introduced in many occasions and throughout many units.

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

  • NOS-WOK-M2. In Grade 7, Unit: Plate Motion, Chapter 3: Investigating the Rate of Plate Movement, Lesson 3.2, students read “A Continental Puzzle” regarding Alfred Wegener’s research and his work in determining plate movement, beginning in 1915. This supports student understanding in how science knowledge is cumulative and many people, from many generations and nations, have contributed to science knowledge.
  • NOS-WOK-M3. In Grade 6, Unit: Weather Patterns, it is inferred throughout the entire unit how important it is for all people to understand weather and what factors contribute to more extreme events.
  • NOS-AOC-M1. In Grade 7, Unit: Plate Motion Engineering Internship, students gather evidence from the simulation, calculate the rate of plate movement over millions of years, and compare this to current plate motion.
  • NOS-AOC-M2. In Grade 6, Unit: Weather Patterns, Chapter 3: Exploring Wind and Pressure, Lesson 3.3, students evaluate and report on data to understand why weather seems to have become more severe.
  • NOS-HE-M1. In Grade 8, Unit: Light Waves, Chapter 1: Changes Caused by Light, Lesson 1.2, students view a video of a scientist (spectroscopist) who is female, illustrating the idea that both men and women from different backgrounds work as scientists.
  • NOS-HE-M3. In Grade 6, Unit: Thermal Energy, Chapter 4: Water Pasteurization, Lesson 4.2, students participate in a Science Seminar to share evidence either supporting or refuting competing claims.
  • NOS-HE-M4. In Grade 7, Unit: Plate Motion Engineering Internship, students design a tsunami warning system by looking at improvements in sensor technology used to detect tsunamis. Advances in this technology have allowed scientists to better understand earthquakes.
  • NOS-AQAW-M1. In Grade 8, Unit: Natural Selection Engineering Internship, students discuss the definition of “constraints” then explore various constraints as they plan to create a treatment for Malaria.
  • NOS-AQAW-M3. In Grade 7, Unit: Plate Motion Engineering Internship, students investigate the science of tsunamis, and analyze trade-offs involved in possible tsunami warning system designs. This illustrates the idea of how science can describe consequences of action, but is not responsible for society’s decisions.

The materials incorporate connections to ENG elements associated with CCCs. These elements are incorporated across all disciplines and are especially concentrated in the Engineering Internship units.

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

  • ENG-INTER-M1. In Grade 8, Unit: Light Waves, Chapter 3: More Light Interactions, Lesson 3.1, students read an article about fiber optic cables and how they transmit information using light waves, code, and digitized sound waves.
  • ENG-INTER-M2. In Grade 8, Unit: Force and Motion Engineering Internship, students discuss design feedback, consider design trade-offs (cause and effect), and use the digital model to revise and test their pods to create optimal designs.
  • ENG-INTER-M3. In Grade 8, Unit: Magnetic Fields, Chapter 2: Investigating Potential Energy, Lesson 2.4, students use a simulation to gather energy data from multiple launches, observing changes in both potential and kinetic energy.
  • ENG-INFLU-M1. In Grade 6, Unit: Earth’s Changing Climate, Chapter 3: Human Activity and Climate, Lesson 3.1, students analyze data to identify the impact of increased amounts of carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels on average temperatures. Students draw conclusions from this evidence to describe long-term consequences of climate change.
  • ENG-INFLU-M2. In Grade 7, Unit: Plate Motion Engineering Internship, students choose a natural disaster in which they want to design a solution for mitigating damage from the weather event. Students choose materials, determine constraints, pick possible technologies based on natural resources, climate or other factors related to their chosen natural disaster, and identify economic constraints.
  • ENG-INFLU-M3. In Grade 7, Unit: Plate Motion Engineering Internship, students are presented with a challenge to update a tsunami warning system originally put in place in 2004. Students examine how technology has changed over time, and how solutions to updating the system would also vary depending on the areas in which the system was used (i.e., land, shallow water, deep water).

Gateway Three

Usability

Meets Expectations

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Gateway Three Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations for Gateway 3: Usability and Supports. The materials meet expectations as they are designed to facilitate teacher learning, include documentation of design and usability, and include assessment design and supports. The materials partially meet expectations that the materials include support for all students. Technology use is not scored; information is provided to support understanding of how the materials incorporate digital technologies and provide supports for use of those technologies.

Criterion 3a - 3d

Materials are designed to support teachers not only in using the materials, but also in understanding the expectations of the standards.
12/12
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Criterion Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations for Criterion 3a-3d: Design to Facilitate Teacher Learning. The materials include background information to help teachers support students in using the three dimensions to explain phenomena and solve problems, provide guidance to support teachers in planning, and provide effective learning experiences to engage students in figuring out phenomena and solving problems. Additionally, the materials contain teacher guidance with sufficient and useful annotations and suggestions for how to enact the student and ancillary materials containing explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research-based strategies.

