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  • Middle School

    Earth's Place in the Universe

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

Performance Expectations

  1. Develop and use a model to describe the role of gravity in the motions within galaxies and the solar system. MS-ESS1-2

    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.

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


  • 6.EE.B.6 - Use variables to represent numbers and write expressions when solving a real-world or mathematical problem; understand that a variable can represent an unknown number, or, depending on the purpose at hand, any number in a specified set. (MS-ESS1-2)
  • 6.RP.A.1 - Understand the concept of a ratio and use ratio language to describe a ratio relationship between two quantities. (MS-ESS1-2)
  • 7.EE.B.4 - Use variables to represent quantities in a real-world or mathematical problem, and construct simple equations and inequalities to solve problems by reasoning about the quantities. (MS-ESS1-2)
  • 7.RP.A.2 - Recognize and represent proportional relationships between quantities. (MS-ESS1-2)
  • MP.4 - Model with mathematics. (MS-ESS1-2)

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 Great Gravity Escape is an outdoor based, kinesthetic activity designed to illustrate the role of gravity and velocity in orbital interactions by calculating the escape velocity for a water balloon “spacecraft” orbiting a student. The ...

  • My Solar System is an orbital simulator which students use to investigate how mass, position and velocity affect gravitational forces.  Students can either select from ten preset scenarios, ranging from simple sun-planet-moon simulations to more ...

  • Gravity and Orbits is an interactive simulation that investigates the effect of gravity on orbital paths. Users are given the option of investigating four scenarios: 1. star and planet, 2. star, planet and moon, 3. planet and moon, and, finally, 4. p ...

  • The Pull of the Planets is part of a thematic series of lessons highlighting the Juno mission to Jupiter. It is a traditional hands on activity that models how gravitational forces can keep planets and asteroids in orbit within the Solar System. Usi ...

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