Alignment: Overall Summary

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet expectations for Alignment to NGSS, Gateways 1 and 2. Gateway 1: Designed for NGSS; Criterion 1: Three-Dimensional Learning partially meets expectations. The materials include three-dimensional learning opportunities and opportunities for student sensemaking with the three dimensions. However, the formative and summative assessments do not consistently measure the three dimensions for their respective objectives. Criterion 2: Phenomena and Problems Drive Learning partially meets expectations. Phenomena and problems are present, connected to DCIs, and presented to students as directly as possible. The materials consistently elicit but do not leverage student prior knowledge and experience related to the phenomena and problems present. Phenomena and problems drive learning and use of the three dimensions at the unit level but not at the chapter or activity level.

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet expectations for Gateway 2: Coherence and Scope. The materials connect units and chapters in a manner that is apparent to students, and student tasks increase in sophistication within and across units. The materials accurately represent the three dimensions across the series and only include scientific content appropriate to the grade level. Further, the materials include all DCI components and all elements for physical science; life science; earth and space science; and engineering, technology, and applications of science. The materials include all of the science and engineering practices but not all elements of the practices are present. The materials include all grade-level SEP elements and all elements across the grade band, with adequate opportunity for students to use practices repeatedly and in multiple contexts. The materials include all of the grade-band crosscutting concepts and provide repeated opportunities for students to use CCCs across the grade band. The materials include NGSS connections to Nature of Science and Engineering elements associated with the SEPs and/or CCCs.

See Rating Scale Understanding Gateways

Alignment

|

Partially Meets Expectations

Gateway 1:

Designed for NGSS

0
14
24
28
19
24-28
Meets Expectations
15-23
Partially Meets Expectations
0-14
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway 2:

Coherence and Scope

0
16
30
34
34
30-34
Meets Expectations
17-29
Partially Meets Expectations
0-16
Does Not Meet Expectations

Usability

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Not Rated

Not Rated

Gateway 3:

Usability

0
30
50
59
N/A
50-59
Meets Expectations
31-49
Partially Meets Expectations
0-30
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway One

Designed for NGSS

Partially Meets Expectations

+
-
Gateway One Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet expectations for Gateway 1: Designed for NGSS; Criterion 1: Three-Dimensional Learning partially meets expectations and Criterion 2: Phenomena and Problems Drive Learning partially meets expectations.

Criterion 1a - 1c

Materials are designed for three-dimensional learning and assessment.
10/16
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-
Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet expectations for Criterion 1a-1c: Three-Dimensional Learning. The materials consistently include integration of the three dimensions in at least one learning opportunity per learning sequence and nearly all learning sequences are meaningfully designed for student opportunity to engage in sensemaking with the three dimensions. The materials consistently provide three-dimensional learning objectives at the lesson level that build towards the performance expectations for the larger unit, but do not consistently assess to reveal student knowledge and use of the three dimensions to support the targeted three-dimensional learning objectives. The units also include three-dimensional objectives in the form of 3-D statements and include corresponding assessments but do not consistently address all three dimensions of the objectives.

Indicator 1a

Materials are designed to integrate the Science and Engineering Practices (SEP), Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI), and Crosscutting Concepts (CCC) into student learning.
0/0

Indicator 1a.i

Materials consistently integrate the three dimensions in student learning opportunities.
4/4
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-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet expectations that they are designed to integrate the Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs), Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs), and Crosscutting Concepts (CCCs) into student learning opportunities. The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 consistently integrate the three dimensions in student learning opportunities. Throughout the grade level, all learning sequences (chapters) include three dimensions and consistently integrate SEPs, CCCs, and DCIs in student learning opportunities (lessons). The materials are designed for students to actively engage in the SEPs and CCCs to deepen understanding of DCIs. Three-dimensional connections are outlined for teachers at the unit, chapter, and lesson level.

Examples of where materials are designed to integrate the three dimensions into student learning opportunities:

  • In Grade 3, Unit: Environment and Survival, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.1: Pre-Unit Assessment, students use graphs to examine data associated with two different snail species (SEP-AQDP-E3) to determine why one particular snail species is thriving and one is not (DCI-LS4.C-E1). Within this lesson, students are then asked to use this data to write an initial explanation on why one particular population is thriving and one is not (SEP-INFO-E5). Students also learn how the structure of a snail shell is designed and how it helps in the snail’s survival (DCI-LS1.A-E1, CCC-SF-E1).
  • In Grade 3, Unit: Environment and Survival, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.3: Investigating Traits and Survival, students learn about the characteristics of an environment that assists in various organisms’ survival (DCI-LS2.C-E1), then connect their understanding to the specific situation for snails. Students examine fossils and then connect the structure and function of the shape of a mouth to a particular organism's ability to survive (DCI-LS2.C-E1, DCI-LS4.A-E2); they then transfer that understanding as they examine the different shapes of the two snail-shells. Students ask questions and discuss their predictions associated with the fossils (SEP-AQDP-E1, SEP-INV-E4). As students examine the fossilized structures, they connect the shape of the shell to how the shell impacts a snail’s survival (CCC-SF-E2).
  • In Grade 3, Unit: Weather and Climate, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.2, Future Weather on Three Islands, students observe and discuss weather data from one day on a fictitious island (DCI-ESS2.D-E1). Students perform a short experiment to determine the most effective way to collect rain data (SEP-INV-E2, SEP-MATH-E3). Students share and compare class data (SEP-DATA-E3). As they measure rainfall and compare varying data with other groups, they learn that standard units are vital when communicating measurements (CCC-SPQ-E2).
  • In Grade 3, Unit: Weather and Climate, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.4: Sky Notebook, students act as meteorologists by collecting weather data (DCI-ESS2.D-E1) using appropriate scientific tools (SEP-INV-E2) and units of measurement. Students learn how to create and interpret line plots of their data (SEP-MATH-E2) to find temperature ranges. Students then engage in a digital simulation (SEP-MOD-E5) to model this information to recognize patterns in weather data (CCC-PAT-E2).
  • In Grade 3, Unit: Balancing Forces, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.2: Making an Object Move, students activate and discuss prior knowledge of friction (SEP-AQDP-E4) before investigating (SEP-INV-E1) what forces need to be applied to move blocks. Students record data (SEP-INV-E3) about how forces act on objects (DCI-PS2.A-E1). Students use the data from the investigation to explain how the forces act on one another (DCI-PS2.A-E1, CCC-CE-E1).
  • In Grade 3, Unit: Balancing Forces, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.3: Observing Forces in Chain Reactions, students set up their own series of reactions to investigate how different objects in contact exert forces (balanced or unbalanced) on each other (SEP-INV-E3, DCI-PS2.B-E1) and how those forces change the direction of an object (DCI-PS2.A-E1). Students demonstrate the idea that forces cause an effect on an object depending on if they are balanced or unbalanced and by how much (CCC-CE-E1); students also learn that a chain reaction is a series of interactions within a system (CCC-SYS-E2).
  • In Grade 3, Unit: Balancing Forces, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.2: Investigating Balanced Forces, students investigate (SEP-INV-E1) how a magnet can move a paper clip from a distance. Students observe that changing the distance between the magnet and the paper clip can cause a change in how much the paper clip will move (CCC-CE-E1). Students conclude that an object starts moving when forces are unbalanced but not when forces are balanced (DCI-PS2.A-E2).

