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  • Middle School

    Matter and Its Interactions

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

Performance Expectations

  1. 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

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


  • 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-PS1-5)


  • 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-PS1-5)
  • MP.2 - Reason abstractly and quantitatively. (MS-PS1-5)
  • MP.4 - Model with mathematics. (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.
  •   This Better Lesson resource contains a 5E model investigation on the Law of Conservation of Mass.  The lesson begins with a discussion of the Carl Sagan quote: “The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our b ...

  • This series of lessons offered by the MIT Edgerton Center gives students several opportunities to work with physical and chemical changes and chemical reactions.  The focus of this review is on the wet lab and Lego modeling of the chemical react ...

  • This activity begins with an analysis of the chemical equation for the reaction between vinegar and baking soda.  Students try this reaction on their own, experimenting with how changing the amount of one or more of the reactants affects the amo ...

  • 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 ...

  • 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 ...

  • 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 ...

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  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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 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 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 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 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.

  • 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 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.

  • 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...

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