Alignment: Overall Summary

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 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 but do not connect to DCIs in life, physical, or earth/space science. However, in some instances they are presented as directly as possible to students. The materials elicit 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
5
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

|

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 4 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 4 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 a majority of the learning sequences. The materials frequently 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 4 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 4, six include at least one lesson where all three dimensions are integrated. The majority of these six lessons are Investigate or Think Like a Scientist/Engineer  lessons. One of the ten learning sequences integrates all three dimensions across the learning sequence while the remaining three sequences do not all three dimensions in any of the learning opportunities or 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 4, Unit 1: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 1, Lesson: Investigate: Speed, students learn about energy and collisions. Students measure the speed of a ball, the force used, and the time needed for the ball to reach a wall (SEP-CEDS-E2) then identify the patterns that they saw in their data (CCC-PAT-P1). Students use their data to conclude that the more energy the ball has, the faster it moves (DCI-PS3.A-E1). 

  • In Grade 4, Unit 1: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: Investigate: Light,  students learn about the transfer of energy through light. Students identify patterns in observations to describe the effect of light energy on paper (CCC-PAT-P1) then plan a new investigation by identifying the type of data to collect (SEP-INV-P3). Students use their observations to explain how energy is transferred by light (CCC-EM-E3, DCI-PS3.A-E2, and SEP-CEDS-E2)

  • In Grade 4, Unit 1: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 3, Lesson: Think Like an Engineer: Design, Test and Refine a Device (Buzzer), students identify the criteria and constraints of the problem (DCI-ETS1.A-E1). Students identify how to set up their circuits, design their buzzer (DCI-PS3.B-E3), then plan and conduct a test for their device (SEP-INV-E1). Students write a paragraph identifying forms of energy and energy transfers and use evidence to support if their design met the criteria (DCI-PS3.B-E3, SEP-CEDS-E2, and CCC-EM-E3).

  • In Grade 4, Unit 3: Life Science, Lesson sequence 1: Lesson: Think Like a Scientist: Construct an Argument, students construct an argument to show how the structures of a wolf help it to survive, grow, and behave. Students label the internal and external parts of the wolf and compare them to the elephant (DCI-LS1.A-E1). Students construct an explanation of how the wolf’s internal and external structures help it grow, survive, or reproduce (SEP-ARG-P6). Students then discuss how plants and animals are systems with different interacting parts (CCC-SYS-E2).

  • In Grade 4, Unit 3: Life Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: Investigate: How we see, students create a model that shows how light enters our eye when it is reflected off of an object. Students conduct an investigation, record their observations where they view objects with and without light, and draw and label a model showing how light reflecting from an object and entering an eye allows you to see (DCI-PS4.B-E1, SEP-MOD-E3). Students then discuss the cause-effect chain of events that occurs when light reflects off an object and is perceived by the brain (CCC-CE-E1). 

  • In Grade 4, Unit 4: Earth Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: Think Like An Engineer: Make Observations, students create a model to investigate the rate or speed of erosion and apply their findings to a situation with a farmer whose soil is eroding. Students recall their experience modeling water erosion in an earlier lesson, define the problem, and identify possible solutions to mitigate land loss due to rainfall in a region (DCI-ESS2.A-E2). Their solutions must include a measure to know if they are successful. Students design an investigation to test their models, determine the data to collect and which variables to control (SEP-INV-E1, SEP-INV-E3), engage in several measurement cycles, and present their model to a peer and receive feedback. Following testing and feedback, they revise their models (DCI-ETS1.B-E3), reflect on what long-term effects may result from continual deposition of sediment such as their observations in their models (CCC-CE-E1).

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

  • In Grade 4, Unit 2: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 1, students learn about the properties of waves in water. None of the individual lessons in the lesson sequence integrate all three dimensions. In the first two lessons, students observe that objects dropped into water make waves, and not all waves are the same. They learn this as they read about waves and learn to identify the different parts of a wave (DCI-PS4.A-E2). Students explain which types of waves transfer the most energy using scientific vocabulary and explain how they would use the pattern of a set of waves to predict how the waves might  affect a swimmer (CCC-PAT-E3). In the following three lessons, students model ocean waves by creating water waves in a basin with a card, draw and record their observations and compare the waves of different amplitudes and wavelengths (DCI-PS4.A-E2). Students discuss how a diagram can be used as a model  and create two diagrams that reflect the waves they created. Students identify the amplitude and wavelength and compare the movement of an object caused by the waves (SEP-MOD-E5). Across the five lessons in this lesson sequence, students use the DCIs with an SEP or CCC. 

Examples of learning sequences that do not include all three dimensions:

  • In Grade 4, Unit 2: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 2, students learn about how to use technology to communicate. In Think Like an Engineer: Compare Multiple  Solutions, students at a summer camp design a code that does not use cell phones or flashlights. Students define the problem, criteria and constraints (DCI-ETS1.A-E1) They use the given materials to design a way to send a message using Morse code. Students record whether the message was correctly sent, then compare their results and designs with those of their classmates. Students identify which solution best met the criteria (SEP-CEDS-E5). In the STEM STEM Engineering Project: Design a Wind Instrument , students build a wind instrument that produces sound. In Engage, students define the problem and engage in an iterative design process to design their instrument while adhering to criteria and constraints. In Explore, students test and present their models (DCI-ETS1.B-E1, DCI-ETS1.C-E1), and in Explain, students explain the results of their build and how it met or did not meet the criteria using evidence from their tests (SEP-CED-E2).  Across the eight lessons in this lesson sequence, students use the DCIs with a SEP but do not use any CCCs. 

  • In Grade 4, Unit 4: Earth Science, Lesson Sequence 1, students learn about different biomes and changes to the earth through weather, erosion, and deposition. None of the individual lessons in the lesson sequence integrate all three dimensions. In the lesson, Wind Changes the Land, students engage in an activity to move sand with a straw and connect to previous lessons on erosion. Students read text and recall the meaning of the terms erosion, weathering, and deposition (DCI-ESS.A.E2). Students see images of  rock, toadstool, and sand dunes to discuss how they form. Students work in groups with the sand to think about ways to reduce wind erosion. In the lesson Investigate: Weathering and Erosion, students carry out an investigation to make observations in the Explore (SEP-INV-P4). In the Explain and Elaborate, students explain how the investigation is similar to and different from the weathering and erosion of rocks in a lake or river (SEP-MOD-P1, DCI-ESS2.A-E2). In Evaluate, students describe how wind changes the shape of sand dunes and categorize what they investigated as erosion or deposition. Across the twelve lessons in this lesson sequence, students use the DCIs with a SEP but do not use any CCCs. 

  • In Grade 4, Unit 4: Earth Science, Lesson Sequence 3, students learn where most earthquakes and volcanoes are located and review earthquake-resistant structures. Students interpret a map and identify some land and water features on earth to identify locations of earthquakes, volcanoes, and oceanic landforms (ESS2.B-E1). In the lesson Think Like a Scientist: Analyze and Interpret Data, students use observations to describe patterns of earthquake and volcano locations (SEP-DATA-P3, DCI-ESS2.B-E1)  In Think Like an Engineer: Generate and Compare Solutions, students are presented with a  design challenge to design a model house that can withstand a model earthquake (DCI-ESS3.B-E1, DCI-ETS-1.A-E1, and SEP-CEDS-E2). In Think Like a Scientist: Identify Evidence, students look at diagrams to identify rock formations and fossils in rock layers (DCI-ESS1.C-E1, SEP-DATA-P3). Across the nine lessons in this lesson sequence, students use the DCIs with a SEP but do not use any CCCs.

