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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

ELA/Literacy

  • 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)

Mathematics

  • 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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  • Future Goals - Hockey Scholar™ brings science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts to life using the exciting, fast-paced game of hockey. Through immersive real-life simulations, students build their understanding of fundamental STE...

  • In this series of games, your students will learn about the building blocks of matter. The Atoms and Elements learning objective — based on NGSS and state standards — delivers improved student engagement and academic performance in your classroom, as...

  • In this series of games, your students will learn about different molecular structures and combinations. The Molecules and Compounds learning objective — based on NGSS and state standards — delivers improved student engagement and academic performanc...

  • In this series of games, your students will learn the properties of pure substances and what distinguishes them from other substances. The Pure Substances learning objective — based on NGSS and state standards — delivers improved student engagement a...

  • In this series of games, your students will learn about the states of matter, specifically the properties of gases and liquids. The Gases and Liquids learning objective — based on NGSS and state standards — delivers improved student engagement and ac...

  • In this series of games, your students will learn how the states of matter are distinguished. The States of Matter and their Structure learning objective — based on NGSS and state standards — delivers improved student engagement and academic performa...

  • In this series of games, your students will learn the different types of solids and their properties. The Solids learning objective — based on NGSS and state standards — delivers improved student engagement and academic performance in your classroom,...

  • In this series of games, your students will learn how and why substances undergo phase changes. The _Effects of Temperature and Pressure on State learning objective — based on NGSS and state standards — delivers improved student engagement and academ...

  • In this series of games, your students will learn about the components of chemical reactions and how they change. The Chemical Reactions: Arrangements of Atoms learning objective — based on NGSS and state standards — delivers improved student engagem...

  • In this series of games, your students will learn how to determine whether a chemical reaction has occurred. The Chemical Reactions: Evidence of a Reaction learning objective — based on NGSS and state standards — delivers improved student engagement ...

  • In this series of games, your students will learn the characteristics of balanced chemical reactions. The Conservation of Matter in Chemical Reactions learning objective — based on NGSS and state standards — delivers improved student engagement and a...

  • In this series of games, your students will learn about the release and absorption of energy in reactions. The Energy Transfer in Chemical Reactions learning objective — based on NGSS and state standards — delivers improved student engagement and aca...

  • In this series of games, your students will learn about the transfer of thermal energy. The Heat as Energy Transfer learning objective — based on NGSS and state standards — delivers improved student engagement and academic performance in your classro...

  • In this series of games, your students will learn about the relationship between thermal energy and temperature, and how temperature is measured. The Temperature, Thermal Energy, and Particle Motion learning objective — based on NGSS and state standa...

  • Engineering Lesson with NGSS Connections (with light kit activity)

  • This short video surveys the different current and potential sources of energy - both non-renewable and renewable. It provides some discussion of the pros and cons of the different sources and explains how they are used to produce energy that people...

  • This hands-on activity will provide students with an understanding of the issues that surround environmental clean-up. Students will create their own oil spill, try different methods for cleaning it up, and then discuss the merits of each method in t...

  • This activity introduces wind energy concepts through a reading passage and by answering assessment questions. The main section of the activity involves constructing and testing a windmill to observe how design and position affect the electrical ener...

  • A sequence of five short animated videos that explain the properties of carbon in relationship to global warming, narrated by Robert Krulwich from NPR.

  • This activity includes an assessment, analysis, and action tool that can be used by classrooms to promote understanding of how the complex current issues of energy, pollution, supply, and consumption are not just global but also local issues.

  • This fuel cell animation demonstrates how a fuel cell uses hydrogen to produce electricity, with only water and heat as byproducts. The animation consists of four parts - an introduction, fuel cell components, chemical process, and fuel cell stack.

  • This video reviews how photovoltaic (PV) cells work, noting that technological innovations are decreasing costs and allowing PV use to expand.

  • This interactive diagram from the National Academy of Sciences shows how we rely on a variety of primary energy sources (solar, nuclear, hydro, wind, geothermal, natural gas, coal, biomass, oil) to supply energy to four end-use sectors (residential, ...

  • This video segment highlights how the U.S. military is the single largest user of energy in the nation, but it is also trying to reduce its carbon bootprint. Scenes taped at Fort Irwin and Camp Pendleton show the Army and Marines experimenting with w...

  • This video describes how concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies reflect and collect solar energy to generate electricity. This video explains what CSP is, how it works, and focuses on parabolic troughs.

  • This introductory video describes the basic principles of residential geothermal heat pumps.

  • This video provides an overview of the research of the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) on converting biomass to liquid fuels.

  • This NASA animation depicts thermohaline circulation in the ocean and how it relates to salinity and water density. It illustrates the sinking of water in the cold, dense ocean near Iceland and Greenland. The surface of the ocean then fades away and ...

  • This video discusses two key signs of global change in the Southern Ocean: changes in Antarctic bottom water and ocean acidification.

  • This static image from NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory Carbon Program offers a visually compelling and scientifically sound image of the sea water carbonate chemistry process that leads to ocean acidification and impedes calcification.

  • This interactive animation focuses on the carbon cycle and includes embedded videos and captioned images to provide greater clarification and detail of the cycle than would be available by a single static visual alone.

  • This is a debate-style learning activity in which student teams learn about energy sources and are then assigned to represent the different energy sources. Working cooperatively, students develop arguments on the pros and cons of their source over th...

  • This well-designed experiment compares CO2 impacts on salt water and fresh water. In a short demonstration, students examine how distilled water (i.e., pure water without any dissolved ions or compounds) and seawater are affected differently by incre...