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).
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations that materials include background information to help teachers support students in using the three dimensions to explain phenomena and solve problems. Teacher resources are provided for each unit, chapter and lesson to support teachers by making explicit connections between the phenomenon or problem, the instructional activities, and the three dimensions. These teacher supports are designed to help teachers understand how phenomena and problems drive student learning of the targeted dimensions.

Examples of background information for teachers:

  • The Unit Overview provides a summary of the focus for the unit, including the Anchor Phenomenon or problem, why this is important for students to understand, and how students will engage with each dimension to make sense of the phenomenon or solve the problem.
  • The Unit Map outlines the phenomena or problem, the Guiding Question for each chapter, and provides a summary section of what Students Figure Out and How They Figure It Out, to support the teacher in understanding what students should understand about each phenomena or problem.
  • The Science Background section provides background information about each dimension addressed in the unit and how the unit activities connect the phenomenon or problem to the SEPs, CCCs, or DCIs.
  • The Chapter Overview provides a Chapter Question and Investigative Questions designed to drive the learning of the chapter. The Investigative Questions are tied to the investigative phenomena in specific lessons and activities which drive the learning within the chapter.
  • The Lesson Overview provides a general description of the lesson, the Anchor Phenomenon, the Investigative Phenomenon, the Everyday Phenomenon (if present), and what students are expected to learn. The Teacher Support section associated with lessons and activities explains the pedagogical goals and provides teachers with information connecting the phenomena or problems to the targeted dimensions.
  • The Activity section includes an Instructional Guide providing step-by-step instructions. Depending on the activity, it may also include a Teacher Supports section, including additional background information, pedagogical goals, and supports explaining the connections between the phenomenon or problem, the activities, and instruction.

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.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations that materials provide guidance supporting teachers in planning and providing effective learning experiences to engage students in figuring out phenomena and solving problems. Teacher resources are provided as online and print (PDF) support to guide teachers in planning and delivering lessons. The Teacher Supports are designed to help teachers engage students in understanding phenomena and solving problems.

Each lesson is subdivided into different activities. Each Activity section includes an Instructional Guide providing step-by-step instructions and detailed instructions for enacting the activity, as well as, guidance and support for engaging students in understanding phenomena and solving problems. The amount and type of supports vary depending on the specific activity.

Examples of supports providing guidance for effective learning experiences which engage students in figuring out phenomena and solving problems:

  • Prompts to help teachers explain the purpose of specific activities (e.g., Anticipation Guides, Warm-Up routines, Word Relationships Routine, Homework) to students.
  • Prompts to point out the Unit Question and direct students to think about how factors contribute to the phenomena or problem associated with the question.
  • Prompts or questions to help students connect specific activities or assessments to the targeted phenomenon or problem.
  • Prompts or questions to help students make sense of the three dimensions related to the targeted phenomenon or problem.

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.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations that materials contain teacher guidance with sufficient and useful annotations and suggestions for how to enact the student materials and ancillary materials. Teacher resources are provided as online and print (PDF) support and contain annotations and suggestions for enacting student materials and ancillary materials.

Each lesson is subdivided into different activities. Each Activity section includes an Instructional Guide that providing step-by-step instructions and detailed instructions for enacting the activity including teacher prompts; clarifications or explanations about procedures, technology, or content; suggestions for class discussions or key vocabulary, safety guidelines, etc. The amount and type of supports vary depending on the specific activity.

Lessons which contain embedded technology and short videos are accessible through a link in the instructional materials or an embedded video activates when it is clicked. Videos are frequently used to help students visualize phenomena not readily available for first-hand observation in the classroom. Simulations (Sim) are digital models students use to manipulate and test variables, and often serve as a primary data collection mechanism for investigations. The Instruction Guide provides step-by-step support for teachers on how to model and share the Sims, videos, and other embedded technology with students; suggestions on which variables to include for each different use of the Sim or other technology; what information or videos to project at certain points in a lesson, etc. If a school and/or teacher delivers the instructional materials completely online, students are able to submit all work electronically, submitting their answers, images, etc. into boxes on their online page.

Indicator 3d

Materials contain explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research-based strategies.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations that materials contain explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of research-based strategies. Teacher support materials for each unit are provided electronically on the Unit Guide page and are also available in a downloadable PDF.

