Alignment: Overall Summary

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 do not meet expectations for Alignment to NGSS, Gateways 1 and 2. Gateway 1: Designed for NGSS; Criterion 1: Three-Dimensional Learning does not meet expectations. The materials include three-dimensional learning opportunities but miss opportunities for student sensemaking with the three dimensions. Three-dimensional objectives are consistently present at the unit level, but not at the lesson level. The summative assessments do not consistently measure the three dimensions for their respective objectives. The formative assessments are not consistently three dimensional, nor do they provide guidance to support the instructional process. Criterion 2: Phenomena and Problems Drive Learning does not meet expectations. Phenomena and problems are present and, in some instances, connected to DCIs in life, physical, or earth/space science. However, they are not consistently presented as directly as possible to students. The materials elicit student prior knowledge and experience related to the problems present in some instances but do not leverage it. Phenomena and problems are not consistently present in this grade and do not consistently drive learning and use of the three dimensions.

Alignment

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Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway 1:

Designed for NGSS

0
14
24
28
6
24-28
Meets Expectations
15-23
Partially Meets Expectations
0-14
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway 2:

Coherence and Scope

0
16
30
34
N/A
30-34
Meets Expectations
17-29
Partially Meets Expectations
0-16
Does Not Meet Expectations

Usability

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Not Rated

Not Rated

Gateway 3:

Usability

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

Gateway One

Designed for NGSS

Does Not Meet Expectations

+
-
Gateway One Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 do not meet expectations for Gateway 1: Designed for NGSS; Criterion 1: Three-Dimensional Learning does not meet expectations and Criterion 2: Phenomena and Problems Drive Learning does not meet expectations.

Criterion 1a - 1c

Materials are designed for three-dimensional learning and assessment.
4/16
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 do not meet expectations for Criterion 1a-1c: Three-Dimensional Learning. The materials include integration of the three dimensions in one learning opportunity per learning sequence for nearly all learning sequences. The materials consistently engage students in two-dimensional sensemaking, missing the opportunity to engage students in sensemaking with the three dimensions within each learning sequence. The materials do not consistently provide three-dimensional learning objectives at the lesson level and do not provide teacher guidance to support the instructional process. Additionally, in the few instances where lesson-level three-dimensional objectives are present, they do not consistently formatively assess to reveal student knowledge and use of those three dimensions.  Three-dimensional objectives are present at the unit level but the corresponding summative assessments are not consistently three-dimensional and do not address all of the three dimensions of the objectives.

Indicator 1a

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

Indicator 1a.i

Materials consistently integrate the three dimensions in student learning opportunities.
2/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet expectations that they are designed to integrate the Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs), Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs), and Crosscutting Concepts (CCCs) into student learning opportunities. Within the ten learning sequences in Grade 3, eight include at least one lesson where all three dimensions are integrated. Six of these lessons are Think Like a Scientist lessons. Two of the ten learning sequences do not have any lessons where students integrate all three dimensions; only one learning sequence integrates all three dimensions across the learning sequence. In multiple instances, the materials engage students with elements of the dimensions from below the 3-5 grade band.

Examples of learning opportunities within a learning sequence that integrate all three dimensions:

  • In Grade 3, Unit 1, Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 1, Lesson: Think Like Scientist: Plan and Conduct an Investigation, students learn about forces and how they impact objects, both in strength and direction (DCI-PS2.A-E1, DCI-PS2.B-E1). Students design a fair test to make a ball travel further or faster (SEP-INV-E1). Then they identify cause and effect relationships in force interactions (CCC-CE-E1).

  • In Grade 3, Unit 1, Physical Science: Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: Investigate: Motion, students complete an investigation where they observe and measure how high a marble will travel on a track. They identify patterns that they observe in the data and compare the predictions to actual outcomes of how high the marble traveled (CCC-PAT-E2, DCI-PS2.A-E2). Students repeat the investigation changing one variable and explain their findings to the class (SEP-INV-E4) . 

  • In Grade 3, Unit 1,  Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 3, Lesson: Think Like a Scientist: Determine Cause and Effect Relationships, students learn about magnetic and electric forces. Students plan and conduct an investigation to test a question about a cause and effect relationship of a magnetic or electric force (SEP-INV-E1), and then they use their knowledge of magnetic forces and electric charges while planning the investigation (DCI-PS2.B-E.2). Students identify a cause and effect relationship from their investigation (CCC-CE-E1).

  • In Grade 3, Unit 2, Life Science, Lesson Sequence 1, Lesson: Life Cycle of a Leopard Frog, students learn and compare the life cycle of a frog with other animals. Students  create a model to show what happens to a frog’s skin when it is out of the water too long (SEP-MOD-P3). Students read about leopard frog life cycles and make comparisons to ladybug and jalapeno life cycles, focusing specifically on reproduction in each one (DCI-LS1.B-E1), before they identify patterns that exist in the life cycles of the organisms that they have seen in other lessons (CCC-PAT-P1). Although all three dimensions are present, two address elements from below the grade band.

  • In Grade 3, Unit 3, Life Science, Lesson Sequence 1, Lesson: Think Like a Scientist: Compare Solutions and Make a Claim, students learn about ecosystem interdependence. Students discuss how the decreased salmon populations affect other animals in the ecosystem (DCI-LS4.D-E1, CCC-CE-E1). In Explain, students make a claim about the merit of a solution twitch evidence to explain which two dam solutions will make the best combination of allowing salmon to pass through (SEP-ARG-E6). 

  • In Grade 3, Unit 3: Life Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: Think Like a Scientist, Construct an Argument, students construct an explanation about why pink katydids are less common. Students observe a photo of a camouflaged insect and discuss why the insect looks the way it does. Students use evidence to support the claim that the pink katydid is less common in adults than hatchlings (DCI-LS4.B-E1, SEP-CEDS-E2) and discuss what the most common colored katydid would be in a pink colored plant environment and why (CCC-CE-P2).

  • In Grade 3, Unit 3: Life Science,  Lesson Sequence 3, Lesson: Think Like a Scientist: Construct an Argument, students learn about fossil evidence. Students gather information on animals’ needs and the adaptations that help them get their needs met (DCI-LS4.C-E1). Students discuss the information they gathered. Students discuss what effects may occur if an animal’s environment changes (CCC-CE-E1). Students construct an argument describing the characteristics of the habitat in which each animal can survive well (SEP-ARG-P6).

  • In Grade 3, Unit 4: Earth Science, Lesson Sequence 1, Lesson: Think Like a Scientist: Represent Data, students learn about weather and climate then use seasonal data for their area and organize the data into tables and graphs (SEP-DATA-E1).  Students share data to make predictions about weather conditions at different times of the year (DCI-ESS2.D-P1, CCC-PAT-P1). 

Example of a learning sequence that includes all three dimensions but none of the learning opportunities integrate all three dimensions:

  • In Grade 3, Unit 3: Life Science, Lesson Sequence 2, students learn about animal adaptations. None of the individual lessons in the lesson sequence integrate all three dimensions. Students identify how living in groups can benefit individual organisms. In Getting Food, students reflect on why animals work together to get food, watch a video of whales hunting and identify how working in a group helps obtain food (DCI-LS2.D-E1). Students view a video of an ant colony and construct an argument about how being part of a colony benefits the ants (SEP-ARG-P6). In Coping With Change, students create a two-column chart labeled with “Cause: Change in Conditions” and “Effect: How Animals Cope” and give examples to explain the cause and effect relationship (DCI-LS2.D-E1, CCC-PAT-E1). Across the five lessons in this lesson sequence, students use the DCIs with an SEP or CCC.

Indicator 1a.ii

Materials consistently support meaningful student sensemaking with the three dimensions.
2/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet expectations that they consistently support meaningful student sensemaking with the three dimensions. Across this grade, the materials are designed for SEPs or CCCs to support student sensemaking with the other dimensions. 

None of the ten units in Grade 3 support students to engage in sensemaking with all three dimensions. Nine of the ten lesson sequences engaged students in sensemaking with two dimensions. Students most frequently had opportunities to engage in sensemaking within the Think Like a Scientist, Think Like an Engineer, or Investigate lessons, where students engaged in sensemaking with the SEP and DCI. In multiple instances, students engage in with the CCC only after they have made sense with SEPs and DCIs. 

