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  • 1st Grade

    Waves: Light and Sound

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

Performance Expectations

  1. Plan and conduct investigations to provide evidence that vibrating materials can make sound and that sound can make materials vibrate. 1-PS4-1

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  2. Make observations to contruct an evidence-based account that objects in darkness can be seen only when illuminated. 1-PS4-2

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  3. Plan and conduct investigations to determine the effect of placing objects made with different materials in the path of a beam of light. 1-PS4-3

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  4. Use tools and materials to design and build a device that uses light or sound to solve the problem of communicating over a distance. 1-PS4-4

    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

Planning and Carrying Out Investigations

Planning and carrying out investigations to answer questions or test solutions to problems in K–2 builds on prior experiences and progresses to simple investigations, based on fair tests, which provide data to support explanations or design solutions.

Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions

Constructing explanations and designing solutions in K–2 builds on prior experiences and progresses to the use of evidence and ideas in constructing evidence-based accounts of natural phenomenon and designing solutions.

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


  • SL.1.1 - Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 1 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups. (1-PS4-1), (1-PS4-2), (1-PS4-3)
  • W.1.2 - Write informative/explanatory texts in which they name a topic, supply some facts about the topic, and provide some sense of closure. (1-PS4-2)
  • W.1.7 - Participate in shared research and writing projects (e.g., explore a number of “how-to” books on a given topic and use them to write a sequence of instructions). (1-PS4-1), (1-PS4-2), (1-PS4-3), (1-PS4-4)
  • W.1.8 - With guidance and support from adults, recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question. (1-PS4-1), (1-PS4-2), (1-PS4-3)


  • 1.MD.A.1 - Order three objects by length; compare the lengths of two objects indirectly by using a third object. (1-PS4-4)
  • 1.MD.A.2 - Express the length of an object as a whole number of length units, by layering multiple copies of a shorter object (the length unit) end to end; understand that the length measurement of an object is the number of same-size length units that span it with no gaps or overlaps. Limit to contexts where the object being measured is spanned by a whole number of length units with no gaps or overlaps. (1-PS4-4)
  • MP.5 - Use appropriate tools strategically. (1-PS4-4)

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.
  • This 4 minute and 37 second SciShow Kids video discusses how sound is made and how it travels by relating it to making string phones.  It describes how to make a string phone and then how to test it.  It provides students encouragement to t ...

  • This video is a snippet of a documentary entitled, “The Boy Who Sees Without Eyes about Ben Underwood a young man that developed Bilateral Retinoblastoma (cancer in both eyes).  “Ben Underwood lost his eyesight at the tragic age of t ...

  • This video, sponsored by Exploratorium, features a giant camera obscura that uses natural light and a pinhole to capture continuous real-time images of San Francisco’s Ocean Beach. Operator Robert Tacchetto gives a tour of the facility and show ...

  • In this engineering design activity, students will  investigate radiant energy and the concept of refraction in order to develop a natural lighting system made from recycled water bottles.

  • Listen! Listen! Listen! is a 5E introductory lesson for learning about sound.  It begins by introducing students to a phenomenon: there are many different sounds all around us, and then offers students the opportunity to share their observations ...

  • Students work together to build knowledge around the behavior of light.  They discover that light will pass through, not pass through, or reflect off of certain objects.

  • This short video is of a boy using his voice to break a wine glass.

  • This is #4 of a nine lesson unit about sound. Students will be investigating sound stations to provide evidence that sound makes vibrations and that those vibrations make sound.

  • This is Lesson #3 in a unit of nine lessons about sound. Students will learn about how we hear sounds.  They will also plan and conduct investigations of sound to prove that sounds have vibrations and vibrations make sounds.

  • This 5-E lesson plan uses the backwards-design approach integrated with literacy to expand upon children's knowledge of fireflies and light.  Students will able to gather evidence to develop the understanding that at night objects can be see ...

  • In Flashlight Investigation, the students conduct an investigation to find out how different objects affect a beam of light by recording their observations, and sharing their results.  The students discuss and plan their ...

  • This article describes a six-day unit for first graders that integrates music, science, and literature to assess and develop first graders' knowledge of sound waves.

  • Please note this resource is an article found in the January 2016 Volume 53 Number 5 edition of NSTA's "Science and Children" Journal which can be accessed for free in the NSTA Learning Center for NSTA members.  The article is enti ...

  • In these lessons the students work as partners planning and designing a communication device that will signal across the gym or hallway from one partner to the other partner.  The communication device must only use light and objects th ...

  • In Science of Light,  the students talk about light and plan their investigation to find out how different objects affect a beam of light. The students do not complete the investigation.   In Flashlight Lesson (http://betterl ...

  • This multi-activity lesson allows students to explore how various materials vibrate to make sound. Videos are provided that can be shown to students to enforce the content or used by the teacher to see how to make some of the activities ( such a ...

  • This lesson is an activity where students make a model "landline" and investigate how sound travels.

  • This is an interactive story with pauses after each ‘chapter’ to allow students and teachers time to research topics, conduct experiments, do demonstrations, discuss vocabulary, record observations and conclusions , and even play a fun ga ...

  • This is an 11 lesson unit that addresses all of the Waves: Light and Sound Performance Expectations. It includes a parent letter, 11 lessons, 5 assessments and multiple, explicit connections to other content areas.  From the unit description: ...

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