Indicator 1a.ii

Materials consistently support meaningful student sensemaking with the three dimensions.
4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet expectations that they consistently support meaningful student sensemaking with the three dimensions. Each learning sequence (chapter), includes multiple lessons where students progress towards the goals of the respective chapter and unit. While the materials consistently include opportunities for students to engage in the three dimensions in each chapter, not all lessons provide opportunities for students to build and use all three dimensions for sensemaking. However, the materials do consistently provide an opportunity in at least one lesson per chapter for students to engage in using the science and engineering practices (SEPs) and the crosscutting concepts (CCCs) to meaningfully support student sensemaking with the other dimensions.

Examples where SEPs and CCCs meaningfully support student sensemaking with the other dimensions in the learning sequence:

  • In Grade 3, Unit: Environment and Survival, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.2: Investigating Needs for Survival, all three dimensions are present and support student sensemaking. Students examine the conditions in four different habitats and compare and contrast the conditions in those areas (DCI-LS2.C-E1). Much of the information that they obtain is through reading (SEP-INFO-E1). As students discuss what will or will not survive and the types of environments that animals live in, they begin to understand the components of an ecological system (CCC-SYS-E1). Students then draw inferences about the survivability of a particular organism, making sense out of where an organism lives, the environment it is in, and the specific needs that the organisms need to be met within that environment.
  • In Grade 3, Unit: Environment and Survival, Chapter 2: Why are the snails with banded shells more likely to survive than the snails with yellow shells?, students explore different situations to determine how certain structures can determine whether the organism will thrive (DCI-LS2.C-E1, CCC-SF-E2). Students examine fossils and connect the structure and function of the shape of a mouth to a particular organism's ability to survive (DCI-LS2.C-E1, DCI-LS4.A-E2); they apply that information when examining the different shapes of the two snail shells. Students ask questions and discuss their predictions (SEP-AQDP-E3) associated with the fossils, and then make connections to the shape of the shell and how the shell impacts a snail’s survival (CCC-SF-E2, SEP-AQDP-E1, and SEP-INV-E4).
  • In Grade 3, Unit: Weather and Climate, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.2: Future Weather on Three Islands, students make sense of how weather can change on a daily basis and that data needs to be accurately recorded to recognize and predict patterns. Students observe and record daily weather in their area (DCI-ESS2.D-E1). Students perform a short experiment to determine the most effective way to collect rain data (SEP-INV-E2, SEP-MATH-E3) then compare class data (SEP-DATA-E3). As they measure rainfall and compare varying data with other groups, they learn that standard units are vital when communicating measurements (CCC-SPQ-E2).
  • In Grade 3, Unit: Weather and Climate, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.6: Evaluating Evidence About Climate, students evaluate weather data to determine the best island for a population of orangutans to live. Students gather data and evidence of weather patterns to conclude that weather data can be used to make decisions (SEP-DATA-E2, SEP-DATA-E3, and CCC-PAT-E3). They compare daily, monthly, and long-term graphs related to a location’s temperature (DCI-ESS2.D-E2) and precipitation patterns (DCI-ESS2.D-E1) and use this data to select one of three islands.
  • In Grade 3, Unit: Balancing Forces, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.2: Making an Object Move, students discuss prior knowledge of friction to develop an investigation (SEP-INV-E1). Students explore what forces are needed to move blocks (DCI-PS2.A-E1) and then record their data (SEP-INV-E3). Students then use their understanding of cause and effect (CCC-CE-E1) to explain how the forces act on one another (DCI-PS2.A-E1).
  • In Grade 3, Unit: Balancing Forces, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.2: What Objects Do Magnetic Forces Act-On, students design an investigation (SEP-INV-E1) to gather data (SEP-DATA-E3) to test if their predictions about what objects magnets will be attracted to are correct. Students use the findings to understand why magnets do not have to be touching to act on one another (DCI-PS2.B-E2). Students discover patterns (CCC-PAT-E1) that help them to understand how and why magnets behave the way that they do (DCI-PS2.B-E2).
  • In Grade 3, Unit: Inheritance and Traits, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.3: Observing Similarities and Differences and Lesson 1.4: Introducing Species, students make observations about organisms and synthesize information from various sources (SEP-INFO-E4) including a text, trait cards, and recordings of bird songs and to find patterns in their traits (CCC-PAT-E1). Using the observed patterns in traits, students make inferences about inheritance and relatedness (DCI-LS3.B-E1).
  • In Grade 3, Unit: Inheritance and Traits, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.1: Introducing Traits That Aren’t Inherited and Lesson 3.2: How the Sparrow Learned its Song, students examine traits that are not inherited to make sense of variations in a population. Students make observations (SEP-INV-E3) and determine patterns in their data (CCC-PAT-E1). Through discussion, students make recognize that color is caused (CCC-CE-E2) by an environmental factor—the bird’s diet (DCI-LS3.B-E2). This learning sequence is further enriched as students listen to bird songs and read about how these patterns are influenced by the bird’s surroundings.

Indicator 1b

Materials are designed to elicit direct, observable evidence for the three-dimensional learning in the instructional materials.
0/4
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-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 do not meet expectations that they are designed to elicit direct, observable evidence for three-dimensional learning in the instructional materials. Lessons consistently provide learning objectives in the form of 3-D Statements for the lesson. The lesson-level 3-D Statements build to support the 3-D Statements for the chapter, and the chapter-level 3-D Statements build toward the 3-D Statements for the unit. Lessons have assessment tasks that are designed to reveal student knowledge and use of the three dimensions to support the targeted three-dimensional learning objectives, but not consistently. Often, one or more crosscutting concepts (CCCs) within the 3-D Statements are not assessed.

Across the grade, lessons and units consistently incorporate tasks for the purpose of supporting the instructional process. Lessons and units have assessment tasks that are designed to reveal student knowledge and use of some of the dimensions within the targeted objectives. These opportunities are provided through the use of two assessment types used throughout each unit: On-the-Fly Assessment and Critical Juncture. A Pre-Unit Assessment can also be used for formative purposes. This assessment is identical to the End-of-Unit Assessment. While the assessments do not consistently reveal student knowledge and use of the three dimensions for all objectives, each assessment opportunity indicates specific concepts and practices to observe student progress within the learning experiences, followed by suggestions to the teacher based on what might be observed.

Examples where the materials elicit direct, observable evidence of elements of all three dimensions in the learning objectives:

  • In Grade 3: Environments and Survival, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.2: Mystery Mouths, the lesson contains one 3-D Statement as the objective, “Students obtain and evaluate information from a text about animal mouths and conclude that the structure of particular teeth makes those teeth good for particular functions (structure and function).” Students participate in a shared reading (SEP-INFO-E4) of Mystery Mouths and observe images of various organisms’ mouths. Students construct short inferences (SEP-CEDS-E1) about how the shape of an organism’s teeth can be used to infer how the teeth will perform functions for the organism (CCC-SF-E2, DCI-LS1A.E1).