Indicator 1a.ii

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet expectations that they consistently support meaningful student sensemaking with the three dimensions. None of the ten units in Grade 4, which are each structured as a 5E lesson sequence, support students to engage in sense making with all three dimensions. Seven of the ten lesson sequences used sensemaking in two dimensions, one included three-dimensional sensemaking, and two lesson sequences used sensemaking in one dimension only. Two- or three-dimensional sensemaking was most commonly present in the Think Like a Scientist or Engineer lessons and Investigate lessons. These lessons are confirmatory in nature and have students follow predetermined steps to engage in investigations. Oftentimes students engage in CCC only after they have made sense with SEPs and DCIs.

Examples of lesson sequence where SEPs and CCCs meaningfully support student sensemaking with the other dimensions:

  • In Grade 4, Unit 1: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: Investigate Heat,    students learn about the transfer of energy through sound, light, heat, and electric currents. Students conduct an investigation (SEP-INV-E3) where they put a small piece of butter on the stem of three spoons; each spoon is placed into a container of water held at a different temperature. Students identify that thermal energy is transferred through the spoon when the butter melts (DCI-PS3.B-E1). Students explain how the energy was transferred from the water to the spoon to the butter (CCC-EM-E3). Students use the CCC and SEP to make sense of the DCI.

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

  • In Grade 4, Unit 1 Physical Science:  Lesson Sequence 1, Lesson: Investigate: Collisions, students learn about energy and collisions. Students identify and make observations of energy changes in collisions (CCC-EM-E3) and answer questions about the energy changes in the collisions (DCI-PS3.C-E1). 

  • In Grade 4, Unit 2: Physical Science,  Lesson Sequence 1, Lesson: Investigate: Wavelength and Amplitude, students create replicas of waves with water and draw, identify, and describe the parts of a wave. Students read informational text about wavelength and amplitude replicate how to make a wave. Students are guided through the first step to “help them get a feel for how waves can differ in their properties and qualities.” Students trace the wave model shown in the text and label the parts and write a description of the waves (SEP-MOD-P3). Students use a virtual lab to observe the relationship between how bigger boats produce bigger waves and higher speeds produce shelter wavelengths (DCI-PS4.A-E2). Students answer a series of questions about the advantages and limitations of the pipe cleaner model. Students use the SEP to make sense of the DCI; however, there is a missed opportunity for students to use a CCC for sensemaking.

  • In Grade 4, Unit 3: Life Science, Lesson Sequence 1, Lesson: Think Like a Scientist: Construct an Argument, students compare animal structures, label the internal and external parts of a wolf,  and compare them to an elephant, noting the structures that serve purposes for survival (DCI-LS1.A-E1). Students construct an explanation of how the internal and external structures help the animals to grow, survive, or reproduce (SEP-ARG-P4). While students discuss how plants and animals are systems, there is a missed opportunity to deepen understanding of animal survival through the CCC. 

  • In Grade 4, Unit 3: Life Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: STEM Research Project: Animal Super Senses, students learn about animal senses. Students choose two animals they would like to research. In Engage, students work with a partner to research their animals and their senses and how those senses guide their actions (DCI-LS1.D-E1). Students gather information from multiple sources to support their research about how animal senses help animals survive (SEP-INFO-E4). There is a missed opportunity to deepen the understanding of the DCI by using the CCC of systems.

  • In  Grade 4, Unit 4: Earth Science, Lesson Sequence 1, students learn about different biomes and changes to the earth through weather, erosion and deposition. In the four biome lessons, students look at photographs of each biome and read and answer questions about how living things in each region are affected by the amounts of rainfall (DCI-ESS2.A-E2). Students identify factors that affect different organisms' survival in the desert (CCC-CE-E1) and create a cause-and-effect chain to show the impact of fire on a dry climate and the organisms that live in Central Plains Grasslands. There is a missed opportunity for students to use an SEP to deepen their understanding of the DCI. 

  • In Grade 4, Unit 4: Earth Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: Think Like an Engineer: Make Observations, students learn about natural hazards and ways humans can reduce their impacts. Students plan and conduct a fair test investigation to test a possible solution to field erosion then use evidence to explain if their proposed design reduced erosion (DCI-ESS2.A-E2). Students explain how their investigation was a fair test and what can happen if more than one variable is tested (SEP-CEDS-E2). There is a missed opportunity to deepen the understanding of the DCI by using a CCC.

  • In Grade 4, Unit 4: Earth Science, Lesson Sequence 3, Lesson: Think Like a Scientist: Analyze and Interpret Data, students use observations to describe patterns of earthquake and volcano locations (SEP-DATA-P3, DCI-ESS2.B-E1), but there is a missed opportunity to deepen the understanding of the DCI by using a CCC.

Examples of lesson sequence where SEPs and CCCs do not meaningfully support student sensemaking with the other dimensions:

  • In Grade 4, Unit 1: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 3, Lesson: Think Like a Scientist: Obtain and Communicate Information, students apply knowledge to engineering challenges, then learn about renewable and nonrenewable resources. Students assess the environmental impact of different energy sources for human needs (DCI-ESS3.A-E1). After reading about various energy sources, students make a claim about which energy sources impact the environment the most. Students only engage in one dimensional sensemaking of the DCI as the lessons in this lesson sequence are confirmatory. There is a missed opportunity to use and integrate the CCC or SEP to deepen understanding of the DCI.

  • In Grade 4, Unit 2: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 2: Lesson: STEM Engineering Project, students build a wind instrument that produces sound. Students read informational text that refers to the previous knowledge gained in the unit and the steps they take to go through the iterative design process. While reading, students learn of the problem, the criteria and constraints. Students test and present their instruments (DCI-ETS1.B-E1, DCI-ETS1.C-E1). Students explain the results of their build and explain how it met or did not meet the criteria using evidence from their tests, how the revised design differs, and the reason they made the revision (SEP-CEDS-E2). Students use the SEP to make sense of the engineering design process but not to make sense of CCCs or physical science DCIs.

Indicator 1b

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 do not meet expectations that they are designed to elicit direct, observable evidence for 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.

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

  • In Grade 4, Unit 1: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 1, Lesson: Sound of the Game, the learning objectives are: “recognize that sound is a form of energy” and “make an inference about energy conservation during a collision.” These are not three-dimensional learning objectives. Students are assessed with three Wrap It Up questions that ask students to recall how energy of motion transforms into sound (CCC-EM-E3, DCI-PS3.B-E1), explain why covering your ears with your hands reduces the sound you hear (DCI-PS3.A-E2), and answer why a catcher’s mitt might feel warm after he catches a ball (DCI-PS3.B-E1). The teacher materials provide no guidance for modifying instruction if students do not meet the objective for this lesson.

