Draft Next Generation Science Standards: MSPS
(from Summer 2012 Draft Document)
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MS.PS-SPM Structure and Properties of Matter

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

(a) Construct and use models to explain that atoms combine to form new substances of varying complexity in terms of the number of atoms and repeating subunits. [Clarification Statement: Examples of atoms combining can include Hydrogen (H2) and Oxygen (O2) combining to form hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) or water (H2O).] [Assessment Boundary: Valence electrons and bonding energy are not addressed.] (B02-4)

(b) Plan investigations to generate evidence supporting the claim that one pure substance can be distinguished from another based on characteristic properties. [Clarification Statement: Properties of substances can include melting and boiling points, density, solubility, reactivity, flammability, and phase.] (B01-4)

(c) Use a simulation or mechanical model to determine the effect on the temperature and motion of atoms and molecules of different substances when thermal energy is added to or removed from the substance. [Assessment Boundary: Quantification of the model or use of mathematical formulas are not intended.] (B01-4)

(d) Construct an argument that explains the effect of adding or removing thermal energy to a pure substance in different phases and during a phase change in terms of atomic and molecular motion. [Assessment Boundary: The use of mathematical formulas is not intended.] (B01-4)


Disciplinary Core Ideas
PS1.A: Structure and Properties of Matter

  • All substances are made from some 100 different types of atoms, which combine with one another in various ways. Atoms form molecules that range in size from two to thousands of atoms. (a) (B02-4)
  • Pure substances are made from a single type of atom or molecule; each pure substance has characteristic physical and chemical properties (for any bulk quantity under given conditions) that can be used to identify it. (b) (B02-4)
  • Gases and liquids are made of molecules or inert atoms that are moving about relative to each other. (d) (B01-4)
  • In a liquid, the molecules are constantly in contact with others; in a gas, they are widely spaced except when they happen to collide. In a solid, atoms are closely spaced and may vibrate in position but do not change relative locations. (c),(d) (B01-4)
  • Solids may be formed from molecules, or they may be extended structures with repeating subunits (e.g., crystals). (a) (B01-4)
  • The changes of state that occur with variations in temperature or pressure can be described and predicted using these models of matter. (c),(d)
  • (B01-4)
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MS.PS-CR Chemical Reactions

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

(a) Develop representations showing how atoms regroup during chemical reactions to account for the conservation of mass. [Assessment Boundary: Representations should not involve bonding energy or valence electrons. Balancing equations are also not employed here.] (B02-04)

(b) Generate and revise explanations from the comparison of the physical and chemical properties of reacting substances to the properties of new substances produced through chemical reactions to show that new properties have emerged. [Assessment Boundary: Comparison and analysis should not involve statistical techniques.] (B02-4)

(c) Construct explanations of energy being released or absorbed when simpler molecules are combined into complex molecules or complex molecules are broken down to simpler molecules. [Clarification Statement: Simple molecules can include H2O and CO2, and complex molecules can include C6H12O6 in photosynthesis.] [Assessment Boundary: Further details of the photosynthesis process are not addressed.] (B02-4)

(d) Develop models to represent the movement of matter and energy in the cycling of carbon. [Clarification Statement: Examples of the movement of matter and energy could include the cycling from carbon in the atmosphere to carbon in living things.] [Assessment Boundary: Further details of the photosynthesis process are not addressed.] (B02-4)


Disciplinary Core Ideas
PS1.B: Chemical Reactions

  • Substances react chemically in characteristic ways. In a chemical process, the atoms that make up the original substances are regrouped into different molecules, and these new substances have different properties from those of the reactants. (a),(b) (B02-4)
  • The total number of each type of atom is conserved, and thus the mass does not change. (a),(c) (B02-4)
  •  Some chemical reactions release energy, others store energy. (c) (B02-4)