Examples where the materials do not elicit direct, observable evidence of elements of all three dimensions in the learning objectives:

  • In Grade 3, Unit: Inheritance and Traits, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.6: Explaining Inheritance, this lesson contains one 3-D Statement as the objective, “Students construct scientific explanations about why Wolf 44’s color is similar to the Bison Valley Pack but different from the Elk Mountain Pack (patterns, cause and effect).” Students complete a Critical Juncture Assessment consisting of written-response questions to assess students’ understanding that traits are inherited from both parents yet can differ within a species (DCI-LS3.A-E1, DCI-LS3.B-E1). Students use data they have collected throughout the chapter to create a scientific explanation including evidence (SEP-CEDS-E2, SEP-INV-E3). The written-response questions require students to apply the learning of two of the three dimensions. However, in this explanation students do not explain how cause-and-effect relationships can be used as a basis of collecting or understanding data to explain differences (CCC-PAT-E1, CCC-CE-E1). The teacher materials provide information for grouping students to scaffold additional instructional support depending on where a student has misconceptions.
  • In Grade 3, Unit: Inheritance and Traits, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.4: Introducing Species, the lesson contains one 3-D Statement as the objective, “Students analyze and interpret data—first from photographs of a diverse group of animals and then from photographs of a group of birds—to determine similarities and differences in traits (patterns).” The On-the-Fly Assessment checks for students’ understanding of variation in traits (DCI-LS3.B-E1) as students make observations (SEP-INV-E3) on the characteristics observable in a population of bears. Students are asked to group the bears and talk about what patterns they used. However, students are not assessed on their understanding that similarities and differences in patterns can be used to classify, communicate, and analyze simple rates of change for natural phenomena and designed products (CCC-PAT-E1). The On-the-Fly Assessment provides teachers with guidance to identify correct responses and provides prompts and suggestions for teachers to address misconceptions and reteaching.
  • In Grade 3, Unit: Balancing Forces, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.4: Explaining Forces and the Train, the lesson contains one 3-D Statement as the objective, “Students write explanations detailing their understanding that a force must have caused the train to change from not moving to rising up off the track (stability and change, cause and effect).” Students progress towards the completion of this objective by examining forces and motions and interactions between objects (DCI-PS2.A-E1, DCI-PS2.B-E1). Through a student-to-student discussion (SEP-INFO-E5, SEP-ARG-E3), teachers use an On-the-Fly Assessment where the teacher assesses the student’s understanding around how the train floats and how forces act on objects as the students participate in a think-pair-share. Recommendations to support the teacher in helping students correct their understanding are provided. In addition to the discussion, students are assessed in a Critical Juncture Assessment around key ideas associated with touching forces and evidence of forces (SEP-CEDS-E3). Furthermore, students complete prompts such as “I understand why the train rises or I understand why the train falls” in a self-assessment/reflection of their own learning. The materials do not assess student understanding of stability and change, or any associated elements of this CCC.
  • In Grade 3, Unit: Balancing Forces, Chapter 5, Lesson 5.1: Investigating Unbalanced Forces, the lesson contains one 3-D Statement as the objective, “Students find patterns in data (patterns) about balanced and unbalanced forces. They use mathematical thinking as they measure the distance at which magnetic force on a paperclip no longer balances the force of gravity (stability and change).” Students’ progress towards the completion of this objective by completing a performance task where they plan and conduct an investigation to determine when the magnetic force no longer balances the force of gravity (DCI-PS2.B-E3, DCI-PS2.B-E2, SEP-INV-E1, and SEP-DATA-E2). The assessment type is an investigation assessment which has the purpose to summatively assess an embedded performance where students plan and conduct an investigation (SEP-INV-E1). Grading guidance in the form of a rubric is provided for the teacher. The materials do not assess student understanding of patterns or stability and change, or any associated elements of these CCCs.
  • In Grade 3, Unit: Weather and Climate, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.5: Making Sense of Weather Data, the lesson contains one 3-D Statement as the objective, “Students observe and visualize in order to make sense of rainfall measurements given in millimeters (scale, proportion, and quantity). Students then evaluate evidence as more useful or less useful making an argument about which of the three islands have the best weather to be a habitat for orangutans.” The Critical Juncture assesses students’ ability to compare and analyze temperature (DCI-ESS2.C-E2) and precipitation data (DCI-ESS2.D-E1, SEP-DATA-E2, and SEP-DATA-E3). While students sort evidence cards as strong and weak evidence, the instructor listens for students’ understanding of valid data and their explanations supporting their choices. Teacher guidance is provided that directs students back to the anchor text where they compare different sets of data. Students use common units but the importance of using consistent units (CCC-SPQ-E2) is not explicitly assessed.
  • In Grade 3, Unit: Weather and Climate, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.2: Discovering Climate Through Data, the lesson contains one 3-D Statement as the objective, “Students analyze monthly temperature bar graphs for three places from six different years for each place and recognize that the changes in a location’s temperature repeat in a yearly pattern (pattern, stability, and change) and that patterns represent its climate.” For this On-the-Fly Assessment, students get into groups to interpret an entire year of temperature data. Students discuss the bar graphs (SEP-DATA-E2) to look for patterns (CCC-PAT-E2) in temperature data (DCI-ESS2.C-E2). The teacher listens for evidence of students using the bar graphs to find times of stable and changing temperature and note high and low temperatures to support their predictions (SEP-CEDS-E2). Teacher guidance directs teachers to use observations of conversations and students’ written explanations to identify students who are still having difficulty interpreting bar graphs. The assessment guide recommends that teachers use a different graph and model their analysis in a small-group setting. The materials do not assess student understanding of stability and change, or any associated elements of this CCC.

Indicator 1c

Materials are designed to elicit direct, observable evidence of the three-dimensional learning in the instructional materials.
2/4
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-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet expectations that they are designed to elicit direct, observable evidence of the three-dimensional learning in the instructional materials. Materials consistently provide three-dimensional learning objectives for each unit. The summative tasks are designed to measure students’ achievement of all three dimensions but only partially assess the dimensions described in the targeted 3-D Statements for the units.

The summative assessments are found in the last lesson of each unit, as an End-of-Unit Assessment. These assessments are designed to reveal students’ understanding of the unit’s core content, including unit-specific disciplinary core ideas (DCIs), science and engineering practices (SEPs), and crosscutting concepts (CCCs). Rubrics are provided for assessing to support teachers in providing additional prompts and understanding whether student responses addressed each prompt.

Examples where the materials provide three-dimensional learning objectives for the learning sequence; summative tasks measure student achievement of the targeted three-dimensional learning objectives:

  • In Grade 3, Unit: Balancing Forces, the unit objective is for students to answer the question, “How is it possible for a train to float?” and address the unit-level 3-D Statement, “Students are challenged to explain how a floating train works in order to reassure nervous citizens. To solve the mystery, students plan and conduct investigations, analyze patterns in data (patterns), and obtain information about magnetic force, gravity, and balanced and unbalanced forces. Students write explanations and create physical models and diagram models to show why the train’s vertical motion is stable at times and changes at times (stability and change).” In the End-of-Unit Assessment, students are provided with a writing focus which is to, “explain to the citizens of Faraday the answer to this question: Why does the train change from floating to falling?,” where they are asked to write an explanation to answer this focus question. This summative assessment checks for understanding of all three dimensions which have been covered in the chapters and the overarching unit objective of “students are challenged to explain how a floating train works in order to reassure nervous citizens.” To solve the mystery, students plan and conduct investigations, analyze patterns in data (CCC-PAT-E2), and obtain information about magnetic force, gravity, and balanced and unbalanced forces (DCI-PS2.B-E1). Students write explanations and create physical models and diagram models (SEP-MOD-E5) to show why the train’s vertical motion is stable at times and changes at times (CCC-SC-E2). Specifically, this writing assignment checks for student’s understanding as they write scientific explanations about the balanced and unbalanced forces involved in the floating train for the townspeople (SEP-INFO-E5). Students are encouraged to look at their models related to the floating train that they have created in their notebooks and use the models to support their claims as they write their explanations. Students are provided the criteria for their written explanation which includes explaining why the train falls, why the train floats, and why the train is stable sometimes and changes its motion at points (DCI-PS2.A-E1, DCI-PS2.B-E2). Guidance is given to students about having a clear topic sentence and supporting sentences that explain what happens and why. This understanding occurred throughout the unit as the students ask questions (SEP-ADQP-E1) and use their digital simulation (SEP-MOD-E5, CCC-CE-E1) to explore the rise and fall of the train, examine what happens as different forces are applied (DCI-PS2.A-E1), and consider how forces can impact and change objects motion (CCC-SC-E2).