Examples of lesson sequences where SEPs or CCCs meaningfully support student sensemaking with the other dimensions:

  • In Grade 3, Unit 1: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 1, Lesson: Think Like a Scientist: Plan and Conduct an Investigation, students plan and conduct an investigation to identify effects of force on the motion of the ball, and specifically make a graph that shows which force made the ball move the farthest. Students use the idea that unbalanced forces cause a change in motion; they create a fair test to test a ball launcher to confirm that unbalanced forces cause a change in motion (DCI-PS2.A-E1, DCI-PS2.B-E1, SEP-INV-E1). While students identify a cause that can change the force, the question could be answered with a yes or no and does not deepen student understanding of the DCI. 

  • In Grade 3, Unit 1: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: Think Like a Scientist: Make Observations, students plan and conduct an investigation to identify patterns and make predictions about an object’s motion. Students engage in an experiment to determine how to make a pendulum move faster, higher, or longer, and identify patterns in the data to allow them to identify if there is a pattern of regular motion observed (DCI-PS2.A-E2, CCC-PAT-E2). While students engage in an investigation, they do so in service of confirming their knowledge about regular patterns of motion from a previous lesson. 

  • In Grade 3, Unit 1: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 3, Lesson: Investigate: Electromagnets, students carry out an investigation to determine the number of paper clips attracted to an electromagnet. Students conduct an investigation to test the strength of an electromagnet as the number of wraps of wire increases (DCI-PS2.B-E2) then identify cause-and-effect pairs of their observations in the investigation (CCC-CE-E1). 

  • In Grade 3, Unit 2: Life Science, Lesson Sequence 1, Lesson: Think Like a Scientist: Develop a Model, students construct a model of a life cycle. Students research two different organisms, construct explanatory models of their life cycles, and include a sequence of life stages and captions (SEP-MOD-E3, DCI-LS1.B-E1). 

  • In Grade 3, Unit 2: Life Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: Think Like a Scientist; Construct an Explanation , students construct an explanation how katydids’ color supports their survival, finding mates, and/or reproduction. Students read informational text about different variations of katydids and that katydids come in many colors which is an inherited trait. After completing the reading, students answer a series of questions comparing and contrasting the inherited traits based on the photos and construct an explanation how the variation they observed in the katydids can provide advantages in survival, finding mates, and reproducing using two facts. (DCI-LS4.B-E1, SEP-CEDS-E2). 

  • In Grade 3, Unit 3: Life Science, Lesson Sequence 1, Lesson: Think Like a Scientist: Compare Solutions and Make a Claim, students make a claim as to which two solutions will be the best for mitigating the effects of the dams on the salmon and their ecosystem. Students read informational text about four solutions to a problem with salmon swimming upstream in the Columbia River. While completing the reading, students create a graphic organizer to record how the solutions work and their benefits.Students work with a partner to make a claim and write a paragraph explaining their recommendation for a new dam using two of the solutions (SEP-ARG-E6, DCI-LS4.D-E1). While students are asked to think about the crosscutting concept of systems, their reflection does not deepen their understanding of the DCI or support them in sensemaking. 

  • In Grade 3, Unit 3: Life Science, Lesson Sequence 3, Lesson:Think Like a Scientist: Construct an Argument, students construct an argument describing the characteristics of a habitat in which an animal can survive. Students gather information on animals’ needs and the adaptations that help them get their needs met (DCI-LS4.C-E1). Students construct an argument describing the characteristics of the habitat in which each animal can survive well (SEP-ARG-P6). Students use the SEP to make sense of the DCI; however, students do not use a cross cutting concept  for sensemaking. 

  • In Grade 3, Unit 4: Earth Science, Lesson Sequence 1, Lesson: Think Like a Scientist: Represent Data, students create tables and graphs to describe weather in a particular season. In Explore, students research seasonal data for their area and organize data into tables and graphs. In Elaborate, students share data to make predictions about weather conditions at different times of the year (DCI-ESS2.D-P1, CCC-PAT-P1). While students engage in a SEP, this is two dimensional sense making as the SEP is not used for sensemaking.

  • In Grade 3, Unit 4: Earth Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: Think Like an Engineer: Make a Claim, students learn about the impact of weather-related hazards. Students design a house that would withstand a hurricane and make a claim for each design feature as to the way it meets the criteria of the problem (DCI-ESS3.B-E1, SEP-ARG-E6) but do not engage in any CCC. 

Example of a lesson sequence where SEPs and/or CCCs do not meaningfully support student sensemaking with the other dimensions:

  • In Grade 3, Unit 3: Life Science, Lesson Sequence 2, students explain why animals hunt in groups. In this learning opportunity, there are no lessons or activities which integrate the three dimensions. Students consistently identify how living in groups can benefit individual organisms through multiple text readings. In the lesson, Getting Food, students reflect on why animals work together to get food, watching a video of whales hunting and identifying how working in a group helps obtain food (DCI-LS2.D-E1). However, students do not use SEPs or CCCs for sensemaking in this lesson sequence but rather only repeat information on why living in groups benefits individual organisms.

Indicator 1b

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 do not meet expectations that they are designed to elicit direct, observable evidence for the three-dimensional learning in the instructional materials. Most lessons have multiple objectives and while each of these objectives may include one or two dimensions, the objectives are not individually three dimensional. A few lessons include a three-dimensional learning objective; these are generally the Think Like a Scientist or Think Like an Engineer lessons and a Performance Expectation is used as the lesson level objective. 

All lessons include a Wrap It Up section where students are assessed on the learning objectives; however, the questions typically only address one or two dimensions. In addition, each unit includes a Checkpoint quiz that has one-dimensional items that assess the DCI and sometimes one or two other dimensions. All of the Investigate lessons and Think Like a Scientist/Engineer lessons are group activities, and students are individually assessed on a rubric used by both teacher and student. Overall, the materials do not provide guidance to teachers for using formative assessment data to support the instructional process. In a few instances, the Science Background section will mention misconceptions and ideas to build student understanding; however, these are not connected to a formative assessment.

Examples of lessons that do not have three-dimensional objectives, and do not provide guidance to support the instructional process.

  • In Grade 3, Unit 1: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 1, Lesson: Pushes and Pulls, there are two learning objectives: “define force as the strength and direction of a push or a pull on an object” and “identify patterns involving force and motion.”  These are not three-dimensional learning objectives. Students answer three Wrap It Up questions where students describe what a force is, how the direction of a push relates to the direction that the object moves (DCI-PS2.A-E1), and how the force the people apply to the cart changes if more team members pushed and pulled the cart. The assessment is not three dimensional. The teacher materials provide no guidance for modifying instruction if students do not meet the objective for this lesson.

  • In Grade 3, Unit 1: Physical Science,  Lesson Sequence 2. Lesson Investigate: Motion, the lesson contains the learning objective: “observe and measure the pattern of an object’s motion. Predict the future motion of an object moving in a regular pattern.”  This is not a three dimensional objective. Students are assessed with two Wrap It Up questions and a rubric. The Wrap It Up questions ask students to explain whether their results support their predictions and to identify a pattern in their data (CCC-PAT-P1). In the student rubric, students self-assess on how well they can identify the purpose of the investigation; describe what data they collected, and why; conduct an investigation effectively by gathering and recording data carefully; and use the data to identify a pattern of motion and use that pattern to make predictions. While the task is done collaboratively, the teacher rubric is assessed individually, and it assesses three dimensions. The rubric consists of four questions that assess whether students identify and describe the purpose of the investigation, can work efficiently in groups, can describe the data that was collected to observe the motion of an object and how the data would be used to identify patterns of motion (SEP-DATA-E1), and whether students use the data to identify the pattern of the object's motion and made reasonable predictions concerning its future motion (DCI-PS2.A-E2, CCC-PAT-E2). The teacher materials provide no guidance for modifying instruction if students do not meet the objective for this lesson. 

  • In Grade 3, Unit 1: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 3, Lesson: Think Like A Scientist: Determine Cause and Effect Relationships, there is one learning objective: “ determine cause-and-effect relationships of electric or magnetic interactions between two objects not in contact with each other.” This is not a three-dimensional learning objective. Students are assessed with two Wrap It Up questions and a rubric. In the Wrap It Up questions, students answer how their data show a cause-and-effect relationship (CCC-CE-E1), to provide evidence that an object can exert magnetic or electric forces on another object without contacting it (DCI-PS2.B-E2). The student and teacher rubrics assess students’ abilities to conduct experiments (SEP-INV-E1), how well students worked in a group, and whether students understand cause and effect relationships (CCC-CE-E1). This assessment is three dimensional; however, the materials do not identify when or how the teacher should collect this information. While the task is done collaboratively, the teacher rubric assesses students individually. Additionally, the teacher materials provide no guidance for modifying instruction if students do not meet the objective for this lesson.