  • In Grade 4, Unit 1: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: Spin It, the learning objectives are: “recall that electric current can transfer energy from place to place and then be used locally to produce motion, sound, heat, or light,” “explain that current is produced by transforming the energy of motion into electrical energy,” and “identify the parts of a wind turbine and how they work together to produce electricity.” These are not three-dimensional learning objectives. Students are assessed with two Wrap It Up questions that assess only the second objective. Students are asked to describe two sources of energy of motion and explain how the energy from the moving blades of the turbines is used to produce electricity (DCI-PS3.B-E3, CCC-EM-E3). The teacher materials provide no guidance for modifying instruction if students do not meet the objective for this lesson.

  • In Grade 4, Unit 2: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 1, Lesson: Properties of Sound Waves, the learning objectives are “describe sound waves in terms of amplitude and wavelength,” “describe the properties of longitudinal waves,” “identify patterns between the wavelength of sound waves and the pitch of sounds,” and “identify patterns between the amplitude of sound waves and the volume of sound.“ These are not three-dimensional learning objectives. Students are assessed with two Wrap It Up questions that ask students to compare how the movement of particles in a sound wave compares to the movement of particles in a water wave. Students are also asked to relate what they know about the amplitude and wavelength to a bird making a high-pitched sound (CCC-PAT-P1, DCI-PS4.A-E2). The teacher materials provide no guidance for modifying instruction if students do not meet the objective for this lesson.

  • In Grade 4, Unit 2: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: Investigate: Use a Code, there are two learning objectives: “use a pattern to transfer information” and “share findings with others to compare and evaluate how different patterns can be used to transfer information.” These are not three-dimensional learning objectives. Students are assessed with three Wrap It Up questions, a teacher rubric, and a student self-assessment rubric. The rubrics assess whether the student described some benefits and challenges of using Morse code to transmit information (DCI-PS4.C-E1) and whether the student evaluated the effectiveness of using Morse code as a communication solution under different conditions (DCI-PS4.C-E1, SEP-INV-E3). The teacher materials provide no guidance for modifying instruction if students do not meet the objective for this lesson. 

  • In Grade 4, Unit 3: Life Science, Lesson Sequence 1, Lesson: Bones and Muscles of an Elephant, there are three learning objectives: “identify the bones and muscles of an elephant,” “describe the functions served by the bones and muscles of an elephant,” and “explain how the bones and muscles of an elephant interact to help the animal function.” These are not three-dimensional learning objectives. Students are assessed with three Wrap It Up questions that ask students to identify that the skull protects the brain, explain how bones and muscle work together to help an elephant move (DCI-LS1.A-E1, CCC-SYS-E1), and explain why thick bones would help an elephant survive (DCI-LS1.A-E1). The teacher materials provide no guidance for modifying instruction if students do not meet the objective for this lesson. 

  • In Grade 4 Unit 4: Earth Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: STEM Engineering Project: Design a Seismograph there are four learning objectives: “define the engineering problem they need to solve, including criteria and constraints,” “design and build a model of a seismograph 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 three Wrap It Up questions, a teacher rubric, and a student self-assessment rubric. Students are asked to define the criteria of the problem and identify which was most difficult to meet (DCI-ETS1.A-E1), to state how they could use their recording to assess the strength of the shaking, and to explain how people can use seismographs to mitigate earthquake damage (DCI-ESS3.B-E1). The teacher rubric assesses students on various components of the investigation. Students are scored on how well they define the problem and identify the constraints (DCI-ETS1.A-E1), how well they work with their group, gather information, test their solutions, and draw their conclusions (SEP-CEDS-E2). The teacher materials provide no guidance for modifying instruction if students do not meet the objectives 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 4, Unit 1: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 1, Lesson: Investigate: Collisions, there are two learning objectives: “Ask questions about the changes in energy that occur when objects collide” and “use observations of how an object’s speed and direction of motion change to form an explanation about how energy is transferred during collisions.” These are three-dimensional learning objectives. Students answer three Wrap It Up questions and complete a rubric for self-assessment. The Wrap It Up Questions ask students to describe how catching a ball changes its energy (DCI-PS3.A-E2), ask and answer their own questions about how the energy of a ball changes when it collides with an object (DCI-PS3.C-E1, SEP-AQDP-E1), and to predict what might happen to the energy of the ball if they hit it harder (DCI-PS3.C-E1). The rubric rates students on their participation in the group investigation. The teacher materials provide no guidance for modifying instruction if students do not meet the objective for this lesson. 

  • In Grade 4, Unit 2: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 1, Lesson: Investigate: Wavelength and Amplitude, there is one learning objective: “Develop a model of waves to describe patterns in terms of amplitude and wavelength “ This is a three-dimensional learning objective. Students are assessed with two Wrap It Up questions, a teacher rubric, and student self-assessment rubric. The two rubrics assess group work and focus on the DCIs. The Wrap It Up questions ask students to describe the properties of each wave they modeled (DCI-PS4.A-E2) and to analyze how two waves with the same wavelength differ (DCI-PS4.A-E2). 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) assess student knowledge of all (three) dimensions in the learning objective, but do not provide guidance to support the instructional process.

  • In Grade 4, Unit 1: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: Investigate Light, there is one learning objective, “make observations to provide evidence that energy can be transferred from place to place by light.” This is a three-dimensional objective. Students are assessed with three Wrap It Up questions and a rubric. Students use their observations as evidence to explain how energy can be transferred from place to place by light (DCI-PS3.A-E2, CCC-EM-E3, and SEP-CEDS-E2). The teacher materials provide no guidance for modifying instruction if students do not meet the objective for this lesson. 

  • In Grade 4, Unit 3: Life Science, Lesson Sequence 1, Lesson: Think Like a Scientist: Construct an Argument, there is one learning objective, “construct an argument that animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, and behavior.” This is a three-dimensional learning objective. Students are assessed with three Wrap It Up questions and two rubrics: a teacher rubric and student self-assessment rubric. The teacher rubric assesses students on how well they identify the internal and external features of a wolf (DCI-LS1.A-E1), how well they compare and contrast a wolf and an elephant (DCI-LS1.A-E1), and how well the students’ claim and argument explains how a wolf’s internal and external structures help it survive (SEP-ARG-P6, DCI-LS1.A-E1, and CCC-SYS-E2). The teacher materials provide no guidance for modifying instruction if students do not meet the objective for this lesson.

  • In Grade 4, Unit 4: Earth Science, Lesson Sequence 1, Lesson: Investigate: Weathering and Erosion, there is one learning objective: “use evidence from observations to describe how weathering and erosion can change the land.” This is a three-dimensional learning objective. Students are assessed with three Wrap It Up questions, a teacher rubric, and student self-assessment rubric. The Wrap It Up questions ask students to explain how their results compare to their predictions (SEP-INV-E4), explain what processes they modeled (DCI-ESS2.A-E1, SEP-MOD-E4), and explain the causes of the rock formations that they see in their book (DCI-ESS2.A-E1, CCC-CE-E1). The teacher rubric assesses students on various components of the investigation. They are scored on how well they record their predictions, observations, and evidence in their investigation (SEP-INV-P6). The teacher materials provide no guidance for modifying instruction if students do not meet the objective for this lesson.