Examples where the materials provide three-dimensional learning objectives for the learning sequence; summative tasks partially measure student achievement of the targeted three-dimensional learning objectives:

  • In Grade 3, Unit: Environments And Survival, the unit objective is for students to answer the question, “How can learning about how grove snails survive help engineers design effective solutions to problems?” and address the unit-level 3-D Statement, “Students use physical models, read informational texts, analyze data, and engage in student-to-student discussions to figure out why some snails are more likely to survive than others (structure and function, systems and system models). Students write scientific explanations about their findings and use their newfound understanding of how the traits of organisms affect the organisms’ survival (structure and function) in order to help an engineering firm design a robot that aims to mitigate the effect of an environmental change (systems and system models).” In the End-of-Unit Assessment: Part 1, students prepare a written explanation as to why the number of snails with yellow shells in the population were more likely to survive 10h years ago. Prompts are intended to assess all three dimensions and rubrics for each dimension are provided and include look-for questions and sample responses. Rubric 1 assesses student ability to construct an explanation and support the explanation with evidence and reasoning (SEP-CEDS-E2). Rubric 2 assesses student understanding of the DCIs related to traits that help snails survive in a particular environment (DCI-LS4.B-E1), factors leading to organism survival in different environments (DCI-LS4.C-E1), and environmental changes that can impact the survival of organisms (DCI-LS2.C-E1). Rubric 3 measures student understanding of the different organisms in the snail’s ecosystem and how interactions with other organisms and the environment can impact the snails’ survival. These questions do not assess student understanding of system and system models or any associated elements of this CCC. In the End-of-Unit Assessment: Part 2, students design a mouth for the RoboGrazer. The rubric associated with this assessment provides look-for questions related to whether students addressed how the structure and position of each tooth is related to their function (CCC-SF-P1). This assesses the CCC of structure and function beneath the grade-band expectations for this performance expectation.
  • In Grade 3, Unit: Inheritance and Traits, the unit objective is for students to answer the question, “What is the origin of the traits of Wolf 44—a wolf that appears to be different from the rest of its pack?” and address the unit-level 3-D Statement, “Students investigate the variation between similar organisms (patterns) and how traits that depict parents and offspring are determined (cause and effect).” In the End-of-Unit Assessment: Part I, students prepare a written explanation as to why Wolf 44 is a medium size. Prompts are intended to assess all three dimensions and rubrics for each dimension are provided and include look-for questions and sample responses. Rubric 1 assesses student ability to construct an explanation and support the explanation with evidence and reasoning (SEP-CEDS-E2) of why the wolf is larger than one pack and smaller than another pack. Rubric 2 assesses student understanding of the DCIs related to traits that are inherited (DCI-LS3.A-E1, DCI-LS3.B-E1) and those that result from interactions with the environment (DCI-LS3.A-E2, DCI-LS3.B-E2). While Rubric 3 is intended to assess student understanding of patterns, the questions really elicit student understanding of how being part of a group can help an animal survive (DCI-LS2.D-E1) and lead to a larger size. These questions do not assess student understanding of patterns or cause and effect, or any associated elements of these CCCs. In the End-of-Unit Assessment: Part 2, students compare different physical traits in sparrows along with differences in their songs. Students are prompted to think in terms of patterns as they compare sparrow traits and determine which questions they want to test. The rubric assesses whether students ask testable questions (SEP-AQDP-E3) about the sparrows and their traits, and how patterns can be used to sort and classify information and used as evidence to support an explanation (CCC-PAT-E3). These questions do not assess student understanding of cause and effect or any associated elements of this CCC.
  • In Grade 3, Unit: Weather and Climate, the unit objective is for students to answer the question, “Which island would be the best location for an orangutan reserve? How can you protect buildings from damage by weather-related natural hazards?” and address the unit-level 3-D Statement, “Students learn to make weather measurements and make sense of them (scale, proportion, and quantity). They analyze a day, then a month, then a year of weather data for three fictional locations. Using the climate patterns of precipitation and temperature, students discover (patterns) how to construct evidence-based arguments about which location would be the best habitat for an orangutan reserve, with a long-term climate (despite shorter-term changes) most similar to that of Borneo (stability and change), where orangutans live.” In the End-of-Unit Assessment, students prepare an evidence-based argument about the best island for orangutans to live based on long-term weather data. Students analyze a day, then a month, then a year of weather data for three fictitious locations. Throughout the unit, students gather evidence and analyze weather patterns (SEP-DATA-E2) and use this evidence to construct an evidence-based argument (SEP-ARG-E1, SEP-ARG-E4) so they can make a claim about the best of the three islands to serve as a home for the orangutans based on long-term (CCC-SC-E1) temperature (DCI-ESS2.D-E2) and participation (DCI-ESS2.D-E1). Two options are given to teachers to help differentiate, and rubrics for grading are provided. The materials do not assess student understanding of patterns or scale, proportion, and quantity or any associated elements of these CCCs.

Criterion 1d - 1i

Materials leverage science phenomena and engineering problems in the context of driving learning and student performance.
9/12
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet expectations for Criterion 1d-1i: Phenomena and Problems Drive Learning. The materials include phenomena in 76% of the chapters and problems in 18% of chapters. Of those phenomena and problems, they consistently connect to grade-level appropriate DCIs and are consistently presented to students as directly as possible. Few instances of phenomena or problems driving learning and use of the three dimensions were found within the chapters, as a guiding question is the primary focus of the learning at the chapter level. The materials consistently elicit but do not leverage student prior knowledge and experience related to the phenomena and problems present. The materials consistently incorporate phenomena or problems to drive learning and use of the three dimensions across multiple chapters within each unit.

Indicator 1d

Phenomena and/or problems are connected to grade-level Disciplinary Core Ideas.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet expectations that phenomena and/or problems are connected to grade-level disciplinary core ideas (DCIs). Within the grade, the materials provide opportunities for students to build an understanding of grade-level DCIs through unit-level or chapter-level phenomena or problems. In many cases, multiple lesson investigations work together to connect to a single phenomenon and/or problem to develop an understanding of corresponding DCIs. Across the series, students engage in a variety of disciplines including life science, earth science, and physical science while developing a deeper understanding of the engineering design cycle as they apply DCIs to the design problem.

Examples of phenomena and problems connected to grade-level-appropriate DCIs or their elements.