Resources providing explanations of the instructional approaches include:

  • The Unit Overview describes the overall learning goals for unit, a description of why lessons are organized and structured as they are, and how lessons and activities are sequenced to build student learning across chapters within the unit.
  • The Unit Map provides a trajectory of core ideas presented in each chapter and includes a description of what phenomena or challenge solutions students figure out and how they figure them out.
  • The Progress Build provides a unit-specific learning progression and includes three levels of how student learning is likely to develop throughout the unit. The Progress Build guides suggested instructional adjustments and differentiation. In most cases, each level of the Progress Build corresponds to a chapter in the unit.
  • The Amplify Science Program Guide is a separate resource which describes information about the program’s structure, scope and sequence, program components, connections to literacy, access and equity, and phenomena, standards, and progressions. The Amplify Science Program Guide identifies the research-based strategies used in the materials. The materials were designed with a “multi-modal literacy approach” rooted in the Lawrence Hall of Science program called Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading; this approach includes four modes described as Do, Talk, Read, and Write. This approach, with an additional fifth mode of Visualize, encompassing simulation and modeling elements, was incorporated with strategies described in A Framework for K-12 Science Education.

Criterion 3e - 3k

Materials are designed to support all students in learning.
13/16
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Criterion Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 partially meet expectations for Criterion 3e-3k: Support for All Students. The materials provide appropriate support, accommodations, and/or modifications for numerous special populations supporting their regular and active participation in learning science and engineering. The materials are not designed to leverage diverse cultural and social backgrounds of students, nor do the materials consistently provide access points for students at varying ability levels and backgrounds or allow multiple approaches to explaining phenomena or solving problems. The materials include opportunities for students to share their thinking and apply their understanding in a variety of ways. The materials include a balance of images or information about people, representing various demographic and physical characteristics. Additionally, the materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies and consistently provide supports or strategies to scaffold instruction for students who read below grade level in accessing grade-band content.

Indicator 3e

Materials are designed to leverage diverse cultural and social backgrounds of students.
0/2
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Indicator Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 do not meet expectations that the materials are designed to leverage diverse cultural and social backgrounds of students. Each lesson has an overview under the Progress Build tab discussing possible prior knowledge (preconceptions). Students are asked to answer questions during the pre-unit assessment that can elicit thinking to uncover prior knowledge, but in a limited manner in which it may or may not elicit information about the diverse cultures and social background of students in the classroom. Although the problems and phenomena are likely to be interesting and/or motivating to students, they do not provide explicit opportunities for students bring their cultural or social backgrounds into the learning.

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.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations that materials provide appropriate support, accommodations, and/or modifications for numerous special populations supporting their regular and active participation in learning science and engineering.

Examples of supports provided for each lesson:

  • The Differentiation section provides a variety of strategies, depending on the particular lesson or activity, including strategies for activating knowledge, grouping strategies (based on the Progress Build), grouping strategies and routines for class discussions, writing supports such as sentence stems and oral rehearsals, potential challenges in the lessons, strategies for English learners, differentiation for students who need more support, and differentiation for students who need more challenge.
  • A Glossary (accessible in English and Spanish) and a Multi-Language Glossary (accessible in Arabic, Chinese French, Haitian-Creole, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, Urdu, and Vietnamese) provide definitions for key terms in the unit.
  • An audio option is available for various texts students read. For example, when students gather evidence from a text in “Phases of the Moon” they have the option to listen to an audio reading of the text.

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.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 partially meet expectations that materials provide multiple access points for students at varying ability levels and backgrounds to make sense of phenomena and design solutions to problems. The materials provide multiple participation structures to support student engagement with the materials, including small group discussions, large group discussions, and partner work. There are also many opportunities to students to interact with phenomena through texts, simulations, hands-on investigations, demonstrations, etc. The Critical Juncture assessments can be used to determine differentiated groupings and lessons for individual students. The last lesson of each chapter typically extends the learning to a new context.

While most activities include extension opportunities for students who need more challenge, the scope of the opportunities is often limited to including rebuttals to arguments, asking deeper questions, conducting independent research to extend design solutions, or performing additional tests in the Sim. The materials provide access points for students at varying ability levels, but rarely account for the varying backgrounds of students. The materials do not provide multiple approaches to ensure students from varying backgrounds have opportunities to explain phenomena or solve problems by allowing them to bring their unique cultural, geographic, and socioeconomic perspectives to the learning.

Indicator 3h

Materials include opportunities for students to share their thinking and apply their understanding in a variety of ways.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations that materials include opportunities for students to share their thinking and apply their understanding in a variety of ways. Activities are designed to allow students to use multiple modalities to share their thinking and compare their thinking with their peers or new ideas in the materials. Within each unit:

  • Students share their thinking orally, through classroom discussions and oral presentations during Science Seminars.
  • Students share their thinking in writing by annotating scientific text, writing scientific explanations and arguments, and responding to writing prompts.
  • Students share their thinking visually by using the Modeling Tools to build visual explanations of the targeted three dimensions and using the Sorting Tools to categorize visual and written representations. Students then synthesize and share their ideas about the phenomenon they are trying to explain.