PS3.D: Energy in Chemical Processes & Everyday Life

  • The chemical reaction by which plants produce complex food molecules (sugars) requires an energy input (i.e., from sunlight) to occur. In this reaction, carbon dioxide and water combine to form carbon-based organic molecules and release oxygen. (c),(d) (B01-4)
  • Both the burning of fuel and cellular digestion in plants and animals involve chemical reactions with oxygen that release stored energy. In these processes, complex molecules containing carbon react with oxygen to produce carbon dioxide and other materials. (d) (B01-4)
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MS.PS-E Energy

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

(a) Construct an explanation of the proportional relationship pattern between the kinetic energy of an object and its mass and speed. [Assessment Boundary : Not intended to solely require use of KE=1/2mv 2 —the explanation requires a qualitative description of the relationship and patterns.] (A09)

(b) Use representations of potential energy to construct an explanation of how much energy an object has when it’s in different positions in an electrical, gravitational, and magnetic field. [Clarification Statement: Examples of objects in different field positions include a roller coaster cart at varying positions on a hill, objects at varying heights on shelves, an iron nail being moved closer to a magnet, and a balloon with static electrical charge being brought closer to a classmate’s hair.] [Assessment Boundary : Qualitative, not quantitative.] (A09)

(c) Plan and carry out investigations to show that in some chemical reactions energy is released or absorbed. [Clarification Statement: Examples of chemical reactions can include baking soda reacting with vinegar, and calcium chloride reacting with baking soda.] [Assessment Boundary : Qualitative, not quantitative.] (A09 & B01-4)

(d) Use and/or construct models to communicate the means by which thermal energy is transferred during conduction, convection, and radiation. [Clarification Statement: Examples of models can include a diagram depicting thermal energy transfer through a pan to its handle or warmer water in a pan rising as cooler water sinks; and a model using a heat lamp for the sun and a globe for the earth.] (A09 & B01)

(e) Collect data and generate evidence to examine the relationship between the change in the temperature of a sample and the nature of the matter, the size of the sample, and the environment . [Clarification Statement: Examples of data collection could include comparing final water temperatures after different masses of ice melted in the same volume of water with the same initial temperature.] (A09 & B01)

(f) Compare, evaluate, and design a device that maximizes or minimizes thermal energy transfer, and defend the selection of materials chosen to construct the device. [A ssessment Boundary : Excludes semiconductors and heat sinks.] (A09 & B01)

(g) Design and evaluate solutions that minimize and/or maximize friction and energy transfer in everyday machines. [Clarification Statement: Solutions can include use of oil as a lubricant on a skateboard, bicycle, or in a lawnmower engine, and wax on skis. Energy transfer can include the transfer of energy from motion to thermal energy due to friction. Every day machines can include skateboards, bicycles, lawnmowers, skis, and toy cars. ] (A06 & A09 & B01-B04)


Disciplinary Core Ideas
PS3.A: Definitions of Energy

  • Motion energy is properly called kinetic energy ; it is proportional to the mass of the moving object and grows with the square of its speed. (a) (A09)
  • A system of objects may also contain stored (potential) energy , depending on their relative positions. F or example, energy is stored—in gravitational interaction with Earth—when an object is raised, and energy is released when the object falls or is lowered. Energy is also stored in the electric fields between charged particles and the magnetic fields between magnets, and it changes when these objects are moved relative to one another. (b) (A09
  • Stored energy is decreased in some chemical reactions and increased in others. (c) (B04)
  • Temperature is a measure of the average kinetic energy of particles of matter. The relationship between the temperature and the total energy of a sy stem depends on the ty pes, states, and amounts of matter present. (d),(e) PS3.B: Conservation of Energy and Energy Transfer (B04)
  • When the motion energy of an object changes, there is inevitably some other change in energy at the same time. F or example, the friction that causes a moving object to stop also results in an increase in the thermal energy in both surfaces; eventually heat energy is transferred to the surrounding environment as the surfaces cool. Similarly , to make an object start moving or to keep it moving when friction forces transfer energy away from it, energy must be provided from, say , chemical (e.g., burning fuel) or electrical (e.g., an electric motor and battery ) processes. (f),(g) (A06 & A09)
  • The amount of energy transfer needed to change the temperature of a matter sample by a given amount depends on the nature of the matter, the size of the sample, and the environment. (e) (B01-B04)
  • Energy is transferred out of hotter regions or objects and into colder ones by the processes of conduction, convection, and radiation. (d) (B01)