  • In Grade 3, Unit: Balancing Forces, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.4: Modeling and Explaining the Falling Train, the phenomenon is that a floating train rises, floats above the track, and then later falls back to the track. Students use the digital Force Diagramming Tool to create models of the four different types of forces that are present and how each force acts on the train (DCI-PS2.A-E1). As they do this, students explain, label, and model how forces interact and specifically how the train falls at a particular point.
  • In Grade 3, Unit: Inheritance and Traits, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.5: Variation in Species, the phenomenon is that a wolf at Greystone Park does not have the same fur color as the rest of his pack. In this lesson, students examine a group of cards of the Elk Mountain wolf pack and determine similarities and differences within the pack. Students learn that characteristics are inherited from an animal’s parents (DCI-LS3.A-E1), then explain one of the reasons why a wolf may have different-colored fur than the rest of the pack.
  • In Grade 3, Unit: Environments and Survival, Chapter 1: Why are the snails with yellow shells not surviving well?, the phenomenon is “over the past 10 years, the snails with yellow shells have not survived as well as the snails with banded shells.” Students examine grove snail population data and see the differential noted in the phenomena. To understand survival needs, students look at other organisms and determine if they will likely survive in their environments and then make inferences about snail characteristics and how the differences in these characteristics impact survival of the snail (DCI-LS4.C-E1, DCI-LS4.B-E1).
  • In Grade 3, Unit: Weather and Climate, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.4: Evaluating Island Weather Evidence, the phenomenon is that three similar islands have different weather patterns. Students examine the temperature ranges on three islands and the different temperature ranges in which various primates live, then examine evidence statements and use their knowledge that different organisms thrive or do not thrive based on their environment (DCI-LS4.C-E1) to determine which location will be the best environment for orangutans.
  • In Grade 3, Unit: Weather and Climate, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.3: Preparing for Natural Hazards, the problem is that a hurricane destroyed the World Protection Organization office building and the new building needs to be protected from future hurricanes. In this lesson, students are challenged to reduce the impact of a natural hazard (DCI-ESS3.B-E1) by constructing a model building that can withstand the effects of a hurricane, within a set of guidelines and constraints (DCI-ETS1.A-E1). Students test their structures (DCI-ETS1.B-E2) to make improvements.

Indicator 1e

Phenomena and/or problems are presented to students as directly as possible.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet expectations that phenomena and/or problems are presented to students as directly as possible. Across the grade level, lessons present phenomena and problems to students as directly as possible. In multiple instances, students are initially presented the phenomenon or problem through pictures and videos that are accompanied by a scenario.

Examples of phenomena and problems presented as directly as possible:

  • In Grade 3, Unit: Balancing Forces, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.1: Pre-Unit Assessment, students are introduced to the phenomenon that the floating train rises, floats above the track and then later falls back to the track. Students are introduced to this phenomenon through an animated video of a train that seems to magically float above the track, move, and then settle back onto the track. Since students can not see a floating train in person, the video is the most direct way to present the phenomenon that is revisited throughout the chapter.
  • In Grade 3, Unit: Inheritance and Traits, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.7: Explaining Variation, students are presented with the phenomenon that a wolf in Graystone National Park does not have the same fur color as the rest of his pack. The phenomenon is presented to students in the first chapter via a “memo” from the Graystone National Park Biologist Team. The team asks students to explain why one wolf looks so different than the rest of the wolves in the pack. Students are presented with a photograph of the wolf pack showing one light colored wolf amongst a pack of dark colored wolves. Since it would not be practical to observe the wolves in their environment, photographs showing the color variation is a direct way to introduce students to this phenomenon.
  • In Grade 3, Unit: Environment and Survival, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.2: Investigating Needs for Survival, students are presented with the phenomenon, “over the past 10 years, the snails with yellow shells have not survived as well as the snails with banded shells.” Students begin the lesson with pictures of two different snails and bar graphs that illustrate the type of snail and the population 10 years ago and today. Since students do not have access to the actual snails, they are provided clear information that could be gathered at a site and are thus able to examine the data provided to answer questions.
  • In Grade 3, Unit: Weather and Climate, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.3: Preparing for Natural Hazards, the problem is that a hurricane destroyed the WPO office building and the new building needs to be protected from future hurricanes. Students are challenged to, “design a structure that can withstand a hurricane.” Students are first introduced to the problem through a video and text (in Lesson 4.2) showing how weather can become dangerous and cause damage. In Lesson 4.3, students try to solve his problem by mediating the damage caused by a hurricane.
  • In Grade 3, Unit: Weather and Climate, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.2: Future Weather on Three Islands, the phenomenon is that three similar islands have different weather patterns. Students examine the phenomenon of the weather on three islands across multiple lessons as they try to make predictions and select an island that is best-suited for an orangutan habitat. This is first presented to the students through a memo from the Wildlife Protection Organization with weather data from each of the three islands. Providing weather data for the three islands is the most direct way to introduce students to this phenomenon.

Indicator 1f

Phenomena and/or problems drive individual lessons or activities using key elements of all three dimensions.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 do not meet expectations that phenomena and/or problems drive individual chapters using key elements of all three dimensions. The materials include an Anchor Phenomenon at the unit level. Near the start of most units, students are asked to play the role of a scientist or an engineer tasked with explaining the phenomenon or solving the problem. The phenomenon often drives learning across the unit, but does not typically drive learning and use of the three dimensions within a single lesson or chapter. Instead, a guiding question related to building understanding of the Anchor Phenomenon is presented at the start of each chapter. The lessons within the chapter build towards answering this guiding question and often focuses on learning supporting concepts, rather than specifically focusing on the phenomenon or problem. Typically the Anchor Phenomenon serves as a central component of learning and can be explained through the application of targeted grade-appropriate science and engineering practices (SEPs), crosscutting concepts (CCCs), and disciplinary core ideas (DCIs), this is primarily found at the unit level and not within individual lessons or chapters.

Examples where a chapter or lesson within the grade does not use a phenomenon or problem to drive student learning:

  • In Grade 3, Unit: Inheritance and Traits, Chapter 1, students investigate the Anchor Phenomenon of why a wolf at Graystone Park does not have the same fur color as the rest of their pack. Driving questions are found at the chapter level and are what drives dimensional learning. Throughout the chapter, students make observations of the wolf pack found in the fictitious park using data cards and two books to gather and record their information. Students record evidence of similar and different traits amongst the wolves (SEP-INV-E3, SEP-INFO-E4). Students look for similarities and differences amongst the wolf pack and recognize patterns (CCC-PAT-E1). Students then use this data to form a scientific explanation of why wolves in the same pack may have different traits (DCI-LS3.B-E1). In this unit, the anchoring phenomenon drives dimensional learning at the unit level, not the lesson level.
  • In Grade 3, Unit: Weather and Climate, Chapter 2, students investigate the Anchor Phenomenon that three islands have different weather patterns. This unit is not related to, or driven by, a lesson-level phenomena but rather supports learning important to understanding the anchoring phenomenon. Throughout the chapter, students discuss effective data collection, reinforcing the importance of scale and units (CCC-SPQ-E2). Students read about how other students compare weather data from different months (SEP-DATA-E3, SEP-INFO-E4) to look for patterns (CCC-PAT-E3) that can explain the monthly weather data they have collected and help them make predictions (DCI-ESS2.D-E1). In this unit, students look at weather and climate data from three different islands to determine which is most suitable for an orangutan reserve. Although they analyze island data, much of the learning is driven by local weather data that students collect.
  • In Grade 3, Unit: Balancing Forces, Chapter 2, the chapter level question, “Why does the train fall?” drives the learning. Students create a model of the magnetic train (SEP-MOD-E3, SEP-MOD-E4) and use that model and information obtained to create an explanation of the movement of the train and its relation to forces (DCI-PS2.B-E2, SEP-CEDS-E1.) The explanation, models, and reading help students explain the cause-and-effect (CCC-CE-E2) relationship between forces and the train rising and falling.
  • In Grade 3, Unit: Environment and Survival, Chapter 2, the chapter level question, “Why are the snails with banded shells more likely to survive than the snails with yellow shells?” drives learning. Students begin the chapter by investigating various organisms’ traits (DCI-LS4.B.E1) and modeling (SEP-MOD.E4) hummingbird beaks to determine how the structure of the beak (CCC-SF-E2) either helps or hinders food collection. Students follow that experience with collecting information (SEP-INFO.E4) to identify how the teeth of organisms and fossil structures (CCC-SF.E2) can be used to identify what type of food the organism could eat (DCI-LS4.B.E1).