  • This PBS video shows how Klaus Lackner, a geophysicist at Columbia University, is trying to tackle the problem of rising atmospheric CO2 levels by using an idea inspired by his daughter's 8th-grade science fair project. The video examines the idea of...

  • This video segment from the Earth Operators Manual summarizes how fossil fuels are made, provides a comparison of how long it takes to store energy in coal, oil and natural gas, and discusses how fast we're using them.

  • This Flash animation describes how hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs) combine the benefits of gasoline engines and electric motors and can be configured to obtain different objectives, such as improved fuel economy, increased power, or additional auxili...

  • This is a series of 10 short videos, hosted by the National Science Foundation, each featuring scientists, research, and green technologies. The overall goal of this series is to encourage people to ask questions and look beyond fossil fuels for inno...

  • This is a short experiment to demonstrate the concept of thermal expansion of water when heated, as an analogy to thermal expansion of oceans due to global warming.

  • This activity is a greenhouse-effect-in-a-bottle experiment. The lesson includes readings from NEED.org and an inquiry lab measuring the effect of carbon dioxide and temperature change in an enclosed environment.

  • This is an interactive table with a comprehensive list of 29 greenhouse gases, their molecular structures, a chart showing a time series of their atmospheric concentrations (at several sampling sites), their global warming potential (GWP) and their ...

  • This video segment from 'What's Up in the Environment,' shares how an entire home can be constructed using green energy sources (solar and geothermal energy). Video is narrated by young boy whose father is the chief engineer on the project.

  • In this video segment from NOVA's Saved By the Sun hour-long video, students learn about photovoltaics and see how two families are using solar technologies in their homes. The video introduces the ideas of state incentives and net metering benefit...

  • This is a utility-scale, land-based map of the mean annual wind speed 80 meters above the ground. This map can be used to evaluate the potential for wind energy in the US. State maps and more information are linked from the main map.

  • This video describes how geothermal heat resources in California have been tapped to supply 850 MW of electricity. Images and animations show how the area known as The Geysers has been developed to capture steam, produced from trapped rainwater and ...

  • In this video clip from Earth: The Operators' Manual, host Richard Alley discusses China's efforts to develop clean energy technologies and to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere, by building coal plants using CO2 sequestration technology. (scroll down pa...

  • This slideshow lays out a photo story with short descriptions of how designers of city buildings all over the world are taking climate change and rising sea level seriously.

  • This hands-on activity is a kinesthetic game illustrating the dynamics of the carbon cycle. Acting as carbon atoms, students travel from one carbon reservoir to another. At each reservoir they determine, by rolling dice, how long they stay in the res...

  • In this interactive, students can investigate a typical hydrogen fuel cell prototype car from its fuel cell stacks to its ultracapacitor, a kind of supplementary power source. The limited-production vehicle seen in this feature is a Honda 2005 FC...

  • In this activity, students conduct a life cycle assessment of energy used and produced in ethanol production, and a life cycle assessment of carbon dioxide used and produced in ethanol production.

  • This video is one of a series of videos from the Switch Energy project. It describes three types of geothermal sources -- rare ones in which high temperatures are naturally concentrated near the surface, deep wells that require fracturing the rock an...

  • This suite of short video clips is part of a series produced by the Switch Energy project. There are several video segments that discuss different perspectives of biofuels as a renewable source of energy.

  • This short activity provides a way to improve understanding of a frequently-published diagram of global carbon pools and fluxes. Students create a scaled 3-D visual of carbon reservoirs and the movement of carbon between reservoirs.

  • In this short but effective demonstration/experiment, students investigate how thermal expansion of water might affect sea level.

  • For this lesson, the guiding Concept Question is: What is climate change and how does climate relate to greenhouse gas concentrations over time? This activity is the second lesson in a nine-lesson module 'Visualizing and Understanding the Science of...

  • In this hands-on activity, students explore whether rooftop gardens are a viable option for combating the urban heat island effect. The guiding question is: Can rooftop gardens reduce the temperature inside and outside of houses?

  • In this activity, students use a physical model to learn the basics of photosynthesis and respiration within the carbon cycle.

  • This short video is an excerpt from the longer video Acid Test: The Global Challenge of Ocean Acidification, produced by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC). This short version summarizes the science of ocean acidification as well as the so...

  • This visualization explains in simple and easy-to-understand visuals the causes of sea-level change.

  • This activity utilizes a PhET greenhouse gas simulation to explore the interaction of different atmospheric gases with different types of radiation.

  • This lesson explores the chemistry of some of the greenhouse gases that affect Earth's climate. Third in a series of 9 lessons from an online module entitled 'Visualizing and Understanding the Science of Climate Change'.

  • In this short, hands-on activity, students build simple molecular models of 4 atmospheric gases (O2, N2, C02, and methane), compare their resonant frequencies, and make the connection between resonant frequency and the gas's ability to absorb infrare...

  • In this hands-on activity, students examine how the orientation of a photovoltaic (PV) panel -- relative to the position of the sun -- affects the energy-efficiency of the panel.

  • This online activity challenges students to design a renewable energy system for one of five different cities, each with different energy resource potential and budgets. Students can test their designs using real-time weather data in each city.

  • Includes: an example of a 6th grade unit incorporating Depth of Knowledge (DOK), New Taxonomy (Marzano and Kendall, 2007), and bundled NGSS Performance Expectations for Matter and Its Interactions; example student-reflection, guide of how to populat...

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