  • In Grade 3, Unit 2: Life Science, Lesson Sequence 1, Lesson: Life Cycle of a Jalapeño Pepper Plant, there are two learning objectives: “create and use diagrams to explain life cycles” and “analyze the unique life cycle of a jalapeño pepper plant.” The objectives are not three dimensional; however, they build towards the PE objectives at the topic level. These objectives are assessed throughout the lesson during class discussions and activities in the Explain portion of the lesson. The teacher materials provide no guidance for modifying instruction if students do not meet the objective for this lesson

  • In Grade 3, Unit 4: Earth Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: STEM: Engineering Project, there are four learning objectives: “define the engineering problem they need to solve, including criteria and constraints,” “design and build a model of a tower within the constraints of the design,” “test the model and analyze their results to determine if it meets the criteria of the problem, “ and “use the results of their tests and ideas from their classmates to improve their design.”  These are not three-dimensional learning objectives. Students are assessed with two Wrap It Up questions and a rubric. The Wrap It Up Questions focus on students demonstrating understanding of the SEPs; students define a fair test (SEP-INV-E1) and explain whether changes made to their model tower make it better and how they know (SEP-CEDS-E5). The teacher rubric assesses students on how well they define the problem, identify the criteria, analyze results, improve their designs (DCI-ETS1.B-E2, DCI-ETS1.B-E3) and how well the effects of high wind on a tower are mitigated. The teacher materials provide no guidance for modifying instruction if students do not meet the objective for this lesson. 

Examples of lessons that have three-dimensional objectives, the formative assessment task(s) do not assess student knowledge of all (three) dimensions in the learning objective, and do not provide guidance to support the instructional process.

  • In Grade 3, Unit 1: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 1, Lesson: Think Like An Engineer: Plan and Conduct an Investigation, the lesson contains one objective: ”plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence of the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object.” This is a three-dimensional learning objective. Students are assessed through two rubrics: a teacher rubric and student self-assessment rubric. The student rubric asks students to self-assess whether or not they were able to plan an investigation successfully. The teacher rubric asks the same questions and the teacher rates student work for each category, including asking students to identify the phenomenon, describe the purpose of the investigation, demonstrate understanding between data and evidence (SEP-INV-3), work collaboratively to collect, record, and analyze data, and use data to “determine how balanced and unbalanced forces determine the motion of an object (DCI-PS2.A-E1). This assessment focuses on behaviors and actions of scientists. There is no guidance for teachers to make distinctions or where to find it in the student work.

  • In Grade 3, Unit 2: Life Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: Think Like a Scientist: Construct an Explanation, the lesson contains one objective: “use evidence to construct an explanation for how the variations in characteristics among individuals of the same species may provide advantages in surviving, finding mates, and reproducing.” This is a three-dimensional learning objective. Students are assessed with two Wrap It Up questions and teacher and student rubrics for group work. In the Wrap It Up questions, students construct an explanation to explain why the pink form of a katydid might be less common in adults than hatchlings (DCI-LS4.B-E.1) and explain how the trait of color helps katydids survive (CCC-CE-E1). The teacher and student rubrics are completed during group work and used for individual assessment. The teacher materials provide no guidance for modifying instruction if students do not meet the objective for this lesson.

  • In Grade 3, Unit 2: Life Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: Inherited Traits: Looks,   the lesson contains one objective: “analyze data to explain inheritance patterns.”  This is a three-dimensional learning objective. Students are assessed with three Wrap It Up questions where they define an inherited trait, list inherited traits of potatoes, and list two other traits of tomatoes and corn besides color (DCI-LS3.B-E1). The Wrap It Up questions focus only on students identifying inherited traits rather than analyzing data to explain inheritance. The teacher materials provide no guidance for modifying instruction if students do not meet the objective for this lesson.

  • In Grade 3, Unit 3: Life Science, Lesson Sequence 1, Lesson: Living Things Make Changes, the lesson contains one objective: “construct a model that shows how living things form a system of connections.” This is a three-dimensional learning objective. Students are assessed with three Wrap It Up questions that ask students to identify how beaver dams change streams, identify how beaver dams affect other animals in ecosystems (DCI-LS4.D-E1), and explain how beavers cutting down trees may impact other animals (DCI-LS2.C-E1). The teacher materials provide no guidance for modifying instruction if students do not meet the objective for this lesson.

  • In Grade 3, Unit 3: Life Science, Lesson Sequence 3: Lesson: Think Like A Scientist: Analyze and Interpret Data, there are four learning objectives: “analyze fossils to provide evidence of organisms no longer living and the environments in which they lived long ago,” “interpret a map to gather evidence to make a claim,” “use a model to observe phenomena that occur over very long time periods,” and “observe evidence of consistent patterns in natural systems.”  Collectively, the objectives are three-dimensional. Throughout this lesson, students use an infographic to draw conclusions about past environments and climates and are evaluated on a rubric and three Wrap It Up questions. Students are asked what different map colors represent, which fossil came from an area once covered in water and how they know (DCI-LS4.A-E1), and to explain what fossil evidence in South America shows about the past climate (DCI-LS4.A-E1). Additionally, the rubrics assess students on how well they work in groups to create tables explaining how the organisms provide evidence of environmental changes (DCI-LS4.A-E1; SEP-DATA-E1). They are also scored on how they communicate this to the class (SEP-INFO-E5). The teacher materials provide no guidance for modifying instruction if students do not meet the objective for this lesson.

  • In Grade 3, Unit 4: Earth Science, Lesson Sequence 1, Lesson: Investigate Weather, the lesson contains one objective: “analyze weather data and interpret patterns to construct reasonable explanations and make predictions.” This is a three-dimensional learning objective. Throughout this lesson, students are tasked with building an anemometer and recording weather data to make predictions. Following the lesson, teachers fill out a rubric which assesses the students’ success in various criteria. The teacher rubric assesses students on various components of the investigation. Students are assessed on how they recorded data and used the data to identify patterns in weather (SEP-DATA-E1) and how they make predictions about future weather based on the data collected (DCI-ESS2.D-E1). In addition, three Wrap It Up questions ask students to summarize the weather for the week, explain how weather tools helped them make predictions (DCI-ESS2.D-E1), and compare and contrast data at different locations. The teacher materials provide no guidance for modifying instruction if students do not meet the objective for this lesson.

  • In Grade 3, Unit 4: Earth Science,  Lesson Sequence 1, Lesson: Think Like a Scientist: Represent Data, the lesson contains one objective: “compare and contrast data to find patterns of change for different seasons.” This is a three-dimensional learning objective. Students are assessed with three Wrap It Up questions and teacher and student rubrics. Students represent weather data for a season in their area, research and organize data, compare their data, and share it with their peers. The teacher rubric assesses students on various components of the investigation. Students are scored on how well they planned their research, collected, organized, analyzed their data, and communicated results (SEP-DATA-E1). The teacher materials provide no guidance for modifying instruction if students do not meet the objective for this lesson or on what students' presentations should look like.

Indicator 1c

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 do not meet expectations that they are designed to elicit direct, observable evidence of the three-dimensional learning in the instructional materials. Each unit consists of two or three lesson sequences that include bundles of performance expectations (PEs) as the objectives for each; therefore, all units had three-dimensional learning objectives. 

In some multiple choice questions, students use an image or diagram to respond to questions, but no questions within the Unit Test or ExamView bank were three dimensional and SEPs and CCCs were not typically assessed. Other question types include fill-in-the-blank and matching questions; however, these also assessed only the targeted DCIs and often focused on vocabulary. Constructed response questions provide limited opportunities to assess two dimensions within the objectives. However, because teachers have the flexibility of selecting the items, not all students may answer the same questions.

The Unit Performance Task provides opportunities to assess student understanding and use of SEP and/or CCC elements; however, typically only one SEP and/or CCC per unit is assessed, missing opportunities to assess each element within the unit objectives. In addition, the unit assessments do not fully assess the ETS performance expectations.

Examples of units that have three-dimensional objectives; the summative assessment tasks do not assess student knowledge of all (three) dimensions in the learning objectives.

