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Students who demonstrate understanding can:

Performance Expectations

  1. Create a computational model to calculate the change in the energy of one component in a system when the change in energy of the other component(s) and energy flows in and out of the system are known. HS-PS3-1

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  2. Develop and use models to illustrate that energy at the macroscopic scale can be accounted for as a combination of energy associated with the motions of particles (objects) and energy associated with the relative positions of particles (objects). HS-PS3-2

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  3. Design, build, and refine a device that works within given constraints to convert one form of energy into another form of energy. HS-PS3-3

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  4. Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence that the transfer of thermal energy when two components of different temperature are combined within a closed system results in a more uniform energy distribution among the components in the system (second law of thermodynamics). HS-PS3-4

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  5. Develop and use a model of two objects interacting through electric or magnetic fields to illustrate the forces between objects and the changes in energy of the objects due to the interaction. HS-PS3-5

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary

A Peformance Expectation (PE) is what a student should be able to do to show mastery of a concept. Some PEs include a Clarification Statement and/or an Assessment Boundary. These can be found by clicking the PE for "More Info." By hovering over a PE, its corresponding pieces from the Science and Engineering Practices, Disciplinary Core Ideas, and Crosscutting Concepts will be highlighted.

Science and Engineering Practices

Developing and Using Models

Modeling in 9–12 builds on K–8 experiences and progresses to using, synthesizing, and developing models to predict and show relationships among variables between systems and their components in the natural and designed world(s).

Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking

Mathematical and computational thinking in 9–12 builds on K–8 experiences and progresses to using algebraic thinking and analysis, a range of linear and nonlinear functions including trigonometric functions, exponentials and logarithms, and computational tools for statistical analysis to analyze, represent, and model data. Simple computational simulations are created and used based on mathematical models of basic assumptions.

Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions

Constructing explanations and designing solutions in 9–12 builds on K–8 experiences and progresses to explanations and designs that are supported by multiple and independent student-generated sources of evidence consistent with scientific ideas, principles, and theories.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

Crosscutting Concepts

By clicking on a specific Science and Engineering Practice, Disciplinary Core Idea, or Crosscutting Concept, you can find out more information on it. By hovering over one you can find its corresponding elements in the PEs.

Planning Curriculum

Common Core State Standards Connections


  • RST.11-12.1 - Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to important distinctions the author makes and to any gaps or inconsistencies in the account. (HS-PS3-4)
  • SL.11-12.5 - Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest. (HS-PS3-1), (HS-PS3-2), (HS-PS3-5)
  • WHST.11-12.7 - Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation. (HS-PS3-3), (HS-PS3-4), (HS-PS3-5)
  • WHST.11-12.8 - Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the strengths and limitations of each source in terms of the specific task, purpose, and audience; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and overreliance on any one source and following a standard format for citation. (HS-PS3-4), (HS-PS3-5)
  • WHST.11-12.9 - Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research. (HS-PS3-4), (HS-PS3-5)


  • HSN-Q.A.1 - Use units as a way to understand problems and to guide the solution of multi-step problems; choose and interpret units consistently in formulas; choose and interpret the scale and the origin in graphs and data displays. (HS-PS3-1), (HS-PS3-3)
  • HSN-Q.A.2 - Define appropriate quantities for the purpose of descriptive modeling. (HS-PS3-1), (HS-PS3-3)
  • HSN-Q.A.3 - Choose a level of accuracy appropriate to limitations on measurement when reporting quantities. (HS-PS3-1), (HS-PS3-3)
  • MP.2 - Reason abstractly and quantitatively. (HS-PS3-1), (HS-PS3-2), (HS-PS3-3), (HS-PS3-4), (HS-PS3-5)
  • MP.4 - Model with mathematics. (HS-PS3-1), (HS-PS3-2), (HS-PS3-3), (HS-PS3-4), (HS-PS3-5)

Model Course Mapping

First Time Visitors

Resources & Lesson Plans

  • More resources added each week!
    A team of teacher curators is working to find, review, and vet online resources that support the standards. Check back often, as NSTA continues to add more targeted resources.
  • The resource (beginning on page 15) gives excellent background information that derives the equation for the conservation of energy of a falling object. Using that background as a guide, the resource then has the students perform an experiment wit…

  • This resource provides background information about semiconductors and photovoltaic cells. Then it has three parts to the lab activity: (1) solar cell(s) and small electric fan, (2) Lifting small masses with an electric motor, and (3) Powering a l…

  • This is a lab activity involving transformations between the gravitational potential energy, elastic potential energy, and kinetic energy of a system. An air track with a glider and a photo gate timer are needed to perform the lab. The lab is divi…

  • In this lab activity, students use a PAScar Dynamics System and Data Studio software to investigate the conversion of gravitational potential energy into kinetic energy. Before beginning the experiment, students are asked to list and describe the …

  • This resource presents the students with three small activities which are all disguised as challenges. The first activity, "Deactivating the Bomb," requires the students to determine how much hot water to add to a beaker of cool water so that the fin…

  • This resource requires students to use Conservation of Energy to determine the height a Hot Wheels car must be released from in order to complete a loop-the-loop. This resource does not teach the Law of Conservation of Energy, but it does require …

  • This resource is a series of questions that help guide students to a better understanding of the Conservation of Energy. It starts by asking students to analyze the energies involved when a wagon is pushed up a hill, and proceeds to confront stude…

  • This resource provides the instructor with a video clip illustrating conservation of energy in a circus routine. Along with the video clip are questions that the teacher can use to hold a class discussion to help students understand how on…

  • This resource provides background information about photovoltaic cells, has class discussion and assessment materials, and then incorporates all of those components into a laboratory activity in which the students determine the optimal ang…

  • This resource has students construct a solar water heater. The resource includes background information, instructions for constructing and testing the solar water heater designs, as well as pre and post-lab questions to aid the teacher wit…

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Planning Curriculum gives connections to other areas of study for easier curriculum creation.