While students are able to demonstrate understanding with multiple modalities within and across units, the materials rarely provide students with a choice of multi-modal options within a single activity or lesson.

Within the Core units, the materials consistently provide opportunities for students to apply their understanding in new contexts. The first three chapters in the materials are designed to develop student sensemaking of the anchor phenomenon. The last chapter in each Core unit is designed for students to apply that learning in a new context.

Indicator 3i

Materials include a balance of images or information about people, representing various demographic and physical characteristics.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations that materials include a balance of images or information about people, representing various demographic and physical characteristics. Across the series, the materials represent a balance of images of people, representing various demographic and physical characteristics within text, images, and videos. Scientists or engineers appearing throughout the series depict different genders, races, ethnicities, and other physical characteristics. Underrepresented groups are also positioned in STEM professions including women, people of varying ethnicities and cultures, and wheelchair users. The materials did not include non-binary genders or other physical characteristics (e.g., blindness, Down Syndrome).  The individuals represented are depicted in a positive manner and materials avoid stereotypes or language viewed as potentially offensive to groups of people. Additionally, the assessment items proportionately use diverse male and female names for both correct and incorrect responses.

Indicator 3j

Materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations that materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies. Throughout the series, students have opportunities to work in groups many times, including partner work and small group work. Scaffolds are embedded in the materials to support this work, including discussion protocols and sentence stems. Many types and opportunities to group students are available, but teacher supports and guidance on how to group students are not provided in the teacher materials, other than grouping based on the Critical Juncture Assessments.

Indicator 3k

Materials are made accessible to students by providing appropriate supports for different reading levels.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations that materials are made accessible to students by providing appropriate supports for different reading levels. Each Lesson Guide provides differentiation strategies for students who need more support. The strategies vary based on the lesson or activities, but often include setting attainable reading goals for students, focusing on visual representations, working or reading with a small group, etc. Several different supports and strategies are consistently embedded throughout the series.

Examples of supports for students reading below grade level to access grade-band content:

  • An Active Reading approach is embedded, where students annotate, highlight, and ask questions as they interact with text. Teachers are provided prompts to ask students questions and guide their understanding of the text during the Active Reading approach. Discussion opportunities are provided after each reading; teachers are prompted to support students with sentence stems.
  • Readings are provided at a level appropriate for the grade-band. To support students in accessing the text, each text has an audio option to be read to students and including in-text definitions of domain-specific vocabulary.
  • A Glossary (accessible in English and Spanish) and a Multi-Language Glossary (accessible in Arabic, Chinese French, Haitian-Creole, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, Urdu, and Vietnamese) provide definitions for key terms in each unit.

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.
13/14
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Criterion Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations for Criterion 3l-3s: Documentation of Design and Usability. The materials provide a rationale for how units across the series are intentionally sequenced to build coherence and student understanding, document how each lesson and unit align to NGSS, and document how each lesson and unit align to English/Language Arts and Math Common Core State Standards, including the standards for mathematical practice. Further, the materials are clear and free of errors, include a comprehensive list of materials needed, and embed clear science safety guidelines for teachers and students across the instructional materials. Additionally, the materials designated for each grade level are feasible for one school year. The materials include strategies for informing students, parents, or caregivers about the science program, but do not contain suggestions as to how parents or caregivers can help support student progress and achievement.

Indicator 3l

The teacher materials provide a rationale for how units across the series are intentionally sequenced to build coherence and student understanding.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations that the teacher materials provide a rationale for how units across the series are intentionally sequenced to build coherence and student understanding. The Amplify Science Program Guide identifies the design and suggested sequencing of the units within the series. Each grade consists of nine units, including one Launch unit, seven Core units, and two Engineering Internships. Engineering Internships are designed to follow the associated Core unit of the same name and are intended to provide students with an opportunity to apply what they have learned in the Core unit to an authentic problem. Launch units are designed to introduce students at the start of the year to essential practices (including scientific argumentation), routines, and approaches of the program. The focal CCC of the Launch routine is revisited in subsequent units.

While units are modular and can be sequenced at the discretion of individual schools or districts, a suggested sequence is provided for grades 6-8. The Phenomena, standards and progressions section of the Amplify Science Program Guide identifies the suggested sequence and details which performance expectations are the focus of each unit.  Each unit has focal and emphasized DCIs, CCCs, and SEPs intended to support explanations of the anchor phenomenon for each unit. While this information is provided for the DCIs, SEPs, and CCC, evidence of the nature of science and engineering elements from NGSS was not present.