  • In Grade 3, Unit 1: Physical Science, the three-dimensional learning objectives include six performance expectations: 3-PS2-1, 3-PS2-2, 3-PS2-3, 3-PS2-4, 3-5 ETS 1-1, and 3-5 ETS 1-2. The objectives are partially assessed by the two summative assessments in the unit, a Performance Task and a Unit Test. In the first part of the Performance Task, students are given a situation about a lump of magnets and design and conduct an investigation. In the second part, students determine the materials needed to identify poles of magnets, conduct an investigation, and label the magnets. The Unit Test has 20 items total: 13 multiple choice questions and seven constructed response questions. Most questions assess student understanding of the DCI affiliated with the Performance Expectation. On occasion, two of the three dimensions are assessed, often in the constructed response section. Six items do not assess any of the targeted elements; the other questions assess one or two dimensions and partially assess the PEs (DCI-PS2.B-E1, SEP- INV-E3, CCC-PAT-E2, SEP-AQDP-E3, DCI-PS2.B-E2, and CCC-CE-E1). Multiple CCC, DCI, and SEP elements within the unit objectives are not assessed. 

  • In Grade 3, Unit 2: Life Science, the three-dimensional learning objectives include four performance expectations: 3-LS1-1, 3-LS3-1, 3-LS3-2, and 3-LS4-2. The objectives are partially assessed by the two summative assessments in the unit, a Performance Task and a Unit Test. In Part I of the Performance Task, students draw a picture of an animal, label five of its traits, draw the animal’s parents, and label which traits the animal got from each parent. The student then adds acquired traits to the drawing. In the second part of the Performance Task, students answer five constructed response questions about the animal and its traits(DCI-LS3.A-E2). The Unit Test includes 14 items: nine multiple choice questions and five constructed response questions. Most items assess one or two dimensions. For example, in Question #7, students analyze data in a table about inherited traits (DCI-LS3.A-E1, SEP-DATA-E2). Question #11 asks, “Can the traits of a plant be influenced by the environment? Use evidence from the table to support your answer?” (DCI-LS3.B-E2, SEP-CEDS-E2, and CCC-CE-E1). Multiple CCC, DCI, and SEP elements within the unit objectives are not assessed.

  •  In Grade 3, Unit 3: Life Science, the three-dimensional objectives include five performance expectations: 3-LS2-1, 3-LS4-1, 3-LS4-3, 3-LS4-4, and 3-5-ETS1-2. The objectives are partially assessed by the two summative assessments in the unit, a Performance Task and a Unit Test. In Part 1 of the Performance Task, students read a paragraph about how organisms meet their needs; they complete a table about the needs of squirrels, oak trees, and lizards, and they decide if the organisms are well-adapted for their woodland environment (DCI-LS4.C-E1). In the second part of the  Performance Task, students answer three short constructed response questions. They name organisms that would survive well in a woodland environment and explain why (DCI-LS4.C-E1, SEP-ARG-P1), name two additional organisms that would not survive in the woodland environment and why not (DCI-LS2.C-E1, DCI-LS4.C-E1, and SEP-ARG-E4), and choose a different environment and two animals that are well adapted, and then explain why they are well adapted (DCI-LS2.C-E1, DCI-LS4.C-E1, and SEP-ARG-E4). The Unit Test includes 13 items: nine multiple choice questions and four constructed response questions. Most items assess only the DCIs. For example, in Question 2, students are asked why a leopard frog would not survive in a dry place (DCI-LS4.C-E1). All of the life science DCIs are assessed by various questions. Multiple CCC and SEP elements within the unit objectives are not assessed; the ETS DCIs are also not assessed. 

  • In Grade 3, Unit 4: Earth Science, the three-dimensional objectives include four performance expectations: ESS2-1, ESS2-2, ESS3-1, and 3–5-ETS1-3. The objectives are partially assessed by the two summative assessments in the unit, a Performance Task and a Unit Test. In Part 1 of  the Performance Task, students choose a city to imagine they are traveling to and research the seasonal weather in their chosen city. They use a paper plate divided into quarters (one per season) to represent the weather in each season (DCI-ESS2.D-E1). In Part 2, students record a general description of the weather in each season for the location (DCI-ESS2.D-E1), choose one season and describe what they should pack if they visit that city, pick three important items to bring, and defend their choices (DCI-ESS2.D-E2). The Unit Test includes 10 items: seven multiple choice questions and three constructed response questions. All of the earth science DCIs are assessed. Multiple CCC and SEP elements within the unit objectives are not assessed; the ETS DCIs are also not assessed.

Criterion 1d - 1i

Materials leverage science phenomena and engineering problems in the context of driving learning and student performance.
2/12
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 do not meet expectations for Criterion 1d-1i: Phenomena and Problems Drive Learning. The materials include phenomena in 1% of the lessons and problems in 8% of the lessons. Of the phenomena and problems present, connections to grade-level appropriate DCIs are made in some instances but not consistently. The phenomena and problems are not consistently presented to students as directly as possible. The materials elicit in some instances but do not leverage student prior knowledge and experience related to the phenomena and problems present. Phenomena or problems are neither consistently present nor do they drive learning and use of the three dimensions, at the lesson or the unit level.

Indicator 1d

Phenomena and/or problems are connected to grade-level Disciplinary Core Ideas.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet expectations that phenomena and/or problems are connected to grade-level Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs). Problems and phenomena, when present in the materials, are not consistently connected to elements of appropriate grade-level DCIs. In some instances, problems and/or design challenges engage students in elements of the ETS DCIs but do not consistently connect learning to grade-level DCIs in life, physical, or earth and space science, or an associated element.

The identified phenomenon connects to grade-band appropriate DCIs. Four of the seven identified problems require students to use grade-band appropriate DCIs to solve the design challenge or problem. In several cases students could complete the problems without using content knowledge. 

Examples of phenomena and problems that connect to grade-level DCIs or their elements: 

  • In Grade 3, Unit 1: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 3, Lesson: Think Like an Engineer: Define and Solve a Problem, the challenge is to create a prototype of a device that can use a magnet to solve a problem. Throughout the lesson, students identify the problem to solve with a magnet, constraints, criteria for success and plan their approach to solve the problem as they engage in a design cycle (DCI-ETS1.A-E1). Students engage in engineering practices and apply scientific concepts of magnetism as they consider how magnets can apply non-touching forces and how distances can impact designs (DCI-PS2.B-E2).

  • In Grade 3, Unit 3: Life Science, Lesson Sequence 3, Lesson: Think Like a Scientist: Construct an Argument, the phenomenon is that sandhill cranes form groups at certain times. Students watch a video of sandhill cranes following an ultralight aircraft, an example of how they can be taught to migrate after being raised in captivity. Students read about sandhill cranes and construct claims about how the formation of groups helps sandhill cranes survive to answer the question, “Why do sandhill cranes form groups at various times?” Within the lesson, the phenomena is used to help students learn about group behavior and why being in a group is advantageous for the cranes (DCI-LS2.D-E1).

  • In Grade 3, Unit 3: Life Science, Lesson Sequence 1, Lesson: Think Like a Scientist: Compare Solutions and Make Claims, the problem is that dams created in the Columbia River have made it difficult for salmon to swim upstream to spawn. Students discuss how a decreased salmon population affects the river ecosystem. They learn that salmon swim up the Columbia River, and dams have been built along the river, changing the ecosystem and leading to lower levels of salmon as they are unable to follow traditional migratory paths due to these physical changes. Within the lesson, the problem is used to help students build understanding of how changes in habitat affect the organisms that live there and impact population changes (DCI-LS2.C-E1, DCI-LS4.D-E1)

  • In Grade 3, Unit 4: Earth Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: Think Like an Engineer: Make a Claim, the challenge is to design a house to protect it from hurricane damage. Students observe images of homes impacted by hurricanes and use maps to identify common locations of hurricanes in the United States. Students discuss the damage that water could cause on a home and what are materials that could help protect homes from water surges. Students draw their houses and label the materials and design details. Students write claims for each criteria of their design. Within the lesson, the challenge is used to help students understand that humans can not eliminate natural hazards but can take steps to reduce their impacts (DCI-ESS3.B-E1).

Examples of problems that do not connect to life, earth, or physical science grade-level DCIs or their elements:

  • In Grade 3, Unit 1: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 3, Lesson: STEM Engineering Project: Design a Crane, the challenge is to build a crane that uses an electromagnet to pick up and drop three paperclips from a height of three cm or more. Throughout the lesson sequence, students use an electromagnet from a prior lesson to design a toy crane. Students define the problem, identify the constraints, and engage in a design cycle with their crane (DCI-ETS1.A-E1). The challenge does not require students to understand how balanced and unbalanced forces cause the paperclips to move and then drop; rather, it only invites students to utilize engineering disciplinary core ideas. 

