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  • 3rd Grade

    From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

Performance Expectations

  1. Develop models to describe that organisms have unique and diverse life cycles but all have in common birth, growth, reproduction, and death. 3-LS1-1

    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


  • RI.3.7 - Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur). (3-LS1-1)
  • SL.3.5 - Create engaging audio recordings of stories or poems that demonstrate fluid reading at an understandable pace; add visual displays when appropriate to emphasize or enhance certain facts or details. (3-LS1-1)


  • 3.NBT - Number and Operations in Base Ten. (3-LS1-1)
  • 3.NF - Number and Operations—Fractions (3-LS1-1)
  • MP.4 - Model with mathematics. (3-LS1-1)

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 book Cactus Hotel, written by Brenda Z. Guiberson and illustrated by Megan Lloyd, presents the 200 year life cycle of a saguaro cactus and its relationship to the animals in its desert habitat. The cactus' interdependence with other plants an ...

  • Students explore and develop an understanding of a variety of animal life cycles through reading and research, investigation and data collection, mathematical analysis, and presentation in this five lesson unit. In Session 1, students read ...

  • This formative assessment probe originally appeared in Uncovering Student Ideas in Science (Keeley, P., F. Eberle, and C. Dorsey. 2008. Arlington, VA: NSTA Press ). In this Science and Children article, Page Keeley outlines various ways it might ...

  • Students raise butterflies and moths: observing, comparing, and contrasting their life cycles. Students will note the similarities of these organisms metamophosis (same stages, same order) and the differences (the amount of time t ...

  •   This article gives suggestions for building a simple walk-in classroom butterfly observatory and using the observatory to hatch out Painted Lady butterflies as part of a four-week unit on life cycle stages.

  •   This article describes a ladybug life cycle unit that incorporates language arts and science concepts. Students build on their prior knowledge of butterflies as they explore the metamorphosis of ladybugs. To create their final project, clay ...

  • Students learn about the life cycle of pea plants by planting peas and observing their through their stages of development. Students write and illustrate a book about their pea plant life cycle experience, which functions as a stu ...

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