Within each unit, the Unit Overview and Progress Build sections explain how chapters are sequenced to build student understanding of focal DCIs. Each level of Progress Build show the design and learning progressions as part of the unit, with an explanation as to why they are sequenced in the manner as depicted. The Unit Overview describes the progression of the content, the rationale behind the progression, and connections to prior materials.

Indicator 3m

Materials document how each lesson and unit align to NGSS.
1/1
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Indicator Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectation that the materials document how each lesson and unit align to NGSS. The Unit Overview section of the materials consistently provides documentation of how each unit and lesson align to the NGSS.

  • The Standards and Goals section identifies focal performance expectations and additional performance expectations that have DCIs connected to student learning in the unit.
  • The 3-D Statements section lists color-coded statements identifying each CCC, SEP, and DCI that are addressed within each unit, chapter, and lesson.

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.
1/1
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Indicator Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations that the materials document how each lesson and unit align to English/Language Arts and Math Common Core State Standards, including the standards for mathematical practice. The Unit Overview section of the materials consistently provide documentation of how the ELA and Math Common Core State Standards align to each unit:

  • The Standards and Goals section identifies ELA Common Core State Standards addressed in the unit, including anchor and grade-specific standards for reading and writing, and anchor standards for speaking and listening, and for language.
  • The Standards and Goals section identifies Math Common Core State Standards addressed in the unit, including math practices and math content.

The Lesson Brief section of the materials consistently provides documentation, when applicable, of how the ELA and Math Common Core State Standards Standards align to each lesson:

  • The Standards section identifies ELA Common Core State Standards addressed in the lesson, including grade-specific standards for reading and writing, and anchor standards for speaking and listening, and for language.
  • The Standards section identifies Math Common Core State Standards addressed in the lesson, including math practices and math content.

Indicator 3o

Resources (whether in print or digital) are clear and free of errors.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations that the resources (whether in print or digital) are clear and free of errors. Teacher and student materials are consistently clear and contain no errors in either the digital or printed versions.

Indicator 3p

Materials include a comprehensive list of materials needed.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations that the materials include a comprehensive list of materials needed. Lists of materials required for each unit and lesson can be found in the Materials & Preparation sections of the PDF version of the Teacher’s Guide and online resources for the unit and for each lesson. Lists provide the name of the item, the quantity needed (based on using the materials five times for a class of 40 students), and the lesson in which a specific material is used. In addition to the materials included in kits, similar lists for materials needing to be printed for students or to be display in the classroom, and a list of materials needing to be provided by the teacher in addition to those listed in the kits are included.

Along with the materials list, the Preparation at a Glance section provides information outlining the amount of preparation time to adequately prepare the materials for each lesson in the unit.  The Materials & Preparation section in the Lesson Brief of each lesson provide detailed preparation steps to complete the day before each lesson, steps to assist teachers in setting up lessons and materials, and steps to complete immediately before each lesson.

Indicator 3q

Materials embed clear science safety guidelines for teacher and students across the instructional materials.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations that the materials embed clear science safety guidelines for teacher and students across the instructional materials. Safety notes are consistently found in the materials where appropriate:

  • Safety Notes are displayed at the start of any activity, typically found in the Hands-On activities, requiring students to interact with materials that may present a safety concern. Each safety note is specific to the particular activity and the materials used during that activity.
  • The Materials & Preparation section of the Lesson Guide includes a teacher note to “check and follow your district’s safety regulations pertaining to the use of proper safety equipment and procedures for students participating in hands-on science activities.”  Additionally, the Preparation section includes a Safety Note when applicable to a particular activity and materials used during that activity.
  • The Preparation section of the The Digital Resources includes Safety Guidelines for Science Investigations. This document can be displayed digitally or physically printed and displayed in the classroom. These guidelines are used throughout the materials, when applicable.

Indicator 3r

Materials designated for each grade level are feasible for one school year.
2/2
+
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Indicator Rating Details

​The instructional materials for Grades 6-8 meet expectations that the materials designated for each grade level are feasible for one school year. The pacing of individual lessons and units is appropriate and materials are viable for one school year as written. The lessons would not require significant modifications.

The Unit Overview includes a Materials & Preparation section detailing the pacing of all units and lessons. Each lesson was designed as a 45-minute session, although the materials indicate teachers can extend or shorten the time to meet their needs. Each Core unit contains 16 lessons distributed between four chapters, plus three assessment days (Pre-Unit Assessment, Critical Juncture Assessment, and End-of-Unit Assessment). The Engineering Internship units consist of ten lessons each and Launch Units consist of 11 lessons each.