  • In Grade 3, Unit 3: Life Science, Lesson Sequence 1, Lesson: STEM Space Station Project: Design a Seed Starter, the challenge is to build a seed starter that will  grow at least one 3-cm-tall seedling within two weeks and produce no waste. Students watch a video of seedlings sprouting and identify the problem and define their constraints. They engage in a design cycle to create their models, revising them as they receive feedback from others (DCI-ETS1.B-E2). Students are asked why it is important to test how seeds react to space, and asked how growing seeds in space help humans. However, they do not need to apply knowledge of how changes in habitats affect the organisms growing there, as the lesson is focused on the functional aspects of the design rather than ecological necessity. 

  • In Grade 3, Unit 4: Earth Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: STEM Engineering Project: Design a Wind-Resistant Tower, the challenge is to build a model of a tower that is at least 30 cm tall, can support the weight of a tennis ball, and withstand the wind from a fan for 30 seconds. Students are shown the Space Needle and asked what would happen to the tower in a strong wind. Students identify the challenge, criteria, and constraints. Students observe the materials that they can choose from to build their tower, sketch their design, build their tower, test, and collect data on their tower and use their results to identify difficulties (failure points). Students determine if their design meets the challenge and improvements that can be made to the design (DCI-ETD1.B-E2). Students present their findings which include their drawing, explanation of how they changed their model, test results, and whether the tower met the criteria and constraints ( DCI-ETS1.C-E1). While wind is a natural hazard that must be considered when building towers, the challenge is to build a tower and does not require students to understand the connection to their towers and human impact.

Indicator 1e

Phenomena and/or problems are presented to students as directly as possible.
0/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 do not meet expectations that phenomena and/or problems are presented to students as directly as possible. The one phenomenon and several problems are not presented in the most direct way possible; these are often presented through videos or pictures, even when opportunities for direct experiences are possible after safety and materials consideration. The materials provide suggestions on the use of videos to introduce problems to students; however not all videos are linked in the materials.

Examples of phenomena or problems not presented to students as directly as possible:

  • In Grade 3, Unit 1:Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 3, Lesson: Think Like an Engineer: Define and Solve a Design Problem, the problem is to create a prototype of a device that can use a magnet to solve a problem. The problem is presented to students in two parts: first, as a series of household inventions displayed to students and secondly, as pictures and texts showing magnets being used to identify when a soccer ball has scored a goal. Neither of the two activities present the problem as directly as possible. These examples do not provide students with a first-hand experience with the use of magnets to solve a problem where one would be possible within the classroom. 

  • In Grade 3, Unit 3: Life Science, Lesson Sequence 1, Lesson: STEM Space Station Project: Design a Seed Starter, the challenge is to build a seed starter that makes it easy to sprout seeds indoors and transfer them outside while producing minimal waste. The challenge is presented to students in two parts: first with a time-lapse video of seeds sprouting and then by observing photos of seedlings in order to discuss how the containers help the seedlings grow. This challenge is not presented to students in the most direct way possible because there are multiple disconnected events. The time-lapse video of the seeds sprouting is not directly related to the challenge to grow seeds in a container that produces minimal waste. 

  • In Grade 3, Unit 3: Life Science, Lesson Sequence 3, Lesson: Think Like a Scientist: Construct an Argument, the phenomenon is that sandhill cranes form groups to increase survival. The phenomena is presented to students through a video of sandhill cranes following an aircraft as they fly. The addition of the aircraft in the video adds extraneous information of the aircraft flying which may lead students away from making sense of how flying in a V-formation is a tactic that supports survival of the species. 

  • In Grade 3, Unit 4: Earth Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: Think Like an Engineer: Make a Claim, the challenge is to design a house to protect it from hurricane damage. The challenge is presented to students through a video of the Tacoma Bridge collapse and the teacher explaining to students about how the wind was the cause. This challenge is not presented as directly as possible as the video of the bridge collapse does not connect directly to the challenge of students designing a house to withstand hurricane damage. In addition, the reading and picture are not the most direct way to present this problem as they do not allow students to see how hurricanes damage structures. 

  • In Grade 3, Unit 4: Earth Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: STEM Engineering Project: Design a Wind-Resistant Tower, the challenge is to build a model of a tower that is at least 30 cm tall, can support the weight of a tennis ball, and withstand the wind from a fan for 30 seconds. The challenge is presented to students through two photographs of the Space Needle in Washington and the Eiffel Tower in Paris with similar designs. In previous lessons students observed images of hurricane damaged structures; however, this challenge is not presented as directly as possible because students observe two photos of a tower in sunny weather. 

Examples of problems presented to students as directly as possible:

  • In Grade 3, Unit 3: Life Science, Lesson Sequence 1, Lesson: Think Like a Scientist: Compare Solutions and Make Claims, the problem is that dams created in the Columbia River have made it difficult for salmon to swim upstream to spawn. The problem is presented to students through a video of salmon jumping out of the water to move upstream over a waterfall. This problem is presented as directly as possible; it allows students to observe salmon and dams in the Columbia River and provides an entry point for all students regardless of geographical location. 

  • In Grade 3, Unit 1: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 3, Lesson: STEM Engineering Project: Design a Crane, the challenge is to build a crane that uses an electromagnet to pick up and drop three paperclips from a height of three cm or more. The challenge is presented to students through a video of an electromagnetic crane moving a load. All students have a common entry point when they see an example of a crane lifting a heavy load, as well as sketching and identifying parts of the crane. First-hand observations of an electromagnetic crane is not feasible for most students; therefore, the video provides the most direct context for this challenge.

Indicator 1f

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 do not meet expectations that phenomena and/or problems drive individual lessons or activities using key elements of all three dimensions. Across the grade, phenomena and problems are present in seven of the 80 lessons. In two lessons, a problem or phenomena drives the learning, and students utilize all three dimensions to solve the problem. In four lessons, a problem or phenomenon drives the learning of the lesson, but students engage in one or two dimensions as they make sense of the phenomenon or solve the problem. The remaining three problems are addressed within the lesson but do not drive the learning of the lesson.

In the remaining 73 lessons, questions related to science concepts or topics are often the focus of the learning instead of a driving phenomenon or problem. Additionally, students typically only engage in one or two dimensions within each lesson. Lessons focus on having students explain the concept or idea, build vocabulary, and/or answer a topical question.

Examples of lessons that did not use phenomena and/or problems to drive student learning:

  • In Grade 3, Unit 1: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 1, Lesson: Think LIke a Scientist: Plan and Conduct an Investigation, students do not engage with a lesson-level phenomenon or problem. Instead, the focus of the learning is on a science and engineering practice. Students plan and conduct an investigation to determine the effects of different strengths of forces on a launched paper ball (SEP-INV-E1, DCI-PS2.A-E1). Students conduct the experiment and analyze their results. Students answer questions related to cause and effect relationships as they share their results (CCC-CE-E1).

  • In Grade 3, Unit 2: Life Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: Variation and Mates, students do not engage with a lesson-level phenomena or problem. Instead, the focus of the learning is on the topic of variation. Students observe bowerbird nests then are asked why the nests are elaborate and different. Students read about variation, mates, and frigate birds (DCI-LS4.B-E1) Students write cause and effect statements to describe the effect of the frigate’s pouch on mating and offspring, and eventually the change in the traits of the population (CCC-CE-E1). 

  • In Grade 3, Unit 3: Life Science, Lesson Sequence 3, Lesson:  Plants in Antarctic, students do not engage with a lesson-level phenomenon or problem. Instead, the focus of the learning is on the focus question, “How could plants grow in Antarctica?” Students read about how scientists find fossils in new environments and learn how Antarctica was once warmer and supported plant life (DCI-LS4.A-E2). Then students identify that the process of fossil formation takes a long time (CCC-SPQ-E1).

  • In Grade 3, Unit 3: Life Science, Lesson Sequence 3, Lesson: Think Like a Scientist: Analyze and Interpret Data, students do not engage with a lesson-level phenomenon or problem. Instead, the focus of the learning is on the science and engineering practice of constructing an argument with evidence. Students observe photos and information about three different animals. Students discuss the evidence they collected from the text and identify what may happen to the animal if their environment changes (CCC-CE-E1). Students construct an argument to describe why the animal is well-suited to its environment (SEP-ARG-E4, DCI-LS4.C-E1).

