Alignment: Overall Summary

The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 partially meet expectations for Alignment to NGSS, Gateways 1 and 2. Gateway 1: Designed for NGSS; Criterion 1: Three-Dimensional Learning meets expectations: the materials are designed to provide three-dimensional learning opportunities, but not all unit objectives are addressed by the summative assessments. Criterion 2: Phenomena and Problems Drive Learning meets expectations. The materials have some missed opportunities to elicit prior knowledge and experiences and to drive learning in more lessons via phenomena and problems; however, anchor phenomena are embedded to drive student sensemaking across multiple lessons. Gateway 2: Coherence & Scope; Criterion 1: Coherence and Full Scope of the Three Dimensions, the materials partially meet expectations. They present a coherent structure and sequence of units, but an increased sophistication of tasks and explicit connections of dimensions from unit to unit are missed opportunities. In terms of the scope, all grade-band DCIs, NOS, and ENG are incorporated with few DCI elements missing. Although the majority of elements from the CCCs and SEPs are addressed, there are missed opportunities for the materials to incorporate elements from seven SEPs and two CCCs.

Alignment

|

Partially Meets Expectations

Gateway 1:

Designed for NGSS

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

Gateway 2:

Coherence & Scope

0
29
48
56
41
48-56
Meets Expectations
30-47
Partially Meets Expectations
0-29
Does Not Meet Expectations

Usability

|

Not Rated

Not Rated

Gateway 3:

Usability

0
16
23
26
N/A
23-26
Meets Expectations
17-22
Partially Meets Expectations
0-16
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 NGSS. The materials partially meet expectations for Criterion 1: Three-Dimensional Learning where in student opportunities for sensemaking of three dimensions are evident in the objectives, learning activities, and lesson-level assessments. The summative assessments, however, do not address all unit objectives. For Criterion 2: Phenomena and Problems Drive Learning, the materials meet expectations. Materials are designed for students to solve problems in 14% of the lessons; 36% of the lessons focus on explaining phenomena. Of the five scored indicators in this criterion, materials fully meet expectations for the following three: phenomena and problems are connected to grade-band DCIs, directly presented to students, and embedded for student sensemaking across multiple lessons. For the other two indicators, the materials partially meet each one: phenomena drive learning in approximately half of the individual lessons, and approximately half of the learning opportunities elicit students’ prior knowledge and experiences of phenomena.

Criterion 1a - 1c

Materials are designed for three-dimensional learning and assessment.

14/16
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations for Criterion 1a-1c: Three-Dimensional Learning. The materials consistently integrate the three dimensions into student learning opportunities and support student sensemaking of the three dimensions. Additionally, the learning objectives are consistently three-dimensional where lesson level objectives build towards the objectives of the units. The lesson-level assessment tasks are not only designed to reveal knowledge and use of three dimensions, but are also designed to support the instructional process. Less than half of the units in the series fully assess all elements of the targeted objective (and associated PEs) for the unit through a combination of Unit Project and PBAs for each unit. The remaining units in the series assess aspects of the three dimensions for each targeted objective (and associated PEs), but do not address all elements. Less than half of the units in the series fully assess all elements of the targeted objective (and associated PEs) for the unit through a combination of Unit Project and PBAs for each unit. The remaining units in the series assess aspects of the three dimensions for each targeted objective (and associated PEs), but do not address all elements.

Indicator 1a

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

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 they are designed to integrate the Science and Engineering Practices (SEP), Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI), and Crosscutting Concepts (CCC) into student learning. The materials are organized into 16 units. The Program Guide provides two recommended pathways for sequencing the units for instruction: an integrated pathway and a domain-specific pathway. Each pathway includes five or six units per grade. The integrated pathway is used for this review and includes units from each science discipline in each grade. Grade 6 includes 3 physical science units, one life science unit, and one earth and space science unit. Grade 7 includes one physical science unit, two life science units, and two earth and space science units. Grade 8 includes one physical science unit, three life science units, and two earth and space science units. Each unit is further divided into five to eight lessons; most lessons span more than one class period and are divided into multiple activities. Across the series, lessons consistently integrate the three dimensions in one or more of the learning opportunities (activities).

Examples where materials include three dimensions and integrate DCIs, SEPs, and CCCs into learning opportunities:

  • In Grade 6, Unit 1, Lesson 2, Activity 3: Fire Extinguisher Go-Kart, students watch a video that shows a go-kart with twice the number of fire extinguishers speed up faster than one with half the number (DCI-PS2.A-M2). After watching the video, students collect data, read about forces and motion, complete an online interactive, and create a model (SEP-MOD-M5). Through using this model, students explain the forces interacting in the go-kart system (CCC-SYS-M2).

  • In Grade 6, Unit 3, Lesson 2, Activity 2: Where Does the Water Come From?, students explore heat transfer in the formation of water vapor. Students watch a video that shows condensation then read a passage about the role of temperature on molecular motion (DCI-PS1.A-M6, DCI-PS3.A-M1) to obtain evidence to explain (SEP-CEDS-M4) how water droplets formed on the outside of a glass. Students explain how the transfer of energy (CCC-EM-M4) determines the state of the matter being observed.

  • In Grade 6, Unit 4, Lesson 3, Activity 5: Hands-On Investigation: Patterns in the Shadows of the Red Moon, students explore the formation of a lunar eclipse and shadows on the moon. Students use a working sun-earth-moon system model (SEP-MOD-M2, CCC-SPQ-M1) to collect data about the formation of a lunar eclipse (DCI-ESS1.A-M1), including the development of shadows on the moon. Students use their observations to explain (SEP-CEDS-M4) what causes shadows on the moon.

  • In Grade 6, Unit 5, Lesson 5, Activity 15: Hands-On Investigation: A Breath and a Beat, students measure their heart rates and breathing rates per minute to determine if the body systems are connected during physical activity (DCI-LS1.A-M3). Students design and conduct an investigation (SEP-INV-M2) to see if there is a connection between heart rate and breathing rate and graph their results (CCC-CE-M2). Students note other changes that occurred (sweating, red faces, etc.) as well as breathing and heart rate changes. Students are asked a question about the connection between the heart and lungs based on this activity. 

  • In Grade 7, Unit 6, Lesson 5, Activity 14: Testing a Scale Model, students watch two videos: one video shows a scale model of the Hindenburg burning without hydrogen being pumped into it and another video shows where hydrogen is pumped into the model (DCI-PS1.B-M1). The blimp with added hydrogen burns immediately and faster. Students list observations and construct a model (SEP-MOD-M5) to explain what caused the Hindenburg to explode (SEP-ARG-M1, CCC-CE-M1).

  • In Grade 7, Unit 7, Lesson 5, Activity 16: Kelp and Sea Urchins, students interpret information from graphs about kelp density and otter populations and determine how their own models can explain observations from that data. Students construct a diagram to show how changes in one organism affect other organisms that are not directly connected to that organism in terms of energy and matter (DCI-LS2.B-M, CCC-EM-M4). Students share their diagrams and then construct a claim (SEP-CEDS-M1) about the relationship between kelp density and otter populations. 

  • In Grade 7, Unit 9, Lesson 2, Activity 2: Hands-on Investigation: Clouds, students explore the role of clouds in weather. Students identify questions to further explore in regard to this relationship (SEP-AQDP-M5). Students observe a demonstration of cloud formation then develop a physical model (DCI-ESS2.C-M1) that they use to predict outcomes when a variable in the model changes (SEP-MOD-M2). Students then develop a diagram model (SEP-MOD-M6) showing the process of cloud formation. Students identify patterns in a data table (CCC-PAT-M3) and analyze droplet size to determine conditions needed for rain to form.

  • In Grade 8, Unit 11, Lesson 2, Activity 5: Hands-On Investigation: Transmit Sound with a Paper Cup Telephone, students model the parts of a paper cup telephone to explain how sound travels in a system. Students initially build the paper cup telephone model and investigate if sound can travel through it (DCI-PS4.A-M2). Later, they construct an explanation for how this system works (SEP-CEDS-M1) and revise their model of the wireless speaker system, which they use to explain how sound travels through a system (CCC-SYS-M2, SEP-MOD-M5).

  • In Grade 8, Unit 12, Lesson 6, Activity 17: Dog Breed Genetics, students analyze data to determine how there are numerous breeds of dogs. First, students identify traits and specific characteristics of different dog breeds (DCI-LS4.B-M2). They read about selective breeding of coat color in Labrador Retrievers then identify patterns in data resulting from genetic crosses (SEP-DATA-E1, CCC-PAT-M2). The lesson ends with a prompt regarding dominant and recessive traits.

  • In Grade 8, Unit 13, Lesson 2, Activity 2: Colossal Fossil Jostle, students learn that fossils and rock layers reflect the changes in earth’s history. Students read an introduction and watch an animation on sedimentary rock layers. Before running the simulation, Colossal Fossil Jostle, students predict the order of rock layers in a picture of sandstone. They then run the simulation, observe the rock record (DCI-LS4.A-M1, SEP-DATA-M2), and describe patterns they notice (CCC-PAT-M4). Students will then make a claim about how the rock record can show stability and change over time by using patterns from the simulation as evidence to support their thinking (CCC-SC-M1, CCC-PAT-M4). Students provide their reasoning to support their claim (SEP-CEDS-M4). To wrap up, students explain what they would need to use from a fossil record to identify the mystery fossil, then select statements that support what was learned in this activity.

  • In Grade 8, Unit 15, Lesson 3, Activity 9: Down in the Trenches, students explain geologic activity and its effect near the Puerto Rico Trench. Students use models to visualize changes in the shape and features of the seafloor. Students read about ocean floors, ocean mapping, and trenches (DCI-ESS1.C-M2). They compare maps of plate tectonics and ocean trenches then note patterns (CCC-PAT-M4) between the two. Using this information, students draw a model (SEP-MOD-M5) that explains the interaction of the Caribbean and North Atlantic Plates at the Puerto Rico Trench. Students use interactive media to visualize subduction and then record their learning around causes of earthquakes in Puerto Rico.

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 they consistently support meaningful student sensemaking with the three dimensions. Materials are designed for SEPs and CCCs to meaningfully support student sensemaking with the other dimensions in nearly all learning sequences. The majority of the lessons begin with the introduction of the DCIs coupled with either a CCC or SEP. Throughout the various activities within the lessons, DCIs are coupled with CCCs and/or SEPs to support sensemaking.

Examples where materials are designed for SEPs and CCCs to meaningfully support student sensemaking with the other dimensions:

  • In Grade 6, Unit 3, Lesson 5: Matter and Energy, students investigate the interactions of energy and matter during change of state through the use of heat curves. Students watch a video and use simulations on heating and freezing to investigate phase change, noting molecular motion during the change of state (DCI-PS3.A-M4). Students develop an explanatory model (SEP-CEDS-M2, SEP-MOD-M6) of the change in molecular arrangement and movement along a heat curve (CCC-EM-M4).

  • In Grade 6, Unit 4, Lesson 2: Moon’s Changing Shape, students use models to construct an explanation of why the appearance of the moon changes, specifically noting patterns. In Activity 2, students watch a time lapse video that shows the moon’s appearance changing and answer prompts about what they observe. Lastly, students receive materials to create and revise a model (SEP-MOD-M5) to investigate the changing appearance of the moon using the earth, sun, and moon system (DCI-ESS1.A-M1, CCC-PAT-M3). In Activity 3, students observe a chart of moon pictures on the same day at four different locations. They explain what they see and how this ties to the initial model they created (CCC-PAT-M3, SEP-MOD-M5). Students then gather more data from various graphs and create an explanation (SEP-CEDS-M1) for how the interactions of the earth, sun, and moon system create the changing appearance of the moon (DCI-ESS1.A-M1).

  • In Grade 6, Unit 4, Lesson 5: Objects in the Night Sky, students investigate gravity’s role in the formation and motion of the moon, solar system, and galaxy. Through video and teacher demonstration, students explore the role of gravity in the motion of objects in space (DCI-ESS1.B-M1). They further investigate the formation of the solar system via text and video (DCI-ESS1.B-M3). Using this information, students explain (SEP-CEDS-M2) how the gravity well model (SEP-CCC-M2, CCC-SPQ-M1) from the teacher demonstration could be used to model the formation of planetary objects.

  • In Grade 6, Unit 5, Lesson 5: How Does It All Connect, students explore how various organ systems interact with one another during the healing process. Students conduct an investigation (SEP-INV-M2) to determine the role of handwashing and ointment on bacterial growth, predict (CCC-PAT-E2) the effect of bacteria on a cut, then analyze patterns in data (SEP-DATA-M2). Students observe the tissue (DCI-LS1.A-M3) of a chicken leg and predict the function of each part (CCC-SF-M1). Then they explore the relationship between breathing and heart rate, model (SEP-MOD-M6) the gas exchange, and highlight the importance of oxygen in the system (CCC-SYS-M2).

  • In Grade 7, Unit 7, Lesson 5: Cycle of Matter, students use models they have previously created to construct a claim about the relationships between kelp density and otter populations. Students discuss their own models and interpret information from graphs about kelp density and otter populations. Students then construct a diagram to show how changes in one organism affect energy and matter of other organisms to which they are not directly connected (CCC-EM-M4). They share their diagrams and construct a claim (SEP-CEDS-M1) about the relationship between kelp density and otter populations (DCI-LS2.B-M1). 

  • In Grade 7, Unit 8, Lesson 1: Anchor Phenomenon: Exploring Zebra Survival, students develop a model related to the decreasing population of Grevy’s zebra. Students create a model (SEP-MOD-M4) to make sense of data about the declining zebra population (DCI-LS2.A-M1, DCI-LS2.A-M4). After reading a newsletter from a conservation organization (SEP-AQDP-M1), students explain their new thinking about the causes of the zebra population decline (CCC-CE-M1). 

  • In Grade 7, Unit 9, Lesson 2, Activity 2: Hands-on Investigation: Clouds, students develop a model to describe how water moves to form clouds and how clouds produce rain. Students discuss their personal experiences about what happens before a storm, discuss the movement of water in the water cycle (DCI-ESS2.C-M1), write an inference about clouds and storms, and record their questions about how clouds are related to storms (SEP-AQPD-M1). After watching a demonstration of rain drops in a container (water vapor hitting ice and changing to liquid drops), students record their observations and create a model to show what happens to the water inside the container (SEP-MOD-M4). They also investigate the relationships of the parts of a system by forming a cloud in a jar, by using hot water that is cooled by ice placed on top of the jar (SEP-MOD-M4). Students predict what will happen if one part of this physical model is removed. Lastly, they sketch a model to explain the processes involved in creating a cloud (DCI-ESS2.C-M1, SEP-CEDS-M2).

  • In Grade 7, Unit 10, Lesson 3: Altitude, Mountains, and Climate, students learn that the local effect in Alaska determines weather patterns and climate. In Activity 7, students observe a demonstration of a cloud in a bottle and complete statements about the relationship between altitude, pressure, and temperature to better understand weather patterns. They watch a video of wind hitting a mountain range (CCC-CE-M2), record observations, read text, and analyze a model of patterns in global air circulation (DCI-ESS2.D-M1, CCC-SYS-M2). Students then describe global wind patterns of Alaskan cities and the Alaskan Range, develop a model of how the Alaskan Mountain Range influences snowfall patterns (SEP-MOD-M5), and summarize how this concept relates to a dogsled race start.

  • In Grade 8, Unit 13, Lesson 2, Activity 2: Colossal Fossil Jostle, students study how fossils and rock layers reflect changes in earth’s history. Students read text, watch an animation, and run the Colossal Fossil Jostle simulation to better understand earth’s rock record (DCI-LS4.A-M1). Students collect data during the simulation (SEP-DATA-M2) and use it to explain how the rock record can show stability and change over time (SEP-CEDS-M4, CCC-SC-M1).

  • In Grade 8, Unit 14, Lesson 5, Activity 10: Kauaʻi Fruit Fly, students look for patterns in data to explain why the Kauaʻi Fruit Fly is endangered. Students analyze a data table about the endangered fruit fly species in Hawaii, looking for patterns, similarities, and differences among the Kauaʻi fruit fly and other species in the table (DCI-LS1.B-M2, SEP-DATA-M4, and CCC-PAT-M4). Students discuss what might be causing the fruit fly to decrease in number (DCI-LS4.C-M1, CCC-PAT-M3).

  • In Grade 8, Unit 15, Lesson 2: Earthquakes and Continents, students analyze maps and data on earthquakes and land features in South America and Puerto Rico to explain earthquake activity. In Activity 2, students analyze a map of the aftershocks of the December 2019 earthquake in Puerto Rico, noting patterns (CCC-PAT-M4). They examine maps of the land features of Puerto Rico and South America and note similarities and differences. Lastly, students analyze a map of earthquakes in Chile and earthquake activity across all continents (SEP-DATA-M4, DCI-ESS2.B-M1) to explain locations of earthquake activity.

  • In Grade 8, Unit 16, Lesson 5: Mississippi River Transport, students learn that various materials and goods are distributed unevenly across geographical areas and read about the role of rivers for transporting goods (DCI-ESS3.A-M1, SEP-INFO-M5, and CCC-SYS-M2). Students also read about the environmental impacts of transporting goods (DCI-ESS3.C-M2). They use this and previously learned information to construct an explanation for the cause (SEP-CEDS-M4, CCC-CE-M3) of the dead zone in the delta.

Indicator 1b

Materials are designed to elicit direct, observable evidence for three-dimensional learning.

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 the three-dimensional learning in the instructional materials. Materials consistently provide three-dimensional learning objectives at the lesson level that build toward the three-dimensional objectives of the larger learning sequence. Additionally, the materials provide learning objectives for each activity; many of these are three-dimensional and all build toward the three-dimensional objectives for the lesson. Formative assessments are found in each activity and are consistently designed to reveal student knowledge and use of the three dimensions to support the targeted three-dimensional learning objectives of the activity and lesson. The teacher materials include expected student responses and evaluation criteria for SEPs or CCCs. The evaluation criteria are generally generic for the SEP or CCC and provide minimal guidance.

Learning sequences consistently incorporate tasks for purposes of supporting the instructional process. The Developing a Consensus Conclusion section of the teacher materials provides specific guidance (questions to ask or suggestions to do in context of the task) to support students with targeted SEPs or CCCs, based on whether students are encountering the SEP or CCC for the first time, building toward proficiency, or demonstrating proficiency. Some guidance is broader in nature, such as teacher instructions to “check in with students’ understanding and allow time for students to explore aspects together that some students may still be struggling with” followed by teacher prompts and anticipated student answers relative to the student task. Information is also provided to challenge advanced learners. At the end of each lesson, the teacher materials provide guidance to connect student understanding with future lessons. 

Examples where the materials provide three-dimensional learning objectives, have assessment tasks that reveal student knowledge and use of the three dimensions, and  incorporate tasks for purposes of supporting the instructional process:

  • In Grade 6, Unit 1, Lesson 4, Activity 9: Investigating Factors that Affect Kinetic Energy, the three-dimensional learning objective is “Create and analyze graphical displays of data to describe linear and nonlinear relationships between the kinetic energy of an object and the mass and velocity of the object, as well as the relationship between a change in the kinetic energy of a system and other changes in energy of the system.” Formative assessment tasks measure student understanding of the objective and include creating a graph and developing a conclusion. To describe their understanding of force, mass, and rate of change of speed relating to kinetic energy (DCI-PS2.A-M1), students create a graph using six provided data points. The materials prompt students to describe the patterns seen in the data, how a line or curve that best fits the data can be drawn on the graph, and to explain if the relationship shown on the graph is linear or nonlinear (CCC-PAT-M4). Students use the graphs to develop and explain a conclusion about which factor seems to have the greatest effect on kinetic energy (DCI-PS2.A-M1, SEP-DATA-M4). The materials provide teacher guidance to support facilitated discussions and analysis questions as well as scoring guides for various sections in the resource, for example, the Developing a Consensus Conclusion section of the teacher materials.

  • In Grade 6, Unit 2, Lesson 5: Energy, the materials include three lesson-level learning objectives: “Ask questions that arise from careful observation in order to seek additional information about energy and its different forms in the levitating-orb system,” “Construct explanations using cause-and-effect relationships about how energy can be transferred between objects in a system by exerting forces on each other,” and “Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence that a system of objects may contain stored potential energy, depending on the relative positions of the objects.” Along with evaluative rubrics, the formative assessment tasks include a Venn diagram, small group and whole group discussions, sketching a model, matching pictures, and short answer responses. When completing the Venn diagram in Activity 20, students compare how batteries and capacitors work (DCI-PS3.C-M1). Students gather more information through reading, answer questions, and write a claim (SEP-CEDS-M4) to address whether engineers can assume that electric fields and forces behave the same wherever they are present. Students list questions they have about how this connects to a levitating orb (SEP-AQDP-M1, CCC-EM-M3). In Activity 21, students respond to short answer questions, draw a model to explain (SEP-CEDS-M2) how energy flows through the junkyard magnet system (DCI-PS3.C-M1, CCC-EM-M4), and match images to potential or kinetic energy terms (DCI-PS3.A-M2). In Activity 22, students design an investigation with a data collection table (SEP-DATA-M4, SEP-INV-M4) and summarize their learning about gravitational potential energy (DCI-PS3.A-M2, CCC-EM-M4). The materials provide rubrics to evaluate students’ understanding of various practices and concepts. The materials also include a list of questions for teachers to ask, example responses, and suggestions for additional assistance, if needed.

  • In Grade 6, Unit 3, Lesson 2: Water Droplet Formation, the two lesson-level learning objectives are “Construct an explanation of changes of state in terms of heat and thermal energy” and “Develop a model to explain how temperature changes affect the behavior of water molecules in the air around the air conditioner.” Formative assessment tasks include short answers, such as listing observations and constructing explanations, completing graphic organizers, and creating and revising models. In Activity 2, students watch a video of water forming on the outside of a cup then list observations and questions they have after (SEP-AQDP-M1). Students read text, complete a graphic organizer, and construct an explanation of water droplet formation (SEP-CEDS-M4, DCI-PS1.A-M3). In Activity 3, students revise their initial models showing the system of air surrounding the air conditioner unit (SEP-MOD-M4, CCC-SYS-M2), complete a gallery walk to observe others’ models (SEP-MOD-M4), and summarize their learning about water droplet formation on the outside of air conditioners (DCI-PS1.A-M3). The materials provide rubrics to evaluate students’ understanding of various practices and concepts. Materials also list questions for teachers and possible student responses with suggestions for supporting students at various levels of experience in creating scientific models. 

  • In Grade 6, Unit 4, Lesson 2, Activity 2: Hands-On Investigation: The Moon’s Changing Appearance, the three-dimensional learning objective is “Develop and revise a model of the earth-sun-moon system to demonstrate patterns and show cause-and-effect relationships to explain changes in the moon’s appearance.” Formative assessment tasks include drawing a model, discussions, analysis questions within the activity, and students sharing what they learn. Students draw a model of the moon’s phases to show why the moon’s appearance changes from the viewpoint of Earth. The materials provide a diagram for students to describe what a person can expect to see for a moon shape over the next few evenings (DCI-ESS1.A-M1). In the Analysis and Conclusions, students answer questions regarding the physical model and the cause for different moon shapes (SEP-MOD-M5, SEP-MOD-M4, and CCC-PAT-M3). The materials provide teacher guidance to support facilitated discussions and analysis questions as well as scoring guides for various sections in the activity such as Analysis and Conclusions.

  • In Grade 7, Unit 6, Lesson 1: Anchor Phenomenon: Exploring the Hindenburg Explosion, the two lesson-level objectives are “Develop and compare two arguments about the cause of a phenomenon that may have more than one cause related to different substances involved in the phenomenon” and “Ask questions that arise from careful observation of a system to clarify and/or seek additional information about the cause or causes of a phenomenon such as the chemical reactions between the substances that reacted during the Hindenburg explosion.” Formative assessment tasks include short answer questions and a prompt for students to list their questions. After watching a video in the first activity, students list two possible causes of the Hindenburg explosion and identify the cause and effect within each claim (SEP-ARG-M1, CCC-CE-M3). In a small group, students compare their claims and come to a consensus on the wording. In Activity 2, students analyze an image of the Hindenburg to create questions about the cause of the explosion (SEP-AQDP-M1, CCC-CE-M3). Students complete a checklist of true statements about the Hindenburg explosion claims and respond to a short answer prompt about how they would test the alternate claim (DCI-PS1.B-M1). The materials provide rubrics for the short answer prompts to evaluate students’ understanding of various practices and concepts. Materials also list questions for teachers and possible student responses with suggestions for supporting students at various levels of experience in creating questions. This lesson gives guidance to teachers on what to do with questions students may ask that will not be covered in this unit and connects possible topics to future units.

  • In Grade 7, Unit 7, Lesson 4: Flow of Energy and Matter, the two lesson-level objectives are “Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the transfer of energy through a natural system between producers and consumers as the groups interact within an ecosystem” and “Revise a model to show the relationships among variables, including those that are not observable but predict observable phenomena and that represent a system and its interactions—such as inputs and outputs—and energy and matter flows, including food web models that demonstrate how matter and energy are transferred between producers, consumers, and decomposers as the three groups interact within an ecosystem.” Formative assessment tasks include completing a chart, developing and refining a model, and completing summary activities. In Activity 14, students analyze data and identify food energy sources for otters (SEP-DATA-M4). Students then develop a model (food web) to show from where otters get their energy (DCI-LS2.B-M1, SEP-MOD-M4, and CCC-SYS-M2) and document similarities and differences between other students’ models. To conclude the activity, students summarize what they learned and list questions they still have. In Activity 15, students create an “organism roles in the kelp forest ecosystem” chart with organism, role (producer, consumer, etc.), and evidence for their decision (DCI-LS2.B-M1). Students refine their initial kelp forest models and create a consensus model with a small group (SEP-MOD-M4, CCC-SYS-M2). Lastly, students summarize what they learned and return to their initial questions to answer any that they can. The materials provide rubrics for the charts, model, and summary activities to evaluate students’ understanding of various practices and concepts. The materials also list questions for teachers to ask, possible student responses, and suggestions for supporting students at various levels of experience in creating models, specifically system models. 

