STEM & S.C. Standards

The standards below reflect the four STEM domains of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, helping students identify, apply and integrate concepts from those four domains in order to understand complex problems and to solve problems using innovative approaches.

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Social Studies


K-PS3-1. Make observations to determine the effect of sunlight on Earth’s surface.

PS3.B: Conservation of Energy and Energy Transfer Sunlight warms Earth’s surface.

K-PS3-2. Use tools and materials to design and build a structure that will reduce the warming effect of sunlight on an area.

Clarification Statement: Structures could incorporate shade, color, and materials that minimize the warming effects of the sun.

K-ESS2-1. Use and share observations of local weather conditions to describe patterns over time.

Clarification Statement: Examples of qualitative observations could include descriptions of the weather (sunny, cloudy, rainy, or warm). Examples of quantitative observations could include numbers of sunny, windy, and rainy days in a month. Examples of patterns could include that mornings are cooler than afternoons and the number of sunny days versus cloudy days during different months.

K-ESS2-2. Construct an argument supported by evidence for how plants and animals (including humans) can change the environment to meet their needs.

Clarification Statement: Examples of plants and animals changing their environment could include beavers building dams, a squirrel digging in the ground to hide its food, and tree roots breaking concrete. Humans have developed means to heat and/or cool our homes and vehicles to protect ourselves from the elements.

ESS3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems Things that people do to live comfortably can affect the world around them. But they can make choices that reduce their impacts on the land, water, air, and other living things. (secondary)

K-ESS3-1. Use a model to represent the relationship between the needs of different plants or animals (including humans) and the places they live.

ESS3.A: Natural Resources Living things need water, air, and resources from the land, and they live in places that have the things they need. Humans use natural resources for everything they do.

K-ESS3-2. Ask questions to understand the purpose of weather forecasting to prepare for and respond to severe weather.

Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on weather forecasting of local weather and how weather forecasting can help people plan for and respond to specific types of local weather.

ESS3.B: Natural Hazards Some kinds of severe weather are more likely than others in a given region. Weather scientists forecast severe weather so that the communities can prepare for and respond to these events

K-ESS3-3. Obtain and communicate information to define problems related to human impact on the local environment.

Clarification Statement: Examples of human impact on the land could include cutting trees to produce paper and using resources to produce bottles. Examples of human choices could include reusing and recycling materials.

ESS3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems Things that people do to live comfortably can affect the world around them, but they can make choices that reduce their impacts on the land, water, air, and other living things.


1-ESS1-1.Use observations of the sun, moon, and stars to describe patterns that can be predicted.

1-ESS1-2. Make observations at different times of year to relate the amount of daylight to the time of year.

Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on relative comparisons of the amount of daylight in the winter or summer to the amount in the spring or fall.


2-ESS2-1. Compare multiple solutions designed to slow or prevent wind or water from changing the shape of the land.

2-ESS2-3. Obtain information to identify where water is found on Earth and that it can be solid or liquid.

ESS2.C: The Roles of Water in Earth’s Surface Processes Water is found in the ocean, rivers, lakes, and ponds. Water exists as solid ice and in liquid form.

2-ESS3-1. Design solutions to address human impacts on natural resources in the local environment.

ESS3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems Things that people do to live can affect the world around them. But they can make choices that reduce their impacts on the land, water, air, and other living things.


3-ESS2-1. Represent data in tables and graphical displays of typical weather conditions during a particular season to identify patterns and make predictions.

ESS2.D: Weather and Climate Weather, which varies from day to day and seasonally throughout the year, is the condition of the atmosphere at a given place and time.

3-ESS2-2. Obtain and combine information to describe climate patterns in different regions of the world.

3-ESS3-1. Make a claim about the effectiveness of a design solution that reduces the impacts of a weather related hazard. Clarification Statement: Examples of design solutions could include barriers to prevent flooding, wind resistant roofs, and lighting rods.

ESS3.B: Natural Hazards A variety of natural hazards result from natural processes. Humans cannot eliminate natural hazards but can take steps to reduce their impacts.