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.
1/2
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-
Indicator Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 partially meet expectations that materials contain strategies for informing students, parents, or caregivers about the science program and suggestions as to how they can help support student progress and achievement. The Printable Resources section for each unit contains the NGSS Information for Parents and Guardians providing general information about the NGSS and how science instruction in this program supports students in making sense of core ideas using CCCs and SEPs. This document is available in English and Spanish. While this document provides information about the program and NGSS, evidence of how parents or caregivers can help support student progress and achievement is not evident.  

Each unit also contains an optional Family Homework Experience. These activities provide students with a structure to explain their learning during the unit and are designed to encourage interaction and discussion between students and their families around science concepts.

Criterion 3t - 3y

Materials are designed to assess students and support the interpretation of the assessment results.
12/12
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Criterion Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations for Criterion 3t-3y: Assessment Design and Supports. The assessments include a variety of modalities and measures. Additionally, the assessments offer ways for individual student progress to be measured over time. The 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. Tools are provided for scoring assessment items. Guidance is provided for interpreting the range of student understanding for relevant science and engineering practices, crosscutting concepts, and disciplinary core ideas. Further, the assessments are accessible to diverse learners regardless of gender identification, language, learning exceptionality, race/ethnicity, or socioeconomic status.

Indicator 3t

Assessments include a variety of modalities and measures.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations that the assessments include a variety of modalities and measures. Throughout the series, a variety of modalities and measures are utilized in the assessments to provide evidence of student understanding.

  • Models and other visual representations are frequently included as hands-on activities and simulations.
  • Collaborative discussion provides evidence of understanding and the exchange of ideas.
  • Oral presentations provide students opportunities to argue from evidence and to construct explanations.
  • Annotations of scientific text provides opportunity to assess students’ understanding of textual evidence.
  • Multiple choice response and constructed response questions are used in pre-assessments and end-of-unit assessments.
  • Performance tasks including scientific explanation and modeling are used throughout the sequence to measure student learning.
  • Self-assessment questions allow the student to examine their own understanding.

Indicator 3u

Assessments offer ways for individual student progress to be measured over time.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations that the assessments offer ways for individual student progress to be measured over time. Across the grade series, the gradebook feature allows a path for the assessment and monitoring of individual student progress to be measured over time. The system of assessment in the program provides consistent and systematic opportunities to measure individual student progress over time. Each unit contains one or more of each assessment type:

  • Pre-Unit Assessment (formative): Each unit contains multiple-choice questions and two rubric-scored written responses.
  • On-the-Fly Assessments (formative): These three-dimensional formative assessment tasks are integrated throughout the lessons and are designed to help teachers make sense of student activity.  They are also designed to provide evidence of student understanding of the three dimensions.
  • End-of-chapter assessments (formative): These are comprised of a variety of performance tasks intended to assess student progress and are administered at the end of each chapter. Examples include written scientific explanations, argumentation, developing and using models, and designing engineering solutions.
  • Student Self-Assessments (formative): These are provided once per chapter and are intended for students to reflect on their own learning, ask questions, and reveal ideas about unit content.
  • Critical Juncture Assessment (formative): These are included near the midpoint of each unit and are intended to help teachers differentiate instruction based on where students fall on the Progress Build. This helps ensure that all students are ready before moving to the next phase of instruction.
  • Science Seminar and final written argument (formative and summative components): This is a culminating performance task for each core unit. Students collect and analyze evidence of different claims, then engage in a full-class discussion to support their claim about a real-world problem. After the seminar, students individually write their final scientific argument, rubrics, scoring guides, and examples of student responses at each scoring level are provided to teachers to support the assessment of students’ understanding of concepts and specific practices.
  • End-of-Unit Assessment (summative): Each unit contains multiple-choice questions and two rubric-scored written responses, identical to those in the Pre-Unit Assessment.
  • 3-D Investigation Assessments (summative): These are embedded in one unit at each grade level to provide students an opportunity to plan and conduct their own investigation of a phenomenon. Assessment guidance and rubrics for scoring student work are provided. These assessments are found in Thermal Energy; Ocean, Atmosphere, and Climate; Populations and Resources; and Force and Motion units.