  • In Grade 7, Unit 9, Lesson 3: the lesson-level objectives are “Plan and carry out an investigation to determine how observations of snow after a storm could help explain some effects of the Superstorm in order to further develop models of the storm and describe how energy transfer and other factors affect what happens to the snow that fell during the storm” and “Read a scientific text and observe imagery to describe what happens to a water droplet after it falls from the sky in order to develop a model of the water cycle and refine the explanation and model of the Superstorm to include how energy transfer plays a role in moving water during a storm.” Formative assessment tasks include facilitated discussions, analysis questions within the activities, small group discussions, multiple select prompts, and fill-in-the-blank models. In Activity 5, teachers facilitate discussion to check student understanding before students plan an investigation (SEP-INV-M1) to explore the role of energy (CCC-EM-M4) of snow melt on the environment (DCI-ESS2.C-M3). Students use this information to further develop their model of the snowstorm (SEP-MOD-M7). In Activity 6, students use information from various readings (SEP-INFO-M1) and previous lessons to develop a model (SEP-MOD-M4, SEP-MOD-M6) of the water cycle (DCI-ESS2.C-M1, DI-ESS2.C-M3) that incorporates the role of energy transfer (CCC-EM-M4). The teacher facilitates discussions as students develop this explanatory model (SEP-CEDS-M2). The materials provide teacher guidance to support the facilitated discussions, including “listen fors” and sample sentence starters.

  • In Grade 7, Unit 10, Lesson 6: Exploring the Effect of Our Atmosphere on Earth’s Climate, the materials include three lesson-level objectives: “Ask questions about temperature trends in Alaska,” “Carry out an investigation to determine the cause-and-effect relationship between greenhouse gases and temperature”, and “Construct an explanation of the cause-and-effect relationship between fossil fuels and greenhouse gases and the impact they have on Alaska.” Formative assessment tasks include students developing questions, conducting an investigation, using data to construct an explanation, and completing summary activities. In Activity 14, students look at 60 years of Alaskan temperature data and watch an animation of greenhouse gases (DCI-ESS3.D-M1). Students list questions about various aspects regarding Alaskan climate (SEP-AQDP-M1) and note what they want to investigate. In Activity 15, students conduct an investigation (SEP-INV-M2) about the relationship between greenhouse gases and temperature. Students create a model that includes gases and absorption of solar energy to explain the results of the investigation (DCI-ESS3.D-M1, SEP-CEDS-M4, and CCC-CE-M2). In Activity 16, students analyze two graphs about the use of fossil fuels and temperatures in Alaska to construct an explanation as to how fossil fuels affect the atmosphere and temperatures in Alaska (SEP-CEDS-M5, DCI-ESS3.D-M1). The materials provide rubrics for fill-in-the-blank and short answer prompts to evaluate students’ understanding of various practices and concepts. Throughout the investigation, each component (making predictions, collecting and analyzing data, and writing a conclusion) includes an evaluation criteria rubric to assess students’ understanding of that portion of the investigation. The materials also list questions for teachers to ask, possible student responses, and suggestions for supporting students at various levels of experience in conducting investigations.

  • In Grade 8, Unit 11, Lesson 3, Activity 9: Graphing Wave Measurement, the learning objective is “Construct graph models to represent changes in wavelength, frequency, and amplitude in waves based on patterns that show cause-and-effect relationships, including that the wave transmits energy proportional to its amplitude.” Formative assessment tasks include recognizing patterns in data, drawing graphs of waves, determining and defending if graphs are accurate models, and describing how graphs are similar to a simulation. Students explain how patterns in the data relate to measures of waves and how the patterns can be used to identify the cause-effect relationship between the wavelength, amplitude, and speed (SEP-DATA-M2, CCC-PAT-M3, and DCI-PS4.A-M1). Students also draw graphs of waves showing the relationships between variables (frequency, wavelength and amplitude) (SEP-DATA-M2, CCC-PAT-M3). The materials provide teacher guidance to support facilitated discussions and analysis questions as well as scoring guides for various sections in the resource such as Activity Procedure.

  • In Grade 8, Unit 13, Lesson 4: A Whale of a Tale, the materials include three lesson-level objectives: “Analyze and compare changes over time in stages of whale embryological development to provide evidence of how change in the embryo can be applied in an explanation of evolutionary relationships in the whale lineage,” “Analyze and interpret data to identify patterns in anatomical similarities and differences to construct an explanation using changes over time as evidence for the whale’s evolutionary line of descent,” and “Apply the principle of common descent to anatomical similarities and differences between modern and fossil organisms to construct an explanation of changes over time in the evolutionary history of the mystery fossil.” Formative assessment tasks include sorting and short answer prompts such as asking questions, constructing an explanation, and summarizing. In Activity 12, students order the steps of a whale’s blowhole development with an interactive sorting list. Before summarizing key points from the lesson, students observe and discuss the parts of a whale’s hindlimb development and construct an explanation (SEP-CEDS-M4) for how whale embryology provides evidence for evolutionary relationships in the whale lineage (DCI-LS4.A-M3, CCC-SC-M1). While analyzing the various skeletons of different organisms in Activity 13, students create a claim with a small group and respond to short answer prompts about the patterns they notice in the organisms over time (SEP-DATA-M4, CCC-PAT-M4, and DCI-LS4.A-M2). Again, they write a summary of the key points they learned. In Activity 14, students use their summary information to construct a response telling the story of the evolutionary lineage of the mystery fossil (CCC-PAT-M4, DCI-LS4.A-M2, and SEP-CEDS-M4). The materials provide rubrics for short answer prompts and summary tasks to evaluate students’ understanding of various practices and concepts. The materials also list questions for teachers to ask, possible student responses, and suggestions for supporting students at various levels of experience in constructing explanations with evidence.

  • In Grade 8, Unit 14, Lesson 3, Activity 6: Hands-On Investigation: Trait Variation, the learning objective is “Analyze data from an investigation to identify patterns that will help to explain changing traits in fruit fly populations.” Formative assessment tasks measure student understanding of the objective and include comparing patterns on fruit fly wings, predicting how wing differences might be helpful for the fruit fly, collecting, recording, and describing data to identify characteristics of the model, and explaining which trait is most favorable for fruit flies and why it is helpful for fruit flies to have variation in traits. When analyzing fruit fly traits, students compare wing patterns of flies and collect evidence from a simulation on fly survival over four generations (SEP-MOD-M5, DCI-LS4.C-M1). Students also look for patterns in their data for each fly trait (CCC-PAT-M4). They explain which trait is most favorable for fruit flies and why it is helpful for fruit flies to have variation in traits. In revising the model to incorporate patterns found from data collection (CCC-PAT-M4), students show how the number of flies with certain traits can change due to reproduction and mating preferences (CCC-CE-M2, SEP-INV-M4). Students will then record similarities and differences between their models (traits for reproduction vs traits for survival) and explain how variations are advantageous to the fruit fly (DCI-LS4.B-M1). The materials provide teacher guidance to support facilitated discussions and analysis questions as well as scoring guides for various sections in the resource such as Analysis and Conclusions.

  • In Grade 8, Unit 16, Lesson 5: Mississippi River Transport, the two lesson-level objectives are “Ask questions that arise from observations to clarify how the transport system of the Mississippi River interacts with the biosphere and may lead to negative impacts” and “Construct an explanation based on valid and reliable evidence related to changes to land and biosphere resources as a result of human activities.” Formative assessment tasks include completing a graphic organizer, adding to the driving question board, and completing summary activities such as short answer and fill in the blank. In Activity 13, students gather information on river transport and resource distribution from reading passages and maps. Working with a partner, they complete a graphic organizer and list the questions they have about the transport information (SEP-AQDP-M1). Students then create an infographic using a map to describe transport on the Mississippi River and record any questions on the Driving Question Board. At the end of the activity, students complete a fill-in-the-blank summary question (DCI-ESS3.A-M1, CCC-SYS-M1). In Activity 14, students complete a PMI (plus, minus, interesting) graphic organizer and submit it to their teacher after reading about river transport (DCI-ESS3.C-M2). They construct an explanation for why there are so many dead fish in the delta (SEP-CEDS-M3) and respond to a short answer prompt listing one positive and one negative result from using the Mississippi River as a transportation system. The materials provide rubrics to evaluate students’ understanding of various practices and concepts. The materials also list questions for teachers to ask, possible student responses, and suggestions for supporting students at various levels of experience in constructing explanations.

Indicator 1c

Materials are designed to elicit direct, observable evidence of the three-dimensional learning.

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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 partially meet expectations that they are designed to elicit direct, observable evidence of the three-dimensional learning in the instructional materials. Across the series, materials consistently provide three-dimensional learning objectives for the units. These are found in the Unit Objectives document in the Teacher Planning Resources section and are organized by each lesson in the unit. Objectives are provided in student-friendly language in the student materials for each lesson and activity. The Teacher Overview section for each lesson also provides the objectives for the lesson (these are the same objectives provided in the Unit Objectives document) and includes additional information: targeted performance expectations (PEs) that students are working towards in the lesson and unit, and the targeted elements of each dimension for each lesson. The materials lack clarity on whether instruction and assessment should focus on lesson objectives, targeted elements, and/or the identified performance expectations. None of the eight unique Teacher Planning Resources associated with each unit provide clear connections between lesson objectives, elements of all three dimensions, and the connections to the associated PEs.

The materials provide two types of summative assessments: Unit Projects and Performance Based Assessments (PBAs).  Unit Projects are found in the final lesson of each unit and consistently measure three-dimensional learning objectives of that specific lesson; however, few of these tasks are designed to measure student achievement of all unit-level learning objectives. The unit projects are a form of assessment where students “design and generate solutions to real-world problems as well as conduct additional research.” When completing these projects at the end of every unit, students apply most of their learning of content knowledge to an extension of the Anchor Phenomenon. 

Performance Based Assessments (PBAs) are provided for each of the PEs associated with the unit. The PBAs present an issue or scenario to students using text, video, data, and/or maps; students then answer three or four questions about the issue or scenario. Two or three of the questions include selected responses questions, typically with multiple components. The remaining questions are constructed responses, with one longer extended response question associated with a CER rubric. Overall, the PBAs assess most of the elements associated with the targeted PE. The Unit Planner indicates that all of the PBAs for the unit are intended to be administered after the Unit Project at the end of the unit, with one assessment administered per class period.

Less than half of the units in the series fully assess all elements of the targeted objective (and associated PEs) for the unit through a combination of Unit Project and PBAs for each unit. The remaining units in the series assess aspects of the three dimensions for each targeted objective (and associated PEs), but do not address all elements. 

Additionally, the materials provide summative tasks embedded in extension activities called STEM in Action and STEM Projects at the end of select lessons; however, these assessments are optional.

Examples where the objectives are three-dimensional and the summative assessment tasks partially assess the three-dimensional learning objectives for the unit:

  • In Grade 6, Unit 1: Rocket Sled, the objectives for this unit are three-dimensional and build toward seven performance expectations: MS-PS2-1, MS-PS2-2, MS-PS3-1, MS-PS3-5, MS-ETS1-2, MS-ETS1-3, and MS-ETS1-4. Not all elements associated with these PEs are assessed across the summative assessments.

    • The summative assessment tasks include a design challenge with three questions soliciting analysis, explanations, and conclusions. While the summative assessment meets all listed objectives for Lesson 5: Unit Project, it does not assess all DCIs presented in the unit overview which include five physical science DCIs and three engineering technology and application of science DCIs. The summative assessment addresses one out of five of the listed physical science DCIs (DCI-PS2.A-M2) and the three ETS standards (DCI-ETS1.B-M1, DCI-ETS1.B-M2, and DCI-ETS1.C-M2). The assessment also includes scoring information for SEP-INV-M2, SEP-MATH-M5, SEP-CEDS-M6, and CCC-SYS-M2. The unit challenge measures student understanding of the lesson objective to apply scientific principles to design and test the most effective design of a balloon car to account for changes to the force acting upon the car (DCI-PS2.A-M2). Students describe specific features of their car and how they can be modified to win one of the competitions (SEP-INV-M2). Students describe the forces acting on the system and explain how they are taking these into account on the car modifications (CCC-SYS-M2). They make the modification and test their effectiveness tracking the time variations which lead to analysis and comparisons of the test results (SEP-MATH-M5). After running the competition, students summarize how the performance of the car (SEP-CEDS-M6) and how the modifications affect the car's performance (SEP-INV-M2). 

    • There are four PBAs associated with this unit that are designed to assess the four PEs. Each of the four PBAs assesses the elements associated with each targeted PE, with two exceptions: MS-PS2-2 and MS-ETS1-4. In MS-PS2-2, students describe the change in a skydiver's motion due to the forces acting on the person and the person’s mass; students are not assessed on planning an investigation (SEP-INV-M1). In MS-PS2-1, students are not assessed on models used to represent systems (SEP-SYS-M2). In MS-PS3-5, students select responses from dropdown menus to assess understanding of CCC-EM-M4. In MS-ETS1-4, students suggest design changes and criteria and constraints but they are not assessed on whether they can develop a model to generate data (SEP-MOD-M6).

  • In Grade 6, Unit 3: Air Conditioner, the objectives for this unit are three-dimensional and build toward six performance expectations: MS-PS1-4, MS-PS3-3, MS-PS3-4, MS-ETS1-1, MS-ETS1-2, and MS-ETS1-3. Not all elements associated with these PEs are assessed across the summative assessments.

    • The summative assessment tasks present students with the problem of ice forming on the interior side of windows. While the summative assessment meets all listed objectives cited for Lesson 6: Unit Project, it does not assess all DCIs presented in the unit overview. Focusing on students critiquing solutions with criteria and constraints, the tasks address the three ETS DCIs, but only three of the seven physical science DCIs (DCI-PS1.A-M3, DCI-PS1.A-M4, and DCI-PS3.B-M3) are addressed. The summative lesson includes a class discussion, student brainstorm, and creation of possible solutions to the problem of ice forming on the inside of windows. Lastly, students rate possible solutions, construct an explanation for which solution they would propose, and individually complete a fill-in-the-blank paragraph regarding matter and energy. Showing an understanding of heat transfer and states of matter (CCC-EM-M4, DCI-PS3.B-M3), they answer a prompt explaining why ice is forming on the interior sides of windows. Collaboratively, students brainstorm ideas for why the ice is forming (DCI-ETS1.A-M1, DCI-PS1.A-M4), and with pairs or in small groups, explain possible solutions to keep this from happening (DCI-ETS1.B-M2). They rate the solutions based on various criteria (DCI-ETS1.C-M1) and construct an explanation (SEP-CEDS-M7) based on which final solution they would propose.

    • There are four PBAs associated with this unit that are designed to assess three physical science PEs and MS-ETS1-3. Two assess all associated elements of the targeted PEs (MS-PS3-3, MS-ETS1-3); the other two do not assess the associated SEPs: in MS-PS1-4, students do not develop a model; in MS-PS3-4, students reorder provided steps of an investigation, but do not plan the investigation. 

  • In Grade 6, Unit 4: Ever-Changing Moon, the objectives for this unit are three-dimensional and build toward three performance expectations: MS-ESS1-1, MS-ESS1-2, and MS-ESS1-3. Not all elements associated with these PEs are assessed across the summative assessments.

    • The summative tasks include a project where students determine the properties and nature of an object seen in the sky in order to develop a model explaining its movement and develop a claim based on evidence. Rubrics for students and teachers for Science and Engineering Practices and Crosscutting Concepts are provided to measure student progress. While the summative task meets the listed objectives for Lesson 6: Unit Project, it does not assess all DCIs presented in the unit overview. The overview includes five earth and space science DCIs; however, the assessment addresses only two of them (DCI-ESS1.A-M1, DCI-ESS1.B-M1). More broadly, only two of the three unit-level PEs are addressed in the unit project (PE-MS-ESS1-1, PE-MS-ESS1-3). Students begin the lesson by observing images of an object in the sky taken from Earth at the same time on different days. Students record, describe, and analyze their observations of patterns (DCI-ESS1.A-M1, PE-MS-ESS1-1). Students discuss claims regarding the motion of the object, discuss the ideas they will test, and produce a model (SEP-MOD-M7, CCC-SPQ-M1). Using their models, they gather evidence about the object’s motion to record sketches and qualitative data (SEP-DATA-M4, PE-MS-ESS1-3). Groups of students then compare sketches, discuss whether or not their pictures match the image of the object in the sky, and record the claim that best supports their evidence. They read passages about objects in the sky (DCI-ESS1.B-M1) to gather evidence for and against their claim, then identify the evidence that does and does not support what they believe the object to be. 

    • There are three PBAs associated with this unit that are designed to assess the three PEs. Two assess all elements of the associated PEs; the PBA for MS-ESS1-1 does not address the identified SEP or CCC. Students do not develop or use a model (SEP-MOD-M5) to explain eclipses of the sun and moon or the seasons. None of the four questions provide evidence of students’ use or understanding of CCC-PAT-M3. While the PBA for MS-ESS1-3 assesses all elements associated with the PE, the data used (SEP-DATA-M7) is not from any “earth-based instruments, space-based telescopes or spacecraft” per the clarification statement for the PE.

  • In Grade 7, Unit 6: Hindenburg Explosion, the objectives for this unit are three-dimensional and build toward six performance expectations: MS-PS1-1, MS-PS1-2, MS-PS1-3, MS-PS1-5, MS-PS1-6, and MS-EST1-4. Not all elements associated with these PEs are assessed across the summative assessments.

    • The summative assessment tasks prompt students to design an investigation for a TV station regarding different materials that could have prevented the Hindenburg explosion. While the summative assessment meets the listed objectives for Lesson 6: Unit Project, it does not assess all DCIs presented in the unit overview. The unit-level objectives include eight physical science DCIs and three ETS DCIs, of which the summative task addresses three physical science (DCI-PS1.B-M1, DCI-PS1.B-M3, and DCI-PS1A.M2) and none of the ETS DCIs. This assessment presents a scenario where students answer the myth “if the Hindenburg airship fabric was made of materials available with current technology, it would not have exploded.” With evidence about newer fabric, students individually design a series of investigations (SEP-INV-M2) during which they could collect data to help answer whether the Hindenburg explosion could be avoided today. With multiple opportunities to display understanding about DCIs and the concept of energy transfer (DCI-PS1A.M2, CCC-EM-M2), students respond to prompts regarding physical properties, chemical structure, and thermal transfer (DCI-PS1B-M1, DCI-PS1.B-M3).

    • There are five PBAs associated with this unit that are designed to assess the five PEs. None of the PBAs assess all elements of the targeted PEs. In MS-PS1-1, students are not assessed on the SEP or CCC. For MS-PS1-2, students are not asked to determine similarities or differences in data (SEP-DATA-M7). The task designed for MS-PS1-3 assesses student understanding of SEP-INFO-M3; however, there is a missed opportunity to assess student understanding of the CCC; the prompt also provides content clues about the two DCIs (DCII-PS1.A-M2, DCI-PS1.B-M1). In MS-PS1-5, students use a model (SEP-MOD-M6). In MS-PS1-6, students are not assessed on the CCC element (CCC-EM-M4) and the assessment also provides content clues for DCI-PS1.B-M3.

  • In Grade 7, Unit 9: Superstorm of 1993, the objectives for this unit are three-dimensional and build toward three performance expectations: MS-ESS2-4, MS-ESS2-5, and MS-ESS3-2. Not all elements associated with these PEs are assessed across the summative assessments.

    • The summative assessment tasks prompt students to develop a complex model representing the interactions of the Superstorm. Using evidence from the model and information obtained throughout the unit, they construct an explanation as to why it was called the Storm of the Century. While the summative assessment meets the listed objective for Lesson 7: Unit Project, it does not assess all DCIs presented in the unit overview. The unit-level objectives include five earth and space science DCIs; however, the assessment only fully addresses two of the earth and space science DCIs (DCI-ESS2.C-M2, DCI-ESS2.D-M2) and partially one other (DCI-ESS3.B-M4). The DCIs not assessed are DCI-ESS2.C-M1 and DCI-ESS2.C-M3. Along with a two-dimensional sketch, students use all of the data presented within the unit to modify their working model of the Superstorm (SEP-MOD-M2, SEP-DATA-M2). They must take into account the role of temperature, air masses, precipitation (DCI-ESS2.C-M2, DCI-ESS2.D-M2) and the formation of tornadoes (DCI-ESS3.B-M1) in the development and evolution of the storm (CCC-CE-M2). The model acts as an explanation (SEP-CEDS-M2) for the formation and effect of the storm system.

    • There are three PBAs associated with this unit that are designed to assess the three PEs. Each of the three PBAs assesses the elements associated with each targeted PE, with two exceptions, MS-ESS2-4 and MS-ESS2-5. In MS-ESS2-4, the students describe the energy that drives the stages of the water cycle; the students are not assessed on developing a model (SEP-MOD-M6). In MS-ESS2-5 students use background knowledge of air masses and data on average annual precipitation in US Cities to explain the reason for differences in weather in specific cities; the students are not assessed on collecting data (SEP-INV-M4).

  • In Grade 8, Unit 14: Hawaiian Flies, the objectives for this unit are three-dimensional and build toward four performance expectations: MS-LS1-4, MS-LS1-5, MS-LS4-4, and MS-LS4-6. Not all elements associated with these PEs are assessed across the summative assessments.

    • The summative assessment tasks include evidence collection through reading text and completing a graphic organizer, creating a model, and explaining ideas about successful reproduction and species survival. While the summative assessment meets the listed objectives for Lesson 6: Unit Project, it does not assess all DCIs present in the unit-level PEs. Of the five life science DCIs cited in the unit-level objectives, the assessment addresses three (DCI-LS1.B-M2, DCI-LS4.B-M1, and DCI-LS4.C-M1). The assessment also includes scoring information for two SEPs and two CCCs (SEP-MOD-M5, SEP-CEDS-M1, CCC-CE-M2, and CCC-SC-M3). The summative task measures student understanding of how a change may affect a species' chance of successful reproduction or survival (DCI-LS1.B-M2, DCI-LS4.B-M1, and DCI-LS4.C-M1). Students read about three species and use a graphic organizer to collect evidence of changes that threaten the species. They use a table to develop a model (SEP-MOD-M5) of how traits change over time and note if the traits become more or less common in the species (CCC-CE-M2). Students then use the model to explain how the species might adapt, form a new species, or go extinct (SEP-CEDS-M1, CCC-SC-M3).

    • There are three PBAs associated with this unit that are designed to assess the three PEs. Two of these tasks do not meet all of the elements associated with the identified PEs. The element DCI-LS1.B-M3 in task MS-LS1-5 is partially assessed as the focus of this task is on the role of environmental factors and not genetic factors. For the task MS-LS4-6, SEP-MATH-M2 is not assessed.

Examples where the objectives are three-dimensional and the summative assessment tasks assess the three-dimensional learning objectives for the unit:

  • In Grade 6, Unit 2: Levitating Forces, the objectives for this unit are three-dimensional and build toward five performance expectations: MS-PS2-3, MS-PS2-4, MS-PS2-5, MS-PS3-2, and MS-ETS1-3. Across all of the summative assessments, each targeted PE and associated element is assessed.

    • The summative assessment tasks include the application of scientific ideas or principles to design solutions to a problem that requires energy transfer and forces from electric, magnetic, and/or gravitational fields. The summative assessment meets all listed objectives for Lesson 7: Unit Project, and assesses all DCIs presented in the unit overview. Students use their understanding of forces and energy transfer to design a tool that is able to retrieve a set of keys and a plastic ID card that have been dropped from a bridge and landed 12 feet below. Students apply their understanding of magnetic and electrical forces (DCI-PS2.B-M1, DCI-PS2.B-M2, and DCI-PS2.B-M3) as they design a method to retrieve the dropped materials and solve the problem (SEP-CEDS-M2). They test their solutions, record their findings, and adjust the designs to best solve the problem (DCI-ETS1.B-M3). Additionally, students answer questions focused on the identification of forces acting on the system and where energy transfer occurs (CCC-EM-M4, DCI-PS3.A-M2, and DCI-PS3.C-M1).

    • There are four PBAs associated with this unit that are designed to assess the four PEs. Only one of the PBAs (MS-PS-2-4) assesses the elements associated with the target PE. In MS-PS-2-3, students do not ask questions about forces, rather, they construct explanations. In MS-PS-2-5, students answer questions about an investigation but do not have to conduct the investigation. In MS-PS-3-2, students are asked to describe a way to model the relationship between the roller coaster’s height and its kinetic and potential energy, but do not develop this model.

  • In Grade 7, Unit 8: Zebra Survival, the objectives for this unit are three-dimensional and build toward five performance expectations: MS-LS2-1, MS-LS2-2, MS-LS2-4, MS-LS2-5, and MS-ETS1-2. Across all of the summative assessments, each targeted PE and associated element is assessed.

    • The summative assessment tasks prompt students to develop a multispecies conservation plan for an organism of the student’s choosing. While the summative assessment meets the listed objectives for Lesson 6: Unit Project, it does not assess all DCIs presented in the unit overview. The unit-level objectives include seven life science DCIs and one ETS PE; however, the assessment does not address one of the life science DCIs, DCI-LS4.D-M1. The materials introduce a multispecies plan for conserving Grevy’s zebra. Identifying and evaluating key features of the plan (SEP-INFO-M1), students analyze this model developed for the zebra’s ecosystem (CCC-SYS-M3) in a systematic fashion (DCI-ETS1.B-M2). Students then research a threatened or endangered species in their community on which to develop their own plan. Including all relationships and interactions with nonliving and living things (DCI-LS2.A-M1, DCI-LS2.A-M2, DCI-LS2.A-M3, DCI-LS2.A-M4, DCI-LS2.C-M1, and DCI-LS2.C-M2), students identify all components of the habitat in order to develop a model (SEP-MOD-M4) that explains these interactions. The models also include any factors, including human interaction (DCI-LS4.D-M1), that could affect the organism (CCC-CE-M2). Lastly, students develop and finalize their multispecies plan through the use of a template guiding them through key questions to explain each component of the plan (SEP-CEDS-M2, SEP-CEDS-M3).

    • There are five PBAs associated with this unit that are designed to assess the five PEs. Each of the five PBAs assesses the elements associated with each targeted PE.

  • In Grade 8, Unit 13: Mystery Fossil, the objectives for this unit are three-dimensional and build toward three performance expectations: MS-LS4-1, MS-LS4-2, and MS-LS4-3. Across all of the summative assessments, each targeted PE and associated element is assessed.

    • The summative assessment tasks prompt students to use their understanding of the Law of Superposition, absolute dating techniques, and anatomical comparison as shown in the fossil record in order to analyze an evogram and construct an argument to support or refute its accuracy. While the summative assessment meets the listed objective for Lesson 5: Unit Project, it does not assess all DCIs presented in the unit overview. The unit-level objectives include three life science DCIs, of which only two are addressed by the summative task (DCI-LS4.A-M1, DCI-LS4.A-M2) and one is not (DCI-LS4.A-M3). Students are provided an image of rock strata that includes absolute dating for each layer and information about anatomical features of fossils found within these strata (DCI-LS4.A-M1, DCI-LS4.A-M2). They use patterns in the graphical and written data (CCC-PAT-M4) to determine a chronological order of species’ emergence as evidenced in the fossil record. Lastly, students use this information to construct an argument (SEP-ARG-M3) that supports or refutes the accuracy of the evogram.