  • In Grade 4, Unit 4: Earth Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: Investigate: Earthquake, there is one learning objective, “make observations and analyze results to form an explanation about causes and effects of liquefaction.” This is a three-dimensional objective. Students are assessed with three Wrap It Up questions, a teacher rubric, and a student self-assessment rubric. The questions ask students to explain what the block represents, what hitting the wet sand with the mallet represents, and how the investigation demonstrates the effects of liquefaction (SEP-MOD-P1, DCI-ESS3.B-E1, and CCC-CE-E1). Students also explain how they would revise the model to keep the structure safer (SEP-MOD-E4). The teacher rubric assesses students on how well they show liquefaction, how well they demonstrate a cause and effect between a motion and liquefaction (CCC-CE-E1), and how they would revise their model. The teacher materials provide no guidance for modifying instruction if students do not meet the objective for this lesson.

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 4 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. The 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 4, Unit 1: Physical Science, the three-dimensional objectives include seven performance expectations: 4-PS3-1, 4-PS3-2, 4-PS3-3, 4-PS3-4, 4-ESS3-1, 3-5 ETS 1-1, and 3-5 ETS 1-3. The objectives are partially assessed by the two summative assessments in the unit; a Performance Task and a Unit Test. The Performance Task is three-dimensional and assesses 4-PS 3-1. Students read a situation about two kids who want to determine how to make a marble go farther. Students state who they agree with,  follow a procedure, record data in a table, use their data as evidence of which marble went farther, check if their data matches their initial idea, and construct an explanation about the relationship between speed and energy, using kinetic energy and transfer (DCI-PS3.A-E1, SEP-CEDS-E2, and CCC-EM-E3). The Unit Test includes 13 items: nine multiple choice questions and four constructed response questions. The items are one or two dimensional. Multiple CCC, DCI, and SEP elements within the unit objectives are not assessed. 

  • In Grade 4, Unit 2: Physical Science, the three-dimensional objectives include three performance expectations: 4-PS4-1, 4-PS4-3, 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 the Performance Task, students develop and describe a model of a wave. Students draw their model, label the parts (SEP-MOD-E3, DCI-PS4.A-E2), describe their model (DCI-PS4.A-E1, DCI-PS4.A-E2), and then compare their model to a real wave and describe its strengths and weaknesses (DCI-PS4.A-E1, DCI-PS4.A-E2). The Unit Test includes 12 items: eight multiple choice questions, three constructed response questions, and one multi-part question where students draw and describe models. All of the multiple choice questions assess DCIs only, with the exception of Question 12. In this question students draw a model of a sound wave with a different pitch than shown and describe if the pitch is higher or lower than the pitch shown. Students also draw a model of a sound wave with a different volume than shown and describe if the volume is higher or lower than the original volume shown (SEP-MOD-E3, DCI-PS4.A-E2). Multiple CCC, DCI, and SEP elements within the unit objectives are not assessed and the ETS PEs are not assessed by the summative assessments. 

  • In Grade 4, Unit 3: Life Science, the three-dimensional objectives include three performance expectations: 4-LS1-1, 4-LS1-2, and 4-PS4-2. 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 and label a diagram of sunflowers throughout the day. In Part 2, students answer three constructed response questions. Students use evidence from the passage to construct an argument about how the structures of the young sunflower help it survive (DCI-LS1.A-E1, SEP-ARG-E4), they describe how they could gather evidence to determine if the structures in a sunflower are found in other plants (DCI-LS1.A-E1, SEP-INV-P2), and they carry out their plan and describe the results. The Unit Test includes 13 items: nine multiple choice questions, three constructed response questions, and one question where students draw and describe a model. Most of the items are one dimensional and assess the DCIs, with the exception of Questions 3 and 5. In Question 3, students identify the experimental claim being investigated in a proposed experiment. In Question 5, students interpret a graph to identify changes to a beavers’ body temperatures during hibernation. Multiple CCC, DCI, and SEP elements within the unit objectives are not assessed. 

  • In Grade 4, Unit 4: Earth Science, the three-dimensional objectives include six performance expectations: 4-ESS1-1, 4-ESS2-1, 4-ESS2-2, 4-ESS3-2, 3–5-ETS1-1, 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. The Performance task asks students to read a passage about Morro Rock, one of ‘The Nine Sisters’. They are told that a student (Lisa) wants to plan an investigation to see how Morro Rock was formed (DCI-ESS2.A-E2). From the passage, students identify the question that Lisa wants to ask, identify what data she should collect, describe how Lisa should carry out her investigation, identify the tools that she might use, and identify sources that she might use to find reliable information. The Unit Test includes 14 items: nine multiple choice questions and five constructed response questions. Most items assess only the DCIs. For example, in Question 2, students identify that canyons are formed from erosion (DCI-ESS2.A-E2). In Question 3, students read about an investigation and identify that it shows rocks can be weathered (DCI-ESS2.A-E2). Multiple CCC, DCI, and SEP elements within the unit objectives are not assessed.

Criterion 1d - 1i

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 do not meet expectations for Criterion 1d-1i: Phenomena and Problems Drive Learning. The materials include phenomena in 0% of the lessons and problems in 10% of the lessons. Of the problems present, they do not consistently connect to grade-level appropriate DCIs. The problems are presented to students as directly as possible in some instances but not consistently. The materials do not elicit or leverage student prior knowledge and experience related to the 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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 do not meet expectations that phenomena and/or problems are connected to grade-level Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs). Problems, when present in the materials, do not consistently connect to elements of appropriate grade-level DCIs. Rather, in most instances, problems or design challenges engage students in elements of the ETS DCIs and infrequently connect learning to any content specific grade-level DCI in life, physical, or earth and space science, or associated element. No phenomena were present in the materials for Grade 4.

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

  • In Grade 4, Unit 1: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 3, Lesson: Think Like an Engineer: Design, Test, and Refine a Device, the challenge is to create a buzzer that is battery-powered and controlled by a switch for a new board game that is coming out. Students observe several objects with flashing lights or components. They are asked to think about which objects may include batteries or a circuit. They are introduced to the problem, and identify constraints, and then engage in an iterative design cycle where they test their model and receive feedback from peers to change and improve their models (DCI-ETS1.B-E3). Within the lesson, the challenge is used to help students understand how different forms of energy are used and transformed throughout the circuit  (DCI-PS3.B-E3). 

  • In Grade 4, Unit 4: Earth Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: Think Like an Engineer: Make Observations, the problem is that a farmer’s field is experiencing water-driven erosion. Students see an image of excess water having formed a gully near a farmer’s field. They are asked to identify what problems this may create for the farmer. Students then define the problem and identify the criteria and constraints of the problem (DCI-ETS1.A-E1). Within the lesson, the problem is used to help students build understanding of how rainfall impacts the shape of land through the process of erosion (DCI-ESS2.A-E2). 