4-PS3-2. Make observations to provide evidence that energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents.

PS3.A: Definitions of Energy Energy can be moved [transferred] from place to place by moving objects or through sound, light, or electric currents.

PS3.B: Conservation of Energy and Energy Transfer Energy is present whenever there are moving objects, sound, light, or heat. When objects collide, energy can be transferred from one object to another, thereby changing their motion. In such collisions, some energy is typically also transferred to the surrounding air; as a result, the air gets heated and sound is produced. Light also transfers energy from place to place. Energy can also be transferred from place to place by electric currents, which can then be used locally to produce motion, sound, heat, or light.

4-PS3-4. Apply scientific ideas to design, test, and refine a device that converts energy from one form to another.

Clarification Statement: Examples of devices could include electric circuits that convert electrical energy into motion energy of a vehicle, light, or sound; and a passive solar heater that converts light into heat. Examples of constraints could include the materials, cost, and time to design the device.

4-ESS3-1. Obtain and combine information to describe that energy and fuels are derived from natural resources and how their uses affect the environment.

Clarification Statement: Examples of renewable resources could include wind energy, water behind dams, and sunlight; nonrenewable resources are fossil and nuclear fuels.

ESS3.A: Natural Resources All materials, energy, and fuels that humans use are derived from natural sources, and their use affects the environment in multiple ways. Some resources are renewable over time, and others are not.


5-ESS3-1. Evaluate potential solutions to problems that individual communities face in protecting the Earth’s resources and environment.

ESS3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems Human activities in agriculture, industry, and everyday life have had major effects on the land, vegetation, streams, ocean, air, and even outer space. But individuals and communities are doing things to help protect Earth’s resources and environments.


6-ESS3-2. Analyze and interpret data on natural hazards to identify patterns, which help forecast future catastrophic events and inform the development of technologies to mitigate their effects.

Clarification Statement: Examples of natural hazards can be taken from interior processes (such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions), surface processes (such as mass wasting and tsunamis), or severe weather events (such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods). Examples of data can include the locations, magnitudes, and frequencies of the natural hazards. Examples of technologies can be global (such as satellite systems to monitor hurricanes or forest fires) or local (such as building basements in tornado- prone regions or reservoirs to mitigate droughts).

6-ESS2-4. Develop a model to describe the cycling of water through Earth’s systems driven by energy from the sun and the force of gravity.

Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on the ways water changes its state as it moves through the multiple pathways of the hydrologic cycle. Examples of models can be conceptual or physical

6-PS3-3. Apply scientific principles to design, construct, and test a device that either minimizes or maximizes thermal energy transfer.

Clarification Statement: Examples of devices could include an insulated box, a solar cooker, and a polystyrene foam cup.


7-ESS3-1. Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how the uneven distributions of Earth’s mineral, energy, and groundwater resources are the result of past and current geoscience processes.

Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on how these resources are limited and typically non-renewable, and how their distributions are significantly changing as a result of removal by humans. Examples of uneven distributions of resources as a result of past processes include but are not limited to petroleum (locations of the burial of organic marine sediments and subsequent geologic traps), metal ores (locations of past volcanic and hydrothermal activity associated with subduction zones), and soil (locations of active weathering and/or deposition of rock).

7-ESS3-3. Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.

Clarification Statement: Examples of the design process include examining human environmental impacts, assessing the kinds of solutions that are feasible, and designing and evaluating solutions that could reduce that impact. Examples of human impacts can include water usage (such as the withdrawal of water from streams and aquifers or the construction of dams and levees), land usage (such as urban development, agriculture, or the removal of wetlands), and pollution (such as of the air, water, or land).

7-ESS3-4. Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth’s systems.

Clarification Statement: Examples of evidence include grade-appropriate databases on human populations and the rates of consumption of food and natural resources (such as freshwater, mineral, and energy). Examples of impacts can include changes to the appearance, composition, and structure of Earth’s systems as well as the rates at which they change. The consequences of increases in human populations and consumption of natural resources are described by science, but science does not make the decisions for the actions society takes.

7-ESS3-5. Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have impacted global temperatures over the past century.