    • There are three PBAs associated with this unit that are designed to assess the five PEs. Each of the three PBAs assesses all the elements associated with each targeted PE.

  • In Grade 8, Unit 16: Dead Fish in the Delta, the objectives for this unit are three-dimensional and build toward four performance expectations: MS-ESS3-1, MS-ESS3-3, MS-ESS3-4, and MS-ETS1-1. There are two types of summative tasks in this unit: Unit Project and four PBAs. Across all of the summative assessments, each targeted PE and associated element is assessed.

    • The summative tasks include a project in which students review models from previous lessons to determine where it would be possible to prevent the dead zone and future fish kills. They design a process to decide a solution “for restoring the dead zone by reducing the impacts of human consumption of resources in the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico.” While the summative assessment meets the listed objectives for Lesson 6: Unit Project, it does not assess all DCIs presented in the unit overview: the unit-level objectives include three physical science DCIs and one ETS standard, of which the assessment addresses the ETS DCI but only two of the physical science DCIs (DCI-ESS3.C-M2, DCI-ESS3.C.M1, and DCI-ETS1.A-M1). Students analyze their previous models of dead fish in the Delta to determine points where the dead zone and future fish kills could be prevented (CCC-CE-M2). After locations are identified, students revise models and identify causes and effects of the fish kill at each point in their models (DCI-ESS.C-M1). They then choose one identified cause and write a question to guide a group to a possible solution (SEP-AQDP-M4). Groups select a question as the basis for their solution design  (SEP-AQDP-M8) to the dead fish (DCI-ESS3.C.M2), record new questions, and use the engineering design process to develop their solution (DCI-ETS1.A-M1). Designs are presented and students write explanations of their solutions.

    • There are four PBAs associated with this unit that are designed to assess the four PEs. Each of the four PBAs assesses the elements associated with each targeted PE, with the exception of MS-ETS1-1. While students identify and rank criteria and constraints, the assessment provides information to students that define criteria and constraints and consider that scientific principles increase success of a designed solution, rather than assessing student understanding of this DCI element (DCI-ETS1.A-M1). Further, the PBA does not assess whether students can define a design problem (SEP-AQDP-M8).

Criterion 1d - 1i

Materials leverage science phenomena and engineering problems in the context of driving learning and student performance.

8/10
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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. Presented as directly as possible in most cases, all phenomena and problems are connected to grade-band DCIs. Serving as the summative assessment, the majority of problems are found within the final lesson of each unit. Overall, one-third of the materials include phenomena: anchor phenomena drive learning across multiple lessons within every unit, and lesson-level phenomena and problems drive learning in half of all lessons. Materials present activities that elicit students’ experience and prior knowledge for more than half of all problems and phenomena; students’ experiences are most frequently elicited around the anchor phenomenon during the first lesson of each unit. For lesson-level problems and phenomena, students’ prior learning is often elicited, but there are missed opportunities to elicit or leverage their prior knowledge and experiences related to the phenomenon or problem.

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 problems are connected to grade-band Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs). Phenomena and problems in all disciplines consistently connect to grade-band appropriate DCIs. All problems are designed to help students make sense of DCIs. 

Examples of phenomena and problems that connect to grade-band DCI elements.

  • In Grade 6, Unit 1, Lesson 2, Activity 3: Fire Extinguisher Go-Kart, the phenomenon is a go-kart propelled by four fire extinguishers reaches its maximum speed faster than a go-kart propelled by two fire extinguishers. Students create a graph or table and interpret the data of the go-karts in motion. To build understanding of speed, velocity, and frame of reference, they read about analyzing forces and motion and complete a computer interactive recognizing the frame of reference of motion (DCI-PS2.A-M3). Then, students draw a model of the movement of the go-karts forward which is opposite to the fire extinguisher gas being expelled backward (DCI-PS2.A-M1).

  • In Grade 6, Unit 1, Lesson 5, Activity 13, Unit Project: Ready to Compete, the challenge is to design a balloon-powered car to win various competitions. Based on their knowledge of motion, mass, and forces, students modify designs of their cars for four competitions: speed, distance, accuracy, and power. After the competitions, students reflect on the performance of their balloon-powered cars and how they have improved upon understanding of systems (DCI-PS2.A-M2).

  • In Grade 6, Unit 3, Lesson 6, Activity 20, Unit Project: Unwanted Frost on the Window, the problem is ice forming on the interior side of windows. Students engage in a class discussion, review their knowledge on heat transfer and changes of state, and brainstorm ideas for why the ice is forming. Within pairs or in small groups, students construct an explanation and develop possible solutions (DCI-PS1.A-M6).

  • In Grade 6, Unit 4, Lesson 1, Activity 1: Skateboard Mishap, the phenomenon is a cut on a finger healing over time. Students watch a time lapse video that shows a cut with stitches on a finger which are gone once the video ends. Students record their observations and list questions they have about what they have observed. Students write an initial explanation about the healing process and how parts of the body could function to heal a cut (DCI-LS1.A-M3).

  • In Grade 6, Unit 5, Lesson 4, Activity 7: Disappearing Sun, the phenomenon is that the sun disappears during a solar eclipse. Students watch a video to identify patterns of change during a solar eclipse, then compare their observations to that of a lunar eclipse. To explain this phenomenon, students use patterns observed from previous activities on lunar eclipses to explain how the sun disappears (DCI-ESS1.B-M2).

  • In Grade 7, Unit 6, Lesson 1: Exploring the Hindenburg Explosion, the phenomenon is that the Hindenburg blimp exploded. Students watch a video that proposes two possible solutions about chemical reactions between two substances. They use an infographic to familiarize themselves with the chemical substance making up the fabric covering. Students are asked what they could investigate to test the two proposed causes of the Hindenburg explosion (DCI-PS1.B-M1).

  • In Grade 7, Unit 7, Lesson 6, Activity 17: Rebuilding Kelp Forests in Australia, the problem is that kelp forest populations are declining in the Aleutian Islands. Students read about the decline in kelp forest populations around the world and the concerns of marine biologists regarding this issue. Aligning with identified conservation criteria, students use models to propose a restoration and conservation project that will increase the population of sea otters or kelp species (DCI-LS2.B-M1).

  • In Grade 7, Unit 8, Lesson 1, Activity 1: A Really Big Storm, the phenomenon is that in March 1993, the southeastern United States experienced a storm that developed into a two day superstorm unique in its intensity, size, and widespread impacts. Students analyze map data for patterns, investigate how clouds and rain form, and learn about air masses and the role of energy in weather (DCI-ESS2.C-M2). Students finalize their model of the storm, determine the cause, and use evidence to explain why it is called the “Storm of the Century.”

  • In Grade 7, Unit 10, Lesson 1, Activity 1: Exploring Zebra Survival, the phenomenon is that the Grevy’s Zebra population is decreasing in its natural habitat of East Africa. In Lesson 2, students use a game to model the role of resource availability on a population (DCI-LS2.A-M2). In Lesson 3, students investigate predator/prey relationships (DCI-LS2.A-M4) and the role of natural disruptions on zebra populations (DCI-LS2.C-M1). In Lesson 5, students investigate the role of biodiversity (DCI-LS2.C-M2), hunting, and ecotourism (DCI-LS4.D-M1) on the zebra population. They use this information to develop an explanation for the decreased population.

  • In Grade 7, Unit 10, Lesson 8, Activity 21, Unit Project: Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions for a Final Action Plan, the challenge is to propose a solution to lessen the local impacts of climate change. Students ask questions about the effects of climate change in their own communities and evaluate different design solutions. They determine an action plan and propose the best solution that includes a model outlining how different human behavior can reduce the impacts of climate change in their local community (DCI-ESS3.D-M1).

  • In Grade 8, Unit 11, Lesson 1, Activity 1: Model a Sound System, the phenomenon is music from a cell phone can be played through an external speaker that is not attached. Students watch a video that shows a wireless speaker playing music from a cell phone. Students write down observations and ask questions before developing an initial model for how the sound travels through waves from the phone, to the speaker, and then to their ears (DCI-PS4.A-M2).

  • In Grade 8, Unit 15, Lesson 1, Activity 1: Earthquake in the News, the phenomenon is an arch landform, Punta Ventana, falls after the Puerto Rico earthquake in 2020. Using what they saw from a previous video showing effects of that earthquake, students explain why they think the structure changed. Throughout the unit, students collect evidence of geoscience processes that change the surface of the earth to determine what caused Punta Ventana to collapse (DCI-ESS2.A-M1, DCI-ESS2.A-M2).

  • In Grade 8, Unit 15, Lesson 5, Activity 18: Analyzing Past Earthquakes, the problem is people need to be protected from earthquakes in Puerto Rico. To solve the problem, students determine where to place detectors for a warning system. By researching earthquakes in Puerto Rico, students gather information on detection technology and analyze earthquake data in the Caribbean from 2000 to 2020. Students use data to select three to five locations to place detector systems to alert people and provide rationale as to why these locations were chosen (DCI-ESS2.A-M2).

  • In Grade 8, Unit 16, Lesson 1, Activity 1: Fish Kill, the phenomenon is a large number of dead fish are found floating in an estuary of the Mississippi River. Students view a picture, record observations of what they notice, and list questions they have. In Activity 2, students review information about the “dead zone” and create an initial model for explaining what caused so many fish to die in the fish kill (DCI-ESS3.C-M2).

  • In Grade 8, Unit 16, Lesson 6, Activity 15, Unit Project: Using a Model, the problem is the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico results in dead fish. Students use the models they created throughout the unit to create a plan to prevent the dead zone and future fish kills. They use their model to identify locations for possible solutions and then create a list of questions they would need to answer in order to solve the problem. Then students work through engineering design graphic organizers to define the problem, develop solutions, and refine their design. Students explain how changes in human activity or engineering could reduce the impact of the dead zone and result in fewer dead fish (DCI-ESS3.C-M2).

Indicator 1e

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

2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations that phenomena and problems are presented to students as directly as possible. All 15 problems are presented as directly as possible, usually via text and images. Across the series, 30 of the 35 phenomena are presented as directly as possible and are consistently presented through video. Of the five not presented as directly as possible, four are found in Grade 6 and one in Grade 8. Three are in physical science units, one is in a life science unit, and one is in an earth and space science unit. These five phenomena are not presented as directly as possible, leading to a missed opportunity for students to have a common experience and entry point into the phenomena.

Examples of phenomena and problems presented as directly as possible:

  • In Grade 6, Unit 1, Lesson 2, Activity 6: Changing Direction, the phenomenon is that gases from a fire extinguisher can propel and change the motion of a hovercraft on ice. Students watch a video of a person on a hovercraft traveling across an ice rink and changing direction by ejecting gas out of a fire extinguisher. Since it is not practical to have access to an ice rink and hovercraft, a video presentation is the most direct means possible.

  • In Grade 6, Unit 2, Lesson 5, Activity 21: Energy Transfer, the phenomenon is that a junkyard electromagnet can pick up 5,000 paperclips from a considerable distance. Students watch a video of the electromagnet picking up the paper clips. The video presents the phenomenon as directly as possible so that students can see that electromagnets are large and powerful magnets.

  • In Grade 6, Unit 2, Lesson 7, Activity 25: Hands-On Engineering: Applying Force, the problem is keys and a student ID were dropped into a dry creek bed more than 12 feet below a bridge. The problem is presented as a storyline via text along with a drawing of keys in a dry creek bed below a bridge. In addition, this problem builds on and connects to previous lessons, which provide direct context for students to test solutions for retrieving the keys and badge. 

  • In Grade 7, Unit 8, Lesson 1: Exploring Zebra Survival, the phenomenon is that the Grevy’s Zebra population in eastern Africa is dropping. Students read text about the location of the zebras in eastern Africa and analyze a graph of Grevy’s zebra population numbers from 1977-2013. The phenomenon is presented as directly as possible through video and data since students could not directly observe this decline nor the actual zebra population in Africa.

  • In Grade 7, Unit 10, Lesson 1: Exploring a Dogsled Race, the phenomenon is that the Alaskan dogsled race must move its starting location every year due to different amounts of snow. Students watch videos and read a passage about different locations for the starting line of the race. Since it is impractical for students to observe an Alaskan dogsled race directly, the videos and reading passage provide a geographical context for a climate-related phenomenon.

  • In Grade 7, Unit 10, Lesson 8, Activity 21: Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions for a Final Action Plan, the problem is that climate change causes negative impacts to local communities. The problem is presented through text as a scenario; a local paper would like to hire a sustainability coordinator who writes about local climate issues. Students research the job, local impacts from climate change, and write an opinion piece for the paper with an action plan related to a local problem. The action plan includes a model that describes how the solution will lessen the local effects of climate change on their own communities.

  • In Grade 8, Unit 12, Lesson 1, Activity 1: White-coated Squirrels, the phenomenon is that small populations of eastern gray squirrels in Olney, IL have white fur. Students observe photographs of gray and white squirrels from Olney. Most students are not likely to see true albino organisms in the wild, so the use of photographs would be a direct way of presenting this concept for students to compare the variation in squirrel coloration.

  • In Grade 8, Unit 14, Lesson 5, Activity 10: Kauaʻi Fruit Fly, the phenomenon is that Kauaʻi fruit flies have decreased in number even though their habitat of koa trees is not endangered. Students analyze patterns in data tables on the fruit fly decline and observe maps of, read text about, and review images of the koa tree habitat. The phenomenon is presented as directly as possible as students could not directly observe the serious decline in numbers in this population of flies.

  • In Grade 8, Unit 16, Lesson 6: Unit Project: Restoring the Dead Zone, the problem is the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico results in dead fish. Students are presented with the problem through text and accompanying pictures of the fish kill. Since it is not practical for students to have a first hand experience with a fish kill in the Gulf of Mexico, the problem is presented as directly as possible.

Indicator 1f

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

1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 partially meet expectations that phenomena and/or problems drive individual lessons or activities using key elements of all three dimensions. Students work toward figuring out phenomena or solving problems in approximately one half of the lessons in the series. In many of these lessons, the phenomenon or problem drives student learning using all three dimensions and helps students understand components of the unit-level phenomenon. In the other half of the lessons in the series, a lesson-level phenomenon or problem does not drive student learning across the lesson; instead, students build toward understanding a science topic or concept that supports understanding of the unit-level phenomenon or storyline (see Indicator 1i). Students frequently engage with the three dimensions in these lessons.

Examples of lessons that are driven by phenomena or problems using elements of all three dimensions:

  • In Grade 6, Unit 3, Lesson 4: Ice Formation, the problem is ice forms on air conditioner coils and causes the air conditioner to stop working. Students watch a video showing ice on the coils of an air conditioner, write their observations, and list questions they have about what they observed. Students then complete a simulation about changes of state and construct an explanation about how ice forms (CCC-EM-M4, SEP-CEDS-M6, and DCI-PS1.A-M4). Using their knowledge of molecular movement and energy flow (DCI-PS3.B-M3), students construct an explanation to specifically note how the ice formed on the air conditioner coils (SEP-CEDS-M6, CCC-SYS-M2). Lastly, students write solutions for how to prevent ice from forming in the future (SEP-CEDS-M6, CCC-CE-M2, and CCC-SYS-M2).

  • In Grade 6, Unit 4, Lesson 4: Disappearing Sun, the phenomenon is that the sun disappears during a solar eclipse. During this activity, students explore the sun-earth-moon system through a working model and video in order to explain how the components of the system interact to result in a solar eclipse (SEP-MOD-M2, CCC-SYS-M2). Students observe a video of a solar eclipse and identify patterns caused by the system (CCC-PAT-M3) in order to refine their model. Students construct an explanation (SEP-CEDS-M4) using evidence from their model to explain a solar eclipse (DCI-ESS1.B-M2).

  • In Grade 7, Unit 6, Lesson 2: Exploring the Burning of Hydrogen, the phenomenon is a balloon containing hydrogen bursts into flames when exposed to a lit candle, but balloons containing oxygen or helium do not. In Activity 3, students watch a video of the phenomenon that shows how three different balloons filled with three different gases (oxygen, helium, and hydrogen) react when ignited. Students record their observations and note any patterns they see (CCC-PAT-M3). Students then explain how they could identify the gas in balloons based on what they learned. In Activity 5, students watch two videos: one video shows that an attempt to light hydrogen without the presence of oxygen does not ignite hydrogen; the second video shows that an attempt to light hydrogen with the presence of oxygen results in an immediate reaction. Students record their observations and explain what conditions are needed for something to burn. Students return to the different claims about the cause of the Hindenburg explosion and list evidence that refutes each (SEP-ARG-M1, CCC-CE-M1).

  • In Grade 8, Unit 14, Lesson 5: Endangered Fruit Flies, the phenomenon is that the Kauaʻi fruit fly is near extinction. Students look for patterns in data related to endangered fly species of Hawaii and analyze a table showing data about the Kauaʻi fruit fly and the koa tree (SEP-DATA-M4, CCC-PAT-M3). Students gather additional information about the populations of koa trees, then consider how a decline in trees impacts traits in fruit flies (CCC-CE-M3, DCI-LS4.C-M1). Students analyze data about the fruit flies on Kauaʻi and the koa tree using different maps, graphs, and information in text (SEP-DATA-M4). Students learn about conservation techniques used to repopulate and successfully grow koa trees (DCI-LS1.B-M4). Students use a lens of cause and effect (CCC-CE-M3) to  explain that the data show that the decline in the koa trees endangered the fruit flies and why the relationship between these two organisms can only be described using probability (DCI-LS4.C-M1). Lastly, students explain how the decline of these species can impact other life on the islands (CCC-SC-M2).

  • In Grade 8, Unit 15, Lesson 5: Planning for Earthquakes, the problem is people need to be protected from earthquakes in Puerto Rico. To solve the problem, students determine where to place detectors for a warning system. Students research earthquakes in Puerto Rico, gather information on detection technology (SEP-INFO-M1), and analyze earthquake data (SEP-DATA-M2) in the Caribbean from 2000 to 2020. Students use patterns in the data (CCC-PAT-M4) to identify three to five locations suitable to place detector systems to alert people; they provide a rationale (SEP-CEDS-M4) explaining why these locations were chosen (DCI-ESS2.A-M2).

Examples of lessons that are not driven by phenomena or problems:

  • In Grade 6, Unit 2, Lesson 4: Electricity, the lesson is not driven by a phenomenon or problem; instead, the lesson focuses on the topic of static electricity. In Activity 16, students share what they know about charge and electricity and watch a video of interactions between statically charged objects (DCI-PS2.B-M1). Students then identify the forces responsible for the behaviors in the video and describe why they see the transfer of electricity in a lightning strike but not a shock from touching a doorknob. While students apply this learning to the phenomenon of the levitating orb system, the phenomenon is not driving the learning of this activity. In Activity 17, students plan and conduct an investigation to understand forces between two strips of tape (SEP-INV-M4). Students explain how forces between the strips are similar to magnetism, positive and negative charges in relation to the tape, and describe how the tape becomes charged (DCI-PS2.B-M1, DCI-PS2.B-M3, and SEP-CEDS-M1). In Activity 18, students develop a procedure to test how an uncharged object responds to a charged object (DCI-PS2.B-M1, DCI-PS2.B-M3, and SEP-INV-M5). Students look for patterns and cause and effect relationships in the class data and results (SEP-DATA-M4, CCC-PAT-M3, and CCC-CE-M2). In Activity 19, students make an infographic that compares gravitational, magnetic, and electrical forces, write three social media posts summarizing what was figured out today about electricity (SEP-INFO-M5), and reply to the posts of three classmates.

  • In Grade 6, Unit 5, Lesson 5: How Does It All Connect?, the lesson is not driven by a phenomenon or problem; instead, the lesson focuses on the topics of body systems and structures. In Activity 14, students watch the teacher dissect a chicken leg and note observations about each layer (DCI-LS1.A-M3). Students answer questions about the structure and function of chickens and list any questions they have (SEP-AQDP-M1, CCC-SF-M1). In Activity 15, students measure their heart rates and breathing rates per minute to find if the heart and lungs are connected during physical activity (DCI-LS1.A-M3). Students design and conduct an investigation (SEP-INV-M2) to see if there is a connection between heart rate and breathing rate and graph their results (CCC-CE-M2). Students note other changes that occurred including sweating and red faces. Lastly, students are asked a question about the connection between the heart and lungs.

  • In Grade 7, Unit 6, Lesson 3: Modeling Chemical Reactions, the lesson is not driven by a phenomenon or problem; instead, the lesson focuses on the topics of structure of molecules and chemical reactions. In Activity 7, students create models of different molecules that are too small to see (DCI-PS1.A-M1, CCC-SPQ-M1, and SEP-MOD-M4) and answer questions about their models. In Activity 8, students use their models (SEP-MOD-M6) to represent different chemical reactions (DCI-PS1.B-M1, DCI-PS1.B-M2, and CCC-EM-M1). In Activity 9, students use their models to make predictions about chemical reactions (DCI-PS1.B-M1, SEP-MOD-M2). In Activity 10, students conduct an investigation (SEP-INV-M2) where they inflate a balloon from a bottle by using the chemical reaction between baking soda and vinegar. Students record their observations and create a model (SEP-MOD-M4) of the vinegar and baking soda system that shows the movement of matter during the chemical reaction (DCI-PS1.B-M1).

  • In Grade 7, Unit 8, Lesson 2: Survival Needs, the lesson is not driven by a phenomenon or problem; instead, the lesson focuses on a simulation that models resource availability. In Activity 5, students run the simulation (SEP-MOD-M4) that models resource availability (DCI-LS2.A-M2, DCI-LS2.A-M3) and then explain how populations change due to resource availability (CCC-CE-M1). In Activity 6, students discuss simulations, observations, and questions from the previous activity (DCI-LS2.A-M2, DCI-LS2.A-M3); they make a graphical representation of zebras and available resources then look for patterns in the data (SEP-DATA-M1, CCC-PAT-M4). In Activity 7, students use the graph to explain patterns of change in the zebra population and predict future zebra populations (SEP-DATA-M2, CCC-PAT-M2). They also explain what happens when two zebras need the same resources and how changes in available resources could affect the survival of other animals on the savanna (DCI-LS2.A-M3). In Activity 8, students read text with maps and images, watch a video of migration patterns, and analyze maps in order to connect time of year, wet seasons, and zebra movement (SEP-INFO-M1, DCI-LS2.C-M1, CCC-PAT-M3, and CCC-PAT-M4). In Activity 9, students read a graph and create a model to represent ideas and explain why Burchell’s zebras are migrating during specific months of the year (DCI-LS2.A-M3, DCI-LS2.C-M1, SEP-MOD-M4, SEP-CEDS-M4, and CCC-PAT-M3). In Activity 10, students record observations and identify factors that affect the growth of vegetation in different seasons (DCI-LS2.A-M3, DCI-LS2.C-M1, and CCC-PAT-M3). They use graphs to make claims and explain the connection between vegetation, migration, and rainfall (CCC-CE-M1). Students complete this lesson by explaining the connections between Grevy’s and Burchell’s zebra behavior (DCI-LS2.A-M3, DCI-LS2.C-M1).

  • In Grade 7, Unit 10, Lesson 7: Effects of Climate Change, the lesson is not driven by a phenomenon or problem; instead, the lesson focuses on the topic of climate change. In Activity 17, students read text and analyze graphs of carbon dioxide levels and earth’s surface temperature data over decades of time (DCI-ESS3.D-M1, SEP-INFO-M2). They use this information to make a claim on whether the trends over the last 60 or more years will continue (SEP-CEDS-M3, CCC-SC-M3). In Activity 18, students view videos and read text on three specific results of climate change in Alaska (DCI-ESS3.D-M1, CCC-SC-M3). They write an argument (SEP-ARG-M3) about how they believe the Alaskan environment, animals, and people have been harmed by climate change (CCC-CE-M2).

  • In Grade 8, Unit 11, Lesson 2: Producing Sound, the lesson is not driven by a phenomenon or problem; instead, the lesson focuses on the concept of how sound travels. In Activity 3, students watch a video of glitter moving in different ways on a speaker playing sound (DCI-PS4.A-P1), record their observations, then create a model (SEP-MOD-M5). In Activity 4, students brainstorm how sound is produced and plan an investigation (SEP-INV-M2) to explain the glitter on the speaker (DCI-PS4.A-P1, DCI-PS4.A-M2). Students use a cause and effect frame to construct an explanation for how instruments produce different sounds (CCC-CE-M2, SEP-CEDS-M1). In Activity 5, students build a paper cup telephone model and investigate if sound can travel through it (DCI-PS4.A-M2). They construct an explanation for how this system works (SEP-CEDS-M1) and revise their model of the wireless speaker system to include new information (CCC-SYS-M2, SEP-MOD-M5). 

  • In Grade 8, Unit 12, Lesson 4: It Is All in the Family, the lesson is not driven by a phenomenon or problem; instead, the lesson focuses on the topics of asexual or sexual reproduction and inheritance. Throughout the lesson, students investigate asexual and sexual reproduction and use this information to relate to the inheritance of mutations. Students analyze gene maps (SEP-DATA-M1) and gather information (SEP-INFO-M1) about sexual vs asexual reproduction in order to discern patterns (CCC-PAT-M4). Students then develop a flowchart model (SEP-MOD-M3) in order to predict the inheritance of mutations in asexual reproduction (DCI-LS1.B-M1, DCI-LS3.B-M1).

  • In Grade 8, Unit 15, Lesson 3: The Vast Ocean Floor, the lesson is not driven by a phenomenon or problem; instead, the lesson focuses on the topic of tectonic processes. Throughout the activities, students investigate the development of volcanoes and earthquakes within the ocean and how earth material is recycled. Students analyze oceanic geologic data and identify patterns (CCC-PAT-M4). They use that information to understand the presence of undersea volcanoes and earthquakes at the plate boundaries (DCI-ESS1.C-M1). Students then construct a model (SEP-MOD-M4) and an explanation (SEP-CEDS-M4) of the tectonic system (CCC-SYS-M2).

Indicator 1g

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

Narrative Evidence Only
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 are designed for students to solve problems in 14% (14/100) of the lessons. Throughout the materials, 36% (36/100) of the lessons focus on explaining phenomena. Across the series, there are 16 units, each designed and organized around a unit storyline. The last lesson of each unit is a Unit Project, which serves as a summative assessment for the unit and also provides opportunities for students to conduct additional research or design solutions for problems. Across the series, 63% (10/16) of the units have a unit-level problem that serves as the Unit Project. Four are found in Grade 6, four in Grade 7, and two in Grade 8. 