  • In Grade 4, Unit 4: Earth Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: Think Like an Engineer: Generate and Compare Solutions, the design challenge is to make a house that is more earthquake-resistant. Students define the problem, identify criteria and constraints, and determine how they will demonstrate success.They build their models, test them, and refine their design if needed. Within the lesson, building and testing models helps students understand that humans can take steps to reduce the impacts of natural hazards (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 4, Unit 1: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 3, Lesson: STEM Space Station Project: Design a Collision Shield, the challenge is to design a shield to protect a hard boiled egg from a 1-meter drop collision. Students are shown a video of helmet testing and are asked questions about why certain parts of the helmet are made from different materials. They are asked what would happen if a hardboiled egg is dropped onto the floor and onto a pillow. Students discuss two questions about energy transfer and then engage in a design cycle, defining the problem and identifying constraints, and then engaging in iterative design (DCI-EST1.B-E2). While students use energy when dropping an egg, the challenge is to build a shield to protect an egg from cracking and does not require students to understand how an object possesses more energy, the faster it moves. 

  • In Grade 4, Unit 1: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 3, Lesson: Think Like an Engineer: Design, Test, and Refine a Device, the problem is that people in a remote community without electricity or other infrastructure need a sustainable energy source. Students are shown a video of an egg being cooked on the sidewalk or on a hot pan and are introduced to the problem of communities without electricity or infrastructure and how they can still cook in these areas. Students define the problem, identify constraints, and determine how they will demonstrate success. They research elements of solar ovens, draw a prototype, build, test, and analyze results from their ovens (DCI-EST1.A-E1). While students engage with science and engineering practices, grade level disciplinary core ideas are not needed for students to solve the problem of designing a solar oven. 

  • In Grade 4, Unit 2: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: Think Like an Engineer: Compare Multiple Solutions, the problem is to devise a non-visual way to communicate with someone in the next cabin at summer camp without talking by using a pattern or digital signal. Students play a game where they try to explain science vocabulary terms to each other without talking. They learn about how barcodes are used in various applications. They are introduced to the problem and determine the constraints and criteria of not using not using light or cell phones. Students build, test their prototype, analyze their findings, compare and evaluate the solutions based on how the design meets the criteria and constraints (DCI-ETS1.C.E1). While students engage in engineering practices the challenge does not require students to understand how distance can impact sound degradation from voice to digital. 

  • In Grade 4, Unit 2: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: STEM Engineering Project: Design a Wind Instrument, the design challenge is to build a wind instrument and use it to send a message. Students discuss how wind instruments work to produce a sound while looking at images of musicians. Students then define the problem and identify the criteria and constraints of the problem. Students observe the given materials and perform some basic tests as well as internet research to identify how they can make sounds using the materials (DCI-ETS1.B-E1). They engage in an iterative design process, testing their solutions, presenting theirs to peers, and revising their designs (DCI-ETS1.B-E3). While the students do transmit sound that is over a distance, the challenge does not require students to think about degradation of sound nor apply grade level disciplinary core ideas. 

  • In Grade 4, Unit 4: Earth Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: STEM: Engineering Project: Design a Seismograph, the challenge is to design a seismograph to demonstrate the strength of a modeled earthquake. Students observe a seismograph and identify what the parts of it were doing and how it might be helpful to scientists studying earthquakes. They read about ancient earthquake tracker models and are create a seismograph which meets the specified criteria. Students design a frame for the recording device, record data when creating a shaking motion, analyze data, compare results, and revise their model (DCI-ETS1.B-E3). Students present their findings focusing on the design and meeting the criteria. While students create a model of a seismograph to measure their shaking, the challenge does not require students to know about how humans can take steps to reduce their impact, cannot eliminate hazards, or that hazards take place from natural processes.

Indicator 1e

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet expectations that phenomena and/or problems are presented to students as directly as possible. No phenomena are present and problems are not consistently presented as directly as possible.

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 problems presented to students as directly as possible:

  • In Grade 4, Unit 1: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 3, Lesson: Think Like an Engineer: Design, Test, and Refine a Device, the challenge is to create a buzzer that is battery-powered and controlled by a switch for a new board game that is coming out. Students observe different toys and game pieces with component parts that flash and/or make sounds. The students discuss the purpose of the objects and how they work. The challenge is presented through a teacher-led demonstration of toys that use circuits to light up or produce a sound. This challenge is presented as directly as possible, because the teachers can use a variety of items to provide examples of circuits using sounds which is what the students must do to complete the challenge.

  • In Grade 4, Unit 4: Earth Science,  Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: Think Like an Engineer: Make Observations, the problem is that a farmer’s field is experiencing water-driven erosion. The problem is presented to students through an image of excess water having formed a gully near a farmer’s field with a caption that explains how the pattern helps with soil erosion. This problem is presented as directly as possible because students are able to see the effects of water-driven erosion through the patterns in the photo. In addition, it is not practical to take students to a field to observe this in person so the photograph provide a common entry point for all students to engage in solving the problem

  • In Grade 4, Unit 4: Earth Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: STEM: Engineering Project: Design a Seismograph, the challenge is to design a seismograph to demonstrate the strength of a modeled earthquake. The challenge is presented to students through a video of a seismograph with a horizontal drum. This challenge is presented as directly as possible, because students see an example of the device they will build which allows all students a common entry point if they do not have prior knowledge of a seismograph. 

  • In Grade 4, Unit 4: Earth Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: Think Like an Engineer: Generate and Compare Solutions, the design challenge is how to make a house that is more earthquake-resistant. The challenge is presented to students through photographs of buildings that have been damaged by earthquakes. The challenge is presented as directly as possible, because it would not be feasible or safe to see earthquake damage in person. The photo of the building damaged by an earthquake would present a need to build earthquake resistant buildings. 

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

  • In Grade 4, Unit 1: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 3, Lesson: Think Like an Engineer: Design, Test, and Refine a Device, the challenge is that people in a remote community without electricity or other infrastructure need a sustainable energy source. The challenge is presented to students by an image of a woman cooking on a solar oven, a video of an egg cooking on a sidewalk, and a class discussion about all the ways cooking can occur through heat transfer. In this particular instance, the teacher is provided multiple videos to introduce the solar oven and not all students may have the same experience.

  •  In Grade 4, Unit 1: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 3, Lesson: STEM Space Station Project: Design a Collision Shield, the challenge is to design a shield to protect a hard boiled egg from a 1 meter drop collision. The challenge is presented to students in three parts. First, students watch a video of a motorcycle helmet undergoing various collision tests. Then the students learn through a teacher-led demonstration of dropping a hardboiled egg onto the floor and a pillow. Finally, students read about shields on the International Space Station which protect it from collisions with space junk. These activities are not the most direct way to present this challenge. There is not a clear connection between the helmet, the shield, and space junk collisions, and it includes extraneous information. Specifically, the video on helmets focused on scratch resistance which is not necessary for students to complete the design challenge. 

  • In Grade 4, Unit 2: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: Think Like an Engineer: Compare Multiple Solutions, the problem is to devise a way to communicate with someone in the next cabin at summer camp without talking. The problem is presented to students in two parts. First, students play a game of charades with science vocabulary terms and then they view a photo and read about cell phones that use barcodes. This problem is not presented in the most direct way as playing a game of charades with science vocabulary words will not generate questions that contribute to students creating their own code. Furthermore, students reading about bar code technology on objects does not have a direct connection to the problem students are asked to solve. 