  • In Grade 3, Unit 4: Earth Science,Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: Reducing the Impact of Wind, students do not engage with a lesson-level phenomenon or problem. Instead, the focus of the learning is on the idea that humans cannot eliminate hazards, but they can take steps to reduce the impact. Throughout the lesson, students focus on how humans can try to mitigate impact from weather and natural hazards. Students observe a demonstration and a video of a tornado, showing how wind can remove roofs from houses. They learn that pressure differences can cause roofs (and other structures) to rise and separate; they read a brief passage about tornado wind damage. They discuss ways to minimize the impact of wind (DCI-ESS3.B-E1). They do not engage with science and engineering practices or crosscutting concepts to consider ways to reduce wind impact. 

  • In Grade 3, Unit 4: Earth Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: Reducing the Impact of Lightning, students do not engage with a lesson-level phenomenon or problem. The focus of the learning is on the focus question, “Why is lightning dangerous?” Students compare images from flooding, wind, and lightning, read text to learn why lightning is dangerous and discuss the causes of lightning. Students discuss lighting rods and how people can protect themselves against lightning. Students connect the reading and discussion to how science affects everyday life, specifically how people can stay safe from the impact of lighting (DCI-ESS3.B-E1). They do not engage with science and engineering practices or crosscutting concepts to understand what can be done to reduce the impact of lightning. 

Examples where problems drive individual lessons, but do not use all three dimensions:

  • In Grade 3, Unit 1: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 3, Lesson: STEM Engineering Project: Design a Crane, the challenge is to build a crane that uses an electromagnet to pick up and drop three paperclips from a height of three centimeters or more. Throughout the lesson sequence, students are guided through the design cycle as they create their designs, watch a teacher demonstration on electromagnets, and plan a solution for the challenge (AQDP-E5). Students analyze their data, make improvements to their design, and explain their strengths and challenges of their design (DCI-ETS1.A-E1 DATA-E5). Students engage in two-dimensional learning with no opportunities to use crosscutting concepts. 

  • In Grade 3, Unit 3: Life Science, Lesson Sequence 1, Lesson: STEM Space Station Project: Design a Seed Starter, the challenge is to build a seed starter that will grow at least one 3-cm-tall seedling within two weeks and produce no waste. Throughout the lesson sequence, students use the provided materials to design and build a seed sprouter. After planting a seed, they record their observations of the plant over a few weeks to determine if their solution met the criteria of the challenge. Students identify the problem, criteria and constraints, record their observations of plant growth over two weeks, and use evidence from class discussion to improve their design (SEP-AQDP-E5, DCI-ETS1A-E1, SEP-INV-E3, and SEP-CED-E2). Students engage in one dimensional learning with no opportunities to use crosscutting concepts or disciplinary core ideas. 

Examples of phenomena and or problems that drive student learning at the lesson or activity level using the three dimensions:

  • In Grade 3, Unit 1: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 3, Lesson: Think Like an Engineer: Define and Solve a Design Problem, the challenge is to create a prototype of a device that can use a magnet to solve a problem. The challenge of solving a problem with magnets drives the learning. Throughout the lesson sequence students apply their knowledge of magnetic forces (DCI-PS2.B-E2) when they design and build a prototype that solves a problem using magnets (SEP-AQDP-E5, DCI-ETS1.A-E1). Students discuss the cause and effect relationships they encountered (CCC-CE-E1) when designing, building, and retesting their prototypes. 

  • In Grade 3, Unit 3: Life Science, Lesson Sequence 3, Lesson: Think Like a Scientist: Construct an Argument, the phenomenon is that sandhill cranes form groups to increase survival. Students read about when sandhill birds form groups. Gathering information from the text helps students understand that groups may be different sizes and may serve different functions, such as obtaining food, raising young, and surviving (DCI-LS2.D-E1). When students construct their arguments, they use evidence from the information they gathered (SEP-ARG-P6) on how decreased salmon populations affect other animals in the ecosystem (CCC-CE-E1).

Indicator 1g

Materials are designed to include both phenomena and problems.
0/0
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 are designed for students to solve problems in 8% (6/80) of lessons. Throughout the materials 1% (1/80) of lessons focus on explaining phenomena. The Grade 3 materials consist of four units, each composed of 17 to 26 lessons.

In the materials, problems and design challenges are presented in the Think Like an Engineer, Think Like a Scientist, or STEM activities, and typically introduced in the Engage portion of the lesson. These activities typically provide students with a design challenge where they discuss their ideas with a partner, draw a model of their ideas, and then build, test and share their solutions. Frequently, students test and refine their solutions. At times, the materials provide very detailed design instructions and other times allow students to work through the design process to develop their own ideas. 

Of the four units in Grade 3, none contain unit-level phenomena or problems. In one instance, a lesson-level phenomenon is presented. 

Examples of problems in the series:

  • In Grade 3, Unit 1: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 3, Lesson: STEM Engineering Project: Design a Crane, the challenge is to build a crane that uses an electromagnet to pick up and drop three paperclips from a height of three centimeters or more. Throughout the lesson sequence, students define the challenge, design a solution from a constrained set of materials, present their designs, and use peer feedback to revise their toy crane designs. To solve the challenge, students explain how successful their design was in meeting the given constraints. 

  • In Grade 3, Unit 1: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 3, Lesson: Think Like an Engineer: Define and Solve a Problem, the challenge is to create a prototype of a device that can use a magnet to solve a problem. Students think of a problem that can be solved by magnets, draw a prototype that uses the materials provided, and then determine how they will test their design. To solve the problem they identified, students build and test their prototype and determine if it worked as intended. Students make changes to improve their design and test it again. Students communicate to their partner, and the class how their design used magnets to attract or repel objects.

  • In Grade 3, Unit 3: Life Science, Lesson Sequence 1, Lesson: STEM Space Station Project: Design a Seed Starter, the challenge is to build a seed starter that will grow at least one 3-cm-tall seedling within two weeks and produce no waste. Students learn about what seeds need to grow and how growing plants indoors before transplanting them outside can produce minimal waste in planting materials. Students define the challenge, design a solution from a constrained set of materials and present their designs to their peers. To complete the challenge, students grow their plants over a two week time period and collect data on plant growth to determine what made some starters more successful than others.

  • In Grade 3, Unit 3: Life Science, Lesson Sequence 1, Lesson: Think Like a Scientist: Compare Solutions and Make Claims, the problem is that dams created in the Columbia River have made it difficult for salmon to swim upstream to spawn. Students learn about various possible solutions to the problem. Students create a graph and read about how each solution works and the related benefits. To solve the problem students determine which combination of solutions would be most effective and write a recommendation for the design of a new dam justifying why their design is the best for protecting salmon. 

  • In Grade 3, Unit 4: Earth Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: STEM Engineering Project: Design a Wind-Resistant Tower, the challenge is to build a model of a tower that is at least 30 cm tall, can support the weight of a tennis ball, and withstand the wind from a fan for 30 seconds. Students discuss why different kinds of towers need to be strong and how towers can be built to withstand strong winds. Then students identify the criteria and constraints of their design that their model must hold up a tennis ball despite wind. They work in groups to plan, build, and test solutions, identify failure points in their design and make revisions to their model. To complete the challenge, students create a display that includes results, key features, and an explanation on how criteria and constraints were met. 

  • In Grade 3, Unit 4: Earth Science, Lesson Sequence 2: Think Like an Engineer: Make a Claim, the challenge is to design a house to protect it from hurricane damage. Students work in groups to create a design and label the design with features that make it able to withstand a hurricane. To complete the design challenge, students' present a 2D model to their peers, gather feedback, and revise their models 

Examples of phenomena in the series:

  • In Grade 3, Unit 3: Life Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: Think Like a Scientist: Construct an Argument, the phenomenon is that sandhill cranes form groups at certain times. Throughout the lesson, students work in groups using their text to gather information on the sandhill cranes and how they benefit from being in groups. To explain the phenomena, students use their knowledge of animal behavior to construct an argument on why sandhill cranes form groups at certain times.