In addition, lesson-level problems or design challenges are found within the unit, and may be associated with the Hands-On Engineering section. More than half (eight) of the lesson-level problems are found in physical science units; four in earth and space science units and two in life science units. Three lesson-level problems are in Grade 6, and one is in Grade 8. 

Examples of problems in the series:

  • In Grade 6, Unit 1, Lesson 3, Activity 7: Hands-On Engineering: Designing a Balloon-Powered Rocket Car, the lesson-level challenge is to design and build a balloon car to test different variables. Students watch a video connecting the unit’s phenomenon of a car splitting in half to the content of systems and forces. Students gather information about how scientists and engineers use models to test ideas when they have unanswered questions. Then, students are given a list of materials and constraints to design, build, and test a rocket balloon car.

  • In Grade 6, Unit 2, Lesson 7, Activity 25: Hands-On Engineering: Applying Force, the unit-level problem is that keys and a student ID were dropped into a dry creek bed more than 12 feet below a bridge. Students identify questions related to materials and understanding of forces in order to design a solution for retrieving the materials. Noting which variables play a role in a successful retrieval, students test their solutions and record observations.

  • In Grade 6, Unit 3, Lesson 4, Activity 14: Frozen Coils, the lesson-level problem is ice forms on air conditioner coils and causes the air conditioner to stop working. Using information gathered in prior activities of the lesson, students brainstorm and record ideas for how the ice forms. Students then write an explanation and pose solutions to prevent ice from forming on air conditioner coils in the future.

  • In Grade 6, Unit 4, Lesson 6, Activity 16: What Is That Thing in the Sky?, the unit-level problem is that there is an unknown object in the sky. Students observe a time-lapsed image of an object in the sky, create a data table of information gathered from the image, and note three patterns in the data. Students look for evidence of motion in the patterns, create a model to test the patterns, and make claims about the identity of the object. Students solve the problem by supporting a claim about the object’s identity with evidence gathered from text, observations, and investigations.

  • In Grade 7, Unit 6, Lesson 6, Activity 15: Investigating for a TV Show, the unit-level problem is that the Hindenburg exploded. To solve this problem, students determine what material could replace the material on the Hindenburg to prevent explosions. To better understand the problem, students gather information about the fabrics and their molecular structure. Based upon given criteria and their understanding of chemical reactions and the role of energy, students then design investigations including procedural steps, stating what data to collect, materials needed, and expected results.

  • In Grade 7, Unit 7, Lesson 6, Activity 17: Rebuilding Kelp Forests in Australia, the unit-level problem is that kelp forest populations are declining in the Aleutian Islands. Students read about the decline in kelp forest populations around the world and the concerns of marine biologists regarding this issue. Aligning with identified conservation criteria, students use models to propose a restoration and conservation project that will increase the population of sea otters or kelp species.

  • In Grade 8, Unit 11, Lesson 7, Activity 23: Light Sensors, the unit-level challenge is to design an alarm system that emits sound to ward off intruders and turns on a light to alert the homeowners. In addition to reading about emergency light fading, students observe a circuit with an LED light and a photocell, identify the system’s components, and match components to their purpose. They develop a model to explain how the light system works. Students then observe a circuit with an LED light and buzzer, and develop a model to explain how the light sensor system works in conjunction with the buzzer. Using their understanding of a wireless speaker, students solve the problem by identifying criteria and constraints of the alarm system, brainstorming ideas for a design with a group, and comparing design ideas to the criteria and constraints.

  • In Grade 8, Unit 15, Lesson 5, Activity 18: Analyzing Past Earthquakes, the lesson-level problem is people need to be protected from earthquakes in Puerto Rico. To solve the problem, students determine where to place detectors for a warning system. By researching earthquakes in Puerto Rico, students gather information on detection technology, and analyze earthquake data in the Caribbean from 2000 to 2020. Students use data to select three to five locations to place detector systems to alert people and provide rationale as to why these locations were chosen.

  • In Grade 8, Unit 16, Lesson 6: Unit Project: Restoring the Dead Zone, the problem is the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico results in dead fish. Students go through a four-step design process (identify the problem, list initial ideas, propose solutions, then construct and test the proposed solution). To solve this problem, students identify where changes can be made to reduce the impact of the dead zone and result in fewer dead fish. Students share their group explanation that describes the solution, how it will work, and how it will be tested.

Across the series, 94% (15/16) of the units have a unit-level phenomenon that connects to the unit storyline. Nearly all of the unit-level phenomena are presented in the first lesson of each unit; one is introduced later in the unit. 

Throughout the materials, 36% (36/100) of the lessons focus on explaining phenomena. Of the 21 lesson-level phenomena, 16 are found in Grade 6; one is found in Grade 7; and four are in Grade 8. The majority of lesson-level phenomena are focused on physical science and primarily found in Grade 6. The life science lesson-level phenomena are in Grade 6 and Grade 8. Earth and space science phenomena are in Grade 6 and Grade 8. 

Examples of phenomena in the series:

  • In Grade 6, Unit 1, Lesson 1: Anchoring Phenomenon: Exploring a Rocket Sled, the unit-level phenomenon is a rocket sled snow plow moving 550 mph collides with a car, which is split in two. As the rocket sled continues, the sled’s wedge disintegrates upon hitting a concrete block. After watching videos about the collision and collecting evidence, students create an initial model to show what happens to the forces interacting in the system to cause the car to split in two.

  • In Grade 6, Unit 4, Lesson 7, Activity 21: Response to Pain, the lesson-level phenomenon is two children have burns on their feet from hot metal on the playground, but only one child is in pain. Students analyze two graphs showing results of an experiment on mice with and without Congenital Insensitivity to Pain (CIP). They collect information about the nervous system in small groups, students next collect information they know about body systems. They develop a model to explain how a body without CIP feels pain. Using this model, students create a claim describing where the breakdown in children's nervous systems could occur for those who suffer from insensitivity to pain.

  • In Grade 6, Unit 4, Lesson 3, Activity 4: A New Pattern in the Moon’s Changing Appearance, the lesson-level phenomenon is that the moon color changes during a lunar eclipse. Students collect data by recording changes to the moon’s appearance, as shown through a video. Students use an understanding of the sun-earth-moon system to revise their model from previous lessons to show what must occur in order to see shadow patterns and incorporate a description explaining the red color.

  • In Grade 7, Unit 6, Lesson 2: Exploring the Burning of Hydrogen, the lesson-level phenomenon is a balloon with hydrogen bursts into flames when exposed to a lit candle, but balloons with oxygen or helium do not. Students look at the composition of air and what is needed to keep a candle burning. Students write their observations and note any patterns they see regarding the role of oxygen in combustion. Studying cause and effect relationships, they observe whether the presence of oxygen impacts the ignition of hydrogen. They use the information gathered to explain the conditions necessary for burning gas in that the hydrogen balloon bursts when in the presence of the oxygen found in air.

  • In Grade 7, Unit 7, Lesson 1, Activity 1: Kelp Forests, the unit-level phenomenon is that there are two kelp forests but they look different. The students develop a model of these two forests to describe how they are different. In subsequent lessons, students investigate conditions and materials necessary for kelp growth. They also investigate the role of the organisms in the ecosystem and how they impact a kelp forest. Students use this information to continually refine their models to explain the differences between the two kelp forests.

  • In Grade 7, Unit 9, Lesson 1, Activity 1: A Really Big Storm, the unit-level phenomenon is that in March 1993, the southeastern United States experienced a storm that developed into a two-day superstorm unique in its intensity, size, and widespread impacts. Students analyze map data for patterns, investigate how clouds and rain form, and learn about air masses and the role of energy in weather. Students finalize their model of the storm as well as explain why, with evidence, it is called the “Storm of the Century.”

  • In Grade 8, Unit 11, Lesson 1, Activity 1: Model a Sound System, the unit-level phenomenon is music from a cell phone can be played through an external speaker that is not attached. Students develop a model as to how this may work as well as identify possible questions for investigation. After subsequent lessons of learning about how sound is produced, under what conditions it is heard, and how radio waves behave under different conditions, students develop a final model and an infographic to explain how a wireless waterproof speaker works.

  • In Grade 8, Unit 12, Lesson 1, Activity 1: White-coated Squirrels, the unit-level phenomenon is that small populations of eastern gray squirrels in Olney, IL have white fur. Students develop an initial explanation and a model of possible causes of the differences between gray and albino squirrels. In subsequent lessons, students learn about the role of inheritance, including use of Punnett squares, mutations, and how humans influence traits in organisms. Students expand on their initial explanation as to why there are albino squirrels in Olney.

  • In Grade 8, Unit 13, Lesson 1, Activity 1: Anchoring Phenomenon: An Interesting Discovery, the unit-level phenomenon is that a fossil found in the Sahara Desert cannot be identified. Students observe images of the fossil and record their observations, then design a plan to try and determine more information about the fossil. Students learn about relative and absolute dating of rocks, how to determine past environments based upon fossil evidence, how embryos and homologous structures are used to determine common ancestry, and about the evolutionary history of whales. Identifying the fossil and its approximate age, students use the information they gathered to construct an explanation about the evolutionary lineage of the mystery fossil.

  • In Grade 8, Unit 14, Lesson 5, Activity 10: Kauaʻi Fruit Fly, the lesson-level phenomenon is that Kauaʻi fruit flies have decreased in number even though their habitat of koa trees is not endangered. Students read data tables and look for patterns and clues on why the fruit flies are endangered. In addition to studying the fruit fly species, they also observe maps, data tables, and images of the koa forest over time. Students make recommendations for koa tree reforesting and explain the decrease in Kauaʻi fruit fly numbers, including cause and effect information as well as how trait variation might help the species survive.

  • In Grade 8, Unit 15, Lesson 1, Activity 1: Earthquake in the News, the lesson-level phenomenon is that Puerto Rico has a large number of earthquakes compared to other geographical areas. Through watching a video and reading about earthquakes, students gather information on the effects of earthquakes in Puerto Rico. They analyze earthquake and volcanic patterns in maps of the world and plate movement to explain why Puerto Rico has a large number of earthquakes compared to other places.

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 they intentionally leverage students’ prior knowledge and experiences related to phenomena or problems. 

The materials present activities to elicit students’ prior knowledge and experiences related to the phenomena and problems approximately 55% of the time. Students’ prior knowledge or experiences are primarily elicited through class discussion. When prior knowledge of unit-level phenomena is elicited, it is typically through a prompt at the start of the first lesson of the unit that asks students to share what they already know about an event or location connected with the phenomenon; in a few cases, students are asked to share their experiences related to the phenomenon. For lesson-level phenomena and problems introduced later in the unit, students’ prior knowledge and experiences are rarely elicited or leveraged; instead, the materials either provide no elicitation strategies or elicit prior learning from earlier in the unit. 


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

  • In Grade 6, Unit 2, Lesson 1, Activity 1: The Mystery of the Levitating Orb, the phenomenon is a ball of tinsel floating in the air above a PVC pipe. The materials elicit prior knowledge by asking students to describe what they think prevents levitating objects from falling to the ground. They develop possible explanations and in pairs, choose one explanation that is supported with evidence from their past experiences. Student prior knowledge and experiences are not leveraged during subsequent learning activities.

  • In Grade 6, Unit 2, Lesson 7, Activity 25: Hands-On Engineering: Applying Force, the unit-level problem is that keys and a student ID were dropped into a dry creek bed more than 12 feet below a bridge. At the start of the lesson, students discuss whether they have dropped an object down a drain or sidewalk grate, then student volunteers share how they solved the problem. Students work in small groups to brainstorm possible solutions that will help them retrieve the items; students must use the provided materials. Students share ideas with another team, and identify the pros and cons of each solution before deciding which solution to test, but are limited to design constraints of provided materials that reduce the opportunity for leveraging their prior knowledge and experience. Each group designs a solution to the problem that applies the ideas of energy transfer and different forces (electricity, magnetism, and/or gravity).  

  • In Grade 6, Unit 4, Lesson 1: The Ever Changing Moon, the phenomenon is that the moon’s appearance changes each night in shape, color, and shadows. The materials present images from around the solar system and ask questions to elicit students’ prior knowledge about the solar system, earth-moon system, or the moon. Student prior knowledge and experiences are not leveraged during subsequent learning activities.

  • In Grade 6, Unit 4, Lesson 6, Activity 16: What Is That Thing in the Sky?, the unit-level problem is that there is an unknown object in the sky. To activate prior knowledge, students discuss objects they regularly see in the sky (clouds, sun, etc.) and describe the sky conditions when the objects are observed. The teacher is prompted to guide students towards understanding the importance of observing patterns. Students view a time-lapse image of an “unknown object'' over a three month period. Students apply what they learned in the unit about the phases of the moon to identify the unknown object.

  • In Grade 7, Unit 6, Lesson 1: Exploring the Hindenburg, the unit-level phenomenon is that the Hindenburg blimp exploded. In order to elicit students’ prior knowledge about explosions, materials call for students to share where they have seen fire or explosions and how they think they happen. Students’ prior knowledge and experiences relating to explosions are not leveraged in subsequent activities.

  • In Grade 7, Unit 9, Lesson 1, Activity 1: A Really Big Storm, the unit-level phenomenon is that in March 1993, the southeastern United States experienced a storm that developed into a two-day superstorm unique in its intensity, size, and widespread impacts. Students share a memorable weather-related experience with consideration that students may have experienced trauma with extreme weather. After reading the passage about the Superstorm of 1993, they are directed back to discuss their personal experiences with storms and patterns they recall. Then students' ideas are elicited as they create a list of possible causes and brainstorm different ways to investigate the superstorm.

  • In Grade 7, Unit 10, Lesson 1: Anchor Phenomenon: Exploring a Dogsled Race, the phenomenon is that the Alaskan dogsled race must move locations every few years due to different amounts of snow. The materials elicit students’ prior knowledge and experiences by asking about their knowledge of Alaska, its climate, and dogsled races. Further, a narrative text describing an issue in 2017 about dogsled races encourages students to think about potential causes. Student prior knowledge and experiences are not leveraged during subsequent learning activities.

  • In Grade 8, Unit 12, Lesson 1, Activity 1: White-coated Squirrels, the unit-level phenomenon is that small populations of eastern gray squirrels in Olney, IL have white fur. Students view photographs of gray and white squirrels located in the same area. In small groups, students share their ideas about how and why these two animals are different, then generate at least two questions for the driving question board. Throughout the lesson, the questions on the driving lesson board are referenced, and students determine whether learning from activities helped answer their questions, but these are used more for reflection than driving of the learning. Student prior knowledge and experiences are not leveraged during subsequent learning activities.

  • In Grade 8, Unit 13, Lesson 1, Activity 1: An Interesting Discovery, the unit-level problem is that a fossil found in the Sahara Desert cannot be identified. With a partner, students discuss what they already know about fossils, how fossils form, and if they’ve ever seen a fossil in person or through various media. Students then watch a video showing fossils, record their observations, and make an initial claim about the identity of the fossil, based on whether it looks like a familiar organism. Student prior knowledge and experiences are not leveraged during subsequent learning activities.

  • In Grade 8, Unit 15, Lesson 1, Activity 1: A Hawaiian Journey, the phenomenon is that the Hawaiian islands were once only volcanic rock and now have over 10,000 types of living things found nowhere else on Earth. The materials prompt students to discuss what they already know about Hawaii and create a list with a partner about things that make Hawaii unique. Student prior knowledge and experiences are not leveraged during subsequent learning activities.

  • In Grade 8, Unit 16, Lesson 1, Activity 1: Fish Kill, the phenomenon is a large number of dead fish are found floating in an estuary of the Mississippi River. Before engaging with the phenomenon, students are asked to talk with each other about their experience with the Gulf, other coastal areas, and fishing. In a subsequent activity, students develop a model of the fish kill using information provided. Student prior knowledge and experiences are not leveraged in subsequent activities.

Examples where materials do not elicit or leverage students’ prior knowledge and experience related to phenomena or problems:

  • In Grade 6, Unit 1, Lesson 4, Activity 8: Collision Damage, the phenomenon is that when a crash between a car and a regular snowplow occurs, the car is damaged without an explosion, but when a crash occurs between a car and a rocket snowplow, the car is severely damaged and an explosion occurs. Students design an investigation to demonstrate damage caused by different types of collisions. The materials elicit student learning from prior activities but not experiences specific to the phenomenon. 

  • In Grade 6, Unit 2, Lesson 3, Activity 12: Three-D Maglev Model, the problem is students must design a maglev system to see if it could be a possible explanation to explain how the ball of tinsel levitates. Students follow a specific and detailed procedure to create a maglev system. The activity does not elicit or leverage students’ prior knowledge related to the problem. 

  • In Grade 7, Unit 6, Lesson 2, Activity 3: Hydrogen vs. Helium vs. Air, the lesson-level phenomenon is a balloon with hydrogen bursts into flames when exposed to a lit candle, but balloons with oxygen or helium do not. The materials call for the teacher to describe the set-up of the demonstration and prompt students to predict what they think will happen. The activity does not elicit or leverage students’ prior knowledge related to the phenomenon.

  • In Grade 7, Unit 6, Lesson 6, Activity 15: Investigating for a TV Show, the unit-level problem to solve is what material should be used to prevent an explosion like the Hindenburg explosion. Students read a text describing the design challenge, analyze different types of material coatings, and design a series of investigations to solve the problem. The activity does not elicit or leverage students’ prior knowledge related to the problem.

  • In Grade 7, Unit 7, Lesson 1, Activity 1: Kelp Forests, the unit-level phenomenon is that there are two kelp forests but they look different. Students are asked the question, “Have you ever seen any plants grow in water?” as they view an image of a lake or pond. Their prior knowledge of kelp forests is not elicited. Students are asked to state two things they learned that day and to ask one question they have about help. The activity does not elicit or leverage students’ prior knowledge related to the phenomenon.

  • In Grade 8, Unit 11, Lesson 7, Activity 23: Light Sensors, the unit-level challenge is to design an alarm system that emits sound to ward off intruders and turns on a light to alert the homeowners. Prior to engaging with the problem, the teacher is directed to hide the circuit and darken the room to show the students the bulb can brighten and dim by waving a hand. Students then discuss for what this device could be used. The activity does not elicit or leverage students’ prior knowledge related to the problem.

  • In Grade 8, Unit 15, Lesson 5, Activity 18: Analyzing Past Earthquakes, the lesson-level problem is people need to be protected from earthquakes in Puerto Rico. Using analyses of plate boundary data and a hazard map of the US, students find the best three to five locations to place earthquake detectors. The activity does not elicit or leverage students’ prior knowledge related to the problem.  

  • In Grade 8, Unit 16, Lesson 6: Unit Project: Restoring the Dead Zone, the problem is the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico results in dead fish. Before students design their solutions, the materials elicit students’ prior learning when they are asked to identify cause and effect relationships from a model developed throughout the unit. From these relationships, students write a question about one of them that would be used to guide the development of a solution. Students design a possible solution to the question they have chosen. Student prior knowledge and experiences are not elicited or leveraged during subsequent learning activities.

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 they embed phenomena across multiple lessons for students to use and build knowledge of all three dimensions. Across the series, units present a phenomenon in the opening activity of the first lesson that is then used to drive learning across the unit. Throughout the unit, multiple lessons or activities are used to build understanding of key aspects of the phenomenon and students revisit the phenomenon presented in the first lesson to update their explanations based on new information. In addition, students have opportunities throughout the units to engage with three dimensions in relation to the phenomena. Near the end of the unit, students use what they learn throughout the unit to update their explanations or their models. 

The materials do not embed problems across multiple lessons for students to use and build three-dimensional knowledge; instead, problems are consistently present in the final lesson of each unit and serve as summative assessments or are embedded within a single lesson or activity.

Examples where phenomena drive student learning across multiple lessons and engage students with all three dimensions:

  • In Grade 6, Unit 1, Lesson 1: Anchor Phenomenon: Exploring a Rocket Sled, the phenomenon is a rocket sled snowplow going 550 MPH collides with a car resulting in the car being split in two and moved from its original position. After developing an initial model of the collision, students start with an investigation of the effect of forces on the motion of objects by studying two other system models: extinguisher go-karts and spring-loaded carts. Students construct a model by engineering and modifying their own balloon-powered rocket car. Students study car collisions to learn about kinetic energy; they connect this learning of structure and function of their models to the rocket sled snowplow. Lastly, students apply their understanding of forces and motion by solving design challenges with their balloon-powered rocket car. Students develop an initial model of the phenomenon (SEP-MOD-M5), continue to refine it based on data gathered throughout the unit (SEP-MOD-M2), then explain the phenomenon using their understanding of forces, motion (DCI-PS2.A-M1, DCI-PS2.A-M2), and energy transfer (DCI-PSE3.B-M1, CCC-EM-M4).

  • In Grade 6, Unit 2, Lesson 1: Anchor Phenomenon: Exploring the Levitating-Orb System, the phenomenon is a ball of tinsel floating in the air above a PVC pipe, also called a levitating orb. Students watch a video that shows a floating ball of tinsel, record observations, and list questions they have about how the orb levitates. They create an initial model to answer the question, “What do you think causes the orb to levitate?” Students then investigate gravity; they drop objects of varying size and shape, collect data, and determine the role of gravity in the system of the levitating orb. To rule out magnetism as the cause of the levitation, students watch a video, conduct investigations, and study magnetic fields. They investigate electricity, charge, and the electric force, concluding that an electric field can provide a force against gravity. Next, they use a capacitor, magnetic objects, and a gravitational system to conclude that energy can be stored and transformed to different types. Students then return to their initial model, determine subsystems within the levitating orb demonstration, and explain what is causing the orb to levitate. Over the course of the unit, students engage in all three dimensions as they conduct investigations (SEP-INV-M2) to gain understanding of electromagnetic forces (DCI-PS2.B-M1, DCI-PS2.B-M3), read about the effects of gravity (DCI-PS2.B-M2), and develop a model to explain the orb system (SEP-MOD-M6, CCC-SYS-M2).

  • In Grade 6, Unit 3, Lesson 1: Anchor Phenomenon: Exploring the Air Conditioner, the phenomenon is an air conditioner is running and water is dripping from a window air conditioning unit. Students engage in a series of lessons to develop an explanation of why water is dripping out of the unit. Throughout the unit, students ask questions, develop a model of water in the air, and revise their original models. To incorporate new information into their models, they investigate evaporation, ice formation, and the heat curve. Near the end of the unit, students use what they have learned to solve the problem of frost forming on the inside of a window. As students go through the unit to develop on an understanding of the phenomenon, they engage in all three dimensions, connect their prior knowledge of air conditioning units and water in the air, and then apply new understandings about temperature’s effect on both water and the heat curve (DCI-PS1.A-M6). They ask questions and create models of the air conditioning unit (SEP-AQDP-M1, SEP-MOD-M4) to explain the system within the air conditioning unit (CCC-SYS-M2) and why water condenses and drips.

  • In Grade 6, Unit 4, Lesson 1, Anchor Phenomenon: Exploring the Ever-Changing Moon, the phenomenon is that the moon’s appearance changes each night in shape, color, and shadows. Students watch three videos demonstrating how the moon looks different throughout moon phases, a lunar eclipse, and a solar eclipse. Across the unit, students ask questions, develop models of the earth-sun-moon system, investigate patterns in the changing moon, and make predictions about moon phases. Students engage in all three dimensions across the lessons to make sense of the moon’s changing appearance. After initially asking questions about the phenomenon (SEP-AQDP-M1), they investigate the patterns in the phases of the moon (SEP-AQDP-M1, CCC-PAT-M3) and develop a model to further investigate the earth-sun-moon system to determine the causes (SEP-MOD-M4, DCI-ESS1.A-M1). While studying eclipses, they use quantitative evidence to support their understanding and refining of their model (SEP-MOD-M5, CCC-PAT-M3, DCI-ESS1.B-M2). Students use what they have learned to predict the phase of the moon that will be present on their birthday and explain if it would be the same if they were in the southern hemisphere (SEP-CEDS-M2, CCC-PAT-M2, DCI-ESS1.A-M1).

  • In Grade 7, Unit 7, Lesson 1: Anchor Phenomenon: Exploring Kelp Forests, the phenomenon is that there are two kelp forests, but they look different. Students engage in a series of lessons to develop an understanding of kelp forests. They create a model to show two different kelp forests and investigate the growth rate and the process of photosynthesis in kelp. Using models, they investigate how plants use energy, the flow of that energy, and the cycling of matter in an ecosystem. Lastly, students analyze information and propose a conservation project to encourage kelp forest regrowth. To make sense of the phenomenon of why the kelp forests looked different, students draw a  model (SEP-MOD-M5) to show their initial ideas about the two kelp forests; students later apply new understanding of kelp growth, energy flow, and ecosystems (DCI-LS2.C-M1, CCC-SYS-M2) to refine their models. By analyzing kelp growth and proposing a conservation project (SEP-CEDS-M1, SEP-CEDS-M2, and SEP-CEDS-M4), students show their understanding of energy and matter within a natural system (DCI-LS2.B-M1, CCC-EM-M2, and CCC-EM-M4).

  • In Grade 7, Unit 8, Lesson 1: Exploring Zebra Survival, the phenomenon is that the Grevy’s Zebra population in eastern Africa is dropping. Students engage in a series of lessons to develop an understanding of the variables that can affect the population of the Grevy’s Zebra. Students examine a graph and read an article that describes the decline in the Grevy’s zebra population in Kenya from 1977-2013. They answer questions about the graph and article and develop an initial model to explain the possible causes for the population decline. After further exploring the concepts around this phenomenon, students explain their thinking about what caused the population decline. Over the course of the unit, students engage in all three dimensions as they explore the relationships between resource availability, predator/prey relationships (DCI-LS2.A-M1), and competition for limited resources (DCI-LS2.A-M2) within the ecosystem (CCC-SYS-M1) of the Grevy’s Zebra. Lastly, they construct an explanation (SEP-CEDS-M4) for why the population has decreased over time (DCI-LS2.A-M4, CCC-CE-M1).

  • In Grade 7, Unit 10, Lesson 1: Anchor Phenomenon: Exploring a Dogsled Race, the phenomenon is there are changes in location of a dogsled race due to changes in snow depth between Anchorage and Fairbanks. Students ask questions about climate and how changes could have caused less snow for the race. They analyze data on other factors affecting regional climate and model the cause of seasons to learn how solar energy varies by latitude. They explore models of how energy is redistributed on Earth by the ocean and atmosphere, yet learn that Alaska is still cold enough for dogsled races. They collect and study data on Earth’s changing climate and determine that human activities cause global warming. In addition, they connect global warming to impacts on Earth’s communities including less snow. Students research and develop solutions to slow the climate change in Alaska. Across the unit, students engage in all three dimensions as they investigate the role of earth structures and location of cities (DCI-ESS2.D-M1, DCI-ESS2.D-M3) and develop a model to explain (SEP-CEDS-M2) how these components interact to influence weather and climate (CCC-SYS-M1). Students further investigate the role of human activity (DCI-ESS3.D-M1, CCC-CE-M1) on climate change.

