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  • 3rd Grade

    Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

Performance Expectations

  1. Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence that plants and animals have traits inherited from parents and that variation of these traits exists in a group of similar organisms. 3-LS3-1

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  2. Use evidence to support the explanation that traits can be influenced by the environment. 3-LS3-2

    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.

Science and Engineering Practices

Analyzing and Interpreting Data

Analyzing data in 3–5 builds on K–2 experiences and progresses to introducing quantitative approaches to collecting data and conducting multiple trials of qualitative observations. When possible and feasible, digital tools should be used.

Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions

Constructing explanations and designing solutions in 3–5 builds on K–2 experiences and progresses to the use of evidence in constructing explanations that specify variables that describe and predict phenomena and in designing multiple solutions to design problems.

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


  • RI.3.1 - Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers. (3-LS3-1), (3-LS3-2)
  • RI.3.2 - Determine the main idea of a text; recount the key details and explain how they support the main idea. (3-LS3-1), (3-LS3-2)
  • RI.3.3 - Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect. (3-LS3-1), (3-LS3-2)
  • SL.3.4 - Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace. (3-LS3-1), (3-LS3-2)
  • W.3.2 - Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly. (3-LS3-1), (3-LS3-2)


  • 3.MD.B.4 - Generate measurement data by measuring lengths using rulers marked with halves and fourths of an inch. Show the data by making a line plot, where the horizontal scale is marked off in appropriate units— whole numbers, halves, or quarters. (3-LS3-1), (3-LS3-2)
  • MP.2 - Reason abstractly and quantitatively. (3-LS3-1), (3-LS3-2)
  • MP.4 - Model with mathematics. (3-LS3-1), (3-LS3-2)

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.
  • Student use a simulation activity to discover that plants that look alike can have different types of roots, that plants with different types of roots can thrive in soils that have different amounts of moisture, and that plants ca ...

  • Students perform a simulated investigation that models how thriving species are of an organism are adapted to their environments and that variation in a species can help the species adapt to changes in that environment. From the initial pla ...

  • This is an interdisciplinary, 5E unit that begins with students becoming animal detectives to explore the school habitat, moves on to students watching wolf families on a webcam, and ends with students forming groups to become&nbs ...

  • Groups of students set up a small freshwater aquarium (made from gallon jars) that feature a male guppy, a female guppy, and a green plant. After the female guppy goes through her pregnancy and gives birth, the students will then observe, over time, ...

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  • Students experience the excitement of watching live-streaming video of wild bears on Brooks River in Katmai National Park, Alaska, in order to explore science concepts in the real world. These three lessons, designed for grades 3–5, offer students th...

  • This resource contains five informational reading passages about animal adaptations. It was made for the NGSS 3-LS2 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics. It covers the following animals in the the following ecosystems: Collared Lizard - ...

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