PS3.D: Energy in Chemical Processes & Everyday Life

  • Machines can be made more efficient, that is, require less fuel input to perform a giv en task, by reducing friction between their moving parts and through aerodynamic design. Friction increases energy transfer to the surrounding environment by heating the affected materials. (f),(g) (A06-A09)
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MS.PS-FM Forces and Motion

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

(a)  Formulate questions arising from investigating how an observer’s frame of reference and the choice of units influence how the motion and position of an object can be described and communicated to others. [Clarification Statement: Examples of different reference frames or choices of units are: A moving observer versus a stationary observer; observers facing different directions; and cm for short distances but km for long distances.] [Assessment Boundary : Observations are made at the macroscopic scale only .] (A03-A08)

(b) Communicate observations and information graphically and mathematically to represent how an object’s relative position, velocity, and direction of motion are affected by forces acting on the object. [Assessment Boundary : Restricted to motion in one dimension. The use of vectors is not an expectation.] (A03-A08)

(c) c. Collect data to generate evidence supporting Newton’s Third Law, which states that when two objects interact they exert equal and opposite forces on each other. [Clarification Statement: Examples of interacting objects can include a book resting on a table; and skaters facing one another with hands together, then pushing off of one another.] [Assessment Boundary : Restrict to vertical or horizontal interactions; interactions at angles requiring trigonometry is not an expectation.] (A08)

(d) d. Use mathematical concepts and observations to describe the proportional relationship between the acceleration of an object and the force applied upon the object, and the inversely proportional relationship of acceleration to its mass. [Clarification Statement: Examples of these proportional and inversely proportional relationships can include a large truck requiring more force to slow down from a given speed to a stop than does a small truck and a ball pushed with a given force having a greater change in motion if the force is greater.] [Assessment Boundary : Simple formulas such as F=ma and w=mg could be used quantitatively ; the use of trigonometry is not an expectation.] (A04-A08)

(e) Plan and carry out investigations to identify the effect forces have on an object’s shape and orientation. [Clarification Statement: Effects of forces can include a small ball of mud or clay changing shape if force is added, such as pushing down on it or rolling it in y our hands; and the orientation of a pencil on a desk changing if a force is applied to it.] [Assessment Boundary : When discussing an object’s shape, description is purely qualitative. Simple formulas such as s=d/t and F=ma can be used quantitatively .] (A05)

(f) Analyze and interpret data to determine the cause and effect relationship between the motion of an object and the sum of the forces acting upon it. [Clarification Statement: A n example of the additive impact of forces on the motion of an object could include a situation in which one person may not be able to push a heavy object, but several people pushing and pulling in the same direction may move it.] [Assessment Boundary : Simple free-body diagrams are acceptable. The use of trigonometry is not an expectation. Assessments should include situations with both balanced and unbalanced forces.] (A05-A08)


Disciplinary Core Ideas
PS2.A: Forces and Motion

  • For any pair of interacting objects, the force exerted by the first object on the second object is equal in strength to the force that the second object exerts on the first, but in the opposite direction (Newton’s third law ). (c) (A08)
  • The motion of an object is determined by the sum of the forces acting on it; if the total force on the object is not zero, its motion will change. (b),(f) (A05-8)
  • The greater the mass of the object, the greater the force needed to achieve the same change in motion. For any given object, a larger force causes a larger change in motion. (d) (A05-8)
  • Forces on an object can also change its shape or orientation. (e) (A05-8 & B02)
  • All positions of objects and the directions of forces and motions must be described in an arbitrarily chosen reference frame and arbitrarily chosen units of size. In order to share information with other people, these choices must also be shared. (a) (A03-A08)
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MS.PS-IF Interactions of Forces