  • In Grade 8, Unit 11, Lesson 1: Anchor Phenomenon: Exploring a Speaker, the phenomenon is music from a cell phone can be played through an external speaker that is not attached. Students watch a video that shows a wireless speaker playing music from a cell phone, record observations, and ask questions before developing an initial model for how the sound travels. Throughout the unit, they investigate each facet of the wireless speaker sound system to determine how the system works. They study patterns in the properties of sound and how they connect to patterns in speaker movement via a study of musical instruments. After determining cause and effect relationships between sound and vibration, they revise their initial wireless speaker system model. Students plan an investigation to determine which interactions can affect wave characteristics, then determine how the loudness and pitch of sound is related to the amplitude and frequency of sound waves. Students investigate how sound travels through different media, watching a video of a speaker in a vacuum, then determine that sound depends upon interactions between particles of matter. After watching a video, students determine that wireless signals are not sound, then investigate light to understand how radio waves behave. Near the end of the unit, students read text and study media to further their understanding of analog and digital signals then model the connection between electromagnetic waves and sound waves. Students refine their model of the wireless speaker system and then solve a challenge of improving an alarm circuit that includes communication with a cell phone. Across the unit, students use all three dimensions to make sense of the phenomenon by investigating (SEP-INV-M1) how sound is produced, how it travels, and different types of signals (DCI-PS4.C-M1). Students return to the initial model (SEP-MOD-M5) and explain how sound travels in the wireless speaker system from the phone, to the speaker, and then to their ears (DCI-PS4.C-M1, CCC-SYS-M2).

  • In Grade 8, Unit 13, Lesson 1, Activity 1: Anchor Phenomenon: An Interesting Discovery, the phenomenon is that a fossil found in the Sahara Desert cannot be identified. Students engage in a series of lessons as they work to identify an unknown fossil that was found in Egypt. They investigate information about the dating of rocks and the structure of rocks in the environment from which the fossil came. Using evolutionary evidence and relationships, students determine common ancestry and connect the mystery fossil to present-day whales. Throughout the unit, students engage in all three dimensions to solve the puzzle of the mystery fossil. Students use relative (DCI-ESS1.C-M1) and absolute (DCI-PS1.C-H1) dating along with patterns in the rock layers (CCC-PAT-M4) to infer age and natural environment (DCI-LS4.A-M1) of the mystery organism. Students build upon this to explore evidence for common ancestry, from homologous structures (DCI-LS4.A-M2) to embryological similarities (DCI-LS4.A-M3) in order to construct an explanation (SEP-CEDS-M3) for the identification of the fossil and its evolutionary lineage (DCI-LS4.A-M1, CCC-SC-M1).

  • In Grade 8, Unit 14, Lesson 2: So Many Different Kinds of Fruit Flies, the phenomenon is 800 species of fruit flies on the Hawaiian Islands originated from a single species. Students engage in a series of lessons to learn how natural selection and adaptation lead to speciation. Students use media sources and texts to gather information on the roles of habitat and fly behavior. They study patterns and data to understand natural selection and trait variation. Students explain how predation accounts for variation and selection of the flies. Students refine a model to construct an explanation for the large number of fruit fly species. Across this series of lessons, students engage in all three dimensions to make sense of the phenomenon. Students develop a model (SEP-MOD-M5) that applies adaptation and includes the influence of habitat and predators (DCI-LS4.C-M1, DCI-LS4.B-M1) on fruit fly traits and other species (DCI-LS4.C-H4). Students use cause and effect relationships (CCC-CE-M2) to construct an explanation for the speciation (SEP-CEDS-M4) of the fruit flies.

Gateway Two

Coherence & Scope

Partially Meets Expectations

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Gateway Two Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 partially meet expectations for Gateway 2: Coherence & Scope; Criterion 1: Coherence and Full Scope of the Three Dimensions. Whereas materials only partially meet expectations for ten sub-indicators and do not meet for two, they do meet expectations for twelve sub-indicators in Gateway 2. The materials present two ways to sequence the units and provide guidelines if districts choose to reorganize differently. Yet, in addition to missing an increase in sophistication of tasks across the series, the materials do not include explicit connections of dimensions from unit to unit. For the scope of the three dimensions, all grade-band components of DCIs are incorporated with few elements partially addressed or omitted. With one SEP fully addressed, the materials either partially address or omit elements of the other seven SEPs. For each SEP, individual elements are repeatedly used across units within or across grade levels. For example, students use the practice of Engaging in Argument from Evidence in half of the units across the series, including each grade and science discipline, with the element ARG-M3 used most frequently. Most components of CCCs are incorporated with one (scale, proportion, and quantity) not meeting expectations and another only being partially addressed. For each CCC, individual elements are repeatedly used across units within or across grade levels. For example, students use the crosscutting concept of Energy and Matter in each grade and science discipline, with the greatest frequency in the physical science units. Lastly, materials incorporate most components and many elements of the grade-band NGSS connections to the nature of science and engineering.

Criterion 2a - 2g

Materials are coherent in design, scientifically accurate, and support grade-band endpoints of all three dimensions. * NOTE: Indicators 2b-2c are non-negotiable; instructional materials being reviewed must score above zero points in each indicator, otherwise the materials automatically do not proceed to Gateway 3.

41/56
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Criterion Rating Details

​The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 partially meet expectations for the Criterion 2a-2g: Coherence and Full Scope of the Three Dimensions. Although the materials include recommendations for sequencing the units, they do not demonstrate how dimensions connect from unit to unit, nor do tasks increase in sophistication across the series. The materials are free of scientific inaccuracies and include science topics within grade-band DCIs. For the DCIs of earth and space sciences and engineering, technology, and applications of science, all grade-band components and their elements are incorporated; however, one element of physical science is partially addressed and a few elements of life science are only partially addressed or omitted. With one SEP fully addressed, the materials either partially address or omit elements of the other seven SEPs. For each SEP, individual elements are repeatedly used across units within or across grade levels. For example, students use the practice of Engaging in Argument from Evidence in half of the units across the series, including each grade and science discipline, with the element ARG-M3 used most frequently. Most components of CCCs are incorporated with one (scale, proportion, and quantity) not meeting expectations and another only being partially addressed. For each CCC, individual elements are repeatedly used across units within or across grade levels. For example, students use the crosscutting concept of Energy and Matter in each grade and science discipline, with the greatest frequency in the physical science units. Lastly, materials incorporate most components and many elements of the grade-band NGSS connections to the nature of science and engineering.

Indicator 2a

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

Indicator 2a.i

Students understand how the materials connect the dimensions from unit to unit.

0/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 do not meet expectations that students understand how the materials connect the dimensions from unit to unit. Materials do not connect dimensions from unit to unit for students nor do they provide support for teachers to help students understand those connections. Teachers are given information about various pathways that can be taken to teach the units and how they connect, but this information is in teacher material and not included in activity planning support. The activity planning support provides guidance and prompts for supporting student use of DCIs, SEPs, and CCCs at three different levels of proficiency: when students use them for the first time, if they are building toward proficiency, or if they have demonstrated proficiency. These prompts miss opportunities for students to make connections among prior use of SEPs, DCIs, and CCCs from other units or within the same unit. Units with a Driving Question Board consistently provide information to teachers in case students ask questions outside the scope of the phenomenon; however, the materials do not describe how the dimensions connect in the driving questions. Instead, materials suggest that teachers state to students that related topics will be covered in other units. 

Examples of missed opportunities to show connections between units:

  • In Grade 6, Unit 2: Levitating Forces, the materials do not demonstrate how the dimensions connect from unit to unit. Across the series, Units 1, 2, 3, 4, and 11 provide opportunities for students to study different types of forces and motion, potential energy, energy transfer in a system, gravity’s effect on motion, and electromagnetic waves respectively. The overview documents in the teacher materials for Unit 2 list connections to Units 1, 3, 4, and 11, but provide no guidance for helping students see these connections. The activity planning documents within the lessons include discussion prompts if it is the first time students are introduced to the topics or are building toward proficiency. For example, the activity planning document for Unit 2, Lesson 5, Activity 22, Hands-On Investigation: Rebound! includes discussion prompts at three levels of proficiency related to how energy changes form and transfers through a system, but misses the opportunity for students to build upon and make connections to knowledge and use of the dimensions in the other connected units.

  • In Grade 6, Unit 3: Air Conditioner, the materials do not demonstrate how the dimensions connect from unit to unit. The overview documents in the teacher materials list connections to Units 1 and 2; however, explicit connections to DCIs in the other units are not included and these documents provide no guidance for helping students see these connections. For example, the activity planning document for Unit 3, Lesson 4, Activity 13: Kinesthetic Models of Energy Transfer to and from the Refrigerant includes discussion prompts at three levels of proficiency related to tracking energy flows through a system, but misses the opportunity for students to build upon and make connections to knowledge and use of the dimensions in the other two units.

  • In Grade 7, Unit 6: Hindenburg Explosion, the materials do not demonstrate how the dimensions connect from unit to unit. The overview documents in the teacher materials list connections to Units 2 and 7; however, explicit connections to DCIs in the other units are not included and these documents provide no guidance for helping students see these connections. For example, Lesson 3, Activity 10: Hands-On Investigation: Mass Mix-Up includes suggestions for discussion prompts at three levels of proficiency related to energy and matter, but misses the opportunity for students to build upon and make connections to knowledge and use of the dimensions in the other two units.

  • In Grade 8, Unit 12: Albino Squirrels, the materials do not demonstrate how the dimensions connect from unit to unit. Students focus on the life science disciplinary core idea elements related to growth and development of organisms, inheritance of traits, variation of traits, and natural selection. In following an integrated pathway with the materials, the unit progression leads to Unit 13: Mystery Fossil and Unit 14: Hawaiian Flies. The DCI elements for Unit 13 are related to evidence of common ancestry and diversity, and those of Unit 14 focus on growth and development of organisms, natural selection, and adaptation. There are missed opportunities for the materials to support students in making connections between these core ideas as students progress from one unit to the next. Students are not presented with opportunities to build upon and make connections to knowledge and use of the dimensions in either of these two units.

Indicator 2a.ii

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

1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 partially meet expectations that they have an intentional sequence where student tasks increase in sophistication. While the materials are designed as a modular program meant to provide flexibility for districts to sequence the units to best meet district needs, two recommended sequences are provided in the Program Guide: an integrated pathway and a domain-specific pathway. The materials provide additional guidance on what to consider if designing a sequence of units that differs from the recommended sequences. 

Student tasks related to explaining phenomena and solving problems do not increase in sophistication across the series. While students generally build upon their learning throughout a unit as they work to understand and explain the anchoring phenomenon, the tasks related to explaining phenomena or solving problems do not increase in sophistication across the series.

Example where student tasks related to explaining phenomena or solving problems increases in sophistication within a single unit:

  • In Grade 8, Unit 12: Albino Squirrels, students explore the phenomenon of albino squirrels found in Olney, IL. Students develop an increasing complexity of understanding over the course of the unit. The phenomenon is introduced in Lesson 1 through images, texts, and videos. Students then develop an initial model and explanation for this phenomenon. In Lesson 2, students explore the genetic cause of albinism through the use of simulations and readings about the role of protein structure and melanin. In Lesson 3, they build upon their initial learning about protein structures as they investigate the genetic role of mutations and how these affect protein structures that result in a change in physical appearance. With the lens of asexual and sexual reproduction, Lesson 4 focuses on patterns of inheritance and variation of traits between parents and offspring. The materials present readings and explorations of gene maps and images of organisms in the same species to identify physical changes. Students analyze data, obtain and evaluate information, and develop a model to describe variation of traits. In Lesson 5, students explore the inheritance of traits, using statistics and Punnett squares. As the Olney squirrels are considered a town treasure, and thus, taken care of, students investigate the role of artificial selection as they apply their understanding of sexual reproduction and statistical genetics to explain why there are a large number of albino squirrels in Olney. After each lesson, students continue to build upon their model and explanation of the phenomenon.

Examples where student tasks related to explaining phenomena or solving problems do not increase in sophistication across multiple units or grades:

  • In the suggested sequence of units, Grade 6, Unit 3: Air Conditioner precedes Grade 7, Unit 9: Superstorm of 1993. In Unit 3, students learn about matter changing states. During Unit 9, students use their knowledge of changes of state to understand the water cycle and explain why different parts of the country experienced different kinds of precipitation from the same storm system. While students discuss change of state in a different context, the sophistication or complexity of how they model this concept does not increase. For example, in the third lesson of Unit 3, students investigate the role of thermal energy on the rate of change of state between liquid and gaseous forms. They also demonstrate their understanding by developing a model of the water system at the molecular level. In subsequent activities within the unit, students use a simulation to explore the effect of thermal energy transfer in the formation of a solid. Within the lessons in Unit 9, students again use their understanding of the role of energy transfer in the movement of water through Earth’s systems, including the processes of melting, precipitation, evaporation, and transpiration. Students develop a model of water movement through Earth’s spheres; however, student models do not require the inclusion of the role of energy driving this movement. This is a missed opportunity for increasing sophistication of understanding as students progress from Unit 3 to Unit 9 and across the series.

  • In the suggested sequence of units, Grade 7, Unit 8: Zebra Survival precedes Grade 8, Unit 16: Dead Fish in the Delta. Students connect their understanding of the dependence of organisms on their environment and natural disruptions to the ecosystem learned in Unit 8 to the effects of humans on organisms and their ecosystems in Unit 16. In Unit 8, students explore possible reasons for the decline in population of Grevy’s Zebra. They investigate how organisms in the savanna interact with one another and through data sets and images, explore the impact of disruptions to resource availability on population size on the savanna. Students use these understandings to develop a model that shows the interactions of different species and resource availability on zebra populations. In Unit 16, students engage in activities to explain a large fish kill in the Mississippi Delta. Throughout this unit, students explore the effect of nutrients from agricultural practices on resource availability, as well as the effect of transportation of goods on the development of the dead zone. Students end the unit by constructing an explanation for the dead fish found in the Mississippi Delta; this explanation is similar in complexity to the model developed in Unit 8. This is a missed opportunity for student tasks to increase with sophistication across the series.

Indicator 2b

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

2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations that they present disciplinary core ideas (DCIs), science and engineering practices (SEPs), and crosscutting concepts (CCCs) in a way that is scientifically accurate. Across the grades, the teacher materials, student materials, and assessments accurately represent the three dimensions and are free from scientific inaccuracies.

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 they do not inappropriately include scientific content and ideas outside of the grade-band disciplinary core ideas (DCIs). Materials contain no instances where non-scientific content or ideas are included as science ideas, no instances where scientific content or ideas are included without meaningful connections to grade-band DCIs, and no instances where DCIs from above or below the grade band are included without meaningful connections made to the grade-band DCIs.

Indicator 2d

Materials incorporate all grade-band Disciplinary Core Ideas.

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 they incorporate all grade-band disciplinary core ideas for physical science. Across the series, materials incorporate all grade-band components and all the associated elements of the physical science DCIs; one element is partially addressed. For a given DCI, all elements are typically included within the same unit and approached with a variety of activities. Most of the physical science DCIs are incorporated within the five physical science units: three are found in Grade 6, one in Grade 7, and one in Grade 8; one physical science DCI is addressed in a Grade 7 life science unit on life’s chemical processes.  

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

  • PS1.A-M2. In Grade 7, Unit 6: Lesson 2: Exploring the Burning of Hydrogen, students observe the flammability of gases via video and document the characteristic properties of hydrogen, helium, and air. In another activity, they observe tealights and glass jars to find what happens to the flame when the tealights are covered in order to learn what causes a substance to burn. During the lesson’s last activity, students use the properties of common gases to determine what kind of gas is found in different test tubes by using evidence from the investigation and information on the properties of common gases. Students also apply their learning about the characteristic properties of hydrogen to explain the cause of the Hindenburg explosion and propose what may have stopped it from burning.

  • PS1.A-M3. In Grade 6, Unit 3, Lesson 2, Activity 2: Where Does the Water Come From?, students record observations, list questions, and gather information through reading, discussing, and looking at pictures. Students then construct an explanation for the formation of water droplets on the outside of a glass of ice water by temperature differences to the different states of matter and the movement of molecules within each state.

  • PS1.A-M4. In Grade 6, Unit 3, Lesson 4, Activity 9: Icy Conditions, students construct an explanation for how ice forms on air conditioner coils that uses the concepts of molecular movement, states of matter, and energy flow. They describe how the "warm air blowing over the coils transfers heat to the cold coils. As a result, the water molecules in the air lose energy and slow down to form water droplets on the coils.” The liquid water would then transfer energy to a colder surface or substance in order for the ice to form.

  • PS1.A-M5. In Grade 7, Unit 6, Lesson 4, Activity 12: Starting a Reaction, students conduct an investigation about steel wool and rust and answer questions to explain the different structures of the molecules in gases and solids. Students are given a diagram of subunits of iron oxide (three oxygen atoms and two iron atoms) and then given a larger version of the diagram from which they select eight subunits. 

  • PS1.A-M6. In Grade 6, Unit 3, Lesson 4, Activity 11: How Temperature, Pressure, and Volume are Related, students watch the teacher demonstrate covering a bottle with a balloon and placing it in a tub of hot water causing the balloon to inflate, then moving the bottle into a tub of cold water and watching the balloon deflate. Students record their observations and discuss their answers. Then, students create a model of the inside of the bottle before heating, after heating, and after cooling to show the relationships between temperature, pressure, and volume, including the movement of molecules.

  • PS1.B-M1. In Grade 7, Unit 6, Lesson 2, Activity 6: Hands-On Investigation: Electrolysis, students analyze the gases found in the two test tubes following the running of electrolysis, a chemical reaction. By applying an understanding that new substances are created from a chemical reaction, they use the characteristics of gases to determine what new substances are in each test tube.

  • PS1.B-M2. In Grade 7, Unit 6, Lesson 3, Activity 8: Candy Chemical Reactions, students use models to explain what happens to molecules in different chemical reactions. For example, along with the image of a burning candle, the materials present two representations of the chemical reaction: paraffin wax + oxygen → carbon dioxide + water and 2C16H34 +49O2 → 32CO2 + 34H2O. Students then list the number of molecules before and after the reaction for paraffin, oxygen, carbon dioxide, and water and list the number of atoms for carbon, hydrogen and oxygen.

  • PS1.B-M3. In Grade 7, Unit 6, Lesson 4, Activity 12: Starting a Reaction, students conduct an investigation about steel wool and rust, and then predict and explain, "Does metal rusting require energy, or does it release energy like the Hindenburg explosion?" They are also given a set of procedures and asked to rewrite them to include steps for collecting data on energy changes. At the end of the activity, students summarize what they figured out about energy and matter.

  • PS2.A-M1. In Grade 6, Unit 1, Lesson 4, Activity 10: Two Colliding Cars, students explain how a collision seen in a video demonstrates Newton’s third law of motion and create a model of what happens in the video: they demonstrate that the pair of interacting objects exert forces of equal strength on each other but in the opposite direction. 

  • PS2.A-M2. In Grade 6, Unit 1, Lesson 2, Activity 5: Hands-On Investigation: Interacting Forces, students investigate a spring-loaded cart, identify the component of the system and interaction of forces, and demonstrate that the motion of the cart is determined by the sum of the forces acting on the cart.

  • PS2.A-M2. In Grade 6, Unit 1, Lesson 2, Activity 7: Hands-On Activity: Designing a Balloon-Powered Car, students test the effect of mass on the balloon-powered car and write a concluding statement that explains the greater the mass of the object, the greater the force needed to achieve the same change in motion. 

  • PS2.A-M3. In Grade 6, Unit 1, Lesson 3, Activity 3: Fire Extinguisher Go-Kart, students make a model of the fire extinguisher go-kart system to establish a frame of reference and demonstrate the position and direction of forces and motions being described within that frame of reference.

  • PS2.B-M1. In Grade 6, Unit 2, Lesson 3, Activity 9: Hands-On Investigation: Push and Pull, students conduct an investigation with magnets and iron filings to gather data on magnetic fields and determine the strength and direction of magnetic forces.  

  • PS2.B-M1. In Grade 6, Unit 2, Lesson 4, Activity 17: Hands-On Investigation: Sticky-Tape Lab, students plan and conduct an investigation into electrical forces using tape and compare their findings with that of magnetic forces.

  • PS2.B-M2. In Grade 6, Unit 2, Lesson 2, Activity 5: Gravity at Different Scales, students explore gravitational force and the role of scale on its strength. After investigating dropped objects and the role of air on the falling objects, students read historical accounts of the “discovery” of gravity for very large and very small objects. Students are then asked to "describe the scale at which gravity is acting on the levitating-orb system” and to “compare the gravitational forces exerted by Earth, the orb, and the pipe."

  • PS2.B-M3. In Grade 6, Unit 2, Lesson 2, Activity 6: Hands-On Investigation: Gravity, Force, and Mass, students simulate earth’s gravitational force by investigating the relationship between force (measured with a spring scale) and mass to determine if gravity exerts an equal amount of force on all objects. Using the results, they predict what would happen if the same experiment was conducted on the moon and consider what would be the relationship between the force and objects with different masses.

  • PS2.B-M3. In Grade 6, Unit 2, Lesson 3, Activity 9: Hands-On Investigation: Push and Pull, students conduct an investigation with magnets and iron filings to gather data on magnetic fields and determine the strength and direction of magnetic forces.

  • PS2.B-M3. In Grade 6, Unit 2, Lesson 4, Activity 16: What Causes Charge?, students investigate electrical fields by observing and recording the behavior of charged balloons.  

  • PS3.A-M1. In Grade 6, Unit 1, Lesson 4, Activity 10: Two Colliding Cars, students read data and create graphs in order to explain which factors have the greatest effect on kinetic energy and demonstrate that motion energy is proportional to the mass of the moving object and grows with the square of its speed.

  • PS3.A-M2. In Grade 6, Unit 2, Lesson 5, Activity 21: Energy Transfer, students observe two systems, a junkyard magnet, and a stretched rubber band, and compare the potential energy in each.

  • PS3.A-M3. In Grade 6, Unit 3, Lesson 2, Activity 2: Where Does the Water Come From?, students observe water forming on the outside of a glass of ice water and then gather information about the difference between heat and thermal energy. Through reading text and discussions, they determine how thermal energy and its relation to molecular movement can help explain how water droplets formed on the outside of the cup. 

  • PS3.A-M4. In Grade 6, Unit 3, Lesson 5, Activity 18: Heating Curve Segments, students analyze a heating curve to determine where the changes of state are occurring. After a discussion, they show how matter and energy are related in each curve segment and describe the decrease of potential and kinetic energy in relation to the states of matter. 

  • PS3.B-M1. In Grade 6, Unit 1, Lesson 1, Activity 2: Before and After Videos, students create a model of a rocket sled collision showing the parts of the system before, during, and after the collision in order to demonstrate that when the motion energy of an object changes, there is change in energy at the same time.

  • PS3.B-M2. In Grade 6, Unit 3, Lesson 4, Activity 12: How an AC Cools Part 2, students evaluate different subsystems of the air conditioner system by noting within each system the transfer and direction of energy flow; what happens to the pressure, temperature, thermal energy, and state of matter of the various substances involved; and what happens to the molecules that make up the substances in terms of motion, state, kinetic energy, and potential energy. Keeping in mind the energy transfer, temperature, and substances involved, students share and discuss their theories about how the problem of ice formation on the air conditioner is likely happening.

  • PS3.B-M3. In Grade 6, Unit 3, Lesson 6, Activity 20: Unit Project: Unwanted Frost on the Window, students are presented with the problem of ice forming on the interior side of windows. Applying knowledge of heat transfer and changes of state, students form ideas for why the ice is forming and, with pairs or in small groups, explain possible solutions. In their explanations and proposals, students specifically identify how heat transfers out of hotter regions or objects into colder one, in order to provide a possible solution to keep ice from forming on the air conditioner.

  • PS3.C-M1. In Grade 6, Unit 2, Lesson 6, Activity 23: Levitating-Orb Reboot, students apply the relationship between force and energy transfer to the phenomenon of the levitating orb and identify the subsystems which interact with one another that result in the levitating orb. They then construct an explanation to include the cause and effect relationship between the type of force applied and the kind of energy that is transferred.

  • PS3.D-M1. In Grade 7, Unit 7, Lesson 2, Activity 8: Hands-on Investigation: Making Food, students read about photosynthesis and refine a previously created model of two kelp forests to include the process of photosynthesis and thereby demonstrate the chemical reaction where plants produce sugars from sunlight and release oxygen.

  • PS3.D-M2. In Grade 7, Unit 7, Lesson 3, Activity 10: Potato Time-Lapse, students explain that a sprouting potato decreases in size as the sprouts from the potato increase due to the molecules of starch rearranging back to sugar so the plant can grow. Their explanation demonstrates that chemical reactions in plants release stored energy used for plant growth. Student explanations do not discuss this reaction in relation to oxygen and the production of carbon dioxide and other materials.

  • PS3.D-M2. In Grade 7, Unit 7, Lesson 3, Activity 12: Releasing Energy, students read about cellular respiration then describe how energy is released by living things and add this understanding to clarify cellular respiration.

  • PS4.A-M1. In Grade 8, Unit 11, Lesson 3: Modeling Sounds, students begin with correlating the vibrations caused by sound with the wave motion of a spring. In the next activity, they quantify the wave movement of a spring toy and describe two ways they can change the motion of the spring and what parts of the wave changes when the spring is moved a farther distance up and down. In a subsequent activity, they complete sentence starters describing the wave if the music is louder and faster and has lower pitch.

  • PS4.A-M2. In Grade 8, Unit 11, Lesson 4, Activity 13: How Sound Travels, students observe a video of a tuning fork in water and discuss how sound is transmitted through both water and air. Citing their evidence gathered on energy transfer via particle movement, they then construct an explanation of how sound waves are transferred through matter.

  • PS4.B-M1. In Grade 8, Unit 11, Lesson 5, Activity 18: Hands-on Investigation: The Properties of Light, students conduct an investigation with a light, prism, and colored filters. Students are asked to explain what happens to different colors of light when a white beam of light shines on red paper, what evidence supports that it is possible for a material to let some colors of light through but not others, and propose an explanation for how lights of different colors differ.