  • In Grade 4, Unit 2: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: STEM Engineering Project: Design a Wind Instrument, the challenge is to build a wind instrument and use it to send a message. The challenge is presented to students through a demonstration of a cell phone playing different alerts and photographs of different wind instruments. This challenge is not presented as directly as possible. Students hear cell phone alerts and then discuss images of wind instruments and other instruments, sharing what they may know. Without observation, students may not have common understandings of instruments, the sounds they make, and how they work.

Indicator 1f

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 do not meet expectations that phenomena and/or problems drive individual lessons or activities using key elements of all three dimensions. 

Across the grade, problems are presented in eight of the 81 lessons. In one of the lessons, a problem drives the learning, and students utilize all three dimensions to solve the problem. In seven lessons, a problem 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.

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 4, Unit 1: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 1, Lesson: Sound of the Game, students do not engage with a lesson-level phenomenon or problem. Instead, the focus of the learning is on the question, “How is sound produced?” as students build vocabulary on the conservation of energy. Students read and answer questions related to sound and energy and engage in discussions on objects that vibrate to make sounds (DCI-PS3.A-E2) and how energy is conserved and can be transformed (DCI-PS3.B-E1). Furthermore, students list examples of energy being transformed into sound in various ways (CCC-EM-E3) but do not use science and engineering practices to support them in recognizing that sound is a form of energy. 

  • In Grade 4, Unit 1: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 3, Lesson: Think like a Scientist: Obtain and Combine Information, students do not engage with a lesson-level phenomenon or problem. Instead, the focus of the learning is on obtaining and combining information about the use of energy resources and making a claim of how they affect the environment. Students research how different energy sources impact the environment from various sources, present their information and analyze data used to support the claims. (SEP-INFO-E4, DCI-ESS3.A-E.1, and CCC-CE-E1 ). Students discuss why there are different examples and explanations to the problems and solutions that they researched and are encouraged to come up with their own energy design. 

  • In Grade 4, Unit 2: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 1, Lesson: Waves, students do not engage with a lesson-level phenomenon or problem. Instead, the focus of the learning is on the topic of waves.  Students build vocabulary and conceptual understanding of waves. Students ‘do the wave’ with their class and then discuss when they have experienced waves. They observe a photo of a surfer on a wave and then read a brief passage about waves (DCI-PS4.A-E1). They discuss the definition of waves and then describe how a wave travels across the ocean. Students do not engage in crosscutting concepts or science and engineering practices in this lesson.

  • In Grade 4, Unit 3: Life Science, Lesson Sequence 1, Lesson: External Structures of a Wild Rose, students do not engage with a lesson-level phenomenon or problem. Instead, the focus of the learning on the topic of external plant structures. Students identify the structures and their functions in plants. Students read and answer questions about the external structures of the wild rose and their functions (DCI-LS1.A-E1). They observe a photograph or video of a wild rose blooming and use a graphic organizer to record information about the external structures and functions of the rose. Students do not engage in crosscutting concepts or science and engineering practices in this lesson.

  • In Grade 4, Unit 3: Life Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: Think Like a Scientist: Use a Model, 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  developing and using models. Students look at a photograph of a mouse and a snake and discuss their differences. Students design a model that shows how the mouse and the snake might receive information through several of their senses as they search for food (DCI-LS1.D-E1, SEP-MOD-E6). Students discuss their models and research how the mouse and snake gather information then revise their models to explain how the senses help the organisms to survive. (DCI-LS1.A-E1, SEP-ARG-E4). Students do not engage in crosscutting concepts in this lesson.

  • In Grade 4, Unit 4: Earth Science, Lesson Sequence 1, Lesson: Wind Changes the Land, students do not engage with a lesson-level phenomenon or problem. Instead, the focus of the learning is on the topic of how wind weathers rocks to form sediment. Students engage in an activity to move sand with a straw and connect to previous lessons on erosion(INV-P4). Students read text and recall the meaning of the terms erosion, weathering, and deposition (DCI-ESS.A.E2). Students see images of rock, toadstool, and sand dunes and discuss how wind causes weathering, erosion, and deposition. They return to the photo and describe how wind shaped the landscape. Students do not engage in crosscutting concepts in this lesson.

  • In Grade 4, Unit 4: Earth Science, Lesson Sequence 1, Lesson: Eastern Temperate Forest, students do not engage with a lesson-level phenomenon or problem. Instead, the focus of the learning is on the topic of temperate forests; students identify organisms that live in the temperate forest and how the plants adapt to the regional climate. Students see images of deciduous trees changing widely throughout the four seasons. They read about the Eastern Temperate Forest, focusing on how the amount of rain impacts the area and organisms have adapted to the moisture levels compared to Pacific Northwest forests (DCI-ESS2.A-E2). Students do not engage in crosscutting concepts or science and engineering practices to learn more about the topic. 

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

  • In Grade 4, Unit 1: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 3, Lesson: Think Like an Engineer: Design, Test, and Refine a Device, the challenge is that people in a remote community without electricity or other infrastructure need a sustainable energy source. Students plan and conduct an investigation to produce data as evidence when testing their solar ovens (SEP-INV-E1). Students have an opportunity to repeat the process to test a final design and explain their results (DCI-ETS1.B-E2) and then use their knowledge of energy transformation to explain their design solution (DCI-PS3.D-E1). Students do not engage in crosscutting concepts to solve this problem. 

  • In Grade 4, Unit 2, Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: Think Like an Engineer: Compare Multiple Solutions, the problem is to devise a way to communicate with someone in the next cabin at summer camp without talking. Students define the problem, criteria, and constraints (DCI-ETS1.A-E1) They use the given materials to design a way to send a message using Morse code, test their models, and then compare their results, and designs with classmates. Students identify which solution best met the criteria (SEP-CEDS-E5). Students do not use a crosscutting concept to solve this problem.

  • In Grade 4, Unit 2: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: STEM Engineering Project: Design a Wind Instrument, the challenge is to build a wind instrument and use it to send a message. Students are shown a cell phone playing four different alerts and are asked how people use patterns of sound to communicate. They review several instruments and the sounds that they make, define the problem and engage in an iterative design process to design their instrument while adhering to criteria and constraints. Students test, present, and revise their models of instruments  (DCI-ETS1.B-E1, DCI-ETS1.C-E1). They explain the results of their design and explain how it met or did not meet the criteria using evidence from their tests (SEP-CED-E2). Students do not use a crosscutting concept to solve this challenge. 

  • In Grade 4, Unit 4, Lesson Sequence 2: STEM Engineering Project: Design a Seismograph, the challenge is to design a seismograph to demonstrate the strength of a modeled earthquake. Students see a video of a seismograph with a horizontal drum. They discuss why it may be beneficial to measure the size and strength of earthquakes (DCI-ESS3.B-E1). Students define the problem, determine the constraints, build a frame and recording device, and determine how they will test their models (SEP-INV-E1, SEP-INV-E3). Students present their solutions, test their seismographs, and revise their models. Students do not use a crosscutting concept to solve the problem. 

