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    Structure and Properties of Matter

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

Performance Expectations

  1. Use the periodic table as a model to predict the relative properties of elements based on the patterns of electrons in the outermost energy level of atoms. HS-PS1-1

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  2. Plan and conduct an investigation to gather evidence to compare the structure of substances at the bulk scale to infer the strength of electrical forces between particles. HS-PS1-3

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  3. Develop models to illustrate the changes in the composition of the nucleus of the atom and the energy released during the processes of fission, fusion, and radioactive decay. HS-PS1-8

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  4. Communicate scientific and technical information about why the molecular-level structure is important in the functioning of designed materials. HS-PS2-6

    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 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).

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-PS1-3), (HS-PS2-6)
  • RST.9-10.7 - Translate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text into visual form (e.g., a table or chart) and translate information expressed visually or mathematically (e.g., in an equation) into words. (HS-PS1-1)
  • 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-PS1-3)
  • 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-PS1-3)
  • WHST.11-12.9 - Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research. (HS-PS1-3)
  • WHST.9-12.2 - Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/ experiments, or technical processes. (HS-PS2-6)


  • 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-PS1-3), (HS-PS1-8), (HS-PS2-6)
  • HSN-Q.A.2 - Define appropriate quantities for the purpose of descriptive modeling. (HS-PS1-8), (HS-PS2-6)
  • HSN-Q.A.3 - Choose a level of accuracy appropriate to limitations on measurement when reporting quantities. (HS-PS1-3), (HS-PS1-8), (HS-PS2-6)
  • MP.4 - Model with mathematics. (HS-PS1-8)

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.
  • This activity provides students the opportunity to explore patterns in the periodic table. Students have options to display graphs of elements according to their atomic numbers and properties including: molar mass, atomic radius, ionic radius, melti…

  • This lesson plan (pages 14-15 of the Water Basic Lesson Plan) provides teacher guidelines for using 3-D water and ethanol molecule models to explain water’s surface tension property that results from the polar nature of the molecules by comparison wi…

  • The article, from the American Chemical Society’s October 2012 edition of ChemMatters, introduced graphene, an allotrope of carbon. Graphene provides an opportunity for students to examine how the molecular level structure of a material is important…

  • Part 1 of the X-ray Spectroscopy Unit from NASA’s Imagine the Universe! lesson plans includes a series of three lessons on the formation of elements in stars. During this three lesson series, students learn about the life cycle of stars and model th…

  • In this lab activity, students use a digital temperature probe to compare the temperature changes when four different alcohols evaporate. The analysis questions provided guide students to connecting the energy changes associated with the change of …

  • This review focuses on the Sugar Fermentation lab resources contributed by MIT (see Vernier Manuals and Lab Extensions section for links to the lab activities and teacher guide at http://goo.gl/q5HkWn). The Sugar Fermentation Lab utilizes gas pressu…

  • The demonstration featured in this blog and video presents a puzzle for students to explain observations of the difference in behavior of four balloons - three filled with helium and the final one with air - when cooled in liquid nitrogen. Students…

  • This review focuses on the lab activity identified in a series of lessons that explore the basic characteristics of polymers through the introduction of two polymer categories: thermoplastics and thermosets. In the lab activity, students act as engin…

  • This review focuses on one of several simulations that may be used to demonstrate the effects of a downward force on a beam made of various materials.  In the Ceramic Forces simulation considered here, the view is of an ionic lattice,…

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