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

(a) Plan and carry out investigations to illustrate the factors that affect the strength of electric and magnetic forces. [Clarification Statement: Investigations can include observing the electric force produced between two charged objects at different distances; and measuring the magnetic force produced by an electromagnet with a varying number of wire turns, number or size of dry cells, or size of iron core.] [Assessment Boundary: Qualitative, not quantitative; no assessment of Coulomb’s law.] (B09-12)

(b) Use a model or various representations to describe the relationship among gravitational force, the mass of the interacting objects, and the distance between them. [Clarification Statement: Examples of models and representations can include labeled diagrams of the relationship between Earth and man-made satellites, the International Space Station, and an airplane taking off.] [Assessment Boundary: Qualitative, not quantitative.] (A06)

(c) Plan and carry out investigations to demonstrate that some forces act at a distance through fields. [Assessment Boundary: Fields included are limited to gravitational, electric, and magnetic. Determination of fields are qualitative not quantitative (e.g., forces between two human–scale objects are too small to measure without sensitive instrumentation.)] (A06 & B09-B12)

(d) Develop a simple model using given data that represents the relationship of gravitational interactions and the motion of objects in space. [Clarification Statement: Examples of simple models can include charts displaying mass, distance from the sun, and orbital periods of objects within the solar system.] [Assessment Boundary: Use models to determine a relationship conceptually. Qualitative, not quantitative.] (A06)

(e) Develop or modify models to demonstrate that systems can withstand small changes, relying on feedback mechanisms to maintain stability. [Assessment Boundary: Use models to determine a relationship conceptually, not quantitatively.] (ALL)


Disciplinary Core Ideas
PS2.B: Types of Interactions

  • Electric and magnetic (electromagnetic) forces can be attractive or repulsive, and their sizes depend on the magnitudes of the charges, currents, or magnetic strengths involved and on the distances between the interacting objects. (a) (B09-12)
  •  Gravitational forces are always attractive. There is a gravitational force between any two masses, but it is very small except when one or both of the objects have large mass—e.g., Earth and the sun. (d) (A06)
  •  Long-range gravitational interactions govern the evolution and maintenance of large-scale systems in space, such as galaxies or the solar system, and determine the patterns of motion within those structures. (b),(d) (A06)
  •  Forces that act at a distance (gravitational, electric, and magnetic) can be explained by force fields that extend through space and can be mapped by their effect on a test object (a ball, a charged object, or a magnet, respectively). (c) PS2.C: Stability and Instability in Physical Systems (A06 & B09-12)
  •  A stable system is one in which any small change results in forces that return the system to its prior state (e.g., a weight hanging from a string). (e) (ALL)
  •  Many systems, both natural and engineered, rely on feedback mechanisms to maintain stability, but they can function only within a limited range of conditions. With no energy inputs, a system starting out in an unstable state will continue to change until it reaches a stable configuration (e.g., sand in an hourglass). (e) (ALL)
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MS.PS-WER Waves and Electromagnetic Radiation

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

(a) Use a drawing or physical representation of simple wave properties to explain brightness and color. [Assessment Boundary: Qualitative, not quantitative. Restricted to the following wave properties: frequency, wavelength, and amplitude.]

(b) Plan and carry out investigations of sound traveling through various types of mediums and lack of medium to determine whether a medium is necessary for the transfer of sound waves. [Clarification Statement: Examples of investigations examining a lack of medium could include using a vacuum bell jar.]

(c) Construct explanations of how waves are reflected, absorbed, or transmitted through an object, considering the material the object is made from and the frequency of the wave. [Assessment Boundary: Qualitative application to light, sound, and seismic waves only.]

(d) Use empirical evidence to support the claim that light travels in straight lines except at surfaces between different transparent materials. [Clarification Statement: Examples of surfaces between transparent materials can include air and water, and air and glass.] [Assessment Boundary: Only non-computational observations; alterations of the speed of waves is not assessed until high school.]

(e) Ask questions about certain properties of light that can be explained by a wave model of light. [Clarification Statement: Examples of properties of light can include brightness, color, and the refracting of light in a prism.]