Clarification Statement: Examples of factors include human activities (such as fossil fuel combustion, cement production, and agricultural activity) and natural processes (such as changes in incoming solar radiation or volcanic activity). Examples of evidence can include tables, graphs, and maps of global and regional temperatures, atmospheric levels of gases such as carbon dioxide and methane, and the rates of human activities. Emphasis is on the major role that human activities play in causing the rise in global temperatures.



P-PS3-3. Design, build, and refine a device that works within given constraints to convert one form of energy into another form of energy.

Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on both qualitative and quantitative evaluations of devices. Examples of devices could include Rube Goldberg devices, wind turbines, solar cells, solar ovens, speakers, or generators. Examples of constraints placed on a device could include the cost of materials, types of materials available, having to use renewable energy, an efficiency threshold, and time to build and/or operate the device.

Here are a few standards that we could focus on in the Earth Science Course (it focuses on climate change and dependency on newer cleaner technologies to survive):


E-ESS2-2. Analyze data to make the claim that one change to Earth’s surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.

Clarification Statement: Examples should include climate feedback, such as how an increase in greenhouse gases causes a rise in global temperatures that melt glacial ice, which reduces the amount of sunlight reflected from Earth’s surface, increasing surface temperatures, and further reducing the amount of ice. Examples could also be taken from other system interactions, such as how the loss of ground vegetation causes an increase in water runoff and soil erosion, how dammed rivers increase groundwater recharge, decrease sediment transport, and increase coastal erosion.

ETS2.B: Influence of Engineering, Technology, and Science on Society and the Natural World New technologies can have deep impacts on society and the environment, including some that were not anticipated. Analysis of costs and benefits is a critical aspect of decisions about technology.

E-ESS2-4. Use a model to describe how causes of short and long-term variations in the flow of energy into and out of Earth’s systems result in changes to climate.

E-ESS3-2. Evaluate competing design solutions that address the impacts of developing, managing, and using Earth’s energy and mineral resources.

Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on the conservation, recycling, and reuse of resources (such as minerals and metals) where possible, and on minimizing impacts where it is not. Examples include developing best practices for agricultural soil use, mining, forestry, and risk/benefit analysis of the production of conventional, unconventional, or renewable energy resources.

ESS3.A: Natural Resources All forms of energy production and other resource extraction have associated economic, social, environmental, and geopolitical costs and risks, as well as benefits. New technologies and social regulations can change the balance of these factors. ETS1.A: Defining and Delimiting an Engineering Problem Humanity faces major global challenges today, such as the need for supplies of clean water and food or for energy sources that minimize pollution, which can be addressed through engineering. These global challenges also may have manifestations in local communities. Cause and Effect Cause-and-effect relationships can be suggested and predicted for complex natural and human designed systems by examining what is known about smaller scale mechanisms within the system. Page 260 ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions When evaluating solutions, it is important to take into account a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, and to consider social, cultural, and environmental impacts. Testing should lead to improvements in the design through an iterative procedure. (secondary)

ETS2.B: Influence of Engineering, Technology, and Science on Society and the Natural World Engineers continuously modify these technological systems by applying scientific knowledge and engineering design practices to increase benefits while decreasing costs and risks. Analysis of costs and benefits is a critical aspect of decisions about technology

E-ESS3-3. Use computational representation to illustrate the relationships among the management of Earth’s resources, the sustainability of human populations, and biodiversity.

ESS3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems The sustainability of human societies and the biodiversity that supports them requires responsible management of natural resources. When the source of an environmental problem is understood and international agreement can be reached, human activities can be regulated to mitigate global impacts (e.g., acid rain and the ozone hole near Antarctica).

E-ESS3-4. Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.

E-ESS3-5. Analyze data and the results from global climate models to make an evidence-based forecast of the current rate of regional or global climate change and associated future impacts to Earth’s systems.

E-ESS3-6. Use a computational representation to illustrate the relationships among Earth systems and how those relationships are being modified due to human activity.

E-ESS3-7. Create an argument, based on evidence that describes how changes in climate on Earth have affected human activity.