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  • Crosscutting Concepts

Crosscutting concepts have application across all domains of science. As such, they are a way of linking the different domains of science. They include patterns; cause and effect; scale, proportion, and quantity; systems and system models; energy and matter; structure and function; and stability and change. The Framework emphasizes that these concepts need to be made explicit for students because they provide an organizational schema for interrelating knowledge from various science fields into a coherent and scientifically based view of the world.

1. Patterns

Observed patterns in nature guide organization and classification and prompt questions about relationships and causes underlying them.

2. Cause and Effect

Events have causes, sometimes simple, sometimes multifaceted. Deciphering causal relationships, and the mechanisms by which they are mediated, is a major activity of science and engineering.

3. Scale, Proportion, and Quantity

In considering phenomena, it is critical to recognize what is relevant at different size, time, and energy scales, and to recognize proportional relationships between different quantities as scales change.

4. Systems and System Models

A system is an organized group of related objects or components; models can be used for understanding and predicting the behavior of systems.

5. Energy and Matter

Tracking energy and matter flows, into, out of, and within systems helps one understand their system’s behavior.

6. Structure and Function

The way an object is shaped or structured determines many of its properties and functions.

7. Stability and Change

For both designed and natural systems, conditions that affect stability and factors that control rates of change are critical elements to consider and understand.