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  • Middle School

    Matter and Its Interactions

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

Performance Expectations

  1. Develop models to describe the atomic composition of simple molecules and extended structures. MS-PS1-1

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  2. Analyze and interpret data on the properties of substances before and after the substances interact to determine if a chemical reaction has occurred. MS-PS1-2

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  3. Gather and make sense of information to describe that synthetic materials come from natural resources and impact society. MS-PS1-3

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  4. Develop a model that predicts and describes changes in particle motion, temperature, and state of a pure substance when thermal energy is added or removed. MS-PS1-4

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  5. Develop and use a model to describe how the total number of atoms does not change in a chemical reaction and thus mass is conserved. MS-PS1-5

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  6. Undertake a design project to construct, test, and modify a device that either releases or absorbs thermal energy by chemical processes. MS-PS1-6

    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 6–8 builds on K–5 experiences and progresses to developing, using, and revising models to describe, test, and predict more abstract phenomena and design systems.

Analyzing and Interpreting Data

Analyzing data in 6–8 builds on K–5 experiences and progresses to extending quantitative analysis to investigations, distinguishing between correlation and causation, and basic statistical techniques of data and error analysis.

Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions

Constructing explanations and designing solutions in 6–8 builds on K–5 experiences and progresses to include constructing explanations and designing solutions supported by multiple 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.6-8.1 - Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts. (MS-PS1-2), (MS-PS1-3)
  • RST.6-8.3 - Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks. (MS-PS1-6)
  • RST.6-8.7 - Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table). (MS-PS1-1), (MS-PS1-2), (MS-PS1-4), (MS-PS1-5)
  • WHST.6-8.7 - Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration. (MS-PS1-6)
  • WHST.6-8.8 - Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation. (MS-PS1-3)


  • 6.NS.C.5 - Understand that positive and negative numbers are used together to describe quantities having opposite directions or values (e.g., temperature above/below zero, elevation above/below sea level, credits/debits, positive/negative electric charge); use positive and negative numbers to represent quantities in real-world contexts, explaining the meaning of 0 in each situation. (MS-PS1-4)
  • 6.RP.A.3 - Use ratio and rate reasoning to solve real-world and mathematical problems, e.g., by reasoning about tables of equivalent ratios, tape diagrams, double number line diagrams, or equations. (MS-PS1-1), (MS-PS1-2), (MS-PS1-5)
  • 6.SP.B.4 - Display numerical data in plots on a number line, including dot plots, histograms, and box plots. (MS-PS1-2)
  • 6.SP.B.5 - Summarize numerical data sets in relation to their context. (MS-PS1-2)
  • 8.EE.A.3 - Use numbers expressed in the form of a single digit times an integer power of 10 to estimate very large or very small quantities, and to express how many times as much one is than the other. (MS-PS1-1)
  • MP.2 - Reason abstractly and quantitatively. (MS-PS1-1), (MS-PS1-2), (MS-PS1-5)
  • MP.4 - Model with mathematics. (MS-PS1-1), (MS-PS1-5)

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.
  • Learners with little or no prior knowledge of atomic or molecular structure can follow simple directions to digitally “build” a wide variety of molecules out of three atoms: carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. This educational game received a 2 ...

  • This rich digital resource explores the versatile RNA molecule through a highly engaging computer game and short explanatory videos.  The game is designed on three levels of increasing complexity, which are unlocked as students correctly perform ...

  • Students will have fun constructing simple molecules with this simulation, while also gaining insight into molecular structure and chemical nomenclature. The activity gives learners tasks to build molecules from “kits” of elements. The ta ...

  • In this lesson, students learn about the components of air, and the chemical reactions that release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.  They use LEGO bricks to model conservation of mass during combustion, and explore the connection between car ...

  •      Students test various endothermic and exothermic changes and reactions, then use their findings to design a reptile egg carrier.  The egg carrier must reach a specific temperature range and be designed to protect a repti ...

  • The phenomenon of a burning candle is used to introduce the idea of reactants and products.  Students use a paper model of atoms in a combustion reaction to see that atoms are not created or destroyed, only rearranged.  They move on to coun ...

  • Students will view a teacher demonstration then do an activity themselves.  They will compare and contrast the results and methods, to determine why the results were different.  Students will use knowledge about conservation of mass and an ...

  • Students observe the properties of substances before and after three teacher-demonstrated chemical reactions.  They use their observations to draw conclusions about characteristics that define chemical reactions.  They test their conclusion ...

  • This lesson (2.2) is the second lesson in Chapter 2: Changes of State from Middle School Chemistry produced by ACS. The lesson, which is outlined comprehensively in the lesson plan, follows the BSCS 5E Instructional Model. The “engage” ...

  • This is the second chapter in the American Chemical Society (ACS)  program Middle School Chemistry. This chapter contains five lessons or activities: Heat, Temperature, and Conduction Changing State—Evaporation Cha ...

  • This simulation allows the user to choose one of four substances (A, Ne, O2, H2O), vary the temperature of the container and observe the behavior of the particles of the substance providing a straightforward means to observe the relationship specifie ...

  • The overarching unit has students learn about, design, and build biosuits - suits designed to protect people in potentially dangerous conditions while allowing for complex tasks to still be completed. This review focuses on lessons 3 and 4 of that tw ...

  • Students begin the activity by brainstorming observable changes that indicate a chemical change has occurred. They then mix calcium chloride with water and measure the temperature change during the reaction. Next, they add baking soda to the solution ...

  • This is a 5E laboratory lesson plan about endothermic and exothermic reactions. Teaching resources include activity sheets for assessment, answer sheets, a variety of video clips and animations to support the students' learning of the concepts, backg ...

  • In this interactive simulation, users adjust the coefficients in an equation while the molecules are depicted in a box above the equation. This allows the users to visualize what the symbols in the chemical equation actually mean. They can count the ...

  • This lesson plan introduces students to the process of plating one metallic object with another metal and the importance of this process in engineering applications. With parameters, students design strategies to copperplate other metal objects using ...

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