  • PS4.B-M2. In Grade 8, Unit 11, Lesson 5, Activity 17: Interactions of Light and Matter, students conduct an investigation about the behavior of light waves and gather data on how it interacts with other materials. They complete a graphic organizer where they provide examples from the lab to match vocabulary terms of light behavior (propagation, reflection, etc.). Students are asked to review their data table and evaluate similarities and differences in how light behaves when it interacts with the various test materials and identify patterns in the behavior of the light.

  • PS4.B-M3. In Grade 8, Unit 11, Lesson 5: Wireless Signal, Activities 17-18, students investigate how light interacts with different materials. Students record observations and use their data to determine whether each material reflects, refracts, or absorbs light. Students answer questions about different behaviors of light, providing examples from their investigation. Students use color filters to observe that white light is a mixture of different colors and analyze how a prism breaks up white light as a result of different frequencies (colors) being bent varying amounts by the prism. Students conclude that the color of light seen depends on the frequency of the light wave,  and that the brightness of the light depends on the amplitude of the light wave.

  • PS4.B-M4. In Grade 8, Unit 11, Lesson 5, Activity 15: Cell Phone in a Vacuum, students watch a video of a cell phone in a vacuum showing that the phone does not make any sound but the display lights up. They make a claim and use evidence to explain if the wireless signal between the cell phones travels through a vacuum. The materials also include the following prompts: "Can the wireless signal between the cell phones travel through a vacuum?" and "Is it possible that the wireless signal between the cell phones travels as sound waves?” Through answering, students determine that light travels through space but cannot be a matter wave. 

  • PS4.C-M1. In Grade 8, Unit 11, Lesson 6, Activity 20: Signals in the System, students use models to simulate the transmission of analog signals and explain how they become distorted during transmission and that digital signals are more reliable. To simulate passing analog signals, one student copies a wave of music on a blank sheet of paper. This drawing is passed to a second student who draws a copy of the first student's drawing, this is repeated with a third student copying the drawing of the second student. The students then compare the final drawing to the original. To simulate converting an analog signal to digital, graph paper is used. A comparison is made with these drawings.

Example of a grade-band physical science DCI element that is partially present in the materials:

  • PS1.A-M1. In Grade 7, Unit 6, Lesson 3, Activity 7: Modeling Molecules, students create models of different molecules, analyze their models, and draw conclusions about how atoms combine in different ways and amounts to form different molecules or substances. The activity does not address the understanding that molecules range in size from two to thousands of atoms.

Indicator 2d.ii

Life Sciences

2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 partially meet expectations that they incorporate all grade-band disciplinary core ideas for life sciences. Across the series, materials incorporate all but one grade-band elements of the life science DCIs. The materials do not incorporate the element LS1.B-M3 and partially address three elements; two of the three partially addressed elements are the only element associated with the DCI component (LS1.D and LS2.B). For a given DCI, all elements are typically included within the same unit and approached with a variety of activities. Life science DCIs are incorporated within the six life science units: one unit is found in Grade 6, two in Grade 7, and three in Grade 8.

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

  • LS1.A-M1. In Grade 6, Unit 5, Lesson 2, Activity 3: Under the Microscope, students observe slides of cells from a variety of living organisms. Students then read additional text and answer prompts around the concept of cells: living things are made of cells which come in different shapes and sizes, and organisms can be multicellular or unicellular. Before applying their learning of cells to explain how a cut heals, students construct an explanation about what features all living organisms have in common.

  • LS1.A-M2. In Grade 6, Unit 5, Lesson 3, Activity 8: Growing Cells, students analyze graphs of cell culture data related to cell growth and quantities of oxygen and carbon dioxide over time. They answer questions about the relationship between the amount of the two gases and the relationship between the gases and cell growth. Students select a claim, out of four that are provided, that best supports the evidence for the relationship between oxygen and carbon dioxide and cell growth. Using their analysis of the graphs and information from previous activities on the cell membrane model and mitochondria, students draw a cell structure model that shows the flow of sugar, oxygen, carbon dioxide, and energy, and explain how cell structures function to keep cells alive. 

  • LS1.A-M3. In Grade 6, Unit 5, Lesson 5, Activity 17: Fuel for Healing, students evaluate information that they learn about the circulatory and respiratory systems and how the systems work together to move blood and gases through cells. They review their claim about how mitochondria create energy. While reading a passage on organ systems, they highlight evidence that will strengthen their claims about where cells get energy for growth. Students write a claim explaining how the circulatory, respiratory, and digestive systems are involved in the healing process, and then come to a group consensus on an explanation about how cells, tissues, and body systems help heal a cut.

  • LS1.B-M1. In Grade 8, Unit 12, Lesson 5, Activity 15: Expression of Alleles, students analyze population data for traits in fruit flies and then use Punnett squares to model inheritance of fur color in squirrels.

  • LS1.B-M1. In Grade 8, Unit 12, Lesson 4, Activity 11: Starfish Reproduction, students read a passage and discuss asexual reproduction in starfish. They apply the information they learn to explain how they know that squirrels reproduce sexually. 

  • LS1.B-M2. In Grade 8, Unit 14, Lesson 2, Activity 4: Fruit Fly Behaviors, students read text and watch videos to gather evidence that supports the claim that certain traits and behaviors help fruit flies survive and reproduce and to demonstrate that animals engage in characteristic behaviors that increase the odds of reproduction. The fruit fly traits and behaviors include tapping another fruit fly with its legs, following a nearby fruit fly closely, and beating its wings rapidly without flying.

  • LS1.B-M4. In Grade 8, Unit 14, Lesson 5, Activity 11: The Koa Tree and the Kauaʻi Fruit Fly, students analyze maps and data of the Koa Forest, look at koa tree growth data in relation to the common native moth outbreaks, and read text about factors that affect plant growth. After group discussions, students answer prompts about plant growth and make recommendations for koa tree growth which demonstrates that genetic factors (seeds) and local conditions affect the healthy growth of plants.

  • LS1.C-M2. In Grade 7, Unit 7, Lesson 3, Activity 10: Potato Time-Lapse, students explain that a sprouting potato decreases in size as the sprouts from the potato increase due to the molecules of starch rearranging back to sugar for plant growth. This demonstrates that chemical reactions in plants release stored energy that is used for plant growth. Students are also asked to describe how this [potato growth] is similar to what is happening to kelp growing in Alaska.

  • LS1.D-M1. In Grade 6, Unit 5, Lesson 6: To the Brain and Back, students investigate how skin cells detect pressure (sensory information). Students then answer questions to match other sense organs with the type of stimulus they detect. Students compare response time when catching a falling meter stick following a visual cue compared to an auditory cue. Students learn that a memory is formed when information is stored in the brain, then compare how different stimuli result in immediate responses or are stored as memories.

  • LS2.A-M1. In Grade 7, Unit 8, Lesson 3, Activity 11: The Zebra Survival Game - Part 2: Predation, students explore the dependent interactions between living and nonliving things in an ecosystem and use a kinesthetic simulation to explore the effect of resources (nonliving), predation (living), and population (living) on the overall population of zebras.

  • LS2.A-M2. In Grade 7, Unit 8, Lesson 2, Activity 5: The Zebra Survival Game - Part 1: Resource Availability, students explore the competition for limited resources on population growth. Students use a kinesthetic simulation to explore the effect of food, water and shelter (limited resources) on a change in population size.

  • LS2.A-M3. In Grade 7, Unit 8, Lesson 2, Activity 9: Rainfall and Migration Patterns, students explore the effect of limited access to resources on population growth.  Students analyze seasonal rainfall and travel data for Burchell’s zebra over a one-year period to explain the migration pattern seen during specific months of the year.

  • LS2.A-M4. In Grade 7, Unit 8, Lesson 3, Activity 15: How Organisms Interact in Ecosystems, students explore the predatory, competitive, and mutually beneficial relationships within an ecosystem. After investigating the effects of predation and limited resources on population size, students read text about the relationship types found in an ecosystem. Students complete a graphic organizer to synthesize information in the reading and complete a fill-in-the-blank paragraph which describes the interactions on the savanna.

  • LS2.A-M4. In Grade 8, Unit 13, Lesson 5, Activity 10: Kauaʻi Fruit Fly, students investigate a relationship between the Kauaʻi Fruit Fly and the Koa tree in order to understand how the destruction of trees results in the decline of the fruit fly population.  Students analyze various data sets in order to identify the interdependent relationship between the two species that results in the need to explore tree restoration.

  • LS2.C-M1. In Grade 8, Unit 8, Lesson 4, Activity 16: The Zebra Survival Game - Part 3: Natural Disruptions, students explore the effect of ecosystem disruptions on a population. Using data from other lessons, students predict the effect of a natural disruption on the zebra population. They use a kinesthetic simulation to explore the effect of a natural disturbance on an ecosystem.

  • LS2.C-M2. In Grade 8, Unit 8, Lesson 5, Activity 22: What is Biodiversity?, students explore the role of biodiversity on ecosystem health. They observe images of different ecosystems and record their findings. Using information from a video describing biodiversity, students rank the ecosystems from most to least biodiverse, with a rationale for each ranking. Lastly, they provide an explanation as to the benefits of monitoring ecosystem biodiversity.

  • LS3.A-M1. In Grade 8, Unit 12, Lesson 2, Activity 5: Modeling Squirrel Offspring, students engage in an activity to model the inheritance of traits in squirrels. They compare similarities and differences, leading to definitions for chromosomes, genes, and traits. Students use their evidence to refine explanations for albinism in squirrels.

  • LS3.A-M2. In Grade 8, Unit 12, Lesson 1, Activity 3: What’s Going On, having made observations of albino and gray squirrels, students develop initial models to describe the causes of differences in squirrel fur color and eye color. Using their models as a guide, they construct explanations to describe the causes of the different traits in the albino squirrels and the gray squirrels. Individual models are shared and group consensus models developed. Students participate in a gallery walk to observe and compare models, as well as record additional questions they have as a result of observing the different models. Students summarize what they have figured out about traits and how they are inherited as a result of the activity. 

  • LS3.B-M1. In Grade 8, Unit 12, Lesson 4, Activity 10: Comparing Chromosomes, students observe images of a starfish, its offspring, and three chromosome pairs alongside images of fruit fly parents and their offspring. After they record observations for both sets of images, they discuss observations to develop a group consensus about how the chromosomes of the fruit fly parents and offspring might look. They analyze a fruit fly gene map, record observations, and write questions about how they think starfish and fruit flies pass genetic information from parent to offspring in a graphic organizer. 

  • LS3.B-M2. In Grade 8, Unit 12, Lesson 3, Activity 8: The Eyes Do Not Have It, students observe two images of fruit flies with different wing, body, and eye traits and complete a Venn diagram to compare and contrast the flies. They observe two additional images that show fruit fly mutations of short wings and dark colored bodies and predict how each mutation might affect the organism. Students analyze data on the survival of fruit flies related to each type of mutation observed and describe patterns in the data regarding the effects of the two mutations. They apply their reasoning to traits associated with Olney’s albino squirrels and how the albinism trait affects the squirrels’ survival. After analyzing observations with respect to expected types of genes and chromosomes present in the flies, students write a scientific explanation, with claim-evidence-reasoning, to refine initial explanations for albinism in the squirrels in Olney.   

  • LS4.A-M1. In Grade 8, Unit 13, Lesson 2: Rock Story, students explore how fossils provide a window into earth’s past and determine their age. In Activity 3, students investigate relative dating techniques and diversity of past lifeforms by placing known fossils in appropriate rock layers. They determine relative ages of the fossils using the Law of Superposition. In Activity 4, students use readings and graphical analysis to explore absolute-dating techniques. In Activity 5, students use patterns in the rock strata in order to describe how diversity of life changed over time. 

  • LS4.A-M2. In Grade 8, Unit 13, Lesson 3, Activity 9: Evolutionary Tree, students compare anatomical features in fossils to determine evolutionary descent. They develop an evolutionary tree of the chordates using known characteristics. Using this model, they predict where on this tree their mystery fossil is most likely to fall.

  • LS4.A-M3. In Grade 8, Unit 13, Lesson 3, Activity 8: Embryologic Development, students explore the role of embryological development in determining common ancestry. They read about and compare images of the role of embryological development in chordates. They compare the stages of development and respond to multiple select questions in which they identify conclusions that support their analysis of patterns and observations of evolutionary relationships.

  • LS4.B-M1. In Grade 8, Unit 14, Lesson 3, Activity 6: Hands-On Investigation: Trait Variations, students describe why having specific traits is desirable and why variations in traits could be unfavorable and advantageous. Their explanations demonstrate that natural selection leads to the predominance of certain traits and the suppression of others.

  • LS4.B-M2. In Grade 8, Unit 12, Lesson 6, Activity 18: Results of Dog Breeding, students read a passage and watch a video on dog breeding that address artificial selection and inbreeding. They construct explanations for the occurrence of genetic diseases in dogs which includes how parental traits are passed to offspring.

  • LS4.C-M1. In Grade 8, Unit 14, Lesson 6, Activity 12, Unit Project: The Next Generation, students create a population change model for three generations. Using the model and data table, they explain how a species might adapt, form a new species, or go extinct. The explanation demonstrates adaptation by natural selection acting over generations, traits that support successful survival and reproduction, and the change in distribution of traits in a population.

  • LS4.D-M1. In Grade 7, Unit 8, Lesson 5, Activity 25: Ecosystem Services, students explore how changes in biodiversity can affect humans’ resources and ecosystem services. Students read text about human reliance on biodiversity and ecosystem services, complete a graphic organizer based upon that reading, and predict the effect of changes in biodiversity on ecosystem services.

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

  • LS1.C-M1. In Grade 7, Unit 7, Lesson 2, Activity 8: Hands-On Investigation: Making Food, students read about photosynthesis and refine a previously created model of two kelp forests by including the process of photosynthesis and demonstrating the chemical reaction where plants produce sugars from sunlight and oxygen is released. The content focuses on plants only and does not include information on microorganisms.

  • LS2.B-M1. In Grade 7, Unit 7, Lesson 4, Activity 15: Herbivores and Decomposers in the Kelp Forest, students use information obtained from videos, text, and data tables to refine their kelp forest models to include organisms found at each trophic level in a kelp forest and how they get food. They also explain where energy and matter are coming from and going, how matter can be transferred in the ecosystem demonstrating food webs, and how matter and energy are transferred within this aquatic ecosystem. The materials do not address how atoms that make up living organisms cycle between the living and nonliving parts of ecosystems.

Grade-band life science DCI element not present in the materials:

  • LS1.B-M3. Plants reproduce in a variety of ways, sometimes depending on animal behavior and specialized features for reproduction.

Indicator 2d.iii

Earth and Space Sciences

4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations that they incorporate all grade-band disciplinary core ideas (DCIs) for earth and space sciences. Across the series, materials incorporate all grade-band components and the associated elements of the earth and space science DCIs; however, two elements (ESS3.A-M1 and ESS3.C-M1) are partially addressed. For a given DCI, all elements are typically included within the same unit and approached with a variety of activities. All earth and space science DCIs are incorporated within the five earth and space science units: one unit is found in Grade 6, two in Grade 7, and two in Grade 8. 

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

  • ESS1.A-M1. In Grade 6, Unit 4, Lesson 3, Activity 5: Patterns in Shadows of the Red Moon, students revisit their physical model of the sun-earth-moon system from the previous activity to replicate the observable shadows as shown in the lunar eclipse video. They plan and use their model to collect data. Lastly, they draw a revised model using new information to explain the shadow patterns observed. 

  • ESS1.A-M2. In Grade 6, Unit 4, Lesson 5, Activity 15: Closer Look at Planetary Objects, students view an image of Jupiter and compare it to previous observations. They conduct additional research about a planetary object including images and data obtained from technology tools. They record properties of the object researched and cite sources of evidence. After sharing their research, they read about the Milky Way galaxy being one galaxy in the estimated two trillion galaxies in the observable universe and watch a video on how the Hubble Telescope works to uncover other galaxies. Lastly, they explain how their models help explain the shape of the Milky Way.

  • ESS1.B-M1. In Grade 6, Unit 4, Lesson 5, Objects in the Night Sky, students observe a teacher demonstration that models motion in space with different sized marbles moving around a circular stretched fabric background. They also watch two videos, "Gravity and Speed" and "Gravity and Orbits" to broaden their learning. In the next lessons, students discuss their knowledge of the planets, planet properties, and how planets move in space. They apply their understanding of orbits from the previous activity to the following prompt: "Your Earth-sun-moon models in this unit have represented Earth orbiting around the sun as evidence for the patterns in moon phases and lunar and solar eclipse observations. The mass of the sun is 333,000 times more than the mass of Earth. Based on your models and the additional planetary data, can you support the claim that the other planets are also orbiting around the sun?"

  • ESS1.B-M2. In Grade 6, Unit 4, Lesson 4, Activity 7:The Disappearing Sun, students watch videos of both solar and lunar eclipses and then explain the causes of both and how they are similar and different. They include ideas about the causes of the shadows, the moon phases, the position and motions within the earth-moon-sun system, differences in colors, and how light from the sun interacts with the system.

  • ESS1.B-M2. In Grade 7, Unit 10, Lesson 4, Activity 10: Modeling the Seasons in Alaska, students observe a teacher demonstration of the sun-earth model and the revolution of earth around the sun and collect data of how the intensity of light changes on the location on the globe. Students then fill in the blanks of a paragraph describing seasons and solar radiation.

  • ESS1.B-M3. In Grade 6, Unit 4, Lesson 5, Activity 14: Other Objects in Space, students observe an image of the Milky Way galaxy and record their observations. They watch a video describing the formation of the solar system from the beginning of the solar nebula through the discussion of two possible theories as to what triggers the materials to clump together. They read a passage that describes the role of gravity in the formation of planets and then compare the formation of earth's moon to the formation of the solar system. After writing what questions they have, they reflect on the demonstration of the force of gravity on objects in space and use evidence from the video and passage to explain how the model represents the formation of planetary objects.

  • ESS1.C-M1. In Grade 8, Unit 15, Lesson 2, Activity 7: Rock and Roll, students label layers of rock in order of relative age demonstrating that a geologic time scale interpreted from rock strata provides a way to organize earth’s history by relative age only.

  • ESS1.C-M1. In Grade 8, Unit 13, Lesson 2, Activity 2: Colossal Fossil Jostle, students complete an interactive simulation that explores the chronological order of fossils in conjunction with the relative ages of rock layers. They construct an explanation about how the fossil record reveals earth’s history and how rock layers and organisms change over time.

  • ESS1.C-M2. In Grade 8, Unit 15, Lesson 3, Activity 10: Ocean Ridges, students explain the type of boundary interaction responsible for the formation of ocean ridges, demonstrating that tectonic processes continually generate new ocean seafloor at the ridges.

  • ESS2.A-M1. In Grade 8, Unit 15, Lesson 2, Activity 5: Hands-On Investigation: Plate Interactions, students use previous experience with energy transfer from convection and information about plate boundary interactions to explain the processes that occur at each type of boundary. The explanation demonstrates that earth’s processes are a result of energy flowing from matter cycling due to energy within earth’s hot interior producing physical changes in earth’s crust.

  • ESS2.A-M1. In Grade 7, Unit 9, Lesson 2, Activity 3: Cloud Energy, students explore the role of energy from heat, specifically the sun, and gravity in the movement of water within a system. After observing a teacher demonstration, students analyze data patterns between the amount of snow and temperatures in order to build their understanding of cloud formation. Applying this understanding of clouds, they describe how changes in energy drive water movement within storms, and add to their model to show the various impacts of the sun’s energy on the storm system.

  • ESS2.A-M1. In Grade 7, Unit 7, Lesson 3, Activity 12: Releasing Energy, students explore the transfer of energy through the processes of photosynthesis and cellular respiration. After reading how energy, beginning with that from the sun, flows through these processes and analyzing the accompanying models, students construct an explanation to describe the flow of energy and the movement of matter within an organism.

  • ESS2.A-M1. In Grade 8, Unit 15, Lesson 3, Activity 9: Down in the Trenches, students read about the Puerto Rico Trench and Sonar Mapping. After discussing how Sonar Mapping could lead to scientists' creation of ocean floor mapping, students analyze images of ocean trenches and plate tectonics. They create a model of the "interaction of the Caribbean and North Atlantic Plates at the Puerto Rico Trench." This learning continues into Activity 10: Ocean Ridges when students explain the type of boundary interaction responsible for the formation of ocean ridges, demonstrating that tectonic processes continually generate new ocean seafloor at the ridges.

  • ESS2.A-M2. In Grade 8, Unit 15, Lesson 4, Activity 12: Energy Data, students describe potential causes for stone arch formations including a timescale for formation to happen and explain how patterns of earthquakes at different scales of time and space relate to energy. This demonstrates the planet’s systems interacting over scales of time and how these interactions have shaped earth’s history and will determine its future.

  • ESS2.A-M2. In Grade 8, Unit 15, Lesson 4, Activity 14: Puerto Rico Rocks, students explore the microscopic process of change in mechanical weathering to explain what caused the arch to form and the amount of time this process would take.

  • ESS2.B-M1. In Grade 8, Unit 15, Lesson 2, Activity 3: Continent Puzzle, students support the claim that continents were originally one large landmass selecting evidence provided in a video model of continental drift. Maps showing the apparent fit of present day continents lead to a discussion of Pangea and make clear how earth's plates have moved great distances, collided, and spread apart to result in the current location of continents.

  • ESS2.C-M1. In Grade 7, Unit 9, Lesson 2: Rainstorms and Snowstorms, students explore the cycling of water through the spheres via evaporation, condensation, and precipitation. In Activity 2, students study cloud formation via demonstration and investigation. In Activity 4, they explore cycling of water through the spheres via crystallization. Through video and data sets, they also explore the relationship between temperature and precipitation types.

  • ESS2.C-M1. In Grade 7, Unit 9, Lesson 3, Activity 6: The Water Cycle, students explore the cycling of water through the spheres and the role of downhill flows on land within that cycling. Students read an article about groundwater and how it comes to be and then develop a model of the water cycle showing the roles of evaporation, condensation, precipitation, and downhill flow on that cycling.

  • ESS2.C-M1. In Grade 7, Unit 9, Lesson 4, Activity 7: Hands-On Investigation: Water and Plants, students explore the cycling of water through the spheres via transpiration and investigate the role of vegetation density and temperature change on precipitation amounts.

  • ESS2.C-M2. In Grade 7, Unit 9, Lesson 6, Activity 12: Predicting the Superstorm, students explore the use of probability for weather forecasting. They read a passage describing how meteorologists used models to predict the superstorm and describe a time when forecasting was different than what was experienced. Lastly, students develop a weather prediction for a given location where they use various maps to analyze how the location, (i.e, landforms, distance to oceans) along with the patterns of wind movements impact weather.

  • ESS2.C-M3. In Grade 7, Unit 9, Lesson 2, Activity 3: Cloud, students explore the role of energy from heat, specifically the sun, and gravity in the movement of water within the system. After observing a teacher demonstration, students analyze data patterns between the amount of snow and temperatures in order to build their understanding of cloud formation. Applying this understanding of clouds, they describe how changes in energy drive water movement within storms, and add to their model to show the various impacts of the sun’s energy on the storm system.

  • ESS2.C-M4. In Grade 7, Unit 9, Lesson 5, Activity 12: Observing Ocean Currents, students watch a video that shows the different temperatures in water creating convection currents. After watching the demonstration, students draw what they saw and explain why they think it happened. This activity specifically focuses on temperature differences driving currents.

  • ESS2.C-M4. In Grade 7, Unit 9, Lesson 5, Activity 13: Modeling Ocean Currents, students conduct an investigation to explore salinity and ocean currents. Using this knowledge, along with the previous activity which explores temperature and ocean currents, students use their models to answer questions about impacts of the ocean, specifically in relation to Alaska. Students then review diagrams of the ocean conveyor belt and summarize their understandings of ocean currents.

  • ESS2.C-M5. In Grade 8, Unit 15, Lesson 4, Activity 16: Agents of Change, students describe factors that helped shape natural arches on the coastline of Puerto Rico, demonstrating that water’s movements cause weathering and erosion and change the land’s surface features. 

  • ESS2.C-M5. In Grade 8, Unit 15, Lesson 4, Activity 15: Cave Formation, students discuss how they think the arches were formed and examine images of caves in Puerto Rico. Taking what they know about formations on the surface of earth, they investigate and explain how caves could have formed underground. After completing an investigation to show how saltwater forms on strings connecting two beakers of water, students examine structures found in caves and talk about how rainwater can impact the formations underground.

  • ESS2.D-M1. In Grade 7, Unit 10, Lesson 4, Activity 11: Hands-On Investigation: Changing Temperatures and Distance from the Sea, students complete an investigation  modeling how sunlight changes the temperature of different substances. In conclusion, students are given the scenario of three different cities - one surrounded by dark-colored, rocky surfaces, another by light-colored surfaces, and a third on the edge of a lake. Students select and justify which city would likely have the highest summer air temperature and why. They also select and justify which would have the warmest average winter temperature and why.

  • ESS2.D-M2. In Grade 7, Unit 9, Lesson 6, Activity 12: Predicting the Superstorm, students explore the use of probability for weather forecasting. They read a passage describing how meteorologists used models to predict the Superstorm and describe a time when the forecast was different from what they experienced. Then, students develop a prediction for a given location.

  • ESS2.D-M3. In Grade 7, Unit 9, Lesson 5, Activity 13: Modeling Ocean Currents, students conduct an investigation to explore salinity and ocean currents. Using this knowledge with the previous activity which explores temperature and ocean currents, they use their models to answer questions about impacts of the ocean, specifically in relation to Alaska. Students then review diagrams of the ocean conveyor belt and summarize their understandings of ocean currents.

  • ESS3.B-M1. In Grade 7, Unit 9, Lesson 6, Activity 14: Getting Ready for the Storm, students explore the history of natural hazards in order to predict future events. Students analyze maps of natural weather hazards and why people would want to know this information.

  • ESS3.B-M1. In Grade 8, Unit 15, Lesson 5, Activity 17: Natural Hazard Detection Systems, students select and justify a location for an earthquake-detection monitoring station based on evidence from a map, demonstrating that map information and understanding geologic forces can help forecast locations and future events.

  • ESS3.C-M2. In Grade 8, Unit 16, Lesson 4, Activity 11: Farming and Population Growth, students analyze data on human population, crop size, and fertilizer to identify patterns. They use their information to explain the occurrence of the first documented dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. Student learning is applied during the final project when they complete a design project to construct a solution that prevents the dead zone.

  • ESS3.D-M1. In Grade 7, Unit 10, Lesson 7, Activity 17: Human Activity and Effects on Climate Change, students analyze two graphs: Trends in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide (specifically noting the role of fossil fuels) and Global Yearly surface temperatures. They then construct an explanation as to how fossil fuels affect the atmosphere and temperatures. Using scientific and technical information from the graphs and reading passage, students construct an explanation about the role of humans in this relationship and update their model to show how this information could impact the Alaska dogsled race route.

