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  • Middle School

    Engineering Design

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

Performance Expectations

  1. Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions. MS-ETS1-1

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  2. Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem. MS-ETS1-2

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  3. Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success. MS-ETS1-3

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  4. Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved. MS-ETS1-4

    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

Asking Questions and Defining Problems

Asking questions and defining problems in grades 6–8 builds from grades K–5 experiences and progresses to specifying relationships between variables and clarifying arguments and models.

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.

Engaging in Argument from Evidence

Engaging in argument from evidence in 6–8 builds on K–5 experiences and progresses to constructing a convincing argument that supports or refutes claims for either explanations or solutions about the natural and designed world(s).

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-ETS1-1), (MS-ETS1-2), (MS-ETS1-3)
  • 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-ETS1-3)
  • RST.6-8.9 - Compare and contrast the information gained from experiments, simulations, video, or multimedia sources with that gained from reading a text on the same topic. (MS-ETS1-2), (MS-ETS1-3)
  • SL.8.5 - Integrate multimedia and visual displays into presentations to clarify information, strengthen claims and evidence, and add interest. (MS-ETS1-4)
  • 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-ETS1-2)
  • 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-ETS1-1)
  • WHST.6-8.9 - Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis reflection, and research. (MS-ETS1-2)


  • 7.EE.B.3 - Solve multi-step real-life and mathematical problems posed with positive and negative rational numbers in any form (whole numbers, fractions, and decimals), using tools strategically. Apply properties of operations to calculate with numbers in any form; convert between forms as appropriate; and assess the reasonableness of answers using mental computation and estimation strategies. (MS-ETS1-1), (MS-ETS1-2), (MS-ETS1-3)
  • 7.SP.C.7 - Develop a probability model and use it to find probabilities of events. Compare probabilities from a model to observed frequencies; if the agreement is not good, explain possible sources of the discrepancy. (MS-ETS1-4)
  • MP.2 - Reason abstractly and quantitatively. (MS-ETS1-1), (MS-ETS1-2), (MS-ETS1-3), (MS-ETS1-4)

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 president has sent out a memo to engineers in the state of “Alabraska”—your help is needed to save the human population from an asteroid impact! This lesson plan is the first in a series of 8 developed at the Colorado School of Mines. In this int…

  • 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…

  • This article by Dr. Stuart Burge provides step-by-step directions on how to use a Pugh Matrix (also called a Pugh Chart, Pugh Method, and Decision Matrix). A Pugh Matrix is used by engineers to evaluate multiple design options based on a set of crite…

  • In this lesson, students become bioengineers, trying to effectively and safely restore “blood flow” through a model clogged artery. Background work, including dissection ideas, provides students with an understanding of circulatory sys…

  • This 25 minute movie from PBS highlights the work of a group of female, middle school students in a science club. Very short cartoon portions of the video can be edited off of the beginning and end. The goal of the group of students is to improve …

  • 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…

  • In this short unit students are introduced to erosion and propose solutions to an erosion problem on school grounds. The teacher first briefly demonstrates what erosion is, and then students investigate examples of natural or human caused erosion …

  • In this series of 5 lessons, students first build up a background knowledge of thermal energy transfer, distinguishing heat from temperature. They then investigate the insulative properties of various materials. They use this background learning t…


    Musical Plates-A Study of Plate Tectonics is an internet-based multidisciplinary project. Musical Plates - A Study of Plate Tectonics is one of 3 Musical Plates projects found on the k12 science.org” This review is a descrip…

  • In this lesson, students use their knowledge of forces to answer the driving question: What components and materials can be used to create a model chair lift, designed to carry a set of aid materials?  They use th…

  • In the Pollution Patrol lesson, students work in teams to design and build their own outdoor air pollution detectors out of everyday items. They design, refine and then test their air pollution detectors, and then see how many particulate…

  • The article describes an engineering project that is to be done as the culminating event in a unit on biodiversity and adaptation.  Students apply what they have learned about these disciplinary core ideas to design products for human…


    This assessment is one of the first that was published by Achieve, the organization that coordinated the writing of the Next Generation Science Standards.  It includes a standards bundle (integration) of nine CCSS-Mat…

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