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.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations that the materials provide opportunities and guidance for oral and/or written peer and teacher feedback and self-reflection, resulting in students being able to monitor and move their own learning. Throughout the series, there are multiple opportunities for student self-reflection, peer assessment, and teacher feedback, including:

  • On-the-Fly Assessments are integrated throughout the lessons and are designed to help provide evidence of student understanding of the three dimensions. Often they contain discussion questions for students to monitor and reflect on their own learning.
  • End-of-Chapter Assessments are comprised of a variety of performance tasks intended to assess student progress. Examples include written scientific explanations, argumentation, developing and using models, and designing engineering solutions.
  • Student Self-Assessments are provided in each chapter and are intended for students to reflect on their own learning, ask questions, and reveal their ideas about unit content.
  • Science Seminar and a final written argument (formative and summative components) are provided once in each core unit. Students collect and analyze evidence and different claims, then engage in a full-class discussion to support their claim about a real-world problem. This helps students reflect on their own learning and provide peer feedback. After the seminar, students individually write their final scientific argument.
  • 3-D Investigation Assessments are embedded in one unit at each grade level to provide students an opportunity to plan and conduct their own investigation of a phenomenon. Assessment guidance and rubrics are provided.

In many cases, these assessments encourage student-to-student discussion. Revising Claims with New Evidence components of lessons allow students to exchange and evaluate their own and peers’ ideas. Periodic self-assessment using reflection questions, most frequently occurs near the end of an instructional sequence.

Indicator 3w

Tools are provided for scoring assessment items (e.g., sample student responses, rubrics, scoring guidelines, and open-ended feedback).
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations that tools are provided for scoring assessment items (e.g., sample student responses, rubrics, scoring guidelines, and open-ended feedback). Throughout the series, tools are provided to assist use of assessments to gauge student understanding.  Within the Unit Guide, the Suggestions for Assigning Grades to Student Work section, makes recommendations regarding how to assign grades to student work.

Tools are provided for scoring the following assessment types within the series:

  • Pre-Unit Assessment (formative): Each multiple-choice question is correlated to the associated level on the Progress Build. Explanations of correct responses, rubrics for scoring the written responses, and guidance for interpreting student scores are provided in the Pre-Unit Assessment Answer Key and Scoring Guide that is provided in the digital materials.
  • On-the-Fly Assessments (formative): These formative assessment tasks are integrated throughout the lessons and are designed to help teachers make sense of student activity and provide evidence of student understanding of the three dimensions. Each assessment contains Look for and Now what? guidance sections for teachers.
  • End-of-chapter assessments (formative): These performance tasks include written scientific explanations, argumentation, developing and using models, and designing engineering solutions. They are administered at the end of each chapter. The teacher materials provide possible student responses.
  • Student Self-Assessments (formative): These are provided once per chapter and are intended for students to reflect on their own learning, ask questions, and reveal ideas about unit content. Possible student answers are provided when applicable.
  • Critical Juncture Assessment (formative): These are included near the midpoint of each unit and are intended to help teachers differentiate instruction based on where students fall on the Progress Build. Explanations of correct responses, rubrics for scoring the written responses, and guidance for interpreting student scores are provided in the Critical Juncture Assessment Answer Key and Scoring Guide included in the digital materials.
  • Science Seminar and final written argument (formative and summative components): This is a culminating performance task for each core unit. Students collect and analyze evidence and different claims, then engage in a full-class discussion to support their claim about a real-world problem. After the seminar, students individually write their final scientific argument, rubrics, scoring guides, and examples of student responses at each scoring level are provided in the Rubrics for Assessing Students’ Final Written Arguments that is provided in the digital materials.
  • End-of-Unit Assessment (summative): Each unit contains multiple-choice questions and two rubric-scored written responses, identical to those in the Pre-Unit Assessment. Explanations of correct responses, rubrics for scoring the written responses, and guidance for interpreting student scores are provided in the End-of-Unit Assessment Answer Key and Scoring Guide provided in the digital materials.
  • 3-D Investigation Assessments (summative): These are embedded in one unit at each grade level to provide students an opportunity to plan and conduct their own investigation of a phenomenon. Assessment guidance, rubrics for scoring student work, and possible feedback, are provided in the Rubrics for Assessing Students’ Investigations document that is found in the digital materials.

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.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations that 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.

Guidance is provided for interpreting student understanding measured by these assessment types within the series:

  • Pre-Unit Assessment (formative): Guidance for interpreting student scores are provided in the Pre-Unit Assessment Answer Key and Scoring Guide. This guidance primarily focuses on interpreting student understanding of the DCIs and CCCs.
  • On-the-Fly Assessments (formative): Each assessment contains Look For and Now What? guidance sections for teachers focusing on interpreting student responses and providing feedback on student use of the DCIs, SEPs, and CCCs.
  • End-of-chapter assessments (formative): These performance tasks include written scientific explanations, argumentation, developing and using models, and designing engineering solutions.  They are administered at the end of each chapter. The teacher materials provide possible student responses focused on how students use SEPs to make sense of the targeted DCIs.
  • Critical Juncture Assessment (formative): This assessment helps teachers differentiate instruction based on where students fall on the Progress Build. Explanations of correct responses, rubrics for scoring the written responses, and guidance for interpreting student scores are provided in the Critical Juncture Assessment Answer Key and Scoring Guide located within the digital materials.The interpretation in the rubric applies to the SEPs, CCC, and DCIs within the targeted learning sequence.
  • Science Seminar and Final Written Argument (formative and summative components): Rubrics, scoring guides, and examples of student responses at each scoring level are provided in the Rubrics for Assessing Students’ Final Written Arguments. The rubric focuses on student understanding of targeted DCIs, CCCs, and the SEP of constructing arguments.
  • End-of-Unit Assessment (summative): Guidance for interpreting student scores are provided in the End-of-Unit Assessment Answer Key and Scoring Guide. This guidance primarily focuses on interpreting student understanding of the DCIs and CCCs.
  • 3-D Investigation Assessments (summative): Guidance for interpreting student scores are provided in the Rubrics for Assessing Students’ Investigations. This guidance primarily focuses on interpreting student understanding of and providing feedback for each of the targeted SEPs and CCCs.

Indicator 3y

Assessments are accessible to diverse learners regardless of gender identification, language, learning exceptionality, race/ethnicity, or socioeconomic status.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations that the assessments are accessible to diverse learners regardless of gender identification, language, learning exceptionality, race/ethnicity, or socioeconomic status. The assessments are neutral in the areas of gender identification, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Assessments are free of bias and are accessible to diverse learners.

Criterion 3z - 3ad

Materials are designed to include and support the use of digital technologies.
0/0
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

​Indicators within Criterion 3z-3ad: Technology Use are not scored. This criterion provides information related to digital technologies incorporated into the materials and support for use of those 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.
0/0
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 incorporate digital technology and interactive tools throughout the series in ways that support students' engagement in three dimensions of science. Materials integrate technology in some of the following ways:

  • Short explanatory videos are embedded throughout the series to provide context for the student role in an investigation, or to introduce students to phenomena or problems.
  • Informational text and articles are included multiple times per unit to showcase the work of diverse scientists and support student engagement with the three dimensions. Digital versions of the text have embedded multimedia tools for annotating text.
  • Simulations are included in each unit and provide interactive models where students can manipulate and test variables to conduct investigations.
  • Modeling Tools are provided in each unit to allow students to build visual explanations of the unit content related to the targeted three dimensions.
  • Sorting Tools are provided in most units and allow students to categorize visual and written representations to synthesize and share their ideas about the phenomenon they are trying to explain.
  • Futura Workspace is embedded in the Engineering Internship units and includes use of videos, an electronic dossier, and simulations intended to support students as they develop solutions to design problems.

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.
0/0
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

​The digital materials and simulations for Grades 6-8 are accessible via most web browsers (such as Google Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Safari), as well as, through tablets and Chromebooks. However, Internet Explorer presented challenges and the materials did not load after logging in. Materials are also accessible on iOS and Android mobile devices, but are hard to navigate as they are not fully responsive (i.e., you can only see one half of the screen and cannot zoom in or out to other areas of the screens). Additionally, the simulations are not accessible via mobile devices.

Indicator 3ab

Materials include opportunities to assess three-dimensional learning using digital technology.
0/0
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 include opportunities to asses three-dimensional learning using digital technology. All assessments in the program, including the Pre-Unit assessments, On-the-Fly Assessments, 3-D Investigation Assessments, and End-of-Unit Assessments are conducted digitally throughout all chapters and follow a similar format. The Pre-Unit and End-of-Unit Assessments can be printed so students can take them off-line.

Indicator 3ac

Materials can be customized for individual learners, using adaptive or other technological innovations.
0/0
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 include some options for customizing for individual learners using technological innovations. Several customization options are designed to make the materials more accessible to meet student needs, including scientific text with an audio option to read the text out loud, the option to adjust the size of the text, and ability to see definitions of most domain-specific words within the text or within the multi-language glossary. Most of the digital simulations and other apps within the program allow for student choice in manipulating variable or representing their thinking. Additionally, each chapter has a Critical Juncture Assessment that can be used to group students for the differentiated lessons that follow.

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.).
0/0
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 do not include or reference digital technology providing opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate with each other online.

Additional Publication Details

Report Published Date: 02/28/2019

Report Edition: 2018

Title ISBN Edition Publisher Year
Amplify Science Grade 6 978-1-64276-690-5 Amplify Education 2018
Amplify Science Grade 7 978-1-64276-691-2 Amplify Education 2018
Amplify Science Grade 8 978-1-64276-692-9 Amplify Education 2018

About Publishers Responses

All publishers are invited to provide an orientation to the educator-led team that will be reviewing their materials. The review teams also can ask publishers clarifying questions about their programs throughout the review process.

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.

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 6-8 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.


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