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

  • ESS3.A-M1. In Grade 8, Unit 16, Lesson 5, Activity 13: Mississippi Barges, students obtain and communicate information on the watershed of the Mississippi, uneven distribution of resources upon which humans depend, and how they are transported by barges on the Mississippi River. They create an infographic to communicate what they learn about resource distribution and transportation of nonrenewable and renewable resources. They analyze and draw conclusions about the transport of resources along the Mississippi, the flow of water in and out of the watershed, and how these connect agriculture, mining, and fertilizer across the transport system. Whereas students read that sand and gravel were unevenly deposited 10,000 years ago by glaciers and that coal comes from ancient swamps over hundreds of millions of years old that only occurred in certain places, the materials do not specifically address the concept that past geologic processes caused the uneven distribution of these resources.

  • ESS3.C-M1. In Grade 8, Unit 16, Lesson 3, Activity 8: Nutrients and the Watershed, students read a passage about nutrients found in the Mississippi River watershed and analyze a map of the total nitrogen entering the system, a pie chart of sources of the nitrogen, and a map of atmospheric nitrogen. Then they develop a model of the Mississippi River Watershed system and use this learning to refine models of the dead fish in the Delta. Through refining their models, they deepen the explanation for how humans can impact the environment: in this case, the influx of nitrogen can cause dead zones in certain habitats. The materials do not address how changing the environment can have positive impacts for different living things.

Indicator 2d.iv

Engineering, Technology, and Applications of Science

4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations that they incorporate all grade-band disciplinary core ideas (DCIs) for engineering, technology, and applications of science. Across the series, materials incorporate all grade-band components and associated elements of the engineering, technology, and applications of science (ETS) DCIs. All lessons with ETS elements fall at the end of the unit and serve as the culminating unit project. These may include multiple elements of the same DCI or more than one element across different ETS DCIs or components. 

The materials include ETS DCIs in four physical science units, one life science unit, and one earth and space science unit. Across the series, ETS DCIs are incorporated within three Grade 6 units, two Grade 7 units, and one Grade 8 unit.

Examples of grade-band engineering, technology, and applications of science (ETS) DCIs present in the materials:

  • ETS1.A-M1. In Grade 6, Unit 3, Lesson 6, Activity 20: Unit Project: Unwanted Frost on the Window, students are presented with the problem of ice forming on the interior side of windows. They read about how engineers design solutions and specifically note criteria and constraints. After discussing as a class and reviewing their knowledge on heat transfer and changes of state, students create a list of criteria and constraints for solutions to the icy window problem. They brainstorm ideas for why the ice is forming and, with pairs or in small groups, brainstorm possible solutions to keep this from happening. Using various criteria and a Pugh matrix, students rate the possible solutions and construct an explanation for which solution they would propose based on their evaluations.

  • ETS1.B-M1. In Grade 6, Unit 1, Lesson 5, Activity 12: Unit Project: Hands-On Engineering: Defining Design Problem, students use a balloon powered car developed in a previous lesson to perform in competition events. They determine the changes that need to be made to the car, applying scientific principles based on the event, and test designs before being implemented. They conduct several tests after each modification in order to determine the effectiveness of the changes before each event.

  • ETS1.B-M2. In Grade 7, Unit 10, Lesson 6, Activity 29: Unit Project: Researching a Local Habitat, students explore a process for evaluating a solution to a problem by how well it meets given criteria and constraints. They read through a provided multi-species plan to identify how each feature is important to the success of the plan. 

  • ETS1.B-M3. In Grade 6, Unit 2, Lesson 7, Activity 25: Unit Project: Hands-on Engineering: Applying Force, students develop a solution to a problem by utilizing parts of other solutions. They design two possible solutions to the given problem and are asked to compare with other teams. Then, students identify pros and cons of each solution to make adjustments as needed in order to meet the criteria.

  • ETS1.B-M4. In Grade 7, Unit 6, Lesson 4, Activity 11: Burning the Fabric, students use questions about what could cause the burning of the Hindenburg from the previous lesson (hydrogen, fabric) and video data of fabric burning to create additional questions that need answering. The videos present three models that are burned: one covered with plain fabric, one covered with fabric painted with three coats of aluminum like the bottom of the Hindenburg, and the third fabric painted with iron oxide and aluminum like the upper half of the Hindenburg. Students collect data from these tests and then develop a claim and construct an explanation. Lastly, students explore multiple facets of what they have figured out from both the model of burning hydrogen and the model of burning fabric to help them think about what they still need to investigate.

  • ETS1.C-M1. In Grade 6, Unit 3, Lesson 6, Activity 20: Unit Project: Unwanted Frost on the Window, students are presented with the problem of ice forming on the interior side of windows. After discussing as a class and reviewing their knowledge on heat transfer and changes of state, students brainstorm ideas for why the ice is forming and, with pairs or in small groups, brainstorm possible solutions to keep this from happening. Using various criteria, they rate the possible solutions and construct an explanation for which solution they would propose based on their evaluations.

  • ETS1.C-M2. In Grade 6, Unit 1, Lesson 5, Activity 12: Unit Project: Hands-On Engineering: Defining Design Problem, students use the iterative process of testing the most promising solutions and modify what is proposed based on the test results. After modifying their balloon car, students engage in the iterative design process that would allow their balloon car to win a competitive event.

Indicator 2e

Materials incorporate all grade-band Science and Engineering Practices.

Indicator 2e.i

Asking Questions and Defining Problems

1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 partially meet expectations that they incorporate the science and engineering practices for asking questions and defining problems and all grade-band elements across the series. Seven of the eight elements are incorporated, of which three elements are partially addressed; one element (AQDP-M7) is not addressed. Across the series, students have repeated opportunities to ask questions or define problems; students use elements of this SEP in each grade and across each science discipline. The element AQDP-M1 is the most commonly addressed element of this SEP across the series.

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

  • AQDP-M1. In Grade 8, Unit 15, Lesson 1, Activity 1: Earthquake in the News, students watch a video of an earthquake in Puerto Rico and then list questions they have after watching.

  • AQDP-M3. In Grade 7, Unit 8, Lesson 5, Activity 22: What is Biodiversity, students observe and record what they wonder about various ecosystems and develop questions about biodiversity and the relationships between dependent and independent variables that influence the ecosystems. They do not ask questions about relationships within models.

  • AQDP-M4. In Grade 8, Unit 16, Lesson 6, Activity 15: Unit Project: Using a Model, students refine their model to locations where it could be possible to prevent the fish kill in the Delta. Using these locations and their current model, students list potential causes for dying fish in the Delta and ask questions about at least one of the issues they noticed to focus them in on creating solutions to the problem in the following activity (i.e, "Can nutrients be removed from streams and rivers in the Mississippi River watershed?").

  • AQDP-M5. In Grade 7, Unit 6, Lesson 2, Activity 4: Hands-On Investigation: What is in the Air?, students pose questions to clarify what happens to a candle flame when enclosed in a jar. Students are directed to ask questions to “clarify what happened to the candle flame.” Students use empirical evidence from the lesson to answer these questions.

  • AQDP-M8. In Grade 8, Unit 16, Lesson 6, Activity 16: Unit Project: Design Process, students reflect on their design project and list other questions they would need to answer to continue developing their design. They use those questions to create a design project to develop a solution to the dying fish in the Delta. In their design, students complete an engineering design sheet which requires them to define the problem, propose a solution, describe how they will evaluate the solution through criteria and constraints, and list all materials needed to construct and test their solution. Students present their ideas to classmates in a gallery walk and then, individually, explain how their design solution solves the problem of Dead Fish in the Delta. 

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

  • AQDP-M2. In Grade 8, Unit 12, Lesson 1, Activity 2: Olney’s Squirrels, students observe videos and images of the squirrels in Olney and then ask questions to identify and clarify evidence that would explain the cause of the albinism. There are missed opportunities for students to ask questions about the premise of an argument or claim. 

  • AQDP-M3. In Grade 7, Unit 6, Lesson 3, Activity 8: Candy Chemical Reactions, students record the number of molecules in reactants and products in various chemical equations, as demonstrated in physical models, and ask questions related to these relationships within the model. Students do not ask questions about relationships between dependent and independent variables.

  • AQDP-M6. In Grade 6, Unit 3, Lesson 3, Activity 6: What is Evaporation?, students list questions they have about evaporation and determine which of those questions could be investigated in the classroom. Although students determine if it would be possible to investigate questions within a classroom, there are missed opportunities to form a hypothesis about their questions. 

Grade-band element of Asking Questions and Defining Problems not present in the materials:

  • AQDP-M7. Ask questions that challenge the premise(s) of an argument or the interpretation of a data set.

Indicator 2e.ii

Developing and Using Models

2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations that they incorporate the science and engineering practices for developing and using models and all grade-band elements across the series. The materials incorporate all grade-band elements of this SEP across the series. Across the series, students have repeated opportunities to develop and use models; students use elements of this SEP in each grade and across each science discipline, with the elements of MOD-M4 and MOD-M5 used most frequently.

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

  • MOD-M1. In Grade 6, Unit 2, Lesson 6, Activity 24: Modeling the Levitating Orb System, students use a rubric as a guide to evaluate their classmates’ models and provide them with meaningful feedback to revise models so that they represents the levitating-orb system more clearly or completely.

  • MOD-M2. In Grade 7, Unit 6, Lesson 2, Activity 6: Hands-On Investigation: Electrolysis, students use observations from an investigation of electricity running through water to construct a flowchart model of electrolysis and include what happens when energy is added to the system.

  • MOD-M3. In Grade 7, Unit 7, Lesson 5, Activity 16: Kelp and Sea Urchins, students use the model of a kelp forest ecosystem to explain data that is presented about the ecosystem. Then they revise their model to account for the population density presented in the data.

  • MOD-M4. In Grade 8, Unit 15, Lesson 2, Activity 6: Setting Boundaries, students watch a video of a volcano erupting in Chile. Based on what they know about earthquakes, students construct an explanation about what could be causing this volcanic eruption that also notes plate movement at different types of boundaries and their effects. They create a model to support their explanation, and then watch and read about ocean trenches to further expand their models.

  • MOD-M5. In Grade 8, Unit 15, Lesson 3, Activity 9: Down in the Trenches, students read about ocean floors, specifically ocean mapping and trenches. They note patterns and compare maps of plate tectonics and ocean trenches. Using this information, students draw a model explaining the interaction of the Caribbean and North Atlantic Plates at the Puerto Rico Trench. 

  • MOD-M5. In Grade 6, Unit 3, Lesson 4, Activity 13: Kinesthetic Models of Energy Transfer to and from the Refrigerant, students work in two groups where each is given a scenario to develop a model. The materials prompt one group to “develop a kinesthetic demonstration that illustrates any changes in state that occur as refrigerant cycles through an air conditioner and suddenly loses air flow over the coils. The model should show any changes in kinetic energy, thermal energy transfer, volume, and pressure as appropriate." The second group is to “develop a kinesthetic demonstration that illustrates any changes in state that occur as refrigerant leaks from the closed system. The model should show any changes in kinetic energy, thermal energy transfer, volume, and pressure as appropriate." With specific attention to their scenario, each group works together to create simulation models that explain their theories for what caused ice to form on the air conditioner.

  • MOD-M6. In Grade 8, Unit 15, Lesson 2, Activity 5: Plate Interactions, students watch a video about the causes of plate movement. They complete an activity with graham crackers and frosting to model different types of tectonic boundaries and plate movement (divergent, transform, and collision plate boundaries). Students note what happens at these boundaries, and then analyze images to compare the unobservable mechanisms of plate boundary movement shown by their model to a 3-D map of the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean sea. They then discuss how they know the Puerto Rico earthquake could not be the result of a transform boundary.

  • MOD-M7. In Grade 8, Unit 15, Lesson 2, Activity 3: Continent Puzzle, students create a map of the world using cut out pieces of paper representing continents on which they draw land features studied in the previous activity. They move the continent pieces around to see if they fit together like a puzzle. Lastly, they read and watch a video about continental drift and write a claim about how the continents formed their current shapes and arrangements. 

  • MOD-M7. In Grade 6, Unit 5, Lesson 6, Activity 19: Hands-On Investigation: Nerve Response Speed, students investigate the nerve response speed to sound and sight stimuli. They use the results to develop a flowchart model showing receptor inputs (stimulus), the movement of information along nerve cells, and the resulting outputs (body response to stimulus).

Indicator 2e.iii

Planning and Carrying Out Investigations

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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 partially meet expectations that they incorporate the science and engineering practices for planning and carrying out investigations and all grade-band elements across the series. The materials incorporate four of the five elements of this practice; one element (INV-M3) is not addressed. Across the series, students have repeated opportunities to plan or carry out investigations; students use elements of this SEP in each grade and across each science discipline, most frequently using elements of this SEP in the physical science and earth science units. 

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

  • INV-M1. In Grade 6, Unit 3, Lesson 3, Activity 7: Variety of Variables, students work in small groups to design and conduct an investigation to explore factors that control the rate of evaporation. Students predict the factors that might affect evaporation, propose how to test the factors, decide how they will control variables, and note how they will record measuring molecular motion. They predict what will happen in their investigation and then, in pairs or small groups, conduct their investigation and record their data. This activity does not address individual planning of an investigation.

  • INV-M1. In Grade 7, Unit 6, Lesson 6, Activity 15: Investigating for a TV Show, students use evidence from a reading and previous lessons to individually design a series of investigations in which they could collect data to help answer an earlier presented myth: “if the Hindenburg airship fabric was made of materials available with current technology, it would not have exploded.” When designing the investigations, students respond to prompts regarding physical properties, chemical structure, and thermal transfer and explain how they would test each material, what type of tools, equipment, and data collection they would use, and what their predicted outcomes are. Students also reflect on how they have grown in this unit, specifically in relation to providing evidence to support or refute an argument. This activity does address collaborative planning of an investigation.

  • INV-M2. In Grade 8, Unit 15, Lesson 4, Activity 13: Landslides, students discuss the changes of landscape in Puerto Rico due to the earthquake. Students analyze an image of a damaged roadway and answer questions about the causes and amount of time this change could have taken. To further investigate, students test three different materials (soil, sand, and gravel) with three different variables (slope angle, shaking, and moisture level). If students have identified another possible cause for landscape changes, they may test this as well. They conduct their investigation noting patterns and any relation to the image from the beginning of the activity. This activity does not address revising of experimental design.

  • INV-M2. In Grade 6, Unit 1, Lesson 5: Unit Project: Balloon-Powered Rocket Car Competition, students use the balloon car from Lesson 3 to perform a series of “balloon-powered car competition events.” Students choose two events in which to compete and may make changes to their cars as needed to perform the tasks (fastest car, farthest car, most accurate car, and/or most powerful car). After making changes and performing the tasks, they record results of how their car did with a focus on aspects of revisions to their design modifications made in relation to the car's performance in the activity. 

  • INV-M4. In Grade 7, Unit 9, Lesson 5, Activity 10: Moving Superstorm, students collect data through reading, analyzing images, and conducting an investigation to answer questions about air masses. 

  • INV-M4. In Unit 1, Lesson 5, Activity 12: Hands-On Engineering: Defining the Design Problem, students modify a balloon-powered car previously developed to compete in two of four identified events. After a modification is made, students conduct tests to determine the effectiveness of the modification for the event. If the modification is not effective, students may continue to modify.

  • INV-M5. In Grade 7, Unit 9, Lesson 4, Activity 7: Hands-On Investigation: Water and Plants, students read about global rainfall patterns to explore the relationship between precipitation and vegetation density. They conduct an investigation to look at how a plant processes water when variables, such as temperature, change. To record data, students use a celery stalk and water system placed in various locations and conditions in the classroom: undisturbed at room temperature, six inches under a bright light, and in front of a fan with normal lighting. They analyze the results to decide if there is evidence for a claim about vegetation density and precipitation. 

Example of a grade-band element of planning and carrying out investigations missing from the materials:

  • INV-M3. 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 Grades 6-8 partially meet expectations that they incorporate the science and engineering practices for analyzing and interpreting data and all grade-band elements across the series. The materials incorporate seven of the eight elements of this practice, of which two are partially addressed; one element (DATA-M8) is missing. Across the series, students have repeated opportunities to analyze and interpret data; students use elements of this SEP in each grade and across each science discipline, commonly using multiple elements of this SEP in each unit. The element DATA-M4 is the most commonly addressed element of this SEP across the series.

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

  • DATA-M2. In Grade 8, Unit 15, Lesson 5, Activity 19: Natural Hazard Emergencies, students help the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) to create a preparedness plan to minimize the loss of life on the Puerto Rico coast from earthquakes and landslides. They analyze different data sets regarding earthquakes and tsunamis in Puerto Rico and create action steps for the preparedness plan. In this plan, students use data to decide if earthquake monitoring stations should collaborate with landslide-monitoring stations, volcano-monitoring stations, or both and how the deep water, narrow beaches, and dense housing relate to potential impacts from these disasters. In their proposed solutions, students suggest a plan that includes things such as where to place monitors, communication, and evacuation efforts.

  • DATA-M4. In Grade 8, Unit 15, Lesson 2, Activity 2: Earthquake Data, students analyze a map of the aftershocks of the December 2019 earthquake in Puerto Rico. Noticing patterns, students answer questions and record learning in a graphic organizer. Noting similarities and differences, they examine maps of Puerto Rican and South American land features and analyze a map of earthquakes in Chile and earthquake activity across all continents. With this analysis, they provide evidence of the connection between patterns in earthquakes and land features.

  • DATA-M5. In Grade 8, Unit 12, Lesson 5, Activity 15: Expression of Alleles, students analyze data showing three different traits in a fruit fly population to determine the probability of the expression of a recessive allele. They also use a Punnett Square to model the probability of allele combinations resulting in albino or gray squirrels.

  • DATA-M6. In Grade 6, Unit 5, Lesson 5, Activity 15: Breath and Beat, students conduct an investigation to determine the relationship between breathing rate and heart rate. Then they identify limitations of the data they collected and how they could improve its accuracy and reliability.

  • DATA-M7. In Grade 7, Unit 9, Lesson 5, Activity 11: Highs and Lows, students compare maps of the United States showing air pressure data over three days of the Superstorm. Students look for similarities and differences between these maps as they analyze the pressure systems and changes in air flow over the three days. Students use the changes in location of the air masses as evidence that the air masses moved during the storm.

Examples where materials partially address the practice of analyzing and interpreting data:  

  • DATA-M1. In Grade 7, Unit 8, Lesson 2, Activity 6:The Zebra Survival Game - Part 1: Graphing Game Results, students graph data collected in the previous activity. They analyze the graphs and identify linear relationships in regard to population and resource availability. Students are not provided opportunities to work with large data sets nor nonlinear relationships.

  • DATA-M3. In Grade 7, Unit 9, Lesson 2, Activity 4: Rain and Snow in Storms, students analyze charts with data showing temperature and location and answer a question about the relationship between temperature and precipitation type: "The data from the Superstorm indicates that there may be a relationship between temperature and whether the precipitation for a location was rain or snow. Explain how you think temperature impacts whether you see snow or rain during a storm." They also analyze multiple graphs showing data from weather balloons (higher altitude and temperature) and refine their models. Whereas they analyze causal relationships, students are not required to name the type of relationship nor distinguish between causal and correlational relationships.

Examples of elements that materials do not address:

  • DATA-M8. Analyze data to define an optimal operational range for a proposed object, tool, process or system that best meets criteria for success.

Indicator 2e.v

Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking

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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 partially meet expectations that they incorporate the science and engineering practices for using mathematics and computational thinking and all grade-band elements across the series. The materials incorporate four of the five elements of this practice with two elements partially incorporated; one element (MATH-M3) is missing. Across the series, students use elements of this SEP in each grade and each science discipline but have fewer opportunities to use elements of this SEP relative to other SEPs.

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

  • MATH-M4. In Grade 6, Unit 1, Lesson 2, Activity 3: Fire Extinguisher Go-Kart, students observe a go-kart traveling a distance of 300 feet and create a data table or graph of distance traveled over time if the go-kart traveled 15 miles per hour the entire time.

  • MATH-M5. In Grade 6, Unit 1, Lesson 5, Activity 12: Hands-On Engineering: Defining the Design Problem, students completing the fastest car challenge collect time data over a specified distance and use this measurement as a test of their design.

Examples of where materials partially incorporate grade-band elements of using mathematics and computational thinking:

  • MATH-M1. In Grade 7, Unit 10, Lesson 2, Activity 3: Displaying Data for Anchorage and Fairbanks, students are given 12 pieces of data and display this in a graph with an explanation. Whereas students are analyzing for patterns and trends, the data set is not large.

  • MATH-M2. In Grade 8, Unit 14, Lesson 3, Activity 5: Why Not More?, students use symbols to represent how successful fruit flies are multiplying over generations. Whereas students use symbols, the representations are not used to describe nor support scientific conclusions and design solutions. 

Example of a grade-band element of using mathematics and computational thinking missing from the materials:

  • MATH-M3. 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 Grades 6-8 partially meet expectations that they incorporate the science and engineering practices for constructing explanations and designing solutions and all grade-band elements across the series. Materials incorporate seven of the eight elements; one element (CEDS-M8) is missing from the materials. Across the series, students have repeated opportunities to construct explanations or design solutions; students use elements of this SEP in each grade, in each science discipline, and in each unit, commonly using multiple elements of this SEP in each unit. 

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

  • CEDS-M1. In Grade 6, Unit 2, Lesson 2, Activity 3: Dropped Objects, students state a claim, use evidence, and explain their reasoning of how air is acting on the levitating-orb system. They construct the explanation to include qualitative relationships between air and a dropped object that describes the phenomena.

  • CEDS-M2. In Grade 6, Unit 4, Lesson 2, Activity 3: The Growing and Shrinking Appearance of the Moon, students continue with the changing appearance of the moon and the earth-sun-moon system from the previous activity by looking at a chart showing pictures of the moon on the same day at four different locations. They explain what they see and how it ties to the initial model they created. Students then gather more data from various graphs and create an explanation for how the interactions of the earth-sun-moon system create the changing appearance of the moon.

  • CEDS-M3. In Grade 8, Unit 16, Lesson 5, Activity 16: River Transport, students apply learning from the unit to create a solution that will reduce or eliminate fish kills in the Delta. They begin by listing questions about what is causing the fish kill in the Delta that they need to answer with their solution. In groups, students complete the Student Engineering Design sheet, which requires students to define the problem. Considering and citing work that has already been done, they list possible solutions and consider available resources for its development. Lastly, they review others' ideas in a gallery walk and write an explanation about their solution including how it will work and how they would test it.

  • CEDS-M4. In Grade 6, Unit 3, Lesson 5, Activity 16: Freezing and Melting Point of Water, students draw a heating curve using information from the activity about the processes of state changes, including freezing and melting points. They complete a written explanation to accompany their drawing that explains energy flow and temperature patterns during each state change in the system.

  • CEDS-M5. In Grade 8, Unit 12, Lesson 2, Activity 5, Modeling Squirrel Offspring, students develop models of genes and traits to construct an explanation about the inheritance of traits and how albino and gray squirrel siblings have inherited different traits. They use strips of paper with different symbol combinations to model how squirrels from the same parents may have different traits for ear shape, eye color, and tail type. Once data is recorded, they explain why their model squirrel siblings are similar or different. After comparing their models with the models of other groups, they explain the relationship between the symbols and the strips and genes, the combinations on each strip and chromosomes, and how the process of the investigation represents the inheritance of traits from parents to offspring. Students use their evidence to explain the difference in traits between albino and gray squirrel siblings.

  • CEDS-M6. In Grade 6, Unit 3, Lesson 4, Activity 14: Frozen Coils, students use  knowledge from previous lessons on air conditioner systems and heat transfer to design solutions to prevent the formation of ice on air conditioner coils. 

  • CEDS-M7. In Grade 6, Unit 3, Lesson 6, Activity 20: Unit Project: Unwanted Frost on the Window, students develop a design solution to keep the air conditioner from freezing and explain their ideas. They work together to create a list of criteria and constraints for solving this problem. Students choose which criteria and constraints to use in evaluating the possible systems and then choose the best solution based on its rating in the Pugh matrix.

Example of a grade-band element of using Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions missing from the materials:

  • CEDS-M8. Optimize performance of a design by prioritizing criteria, making tradeoffs, testing, revising, and retesting.

Indicator 2e.vii

Engaging in Argument from Evidence

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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 partially meet expectations that they incorporate the science and engineering practices for engaging in argument from evidence and all grade-band elements across the series. The materials incorporate most grade-band elements across the series: one element (ARG-M4) is missing from the materials. Across the series, students use elements of this SEP in each grade, in each science discipline, and in half of the units across the series, with the ARG-M3 used most frequently. 

Examples of where materials incorporate engaging in argument from evidence:

  • ARG-M1. In Grade 8, Unit 16, Lesson 3, Activity 7: Flowing Water, students create three models of watersheds and then, using evidence from the activity, decide which model they think is the best to explain the fish kills in the Delta. They write an explanation for why they think that model was the best representation and then compare their answers to a partner’s. When listening to their partner's choice and reasoning, they complete a chart that includes which model the partner chose, three pieces of evidence to support their choice, and if they interpreted facts the same or differently.

  • ARG-M2. In Grade 6, Unit 3, Lesson 5, Activity 17: Potential Attraction, students create models to show molecular movement across states and then exchange models in a small group. Using a rubric, they evaluate each model and share their feedback.

  • ARG-M3. In Grade 8, Unit 13, Lesson 3, Activity 8: Embryological Development, students construct, use, and present to peers an argument as to what may have happened to surviving descendants of the mystery fossil. They support their argument with the evidence of fossil observations compared with the mystery fossil and an analysis of the world map over time showing a change in the environment. Students do not argue the solution to a problem. 

  • ARG-M3. In Grade 7, Unit 6, Lesson 5, Activity 14: Testing a Scale Model, students construct and present an argument to support or refute a given claim as to the cause of the Hindenburg explosion. Throughout the unit, students investigate the conditions necessary for the burning of hydrogen and helium, observe videos of the effect of burning fabric under two different conditions, and watch video clips of possible causes of the Hindenburg explosion. They use this evidence, as well as scientific reasoning, to develop an argument. Students do not argue an explanation for a phenomenon.

  • ARG-M5. In Grade 6, Unit 2, Lesson 3, Activity 12: Hands-On Engineering: 3-D Maglev Model, student teams use the engineering design process to design a simple, 3-D maglev system. Teams record agreed upon procedures and share their ideas and approaches with other teams. Discussions are used to improve their procedures prior to building their models.