Examples of chapters or lessons that use a problem to drive student learning and engage students with all three dimensions:

  • In Grade 3, Unit: Weather and Climate, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.3: Preparing for Natural Disasters, the challenge to design a structure that can withstand a hurricane drives student learning. Students research hurricanes to better understand how weather changes, becomes hazardous (DCI-ESS3.B-E1), and develops the potential to destroy buildings in particular areas (CCC-PAT-E3). Students use provided materials to build their designs (SEP-MOD-E5), then test their designs (SEP-INV-E5). They discuss failure points and loci for improvement based on provided criteria and constraints to produce a structure that is designed to withstand a hurricane (DCI-ETS1.A-E1). Students engage with all three dimensions as they design, test, and refine their building designs.
  • In Grade 3, Unit: Environment and Survival, Chapter 4, the challenge to “design something inspired by the traits of giraffes” drives student learning. Students read about engineers who design solutions to problems based on biomimicry, and are introduced to the criteria for designing their robot. Students read about the structures of a giraffe's neck and mouth and how these structures help giraffes survive (DCI-LS1.A-E1); they use this information to inform their biomimicry design for a robot that can remove and grind up an invasive species. Students consider information on tooth structure, how the structure affects the type of food the organism can eat (CCC-SF-E2), and discuss how to optimize the tooth-structure for their design (SEP-INV-E3). Students make their model, then use the simulation to test both the neck and mouth (SEP-DATA-E5). Students use this data to evaluate and refine design solutions.

Indicator 1g

Materials are designed to include both phenomena and problems.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 are designed for students to solve problems in 18% (3/17) of the chapters. Throughout the materials, 76% (13/17) of the chapters focus on explaining phenomena.

The Grade 3 materials are designed as four instructional units, further organized into four or five chapters per unit. Each chapter is divided into multiple 60-minute lessons, comprising smaller activities. Each unit is structured to include 20 lessons plus two 60-minute assessment days.

Problems are typically presented at the start of a chapter or near the end of a chapter. Problems are presented to students in the form of an Investigation Question that is answered through a Design Task. The task is tied back to the phenomenon that was introduced at the beginning of the chapter or unit.

Examples of problems in the materials:

  • In Grade 3, Unit: Environments and Survival, Chapter 4: How can engineers use what they learn from organisms’ traits to design solutions?, the problem is that invasive plants can cause problems for the existing plants and animals in the environment. Students take on the role of biomimicry engineers. They base their design on giraffe traits; a neck that can reach plants at different heights and teeth that can grind plants into small pieces. Students solve the problem by designing a robot that can pull up and grind invasive plant species.
  • In Grade 3, Unit: Weather and Climate, Chapter 4: Lesson 4.3: Preparing for Natural Hazards, the problem is that a hurricane destroyed the WPO office building and the new building needs to be protected from future hurricanes. Students are challenged to “design a structure that can withstand a hurricane.” In this one-session lesson, students are introduced to a set of design criteria and materials for building structures that can withstand simulated hurricane wind and rain. Students solve the problem by designing and testing their structures to identify which features met the criteria. Students identify the features the WPO should consider when rebuilding their office so it is safer if there is another hurricane.

Three units (Balancing Forces; Inheritance and Traits, Environments and Survival; and Weather and Climate) all contain an Anchor Phenomenon, which set the overarching tone and concept for the lessons and are most often found at the beginning of, and throughout, the instructional unit. The Anchor Phenomenon is introduced during the first chapter of the unit. Subsequent chapters in the unit are designed around guiding questions that help students develop an explanation of the Anchor Phenomenon.

While the materials for each unit contain sections labeled as Investigative Phenomenon, Predicted Phenomenon, and/or Everyday Phenomenon, these are typically concepts that are presented to fill in gaps of necessary student knowledge, rather than a specific event students are trying to figure out or explain.

Examples of phenomena in the materials:

  • In Grade 3, Unit: Balancing Forces, the Anchor Phenomenon is that “the floating train rises, floats above the track and then later falls back to the track.” Each chapter in the unit focuses on answering a question that will support students in explaining this phenomenon. The phenomenon is introduced in Lesson 1.1, when students watch a video of a floating train and are asked to write their initial explanations for how the train moves. Throughout the five chapters in this unit, students engage in investigations and activities to learn how forces are used to make objects move, how magnetic forces act on objects without touching, and how gravity pulls objects toward earth. At the end of each chapter, students connect their learning back to the phenomenon of the floating train as they explain the forces involved in causing the train to rise, to float as it moves, and to fall back to the track.
  • In Grade 3, Unit: Inheritance and Traits, the Anchor Phenomenon is that “a wolf at Graystone National Park does not have the same fur color as the rest of its pack, but does have the same fur color as a second pack.” Each chapter in the unit focuses on answering a question that will support students in explaining this phenomenon. The phenomenon is introduced to students in Lesson 1.5. In this lesson, students focus specifically on recognizing traits in wolves. Students are given data about the wolf pack in the fictional park and asked to identify differences and similarities among the wolves. Throughout the four chapters in this unit, students engage in investigations and activities to learn how offspring inherit traits from their parents, and how some traits result from the environment. At the end of each chapter, students connect their learning back to the phenomenon as they explain how Wolf 44 inherited certain traits.
  • In Grade 3, Unit: Environments and Survival, the Anchor Phenomenon is that “over the past 10 years, the snails with yellow shells have not survived as well as the snails with banded shells.” Each chapter in the unit focuses on answering a question that will support students in explaining this phenomenon. The phenomenon is introduced to students in Lesson 1.1. In this lesson, students look at images of the grove snail shells as well as graphical displays of the snail population over time. Throughout the four chapters in this unit, students engage in investigations and activities to learn how organisms in a population can have different traits and how those traits can make it easier or harder for the organism to survive. At the end of each chapter, students connect their learning back to the phenomenon as they explain why the snails with banded shells are more likely to survive than the snails with yellow shells.
  • In Grade 3, Unit: Weather and Climate, the Anchor Phenomenon is that three similar islands have different weather patterns. Each chapter in the unit focuses on answering a question that will support students in explaining this phenomenon. The phenomenon is introduced to students in Lesson 1.2. In this lesson, students are presented with three islands and begin to talk about data that has been collected from each island. They conclude that a single day’s weather is not enough to make a conclusion and begin to discuss long range weather. They begin to conduct a parallel, model experiment collecting similar data in their classroom. Throughout the four chapters in this unit, students engage in investigations and activities to analyze climate patterns of precipitation and temperature. At the end of each chapter, students connect their learning back to the phenomenon as they explain which location would be the best habitat for an orangutan reserve.

Indicator 1h

Materials intentionally leverage students’ prior knowledge and experiences related to phenomena or problems.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet expectations that they intentionally leverage students’ prior knowledge and experiences related to phenomena or problems. In Grade 3, the materials consistently elicit students’ prior knowledge and experiences related to phenomena and problems, but do not consistently leverage throughout the materials in a way that allows students to build from their own knowledge and experiences. The materials elicit content knowledge from previous activities but also utilize What We Think We Know and Our Experiences charts for the teacher to document students' prior knowledge and experiences related to the phenomenon or problem. The teacher is also directed to post the student thinking charts on the wall so they can return to it throughout the unit. This routine for elicitation of prior knowledge and experience is used consistently across units. The information students share or that is elicited is not incorporated in subsequent activities but instead is frequently connected to at the end of instruction for students to reflect on, missing the opportunity to leverage the prior knowledge and experience.