Indicator 1h

Materials intentionally leverage students’ prior knowledge and experiences related to phenomena or problems.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet expectations that they intentionally leverage students’ prior knowledge and experiences related to phenomena or problems. Seven lessons in Grade 3 engage students in figuring out phenomena or solving design problems. Two of the challenges elicit students prior knowledge but do not leverage this knowledge to complete the challenge in terms of building and the design process. The one phenomenon elicits students prior knowledge but does not leverage this knowledge for students to explain the phenomena. When the materials do elicit students’ prior knowledge or experience related to phenomena or problems, the materials provide little guidance for teachers to use this information beyond looking for misconceptions. There are missed opportunities for the materials to leverage students’ prior knowledge or experiences.

Examples where the materials elicit, but do not leverage students’ prior knowledge and experiences related to phenomena or problems:

  • In Grade 3, Unit 1: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 3, Lesson: STEM Engineering Project: Design a Crane, the challenge is to build a crane that uses an electromagnet to pick up and drop three paperclips from a height of three centimeters or more. The instructional materials elicit student prior knowledge by asking students to talk about cranes that they have observed in the real world and sketch an image with a caption of how a crane might work. However, there is a missed opportunity to leverage student prior knowledge and experience of the challenge.

  • In Grade 3, Unit 3: Life Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: Think Like a Scientist: Construct an Argument, the phenomenon is that sandhill cranes form groups at certain times. Students are asked what the benefits of forming groups for animals is  after watching a video of cranes flying in a group. Students share their ideas to the class. The instructional materials describe to students the different groupings that sandhill cranes form. However, there is a missed opportunity to leverage student prior knowledge and experience of the phenomenon.

  • In Grade 3, Unit 4: Earth Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: STEM Engineering Project: Design a Wind-Resistant Tower, the challenge is to build a model of a tower that is at least 30 cm tall, can support the weight of a tennis ball, and withstand the wind from a fan for 30 seconds. Students discuss any towers they have seen in real life, read about, or observed in various kinds of media. Students then draw pictures of the towers they have seen and describe their shapes and materials. To complete the challenge students build models and gather feedback to refine their models. However, there is a missed opportunity to leverage student prior knowledge and experience of the phenomenon.

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

  • In Grade 3, Unit 3: Life Science, Lesson Sequence 1, Lesson: Think Like a Scientist: Compare Solutions and Make Claims, the problem is that dams created in the Columbia River have made it difficult for salmon to swim upstream to spawn. Students are asked, “Why are the fish leaping out of the water?” and “Do you think the fish leaping out of the water might have to do with survival?” after watching a video of salmon leaping upstream over a waterfall. After sharing their ideas with a partner, the teacher explains the behavior to the students. While these questions elicit student ideas about what they are observing, the questions do not elicit knowledge or experiences specific to this problem.

  • In Grade 3, Unit 1:Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 3, Lesson: Think Like an Engineer: Define and Solve a Problem, the problem is to create a prototype of a device that can use a magnet to solve a problem. Students look at pictures of objects to determine what problem they might solve. Students share their experiences with referees and bad calls. The instructional materials do not make explicit connections between magnetic objects that solve a problem and how this relates to a referee making a bad call. Students are given the challenge to create a device that solves a problem with magnets without connecting prior knowledge or experience of problems that can be solved with magnets. 

  • In Grade 3, Unit 3:Life Science, Lesson Sequence 1, Lesson: STEM Space Station Project: Design a Seed Starter, the challenge is to build a seed starter that makes it easy to sprout seeds indoors and transfer them outside while producing minimal waste. Students look at a picture of many seedlings in cups and are asked, “How do the containers help the seedlings grow?” Students are grouped into pairs and ask five questions that answer how containers help seedlings grow. The materials do not elicit student knowledge or experiences specific to planting or sprouting seeds.

  • In Grade 3, Unit 4: Earth Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: Think Like an Engineer: Make a Claim, the challenge is to design a house to protect it from hurricane damage. Students are asked to recall some severe weather events and their effects but this is not directly related to the challenge of designing a house to withstand a hurricane.

Indicator 1i

Materials embed phenomena or problems across multiple lessons for students to use and build knowledge of all three dimensions.
0/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 do not meet expectations that they embed phenomena or problems across multiple lessons for students to use and build knowledge of all three dimensions. While some phenomena and problems in the grade drive learning of individual lessons or activities, they do not drive learning across multiple lessons in a lesson sequence or across the unit. 

The materials consist of four content-focused units, which are further organized into two or three lesson sequences, resulting in ten lesson sequences across the grade. None of the ten lesson sequences have problems or phenomena that drive learning across multiple lessons. Eight of the ten lesson sequences engage students with all three dimensions. None of the ten lesson sequences have opportunities for students to develop, evaluate, and revise their thinking as they figure out phenomena and define/solve problems. The four units in Grade 3 do not have an anchoring phenomena but are instead set up by topical strands such as Physical, Life, and Earth science. 

Examples of lesson sequences where student learning is not driven by a phenomenon or problem across multiple lessons, but the materials engage students with all three dimensions:

  • In Grade 3, Unit 1: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 1, a phenomenon or problem does not drive student learning across multiple lessons. Instead, the focus of the learning is on the concept of balanced and unbalanced forces. Throughout the lesson sequence, students learn about and investigate balanced, unbalanced, and net forces. Students read about balanced and unbalanced forces and answer questions about their cause and effect relationships in Lessons: Balanced Forces and Unbalanced Forces, (DCI-PS2.A-E1, DCI-PS2.B-E1, and CCC-CE-E1). In Changing Direction, students read and answer questions about forces changing the speed and direction of an object. In the Think Like a Scientist lesson, students plan and conduct an investigation to determine the effects of different strengths of forces on a launched ball (SEP-INV-E1, DCI-PS2.A-E1, CCC-CE-E1). 

  • In Grade 3, Unit 1: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 3, a phenomenon or problem does not drive student learning across multiple lessons. Instead, the focus of the learning is on the topic of electric and magnetic forces. Throughout the lesson sequence, students learn about and investigate magnetic and electric forces. In Investigate: Magnetic Force, students conduct an investigation where they measure the distance before magnets begin exerting forces on each other (DCI-PS2.B-E2). Students make predictions as to the distance before a magnet exerts its force on a paperclip and dents write down cause and effect relationships they observed in the investigation (CCC-PAT-E2). In Investigate: Electric Forces, students conduct an investigation and use their knowledge of electric charge when they predict what will happen when two balloons are in close contact with each other after one or both are rubbed with a wool cloth (DCI-PS2.B-E.2). Students discuss cause and effect relationships when answering questions related to the movement of the balloons (CCC-CE-E1). In the Think Like a Scientist lesson, students plan and conduct an investigation to measure the strength of a magnet or electric charge, or the direction of a magnet’s force or charged object’s force  and use their knowledge of magnetic forces and electric charges while planning the investigation (DCI-PS2.B-E.2, SEP-INV-E1). Students determine the cause and effect relationship shown in the investigation (CCC-CE-E1). 

  • In Grade 3, Unit 1: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 2, a phenomenon or problem does not drive student learning across multiple lessons. Instead, the focus of the learning is on the concept of simple patterns in motion across a series of six lessons. Throughout the lesson sequence, students learn about and investigate an object’s motion to provide evidence of a pattern that can predict future motion. In Patterns of Motion, students define regular motion and relate it to patterns that repeat over and over (DCI-PS2.A-E2). In Investigate Motion, students look for patterns in their data to improve their predictions of each trial in the investigation of how high a marble will travel. (DCI-PS2.A-E2, CCC-PAT-E2). In the Think Like a Scientist lesson, students plan and conduct an experiment to make predictions about what will happen with each change in a pendulum swing. (SEP-INV-E1). Students make observations, use their data to make predictions of future motion,and revise their tests (DCI-PS2.A-E2, CCC-PAT-E2).

  • In Grade 3, Unit 3: Life Science, Lesson Sequence 1, a phenomenon or problem does not drive student learning across multiple lessons. Instead, the focus of the learning is on a disciplinary core idea of how changes in habits affect the organisms that live there (DCI-LS4.D-E1). Throughout the lesson sequence, students learn about changes in environments and adaptations that organisms have to survive despite those changes. In Forest Change,  students learn about changes in the forest and the organisms living there and explore how forests change using a cause and effect activity  (DCI-LS2.C-E1, DCI-LS4.C-E1, and CCC-CE-P2). In the third through sixth lesson in the lesson sequence, students read and answer questions about natural changes to an environment (fire, drought, and seasonal temperature) and the effects this has on living things (adaptations to survive, movement, or death) . (DCI-LS2.C-E1, DCI-LS4.D-E1, and CCC-CE-P2). In the seventh through eighth lesson in the lesson sequence, students read about how beaver dams impact habitats and how these changes affect other living things as they make a model to show the interdependent parts of the ecosystem (DCI-LS4.D-E1, CCC-SYS-E2) while learning that people change the land. In the last lesson, students compare solutions to make a claim, supported by evidence from the text, as to the best solution or best combination of solutions to allow salmon to pass through a dam (SEP-ARG-E6). Students discuss how the decreased salmon populations affect other animals in the ecosystem (DCI-LS4.D-E1, CCC-CE-E1). 