(f) Apply scientific knowledge to explain the application of waves in common communication designs. [Clarification Statement: Examples of common communication designs can include cell phones, radios, remote controls, and Bluetooth.] [Assessment Boundary: Applications limited to ability to transmit, receive, and encode.]


Disciplinary Core Ideas
PS4.A: Wave Properties

  • A simple wave has a repeating pattern with a specific wavelength, frequency, and amplitude. (a)
  • A sound wave needs a medium through which it is transmitted. (b) 
  • Geologists use seismic waves and their reflection at interfaces between layers to probe structures deep in the planet. (c) 

PS4.B: Electromagnetic Radiation

  • When light shines on an object, it is reflected, absorbed, or transmitted through the object, depending on the object’s material and the frequency (color) of the light. (c) 
  • The path that light travels can be traced as straight lines, except at surfaces between different transparent materials (e.g., air and water, air and glass) where the light path bends. Lenses and prisms are applications of this effect. (d) 
  • A wave model of light is useful for explaining brightness, color, and the frequency-dependent bending of light at a surface between media (prisms). However, because light can travel through space, it cannot be a matter wave, like sound or water waves.(a),(e) 

PS4.C: Information Technologies and Instrumentation

  • Appropriately designed technologies (e.g., radio, television, cell phones, wired and wireless computer networks) make it possible to detect and interpret many types of signals that cannot be sensed directly. Designers of such devices must understand both the signal and its interactions with matter. (f) 
  • Many modern communication devices use digitized signals (sent as wave pulses) as a more reliable way to encode and transmit information. (f) 
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MS-ETS-ED Engineering Design

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

(a)  Evaluate ideas for solving an environmental problem to determine which designs best meet the criteria and constraints of the problem and take into account scientific principles and short and long-term consequences. [Clarification Statement: Students compare sand blasting, chemical solvent, and high heat for removing graffiti; evaluate different plans for solving problems due to invasive species.] [Assessment Boundary: A numerical weighting system may be used to evaluate designs, but not an advanced mathematical model.]

(b) Develop a better design by combining characteristics of different solutions to arrive at a design that takes into account relevant scientific principles and better meets the needs of society. [Clarification Statement: For example, students develop a design for a highly energy efficient automobile by combining ideas from different car ads.] [Assessment Boundary: Limit arguments to qualitative characteristics.]

(c) Compare different designs by building physical models and running them through the same kinds of tests, while systematically controlling variables and recording the results to determine which design performs best. [Clarification Statement: For example, students test different designs for a bridge by building and testing a model or compare different designs for a hydroponic farm by building and testing small scale models in the classroom.]

(d) Use a computer simulation to test the effectiveness of a design under different operating conditions, or test what would happen if parameters of the model were changed, noting how the simulation may be limited in accurately modeling the real world. [Clarification Statement: Examples include simulating how a solar hot water system would function in different seasons or parts of the world and simulating the effects of different preventive actions in slowing the spread of disease during an epidemic.] [Assessment Boundary: Students should be given simulation software to use and not expected to create their own.]

(e) Refine a design by conducting several rounds of tests, modifying the model after each test, to create the best possible design that meets the most important criteria. [Clarification Statement: For example, students refine the design of a model building to withstand an earthquake, strengthening failure points after each test, or refine the design of a water filtration system by adding physical and chemical components and retesting after each change.]

(f) Communicate information about a proposed solution to a problem, including relevant scientific principles, how the design was developed, how it meets the criteria and constraints of the problem, and how it reduces the potential for negative consequences for society and the natural environment. [Clarification Statement: Students develop a poster, slide presentation, or oral design concept presentation.] [Assessment Boundary: Arguments should be limited to qualitative characteristics.]