  • In Grade 4, Unit 4: Earth Science, Lesson Sequence 3, Lesson: Think Like a Scientist: Generate and Compare Solutions, the challenge is how to make a house that is more earthquake-resistant. Students observe damage to buildings caused by earthquakes, and then view an image of a building with a core-suspended isolation system. They are asked how this design can help the building withstand earthquake damage (DCI-ESS3.B-E1). The instructional materials guide students through the design process as students create a model house that will withstand an earthquake (DCI-ETS-1.A-E1). Students test their models and iteratively improve them based on their results and presentations from other class members (DCI-ETS1.B-E3). They reflect on how well their solution performed, using evidence from their trials (SEP-CEDS-E2). Students do not use a crosscutting concept to solve this challenge. 

Example where a problem drives an individual lesson and uses all three dimensions:

  • In Grade 4, Unit 4: Earth Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: Think Like an Engineer: Make Observations, the problem is that a farmer’s field is experiencing water-driven erosion. Students recall their experience modeling water erosion in an earlier lesson. Then define the problem and identity solutions to mitigate land loss due to rainfall in a region (DCI-ESS2.B-E2). Their solutions must include a measure to know if they are successful. Students then design an investigation to test their models, consider variables, collect data, explain their solution to the problem using data and revise their solutions based on the results (SEP-INV-E1, SEP-INV-E3).  Following testing and feedback, they revise their models (DCI-ETS1.B-E3), reflect on what long-term effects may result from continual deposition of sediment such as what they saw in their models (CCC-CE-E1).

Indicator 1g

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 are designed for students to solve problems in 10% (8/81) of the lessons. Throughout the materials 0% (0/81) of the lessons focus on explaining phenomena. The Grade 4 materials consist of four units each composed of 13 to 31 lessons.

In the materials, problems and design challenges are presented in the Think Like an Engineer 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 4, none contain a unit-level phenomenon or problem and the materials present no lesson-level phenomena.

Examples of problems in the series:

  • In Grade 4, Unit 1: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 3, Lesson: STEM Space Station Project: Design a Collision Shield, the challenge is to design a shield to protect a hard boiled egg from a 1-meter drop collision. Throughout the lesson, students define the problem they are going to solve, are shown possible materials, and move through a design cycle to create a protective shield for the egg. To complete the design challenge, students build a collision shield, test their shield, then reevaluate and redesign  as needed to protect their eggs.

  • In Grade 4, Unit 1: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 3, Lesson: Think Like an Engineer: Design, Test, and Refine a Device, the problem is that people in a remote community without electricity or other infrastructure need a sustainable energy source. Throughout the lesson, students identify constraints and criteria for success, research elements of solar ovens, and diagram and build an oven. Students test their models and present their solutions to the class. They gather feedback from others and then design a final test after revising their design. To address this problem, students design a solar powered oven and analyze the results of how well their oven worked.

  • In Grade 4, Unit 1: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 3, Lesson: Think Like an Engineer: Design, Test, and Refine a Device, the challenge is to create a buzzer that is battery-powered and controlled by a switch for a new board game that is coming out. Throughout the lesson, students define the problem, identify constraints, and determine criteria for success. Students draw a labeled diagram of their circuit and describe how it will work. To solve this problem students build their circuits, test them, and refine their design if needed using peer feedback. 

  • In Grade 4, Unit 2: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: Think Like an Engineer: Compare Multiple Solutions, the problem is to devise a non-visual way to communicate with someone in the next cabin at summer camp without talking by using a pattern or digital signal. Throughout the lesson, students define the problem and engage in an iterative design process to design their code while adhering to criteria and constraints. They test and present their models. To solve this problem, students test and present their codes, and then create changes to their models based on feedback from others.

  • In Grade 4, Unit 2: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: STEM Engineering Project: Design a Wind Instrument, the design challenge is to build a wind instrument and use it to send a message. Throughout the lesson, students discuss what sounds can tell them and how people use different patterns of sounds to communicate. Students then look at photographs of different musical instruments and discuss how they make sounds. Students define the problem and engage in an iterative design process to design an instrument that adheres to given criteria and constraints. To solve the design challenge, students build, test, and present their instruments using peer feedback to make changes to their product. 

  • In Grade 4, Unit 4: Life Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: Think Like an Engineer: Make Observations, the problem is that a farmer’s field is experiencing water-driven erosion. Students observe a photograph of a farmer’s field and discuss how water is changing the landscape and why this might cause issues for the farmer. To solve the problem, students design a method to reduce erosion and engage in several data collection cycles, testing and revising their models using peer feedback. 

  • In Grade 4, Unit 4: Life Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: STEM: Engineering Project: Design a Seismograph, the challenge is to design a seismograph to demonstrate the strength of a modeled earthquake. Throughout the lesson, students learn about natural hazard and warning systems, watch a video on seismographs and discuss earthquakes. Students read about the design challenge and identify the problem and identify criteria and constraints. To solve the problem, students work in a group to develop a frame that supports the recording device and is able to record data about the strength of a shake as to measure an earthquake. Students present their solutions, test their seismographs and collect data to revise their models. . 

  • In Grade 4, Unit 4: Life Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: Think Like an Engineer: Generate and Compare Solutions, the challenge is how to make a house that is more earthquake-resistant. Throughout the lesson, students use pictures to learn about and discuss features of an earthquake safe structures before they define the problem and outline the constraints. To solve this problem, students design earthquake resistant houses, run tests, present their models, and revise their models using peer feedback.

Indicator 1h

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 do not meet expectations that they intentionally leverage students’ prior knowledge and experiences related to phenomena or problems. Eight lessons engage students in solving design problems. One of the challenges elicits but does not  leverage students’ prior knowledge. Throughout Grade 4, the instructional materials direct students to share their prior knowledge through predictions but do not ask students to provide a rationale behind their predictions. Therefore there is little opportunity for teachers to leverage student prior knowledge to address misconceptions. 

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

  • In Grade 4, Unit 2:Physical Science,  Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: STEM Engineering Project: Design a Wind Instrument, the challenge is to build a wind instrument and use it to send a message. Students view a series of images and share their experiences playing a brass instrument or watching others play. They do the same with a flute and then with reed instruments. This allows students who have had these experiences to share but not all. Further, there is a missed opportunity to leverage student prior knowledge and experience of the challenge.

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

  • In Grade 4, Unit 1: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 3, Lesson: Think Like an Engineer: Design, Test, and Refine a Device, the challenge is that people in a remote community without electricity or other infrastructure need a sustainable energy source. Students share their experiences with cooking and prior knowledge with energy transfer; however, they are not asked specifically about solar ovens or cooking without electricity which are needed for students to complete the challenge.

  •  In Grade 4, Unit 1:Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 3, Lesson: STEM Space Station Project: Design a Collision Shield, the challenge is to design a shield to protect a hard boiled egg from a 1-meter drop collision. During a teacher-led demonstration students are asked to make predictions about what will happen to hard boiled eggs when dropped and to make connections between the egg demonstration and the relationship between energy and speed. The materials do not elicit students’ prior knowledge and experiences of the design challenge. 

  • In Grade 4, Unit 2:Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: Think Like an Engineer: Compare Multiple Solutions, the problem is to devise a way to communicate with someone in the next cabin at summer camp without talking. Students play charades and are asked, “What was the barrier to communication”, and “What did you do to overcome the barrier?” The instructional materials provide no opportunities for students to share their knowledge or experiences related to the problem. 