  • ARG-M5. In Grade 6, Unit 3, Lesson 6, Activity 20: Unit Project: Unwanted Frost on the Window, students develop a design solution to keep the air conditioner from freezing and explain their ideas. They work together to create a list of criteria and constraints for solving this problem. Students choose which criteria and constraints to use in evaluating the possible systems and then write an explanation specifically justifying their solution choice using the selected criteria and constraints.

Example of a grade-band element of using engaging in argument from evidence missing from the materials:

  • ARG-M4. Make an oral or written argument that supports or refutes the advertised performance of a device, process, or system, based on empirical evidence concerning whether or not the technology meets relevant criteria and constraints.

Indicator 2e.viii

Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 partially meet expectations that they incorporate the science and engineering practices for obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information and all grade-band elements across the series. The materials incorporate three elements of the practice and partially incorporate one element; one element (INFO-M4) is missing from the materials. Across the series, students use elements of this SEP in each grade and each science discipline, including this SEP multiple times in nearly all units.

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

  • INFO-M1. In Grade 8, Unit 15, Lesson 5, Activity 18: Analyzing Past Earthquakes, students research earthquakes in Puerto Rico and then create proposals for placing earthquake-detection monitoring stations. Sources used by students for this activity include an earthquake database from the internet, which students choose using a list of options curated by the teacher and maps of the Caribbean plate boundaries and trench systems in the activity. Using the patterns they notice about the location of the earthquakes and tectonic plates, they determine three to five locations to place earthquake detector systems that alert people in the Caribbean about earthquakes.

  • INFO-M2. In Grade 7, Unit 9, Lesson 6, Activity 14: Getting Ready for the Storm, students collect information from text, images, maps, and videos to identify patterns and indicate what weather-related and natural hazards they may experience where they live. After this, students return to their initial models of the superstorm and explain how using more technology (like shown in the satellite images and maps) might help their models be more accurate.

  • INFO-M5. In Grade 6, Unit 4, Lesson 5, Activity 15: Closer Look at Planetary Objects, students communicate scientific information in written or oral form of their research on a planetary object found in our solar system. They are not provided the opportunity to communicate about technical information.

  • INFO-M5. In Grade 8, Unit 11, Lesson 7, Activity 23: Light Sensors, students communicate technical information when they draw a model to explain how the light sensor system works and then how a light sensor works with a buzzer. The second model needs to include physical components of the system, non-physical components of the system such as how the sound from the buzzer reaches your ear and how light is traveling to the photocell, the behavior of the sound when the photocell is receiving the maximum light energy, and when the photocell is receiving decreased light energy.

Example where materials partially incorporate elements of obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information:

  • INFO-M3. In Grade 8, Unit 11, Lesson 6, Activity 21: Which Signal is Better?, students conduct research from multiple resources and summarize the main idea from each. They answer the prompt of why scientists use multiple, reliable sources and list examples of reliable and unreliable sources. Students write a script telling a story to answer their own research question. They do not discuss bias of information or methods used in this activity.

Example of the element of obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information missing from the materials:

  • INFO-M4. Evaluate data, hypotheses, and/or conclusions in scientific and technical texts in light of competing information or accounts.

Indicator 2f

Materials incorporate all grade-band Crosscutting Concepts.

Indicator 2f.i

Patterns

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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations that they incorporate the crosscutting concept (CCC) of patterns and all grade-band elements across the series. Elements of patterns are found in all units. Across the series, students have repeated opportunities to engage with the CCC of patterns; students use elements of this CCC in each grade, in each science discipline, and in each unit, commonly using multiple elements of this CCC in each unit. 

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

  • PAT-M1. In Grade 7, Unit 6, Lesson 3, Activity 9: It’s a Matter of Atoms, students use the macroscopic patterns identified in given chemical reactions related to electrolysis and the burning of hydrogen and methane in order to predict how molecules (atomic-level structure) interact (e.g., reactants and products) due to the burning of propane.

  • PAT-M2. In Grade 7, Unit 7, Lesson 3, Activity 9: Sunlight Time, students interpret data from graphs on the seasonal increase in kelp length and carbon content in kelp. They discuss patterns observed in the graphs to explain the relationship between energy from the sun and the flow of matter into kelp to understand the natural system. 

  • PAT-M3. In Grade 7, Unit 9, Lesson 2, Activity 4: Analyzing and Interpreting Data for Anchorage and Fairbanks, students identify patterns observed in student-created graphs of temperature and snowfall data and determine what the pattern allows them to conclude about the amount of snow in one place versus another.

  • PAT-M4. In Grade 8, Unit 15, Lesson 2, Activity 2: Earthquake Data, students review a map of earthquake occurrence in Puerto Rico. After answering questions, students compare two different maps, explaining how the new information can be used to identify patterns related to aftershocks. Specifically, students are asked: “How can analyzing different maps of a region help you better understand natural events, such as earthquakes?”

Indicator 2f.ii

Cause and Effect

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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations that they incorporate the crosscutting concept (CCC) of cause and effect and all grade-band elements across the series. Of the three grade-band elements of cause and effect, two are fully incorporated, and one is partially incorporated. Across the series, students have repeated opportunities to engage with this CCC; students use elements of this CCC in each grade, in each science discipline, and in nearly all units. The element most frequently incorporated is CE-M2. 

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

  • CE-M2. In Grade 7, Unit 10, Lesson 6, Activity 15: Hands-On Investigation: Greenhouse Effect, students create a model, gather data to understand the greenhouse effect, and explain how the results can be used to address the cause for and need to move the starting location of the dogsled race. Students select statements that answer "how do you think an increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will affect the amount of snow in Alaska?” and “how does this contribute to the lack of snow on parts of the dogsled race route?"

  • CE-M3. In Grade 7, Unit 8, Lesson 6, Activity 13: Before and After, students compare their predictions for weather with actual conditions and discuss how meteorologists use probability when predicting the weather. 

Example of a grade-band element of Cause and Effect partially present in the materials:

  • CE-M1. In Grade 7, Unit 6, Lesson 2, Activity 5: Hydrogen Burning, students explore the conditions necessary for the burning of hydrogen. They use evidence to support or refute the claim that hydrogen was the main cause of the Hindenburg explosion. There is a missed opportunity for students to identify relationships that are correlated and to differentiate between causation and correlation.

Indicator 2f.iii

Scale, Proportion, and Quantity

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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 do not meet expectations that they incorporate the crosscutting concept of scale, proportion, and quantity and all grade-band elements across the series. Three of the five grade-band elements are incorporated across the series, and two (SPQ-M2 and SPQ-M4) are missing from the materials. Students have repeated opportunities to engage with this CCC in multiple units, using elements of this CCC in each grade and each science discipline. Within some units, students engage with multiple elements of this CCC.

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

  • SPQ-M1. In Grade 8, Unit 13, Lesson 2, Activity 6: A Time for Everything, students read a brief introduction that discusses the difficulty of visualizing time on a large scale and why scale models are used. They record examples of scale models that they may have used or seen and watch an animation about scale models. Students use materials to create a consensus scale model of earth’s history. They relate information from previous lessons to their model, what they’ve figured out about a mystery fossil’s place within their model, and identify the next step to identifying the mystery fossil.

  • SPQ-M3. In Grade 8, Unit 12, Lesson 5, Activity 13: Albinism in Offspring, students analyze a data table on the Olney squirrel population, calculate the percent of the population that is albino, and explain the occurrence of albinism within the population. Using knowledge from modeling inheritance of genes, the relationship between type of reproduction and likelihood of mutations, students explain the smaller percentage of albino squirrels in the Olney squirrel population and why more genetic variation is seen in organisms that reproduce sexually. 

  • SPQ-M5. In Grade 6, Unit 4, Lesson 1, Activity 1: Skateboard Mishap, students are asked to compare what they can observe by looking at the surface of the skin to what they cannot observe with their eyes, why their current observations of the healing cut are limited, and how might they make additional observations that they cannot make by just looking at the skin. 

Examples of grade-band elements of Scale, Proportion, and Quantity not present in the materials:

  • SPQ-M2. The observed function of natural and designed systems may change with scale.

  • SPQ-M4. Scientific relationships can be represented through the use of algebraic expressions and equations.

Indicator 2f.iv

Systems and System Models

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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations that they incorporate the crosscutting concept of systems and system models and all grade-band elements across the series. Across the series, students have repeated opportunities to engage with this CCC; students use elements of this CCC in each grade and in each science discipline. Elements of this CCC are used in all sixth grade units and less frequently in the other grades. The elements SYS-M1 and SYS-M2 are incorporated more frequently than SYS-M3.


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

  • SYS-M1. In Grade 6, Unit 3, Lesson 4, Activity 12: How an Air Conditioner Cools, Part 2, students review and analyze models of the various subsystems in an air conditioner and identify how they work together in the larger system. 

  • SYS-M2. In Grade 7, Unit 7, Lesson 2, Activity 8: Modeling Photosynthesis, students refine a working model of a kelp forest ecosystem to show the interactions of the components of that ecosystem, including the process of photosynthesis. Student models of photosynthesis show the input components of carbon dioxide, water, and sunlight, resulting in the outputs of oxygen and sugar, and energy and matter flow.

  • SYS-M3. In Grade 6, Unit 2, Lesson 1, Activity 5: Gravity at Different Scales, students evaluate the limitations of their model and write about parts of the system they have not fully represented.

Indicator 2f.v

Energy and Matter

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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations that they incorporate the crosscutting concept of energy and matter and all grade-band elements across the series. Across the series, students have multiple opportunities to engage with this CCC; students use elements of this CCC in each grade and in each science discipline. Students engage with elements of this CCC in two or three units per grade, most frequently in physical science units.

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

  • EM-M1. In Grade 7, Unit 6, Lesson 4, Activity 13: Hands-On Investigation: Energy Lab, students continue their investigations on chemical reactions to understand how they take in energy or give off energy. They record what they think happened with energy during the Hindenburg explosion and list questions they have related to energy as a result of a demonstration in a previous lesson. Prior to viewing a video clip, students predict the outcome of a chemical reaction involving barium hydroxide octahydrate and solid ammonium chloride and then record observations. Students use provided materials as they plan and conduct an investigation to collect data about how energy changes during chemical reactions.  

  • EM-M2. In Grade 8, Unit 15, Lesson 2, Activity 4: Changing Continents, students read about the conditions within the earth that result in either liquid or solid material then observe a demonstration model of the processes that drive the movement of continents.   After proving their initial thoughts as to how plates move, students use their observations to explain how energy transfers in a natural system and how this energy is driving the motion and cycling of matter.

  • EM-M3. In Grade 6, Unit 2, Lesson 5, Activity 21: Energy Transfer, students describe where energy is stored, used, and transferred in the junkyard-magnetic-paperclip system and compare the potential energy in this system to the potential energy in a rubber band system.

  • EM-M4. In Grade 7, Unit 8, Lesson 3, Activity 6: The Water Cycle, students write a story about the journey of a water droplet in the water cycle. They revisit their stories throughout the activity with prompts to change the scenario (you landed somewhere the air temperature remains below freezing all year or you landed somewhere you were absorbed into the ground). After thinking through these different scenarios, students return to their initial story and add in more information to include how the transfer of energy influences the path water takes as it falls from the sky. They apply their understanding of the water cycle to help them explain what happened in the Superstorm.

Indicator 2f.vi

Structure and Function

2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations that they incorporate the crosscutting concept of structure and function and all grade-band elements across the series. Across the series, students engage with this CCC in multiple units; students use elements of this CCC in sixth and eighth grade and primarily in life science units. 

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

  • SF-M1. In Grade 8, Unit 12, Lesson 3, Activity 7: Making Melanin, students investigate the complex system of the role of proteins in the development of the pigment melanin. They model the complex and microscopic structures and systems to describe how protein structure can determine their function.

  • SF-M2. In Grade 6, Unit 2, Lesson 3, Activity 12: Three-D Maglev Model, students use the engineering process to design a three-dimensional maglev system and take into account the properties of the materials provided. They then explain how the structure of one of the used items provides an important function for the overall system.

Indicator 2f.vii

Stability and Change

1/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 partially meet expectations that they incorporate the crosscutting concept of stability and change and all grade-band elements across the series. The materials include nearly all of the grade-band elements across the series; one of the four elements (SC-M4) is missing in the materials. Across the series, students engage with this CCC in multiple units; students use elements of this CCC in Grade 7 and Grade 8 and within life science earth and space science units. 


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

  • SC-M1. In Grade 8, Unit 14, Lesson 4, Activity 9: Modeling Speciation, students examine environmental changes and pressures over time at levels of the cell and organism. They then construct an explanation as to how 800 species of fruit flies could have derived from a single fruit fly over millions of years.

  • SC-M2. In Grade 8, Unit 16, Lesson 3, Activity 9: Nutrients and Human Health, students read a passage and answer questions that ask about the impacts of one small change on larger changes. Questions include discussing how groundwater has changed over the long term due to human activity, what factors could make this system unstable (such as amounts of nitrogen in groundwater), and what length of time frame did it take for changes to occur (gradual or sudden). After answering these questions, students return to their models of the fish kill in the Delta and add information about the factors of stability and change related to the phenomenon.

  • SC-M3. In Grade 7, Unit 10, Lesson 16: Fossil Fuels and Greenhouse Gases, students are asked to use what they have learned about greenhouse gases and fossil fuels to construct an explanation about how fossil fuels affect the atmosphere and temperatures on earth as well as in Alaska specifically. They support the explanation with evidence from the provided graphs that include data from 1900-2018. This activity does not address changes due to sudden events.

  • SC-M3. In Grade 8, Unit 15, Lesson 1, Activity 1: Earthquake in the News, students watch a video of the effects of a sudden earthquake and observe an image of a stable rock arch before and after the same earthquake. They use these observations to show how the effects of the earthquake changed the natural structure. This activity does not address gradual changes over time.

Example of a grade-band element of Stability and Change not present in the materials:

  • SC-M4. Systems in dynamic equilibrium are stable due to a balance of feedback mechanisms.

Indicator 2g

Materials incorporate NGSS Connections to Nature of Science and Engineering.

2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations that they incorporate NGSS connections to the nature of science (NOS) and engineering (ENG). Across the series, materials incorporate most components and many elements of the grade-band NGSS connections. The NOS and engineering elements are represented and attended multiple times throughout the grade-band units. They are used in correlation with the content and not used as isolated lessons. 


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

  • NOS-VOM-M1 . In Grade 8, Unit 11, Lesson 3, Activity 10: Hands-On Investigation: Rubber Band Sounds, the activity planning document includes instructions for small groups of students to discuss the variety of methods and tools they have used in their investigations, where measurements and observations are collected, and to describe the benefit of using different methods and tools when they plan and carry out investigations.

  • NOS-BEE-M1. In Grade 8, Unit 16, Lesson 2, Activity 4: Human Dependence on Water, students analyze data on fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico. Students share how they can use all of this evidence to explain why fisheries are nationally important. The materials guide teachers to support students’ understanding of the use of evidence in scientific explanations by asking why it is important to base explanations on evidence and not opinion.

  • NOS-OTR-M1. In Grade 8, Unit 16, Lesson 4, Activity 12: Farming and Extinctions, students reflect on the flow chart and models they made to explain the dead fish in the delta. During this reflection, teachers ask students to share how their understandings have changed throughout the unit when given new evidence. Specifically, teachers ask: “How has the evidence you have gathered from your observations helped you improve your initial mind map?” and “Why is it important to keep revising scientific findings?”

  • NOS-OTR-M3. In Grade 8, Unit 12, Lesson 2, Activity 6: Gray or White?, students analyze the structure and function of protein molecules then write questions they have about how the structure of genes and proteins are connected to their functions. Students refine their flowchart models to show how proteins relate to genes and observable traits. After their own revisions, students then discuss in small groups why it is important for scientists to continually revise their understanding.

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

  • NOS-WOK-M1. In Grade 6, Unit 3, Lesson 5, Activity 17: Potential Attraction, students prepare to peer review heat curve models. Materials prompt the teacher to explain the peer review process in science, usually through article publication, where other scientists provide feedback, decide if the methods and data are valid, and determine if it should be published. The teacher provides sentence stems for the students to provide constructive and respectful feedback, and students use this as a way to improve their models. Students who disagree with a comment from others provide an evidence-based argument for not making the revisions.

  • NOS-WOK-M2. In Grade 6, Unit 2, Lesson 2, Activity 5: Gravity at Different Scales, the activity planning document includes the discussion prompt, “Why can scientists today still use the work of Newton and Cavendish to understand gravity?” The instructions prompt the teacher to use student responses in guiding them to consider the words law and theory as they apply to gravity.

  • NOS-AOC-M1. In Grade 6, Unit 2, Lesson 5, Activity 20: Let it Glow!, the activity planning document includes directions for students to explore and discuss how the nature of science applies to the invention of designed devices, such as batteries and capacitors. Students connect the invention of these devices to the assumption that electric fields and forces operate consistently in different systems.

  • NOS-HE-M2. In Grade 6, Unit 3, Lesson 6, Activity 20: Unit Project: Unwanted Frost on the Window, students return to the anchoring phenomenon first presented in the unit. As they have solved the problem of the air conditioner, they help solve the issue of ice forming on the inside of the window. In preparing for this activity, the teacher tells the students that they will continue to work as scientists and engineers, which involves persistence, precision, reasoning, logic, imagination and creativity to solve real-world problems.

  • NOS-HE-M3. In Grade 6, Unit 5, Lesson 5, Activity 17: Fuel for Healing, students read a passage about the interaction of organ systems during cellular respiration and identify evidence they could use to strengthen their initial claim. Using habit of mind, tolerance of ambiguity, and openness to new ideas, students share their ideas with peers, who may have differing ideas. Students can change their ideas based upon this interaction with peers.

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

  • ENG-INFLU-M1. In Grade 8, Unit 10, Lesson 8, Activity 21: Constructing Explanations, the activity planning document includes instructions to have students reflect on what they have figured out about the positive and negative consequences of human activity on the health of people and the natural environment.

  • ENG-INFLU-M2. In Grade 6, Unit 3, Lesson 6, Activity 20: Unit Project: Unwanted Frost on the Window, students construct an explanation for why the ice is forming on the interior of a window. After creating an explanation for the cause, students brainstorm possible solutions to prevent the ice from forming. Once solutions have been created, students regroup to evaluate them based on the Pugh Matrix. Teachers explain to students that engineers have to account for many factors (needs, research findings, and economics) when designing solutions and one way to capture the criteria and constraints to determine the best solution is through using the Pugh Matrix.

  • ENG-INFLU-M3. In Grade 8, Unit 11, Lesson 3, Activity 10: Hands-On Investigation: Rubber Band Sounds, the activity planning document includes instructions to have students reflect on the statement, “Technology use varies over time and from region to region.” Materials include other discussion prompts for teachers to use in follow up to this reflection where students describe the benefits of using different tools with investigations. 

  • ENG-INTER-M2. In Grade 7, Unit 8, Lesson 2, Activity 8: Zebra Migration Patterns, students read about scientists investigating how a large zebra population behaved during wet season months when resources varied in their home range. Scientists fitted several female zebras with tracking collars. Along with the collars, GPS technology and satellites were used to monitor the zebras’ exact location. Students discuss in small groups how the collars drive understanding science of zebra behavior and how the science might drive the development of the technology.

  • ENG-INTER-M3. In Grade 6, Unit 5, Lesson 2, Activity 4: A Whole New Leg?, students discuss how technologies influence scientists' understanding as to how salamanders have the ability to regrow limbs. They answer one prompt about how the technology led to the knowledge of special cells in the salamander leg and another prompt on how technology allows for information to be presented, for example, through the internet.

Examples of where materials partially incorporate grade-band connections to nature of science and engineering: 

  • NOS-AQAW-M3. In Grade 8, Unit 14, Lesson 5, Activity 11: The koa tree and the Kauaʻi fruit fly, students explain the effect of the destruction of the Koa tree for plantation development on the Kauaʻi fruit fly population. Students do not explore how science knowledge is responsible for society’s decisions.

  • ENG-INTER-M1. In Grade 6, Unit 5, Lesson 2, Activity 3: Under the Microscopes, students observe microscopic images and discuss how the invention of the microscope has influenced scientific knowledge of living things. Explicit exploration into the development of industries or engineered systems is not included.

Gateway Three

Usability

Not Rated

Criterion 3a - 3h

The program includes opportunities for teachers to effectively plan and utilize materials with integrity and to further develop their own understanding of the content.

Indicator 3a

Materials provide teacher guidance with useful annotations and suggestions for how to enact the student materials and ancillary materials, with specific attention to engaging students in figuring out phenomena and solving problems.

N/A

Indicator 3b

Materials contain adult-level explanations and examples of the more complex grade/course-level concepts and concepts beyond the current course so that teachers can improve their own knowledge of the subject.

N/A

Indicator 3c

Materials include standards correlation information, including connections to college- and career-ready ELA and mathematics standards, that explains the role of the standards in the context of the overall series.

N/A

Indicator 3d

Materials provide strategies for informing all stakeholders, including students, parents, or caregivers about the program and suggestions for how they can help support student progress and achievement.

N/A

Indicator 3e

Materials provide explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research-based strategies.

N/A

Indicator 3f

Materials provide a comprehensive list of supplies needed to support instructional activities.

N/A

Indicator 3g

Materials provide clear science safety guidelines for teachers and students across the instructional materials.

N/A

Indicator 3h

Materials designated for each grade are feasible and flexible for one school year.

N/A

Criterion 3i - 3l

The program includes a system of assessments identifying how materials provide tools, guidance, and support for teachers to collect, interpret, and act on data about student progress towards the standards.

Indicator 3i

Assessment information is included in the materials to indicate which standards are assessed.

N/A

Indicator 3j

Assessment system provides multiple opportunities throughout the grade, course, and/or series to determine students' learning and sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow-up.

N/A

Indicator 3k

Assessments include opportunities for students to demonstrate the full intent of grade-level/grade-band standards and elements across the series.

N/A

Indicator 3l

Assessments offer accommodations that allow students to demonstrate their knowledge and skills without changing the content of the assessment.

N/A

Criterion 3m - 3v

The program includes materials designed for each child’s regular and active participation in grade-level/grade-band/series content.

Indicator 3m

Materials provide strategies and supports for students in special populations to support their regular and active participation in learning grade-level/grade-band science and engineering.

N/A

Indicator 3n

Materials provide extensions and/or opportunities for students to engage in learning grade-level/grade-band science and engineering at greater depth.

N/A

Indicator 3o

Materials provide varied approaches to learning tasks over time and variety in how students are expected to demonstrate their learning with opportunities for for students to monitor their learning.

N/A

Indicator 3p

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

N/A

Indicator 3q

Materials provide strategies and supports for students who read, write, and/or speak in a language other than English to regularly participate in learning grade-level/grade-band science and engineering.

N/A

Indicator 3s

Materials provide guidance to encourage teachers to draw upon student home language to facilitate learning.

N/A

Indicator 3u

Materials provide supports for different reading levels to ensure accessibility for students.

N/A

Indicator 3v

This is not an assessed indicator in Science.

N/A

Criterion 3w - 3z

The program includes a visual design that is engaging and references or integrates digital technology (when applicable) with guidance for teachers.

Indicator 3w

Materials integrate interactive tools and/or dynamic software in ways that support student engagement in the three dimensions, when applicable.

N/A

Indicator 3x

Materials include or reference digital technology that provides opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate with each other, when applicable.

N/A

Indicator 3y

The visual design (whether in print or digital) supports students in engaging thoughtfully with the subject, and is neither distracting nor chaotic.

N/A

Indicator 3z

Materials provide teacher guidance for the use of embedded technology to support and enhance student learning, when applicable.

N/A
abc123

Report Published Date: 2021/09/01

Report Edition: 2020

Title ISBN Edition Publisher Year
Discovery Education Science 978‑1‑61708‑561‑1 Discovery Education, Inc. 2020

Please note: Reports published beginning in 2021 will be using version 1.5 of our review tools. Version 1 of our review tools can be found here. Learn more about this change.

Science 6-8 Review Tool

The science review criteria identifies the indicators for high-quality instructional materials. The review criteria 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 review criteria evaluates 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 review criteria by elaborating details for each indicator including the purpose of the indicator, information on how to collect evidence, guiding questions and discussion prompts, and scoring criteria.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Math K-8

  • Focus and Coherence - 14 possible points

    • 12-14 points: Meets Expectations

    • 8-11 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 8 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Rigor and Mathematical Practices - 18 possible points

    • 16-18 points: Meets Expectations

    • 11-15 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 11 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 38 possible points

    • 31-38 points: Meets Expectations

    • 23-30 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 23: Does Not Meet Expectations

Math High School

  • Focus and Coherence - 18 possible points

    • 14-18 points: Meets Expectations

    • 10-13 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 10 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Rigor and Mathematical Practices - 16 possible points

    • 14-16 points: Meets Expectations

    • 10-13 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 10 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 36 possible points

    • 30-36 points: Meets Expectations

    • 22-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 22: Does Not Meet Expectations

ELA K-2

  • Text Complexity and Quality - 58 possible points

    • 52-58 points: Meets Expectations

    • 28-51 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 28 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks - 32 possible points

    • 28-32 points: Meet Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 34 possible points

    • 30-34 points: Meets Expectations

    • 24-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 24 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

ELA 3-5

  • Text Complexity and Quality - 42 possible points

    • 37-42 points: Meets Expectations

    • 21-36 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 21 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks - 32 possible points

    • 28-32 points: Meet Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 34 possible points

    • 30-34 points: Meets Expectations

    • 24-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 24 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

ELA 6-8

  • Text Complexity and Quality - 36 possible points

    • 32-36 points: Meets Expectations

    • 18-31 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 18 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks - 32 possible points

    • 28-32 points: Meet Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 34 possible points

    • 30-34 points: Meets Expectations

    • 24-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 24 points: Does Not Meet Expectations


ELA High School

  • Text Complexity and Quality - 32 possible points

    • 28-32 points: Meets Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks - 32 possible points

    • 28-32 points: Meet Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 34 possible points

    • 30-34 points: Meets Expectations

    • 24-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 24 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

Science Middle School

  • Designed for NGSS - 26 possible points

    • 22-26 points: Meets Expectations

    • 13-21 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 13 points: Does Not Meet Expectations


  • Coherence and Scope - 56 possible points

    • 48-56 points: Meets Expectations

    • 30-47 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 30 points: Does Not Meet Expectations


  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 54 possible points

    • 46-54 points: Meets Expectations

    • 29-45 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 29 points: Does Not Meet Expectations