Disciplinary Core Ideas
ETS1.A: Defining & Delimiting an Engineering Problem

  • The more precisely a design task’s criteria and constraints can be defined, the more likely it is that the designed solution will be successful. (a)
  • Specification of constraints includes consideration of scientific principles and other relevant knowledge that is likely to limit possible solutions. (a)

ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions

  • A solution needs to be tested, and then modified on the basis of the test results, in order to improve it. (e)
  • There are systematic processes for evaluating solutions with respect to how well they meet criteria and constraints of a problem. (a)
  • It is important to be able to communicate and explain solutions to others. (f)
  • Sometimes parts of different solutions can be combined to create a solution that is better than any of its predecessors. (b)
  • Models of all kinds are important for testing solutions, and computers are a valuable tool for simulating systems. (d)
  • Simulations are useful for predicting what would happen if various parameters of the model were changed, as well as for making improvements to the model based on peer and leader (e.g., teacher) feedback. (d)

ETS1.C: Optimizing the Design Solution

  • Comparing different designs could involve running them through the same kinds of tests and systematically recording the results to determine which design performs best. (c)
  • Although one design may not perform the best across all tests,identifying the characteristics of the design that performed the best in each test can provide useful information for the redesign process-that is, some of those characteristics may be incorporated into the new design. (c)
  • This iterative process of testing the most promising solutions and modifying what is proposed on the basis of the test results leads to greater refinement and ultimately to an optimal solution. (e)
  • Once a suitable solution is determined, it is important to describe that solution, explain how it was developed, and describe the features that make it successful. (f)
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MS-ETS-ETSS Links Among Engineering, Technology, Science, & Society

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

(a) Provide examples to explain how advances in engineering have resulted in new tools and instruments for measurement, exploration, modeling, and computation that enable new scientific discoveries, which in turn lead to the development of entire industries and engineered systems. [Clarification Statement: Examples include: microscopes enabled the germ theory of disease, which led to the development of antibiotics, stimulating growth of the pharmaceutical industry; discoveries in physics led to development of the integrated circuit, and computers, leading to many scientific breakthroughs, and spawning new industries.]

(b) Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information about a technology that draws on natural resources to improve health of people and the natural environment, and was eventually found to have negative impacts, requiring regulations on its use or new technologies to reduce its negative impacts. [Clarification Statement: Examples include the introduction of new chemicals for refrigeration that were less toxic, but were later found to reduce the ozone layer; the adoption of fossil fuels for energy that eliminated the need to decimate forests for heating and cooking, but were later found to change the atmosphere and climate.]

(c) Construct an explanation for how a technological system has changed over time, based on evidence about how these changes were driven by: (1) people’s changing needs, desires, and values, (2) the findings of scientific research, and (3) factors such as climate, natural resources, and economic conditions. [Clarification Statement: Use diagrams, timelines, or other representations to show factors that have shaped a major technological system over time (e.g., energy, transportation, manufacturing, food production and distribution).] [Assessment Boundary: Explanations do not need to include all possible factors or be quantitative.]

(d) Construct arguments for and against the development of a new technology based on potential short and long term impacts (positive and negative) on the health of people, and the natural environment. [Clarification Statement: Students should consider the pros and cons of different new technologies such as maglev rail, genetically engineered crops, wearable computers, human space travel, and new energy systems that exploit renewable resources.]


Disciplinary Core Ideas
ETS2.A: Interdependence of Science, Engineering, & Technology

  • Engineering advances have led to important discoveries in virtually every field of science, and scientific discoveries have led to the development of entire industries and engineered systems. (a)
  • In order to design better technologies, new science may need to be explored. (a)
  • Technologies in turn extend the measurement, exploration, modeling, and computational capacity of scientific investigations. (a)

ETS2.B: Influence of Engineering, Technology, and science on society and the natural world

  • All human activity draws on natural resources and has both short-term and long-term consequences, positive as well as negative for the health of both people and the natural environment. (b),(d)
  • The uses of technology and any limitations on their use are driven by individual or societal needs, desires, and values; by the findings of scientific research; and by differences in such factors as climate, natural resources, and economic conditions. (c),(d)
  • Thus technology use varies from region to region and over time. (c)
  • Technologies that are beneficial for a certain purpose may later be seen to have impacts that were not foreseen. In such cases, new regulations on use or new technologies may be required. (b),(d)