  • In Grade 4, Unit 4: Earth Science, Lesson Sequence 2 Lesson: Think Like an Engineer: Make Observations, the problem is that a farmer’s field is experiencing water-driven erosion. Students are asked to recall information from a previous lesson on erosion but not personal experience with erosion or solving the problem of soil erosion reduction which is needed for students to complete the challenge. 

  • In Grade 4, Unit 4: Earth Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: STEM: Engineering Project: Design a Seismograph, the challenge is to design a seismograph to demonstrate the strength of a modeled earthquake. Students are asked to use images in their text to consider the question, “How might earthquakes affect the people who live in the area?” The instructional materials provide no opportunities for students to share their knowledge or experiences with the challenge. 

  • In Grade 4, Unit 4: Earth Science, Lesson Sequence 2, Lesson: Think Like an Engineer: Generate and Compare Solutions, the design challenge is to make a house that is more earthquake-resistant. The materials ask students to recall information about seismographs and earthquakes from previous lessons (Early Warning Systems and Earthquakes); however, students are not asked whether they have prior experiences with designing tools to collect measurements. Rather, students are asked to define earthquake-resistant buildings, solutions, criteria, and constraints that do not support them in building a seismograph.

Indicator 1i

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 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 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. 

None of the nine lesson sequences have problems or phenomena that drive learning across multiple lessons. Six of the ten lesson sequences engage students with all three dimensions. None of the nine 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 4 do not have an anchoring phenomena but are instead set up by topical strands such as Physical, Life, and Earth science. 

Examples of a lesson sequence 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 4, Unit 1: Physical Science, Lesson Sequence 1, a phenomena or problem does not drive student learning across multiple lessons. Instead, the focus of the learning is on the topic of energy transfer in collisions in baseball. Throughout the lesson sequence, students investigate the speed and energy of objects and the changes that occur as a result of a collision. In Investigate Speed, students do an activity to conclude that the more energy the ball has, the faster that it moves (DCI-PS3.A-E1, SEP-CEDS-E2). In Hit the Ball, students do an activity with materials they can knock down to solidify the connection between sound, energy, and collisions (CCC-EM-E3). In Investigate Collisions, students read that the amount of energy in a ball changes when it collides with objects in different ways. Students explore how the amount of energy transferred to a ball changes when it collides with objects in different ways (SEP-AQDP-E3). Students describe the transfer of energy when objects collide, and the changes in motion that occur as a result of the collision (DCI-PS3.B-E1, DCI-PS3.C-E1). In Sounds of the Game, students recognize that sound is a form of energy. Students list examples of energy being transformed into sound in various ways (CCC-EM-E3). 

  • In Grade 4, 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 topic of sound and light energy transfer. In Investigate: Sound, students make predictions and then record their observations as they talk softly and loudly through a paper towel tube and observe salt grains move (SEP-INV-E3). Students discuss their predictions, results, and how the energy transferred from their voice to the salt grains (DCI-PS3.A-E2, CCC-EM-E3). In Investigate: Light, students make predictions, record their observations of what will happen to both exposed and unexposed areas of paper left in the sun (SEP-INV-E3), and share their observations and conclusions as to how they know it was the sunlight and not something else that caused the paper to fade (DCI-PS3.B-E2, DCI-PS3.A-E2, DCI-PS3.B-E1). In Investigate: Heat, students make predictions and then record their observations as they place a spoon with butter on the stem in cups of different temperature water (SEP-INV-E3). Students share their observations and conclusions about what happened to the butter’s thermal energy and particles as it melted (DCI-PS3.B-E1). In Investigate: Electric Circuits, students make predictions and then record their observations about which materials can complete an electric circuit (SEP-INV-E3) and discuss why some materials did not readily complete a circuit (DCI-PS3.A-E2). 

  • In Grade 4, Unit 2: 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 topic of waves. Students learn about the properties of waves. They engage in experiments to see how waves move objects and how to change properties of waves. This DCI drives the learning in these lessons as students learn about properties of waves and then amplitude and wavelength. In the first three lessons students learn properties of waves, water waves and sound waves.(DCI-PS4.A-E2)  In the second lesson in the lesson sequence, students also use patterns to identify water waves that will hit with a higher force.(CCC-PAT-E1). In the next two lessons in the lesson sequence, students investigate waves by modeling ocean waves by creating water waves (DCI-PS4.A-E2, DCI-PS4A-E1, SEP-MOD-E3) and using a physical and virtual model to measure wavelength and amplitude (DCI-PS4.A-E2, SEP-MOD-E1). 

  • In Grade 4, 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 the topic of plant and animal internal and external structures and functions. In Think Like A Scientist, students label the internal and external parts of the buttercup and compare them to the wild rose (DCI-LS1.A-E1). Students construct an explanation of how the internal and external structures the buttercup has helps it grow, survive, or reproduce (SEP-ARG-4). Students also conclude that all plants have similar internal and external structures. In the second Think Like a Scientist lesson,  students label the internal and external parts of the wolf and compare them to the elephant (DCI-LS1.A-E1). Students construct an explanation of how the wolf’s internal and external structures help it grow, survive, or reproduce  (SEP-ARG-4) and discuss how plants and animals are systems (CCC-SYS-E2).

  • In Grade 4, 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 animal senses. Throughout the lesson sequence, students learn about how animals receive different types of information through their senses, process the information in their brain, and respond to the information in different ways. In Animal Senses, students view a video of how animals use their senses to gather information about their surroundings. Students work in groups to discuss how one of a leopard’s senses may influence its behavior and how the leopard might use all of its senses in a certain scenario (DCI-LS1.D-E1, CCC-SYS-E2). In Light and Sight, students learn how a leopard sees a squirrel and how the leopard’s brain is involved (DCI-LS1.D-E.1), as they discuss the cause and effect relationship of light entering the eyes (CCC-CE-E1). In Think Like A Scientist, students design a model that shows how a mouse and a snake might receive information through several of their senses as they search for food (DCI-LS1.D-E1, SEP-MOD-E6). 

  • In Grade 4, 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 rainfall in different regions. Throughout the lesson sequence, students learn about the differences in rainfall that affect living things in different regions. Students analyze data on precipitation, use the map and data to make meaning of rainfall across the United States, and look at the differences in rainfalls in four regions and how it affects living things (DCI-ESS2.A-E2). In Weathering, students learn about the effects of water, wind, and gravity on land.(DCI-ESS.A.E2, CCC-CE-E1). In Investigate: Weather and Erosion, students model the process of weathering and erosion  where they use both friction and water abrasion to weather sandstone rocks (DCI-ESS2.A-E2). Students explain how the investigation was like real weather and describe the differences (SEP-MOD-E1). 

  • In Grade 4, 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 impacts of natural hazards. Students read about different natural hazards and discuss how each of them are dangerous to humans, including earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, and liquefaction, and their causes and effects (CCC-CE-E2). They read about solutions humans have created to help minimize the impact of each hazard (DCI-ESS3.B-E1) and build a seismograph to record earthquakes, designing their own investigation to test their device (SEP-INV-E1, SEP-INV-E3).

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 4: Student Book 9781337910255
Exploring Science 4: Teacher's Edition 9781337915656

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