  • In Grade 3, Unit 3: Life Science, Lesson Sequence 2, a phenomenon or problem does not drive student learning across multiple lessons. Instead, the focus of the learning is on the topic of animals forming groups. In Getting Food, students  learn about wolves and other animals hunting in packs (DCI-LS2.D-E1). Students view a video of an ant colony and construct an argument about how being part of a colony benefits the ants (SEP-ARG-P6). In Protection and Defense, students learn how animals protect themselves by living in groups (DCI-LS2.D-E1). Students complete an activity stating a pattern of animal group behavior and identifying an example. Students research different animals and create a chart of similarities and differences related to their defense mechanisms (CCC-PAT-E1). In the Think Like a Scientist lesson, students understand that groups may be different sizes and may serve different functions, such as obtaining food, raising young, and surviving (DCI-LS2.D-E1). Students construct arguments using evidence from information they gathered (SEP-ARG-P6). 

  • In Grade 3, Unit 3: Life Science, Lesson Sequence 3, a phenomenon or problem does not drive student learning across multiple lessons. Instead, the focus of the learning is on the topics of fossils in past environments and how organisms have adapted to survive in certain environments. In the first three lessons, students learn about fossils, a scientist who studies fossils and finding fossils in an unexpected environment (DCI-LS4.A-E2). In the Fossils lesson, students follow directions to make a model of fossils in rock layers, organize fossil data from a map into a data table (SEP-DATA-E2, DCI-LS4.A-E2). In the seventh through ninth lessons in the lesson sequence, students read and answer questions about the effects of the following: cold/warm, wet/dry and light/dark on organisms and adaptations for these environments (DCI-LS4.C-E1). In the tenth lesson in the lesson sequence, students identify what may happen to the animal if their environment changes (CCC-CE-E1). Students conclude the unit by constructing an argument to describe why the animal is well suited to its environment (SEP-ARG-E4, DCI-LS4.C-E1). 

  • In Grade 3, Unit 2: Life Science, Lesson Sequence 2,  phenomenon or problem does not drive student learning across multiple lessons. Instead, the focus of the learning is on the topic of traits. Throughout the lesson sequence, students first learn about inherited traits (DCI-LS3.A-E1), followed by  acquired traits (DCI-LS3.A-E2), and then how the environment affects plant growth (DCI-LS3.B-E2). Lastly, students learn there is variation of traits in a species and some traits are better for survival and finding mates DCI-LS4.B-E2). In the first lesson within the lesson sequence, students learn physical features can be inherited (DCI-LS3.A-E1), and they analyze pictures of snapdragon parents and offspring to identify evidence to support two different claims (SEP-CEDS-E3). In the third lesson in the lesson sequence, students learn behaviors can also be inherited from parents (DCI-LS3.A-E1). In the fourth through sixth lessons in the lesson sequence, students learn about different traits that are acquired from the environment or learning (DCI-LS3.A-E2). In the sixth lesson in the lesson sequence, students write cause and effect statements to describe learning to ride a bike. (CCC-CE-E1). In the eighth lesson in the lesson sequence, students collect evidence to learn that the environment can affect traits in plants (DCI-LS3.B-E2). In the ninth and tenth lessons in the lesson sequence, students learn different traits that increase the chances of survival or finding mates in various species (DCI-LS4.B-E1). Students write cause and effect statements to describe the effect of the frigate’s pouch on mating and offspring, and eventually the change in the traits of the population (CCC-CE-E1). 

  • In Grade 3, Unit 4: Earth Science, Lesson Sequence 1, a phenomenon or problem does not drive student learning across multiple lessons. Instead, the focus of the learning is on the topic of weather and climate. Throughout the lesson, students observe weather data, identify patterns, read climate maps, and record data in a graphical display. In Investigate Weather, students construct an anemometer and collect data on the temperature, wind speed, and other weather observations. Students explain any patterns observed and any predictions based on those patterns (CCC-PAT-E2, DCI-ESS2.D-E1, SEP-DATA-E1). In Patterns and Predictions, students are guided through the weather maps in the texts and identify the various weather conditions notated in the key. By the end of the sequence, students use the text to gather data on climate in particular locations of the globe and compare with other locations (DCI-ESS2.D-E2, SEP-DATA-E2, and CCC-PAT-E2). 

  • In Grade 3, Unit 4: Earth Science, Lesson Sequence 2, a phenomenon or problem does not drive student learning across multiple lessons. Instead the focus of the learning is on the topic of weather conditions. In Weather Hazards, students identify weather hazards and make connections to scientists and engineers who try to minimize impacts. The following three lessons focus on reducing the impact of flooding, wind, and lightning. In Reducing the Impact of Flooding, students identify the cause and effects of flooding, read about the weather hazards, and ways humans can stay safe (DCI-ESS3.B-E1, NOS-HE-E3, and CCC-CE-E1). In the STEM: Engineering Project, students design and construct a tower that can withstand wind, present their designs focusing on the strength and challenges of their design, and explain how their design met the criteria and constraints (DCI-ETS1.C-E1). In the Think Like an Engineer lesson, students design a house that can stand the impact of a hurricane and make a claim about their design solution to reduce the impact of a hurricane (SEP-ARG-E6).

Gateway Two

Coherence and Scope

Not Rated

Criterion 2a - 2g

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

Indicator 2a

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

Indicator 2a.i

Students understand how the materials connect the dimensions from unit to unit.
N/A

Indicator 2a.ii

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

Indicator 2b

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

Indicator 2c

Materials do not inappropriately include scientific content and ideas outside of the grade-level Disciplinary Core Ideas.*
N/A

Indicator 2d

Materials incorporate all grade-level Disciplinary Core Ideas.
N/A

Indicator 2d.i

Physical Sciences
N/A

Indicator 2d.ii

Life Sciences
N/A

Indicator 2d.iii

Earth and Space Sciences
N/A

Indicator 2d.iv

Engineering, Technology, and Applications of Science
N/A

Indicator 2e

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

Indicator 2e.i

Materials incorporate grade-level appropriate SEPs within each grade.
N/A

Indicator 2e.ii

Materials incorporate all SEPs across the grade band.
N/A

Indicator 2f

Materials incorporate all grade-band Crosscutting Concepts.
N/A

Indicator 2f.i

Materials incorporate grade-level appropriate CCCs within each grade.
N/A

Indicator 2f.ii

Materials incorporate all CCCs across the grade band.
N/A

Indicator 2g

Materials incorporate NGSS Connections to Nature of Science and Engineering
N/A

Gateway Three

Usability

Not Rated

Criterion 3a - 3d

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

Indicator 3a

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

Indicator 3b

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

Indicator 3c

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

Indicator 3d

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

Criterion 3e - 3k

Materials are designed to support all students in learning.

Indicator 3e

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

Indicator 3f

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

Indicator 3g

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

Indicator 3h

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

Indicator 3i

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

Indicator 3j

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

Indicator 3k

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

Criterion 3l - 3s

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

Indicator 3l

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

Indicator 3m

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

Indicator 3n

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

Indicator 3n.i

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

Indicator 3n.ii

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

Indicator 3o

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

Indicator 3p

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

Indicator 3q

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

Indicator 3r

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

Indicator 3s

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

Criterion 3t - 3y

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

Indicator 3t

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

Indicator 3u

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

Indicator 3v

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

Indicator 3w

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

Indicator 3x

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

Indicator 3y

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

Criterion 3aa - 3z

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

Indicator 3aa

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

Indicator 3ab

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

Indicator 3ac

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

Indicator 3ad

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

Indicator 3z

Materials integrate digital technology and interactive tools (data collection tools, simulations, modeling), when appropriate, in ways that support student engagement in the three dimensions of science.
N/A
abc123

Report Published Date: 2021/04/15

Report Edition: 2019

Title ISBN Edition Publisher Year
Exploring Science 3: Student Book 9781337911665
Exploring Science 3: Teacher's Edition 9781337915649

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 K-5 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