Examples where the materials elicit prior knowledge and experience related to phenomena and problems, but miss the opportunity to leverage:

  • In Grade 3, Unit: Balancing Forces, Chapter 1: Why does the train rise?, the phenomenon is that the floating train rises, floats above the track, and then later falls back to the track. Students watch an animated video of the train rising, moving, and then returning to the track. Students then respond to writing prompts to share their initial ideas about what caused this phenomenon. In Chapter 1, Lesson 1.1: Pre-Unit Assessment, the materials elicit students’ prior knowledge and experiences related to objects rising, floating, falling and specifically ask about student experience with floating trains. In a whole class share out, students reveal prior knowledge and it is placed on the What We Think We Know chart for them to refer back to. Then, students engage in a classroom discussion to bring forward their experiences to be placed on the Our Experiences chart. While these charts are eliciting student prior knowledge and experience, there is a missed opportunity to leverage; the information students share is not incorporated in subsequent activities.
  • In Grade 3, Unit: Inheritance and Traits, the Anchor Phenomenon is that a wolf at Graystone National Park does not have the same fur color as the rest of its pack, but does have the same fur color as a second pack. The phenomenon is introduced to students in Lesson 1.5, after students have engaged in background learning about similarities and differences in traits across a variety of plants and animals and learned that closely related animals have more similarities in their traits. In Chapter 1, Lesson 1.1: Pre-Unit Assessment, the materials elicit students’ prior knowledge and experiences of similarities and differences in characteristics among animals, among family, and among friends. In a whole class share out, students reveal prior knowledge and it is placed on the What We Think We Know chart for them to refer back to. Then, students engage in a classroom discussion to bring forward their experiences to be placed on the Our Experiences chart. While these charts are eliciting student prior knowledge and experience, there is a missed opportunity to leverage; the information students share is not incorporated in subsequent activities.
  • In Grade 3, Unit: Environments and Survival, the Anchor Phenomenon is that over the past 10 years, the snails with yellow shells have not survived as well as the snails with banded shells. In Chapter 1, Lesson 1.1: Pre-Unit Assessment, the materials elicit students’ prior knowledge and experiences related to how different animals can survive in some environments but not others. The Pre-Unit Writing prompt elicits students’ prior knowledge about what organisms such as snails need to survive, as well as students’ initial ideas about why the yellow snails are not surviving well and the snails with a banded shell are surviving better. In a whole class share out, students reveal prior knowledge and it is placed on the What We Think We Know chart for them to refer back to. Then, students engage in a classroom discussion to bring forward their experiences to be placed on the Our Experiences chart. While these charts are eliciting student prior knowledge and experience, there is a missed opportunity to leverage; the information students share is not incorporated in subsequent activities.
  • In Grade 3, Unit: Environments and Survival, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.2: Planning Designs, the problem is that invasive plants can cause problems for the existing plants and animals in the environment. Students take on the role of biomimicry engineers. They base their design on giraffe traits; a neck that can reach plants at different heights and teeth that can grind plants into small pieces. In Chapter 1, Lesson 1.1: Pre-Unit Assessment, the materials elicit students’ prior knowledge and experiences related to how different animals can survive in some environments but not others. In a whole class share out, students reveal prior knowledge and it is placed on the What We Think We Know chart for them to refer back to. Then, students engage in a classroom discussion to bring forward their experiences to be placed on the Our Experiences chart. While these charts are eliciting student prior knowledge and experience, there is a missed opportunity to leverage; the information students share is not incorporated in subsequent activities.
  • In Grade 3, Unit: Weather and Climate, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.1: Pre-Unit Assessment, the phenomenon is that three similar islands have very different weather patterns. In this unit, the materials elicit students’ prior knowledge and experiences of weather patterns and changes. In a whole class share out, students reveal prior knowledge and it is placed on the What We Think We Know chart for them to refer back to. Then, students engage in a classroom discussion to bring forward their experiences to be placed on the Our Experiences chart. While these charts are eliciting student prior knowledge and experience, there is a missed opportunity to leverage; the information students share is not incorporated in subsequent activities.
  • In Grade 3, Unit: Weather and Climate, Chapter 4: Lesson 4.3: Preparing for Natural Hazards, the problem is that a hurricane destroyed the WPO office building and the new building needs to be protected from future hurricanes. Students are challenged to design a structure that can withstand a hurricane. After introducing the problem, the materials elicit students’ prior knowledge about different types of dangerous weather. In Chapter 1, Lesson 1.1: Pre-Unit Assessment, the materials elicit students’ prior knowledge and experiences of dangerous weather and weather patterns. In a whole class share out, students reveal prior knowledge and it is placed on the What We Think We Know chart for them to refer back to. Then, students engage in a classroom discussion to bring forward their experiences to be placed on the Our Experiences chart. While these charts are eliciting student prior knowledge and experience, there is a missed opportunity to leverage; the information students share is not incorporated in subsequent activities.

Indicator 1i

Materials embed phenomena or problems across multiple lessons for students to use and build knowledge of all three dimensions.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet expectations that they embed phenomena or problems across multiple lessons for students to use and build knowledge of all three dimensions. The instructional materials consistently use phenomena or problems to drive student learning and to engage with all three dimensions across multiple chapters and lessons across the unit. Each chapter of the unit consists of multiple lessons and is associated with a question that focuses the chapter around a component of understanding the Anchor Phenomenon. The phenomenon or problem does not drive learning of all lessons within the chapters; many lessons are driven by a science topic or concept that builds background knowledge that can then be applied to the phenomenon or problem. However, each unit contains opportunities where the phenomenon or problem is driving learning across multiple lessons and multiple chapters. The materials consistently provide multimodal opportunities for students to develop, evaluate, and revise their thinking as students figure out phenomena or solve problems. Students have frequent opportunities to engage in multimodal learning to develop, evaluate, and revise their thinking across and/or within each unit.

Examples of phenomena that drive students’ learning and use of the three dimensions across multiple chapters or lessons:

  • In Grade 3, Unit: Balancing Forces, the Anchor Phenomenon is that, “the floating train rises, floats above the track, then later falls back to the track.” Students engage in a series of lessons to develop an understanding of forces, why things move, and how forces and magnetism interact. Students first investigate motion and what causes objects to move or stop moving. Students then explore magnetism and how objects that do not touch can affect others. In Chapter 1, students conduct investigations (SEP-INV-E1) and analyze text for evidence and/or support in learning (SEP-INFO-E1) what causes objects to move or stop moving (DCI-PS2.A-E1). In Chapter 2, students create a model of the magnetic train (SEP-MOD-E4) by using magnets and observe that objects do not have to be in contact to affect the other (DCI-PS2.B-E2). Students use the model and information obtained to explain the movement of the train and its relation to forces (DCI-PS2.A-E1). In Chapter 3, students investigate gravity (DCI-PS2.B-E3) and how it affects objects. They make a physical model of the train track to show how the object rises, floats, and then falls back to a track then describe the forces and their effect on the movement of the train (CCC-CE-E2). In Chapter 4, students investigate balanced forces (DCI-PS2.B-E1). In Chapter 5, students connect their understanding of how the train moves when the magnets are engaged or disengaged (DCI-PS2.A-E1, DCI-PS2.B-E1, and DCI-PS2.B-E2).
  • In Grade 3, Unit: Inheritance and Traits, the Anchor Phenomenon is that “a wolf at Graystone National Park does not have the same fur color as the rest of its pack, but does have the same fur color as a second pack.” Students engage in a series of lessons to develop an understanding of inherited traits and traits that may be influenced by the environment of an organism. In Chapter 1, students examine a variety of organisms including bears, flamingos and birds, noting similarities and differences between related organisms. Students use these noted similarities and differences to classify groups or families and sort them into categories. Students relate the differences of traits in other organisms to the wolf population. In Chapter 2, students analyze data cards and look for similarities and differences among parents and offspring in fruit fly families to recognize that traits of offspring are similar to and inherited from their parents (DCI-LS3.A.E1). Students relate these patterns of inheritance to the wolf data. In Chapter 3, students analyze data cards of flamingo families and recognize that traits can be affected by the environment rather than inherited (CCC-CE-E2, DCI-LS3.A.E1). Students also use a digital simulation to model traits in parents and offspring and their environment (SEP-MOD-E4) and explain the difference in size and hunting style of Wolf 44 to the Bison Valley Pack.
  • In Grade 3, Unit: Environment and Survival, the Anchor Phenomenon is that “over the past 10 years, the snails with yellow shells have not survived as well as the snails with banded shells.” In Chapters 1–3, students examine population data for two snail species where one is thriving and one is not. Students write an initial explanation for this difference in survival rate, based on data, the snails’ appearance, and their environment. Students then reflect upon the snails’ survival needs and study animal survival more broadly. Students analyze data (SEP-DATA-E2) to write initial reflections on why one is surviving better than another (DCI-LS4.C-E1). After reflecting on survival in snails and other organisms in particular environments, students revise their initial ideas about why only some snails are surviving, taking into consideration the different components and interactions with the environment (CCC-SYS-E2). As they examine snail population data across different environments, with various predators, students think about the causes of these differences and predict what would happen if another organism was introduced to the system. Students use all that they have investigated to write an explanation for why one has a survival advantage over another (DCI-LS2.C-E1). There are varied multimodal opportunities for students to develop their learning. These opportunities include: role-playing, gathering information from readings, shared discussion, data interpretation, writing explanations, card sort activities, inferring from photographs, and engaging in models.
  • In Grade 3, Unit: Weather and Climate, the Anchoring Phenomenon is that three similar islands have different weather patterns. In Chapter 1, students gather evidence and analyze weather data so they can advise the group on the most suitable island for an orangutan reserve. They compare daily, monthly, and long-term data on graphs (SEP-DATA-E3) related to each location’s temperature and participation (DCI-ESS2.D-E1). In Chapter 2, students continue to examine island weather data but also use local data to understand how long-range temperature and precipitation data can be represented mathematically to make predictions about the future weather on three islands. As part of their long-term investigation, students collect local weather data (SEP-INV-E3), organize it graphically (SEP-MATH-E4), and look for patterns (CCC-PAT-E2) to make a prediction about future weather events (DCI-ESS2.D-E1). Students then use patterns in the island weather data to make predictions about future weather in each island (CCC-PAT-E3) to support a claim about which island is the most suitable for orangutan survival (DCI-LS4.C-E1). In Chapter 3, students identify seasonal patterns and information on climate then apply their understanding of seasonal patterns (DCI-ESS2.D-E2) to support a claim about which island will have the best weather for orangutans over the long term.

Gateway Two

Coherence and Scope

Meets Expectations

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Gateway Two Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet expectations for Gateway 2: Coherence and Scope.

Criterion 2a - 2g

Materials are coherent in design, scientifically accurate, and support grade-level and grade-band endpoints of all three dimensions.
34/34
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet expectations for Criterion 2a-2g: Coherence and Full Scope of the Three Dimensions. The materials support students in understanding connections between chapters and units. The materials, and corresponding suggested sequence, reveal student tasks related to explaining phenomena or solving problems that increase in sophistication within each unit and across units. The materials accurately represent the three dimensions across the series and only include scientific content appropriate to the grade level. Further, the materials include all DCI components and all elements for physical science; life science; earth and space science; and engineering, technology, and applications of science. The materials include all of the science and engineering practices but not all elements of the practices are present. The materials include all grade-level SEP elements and all elements across the grade band, with adequate opportunity for students to use practices repeatedly and in multiple contexts. The materials include all of the grade-band crosscutting concepts and provide repeated opportunities for students to use CCCs across the grade band. The materials include NGSS connections to Nature of Science and Engineering elements associated with the SEPs and/or CCCs.

Indicator 2a

Materials are designed for students to build and connect their knowledge and use of the three dimensions across the series.
0/0

Indicator 2a.i

Students understand how the materials connect the dimensions from unit to unit.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet expectations that students understand how the materials connect the dimensions from chapter to chapter. The materials include four units comprising four to five chapters per unit. The Science Program Guide provides a recommended scope and sequence. The Unit Overview and Unit Map sections of the teacher materials provide information and support for teachers explaining how the chapters within a unit connect to each other. The Lesson Overview section of the teacher materials provides information and support for teachers that explains how the lessons within a chapter connect to each other. The first lesson of the unit (following the Pre-Unit Assessment) provides prompts that give context and goals for the entire unit. The first lesson of each subsequent chapter in the unit usually connects prior learning between the chapters in the unit. In three out of the four units in Grade 3, the final chapter connects to one or more disciplinary core ideas (DCIs) that are the focus of the unit, but not to the question presented in the Unit Map that provides context for the unit. While there are connections between chapters within each unit, there is not a connection between each unit and other units in the recommended sequence.

Examples of student learning experiences that demonstrate connections across chapters:

  • In Grade 3, Unit: Balancing Forces, the Unit Map presents the question, “How is it possible for a train to float?” Across this unit, students ask questions about what happens if variables are changed (SEP-AQDP-E1) and have multiple opportunities to use cause-and-effect relationships (CCC-CE-E1) to explain changes in the forces that move the train. In Chapter 1, students are introduced to the floating train and take the roles of engineers who seek out strategies to explain why the train floats; students investigate and explain both balanced and unbalanced forces. Students discuss patterns they notice, and ideas or questions they have based on a provided chart as they determine how different forces act on objects. Students use a simulation to create models (SEP-MOD-E4) to demonstrate how magnetic force causes the train to “float.” In Chapter 2, students plan and conduct investigations to test how non-touching forces can exert a force to create the rise and fall of the train. They also explore how these forces act on objects as they try to explain why the train floats. In Chapter 3, students explore why the train falls by investigating gravity. Chapter 4 combines all of these ideas to address the idea of balanced forces and why the train does not fall if gravity is acting upon it. Finally, in Chapter 5, students are asked to apply their understanding of when the train rises and falls as they learn how a hoverboard works.
  • In Grade 3, Unit: Inheritance and Traits, the Unit Map presents the question, “What is the origin of the traits of Wolf 44—a wolf that appears to be different from the rest of its pack?” Across this unit, students have multiple opportunities to look for patterns (CCC-PAT-E1) as they sort and classify traits of organisms and build understanding of inheritance of traits (DCI-LS3.B-E1, DCI-LS3.A-E2) as they figure out what causes the different appearance in Wolf 44. In Chapter 1, students take on the role of a wildlife biologist to determine why one wolf in a pack may not look like the other wolves in the pack. Students analyze information and record data about birds, flamingoes, and wolves to recognize patterns and differences in traits. In Chapter 2, students use data cards and text to analyze differences and similarities in exhibited traits between offspring and their parents. The beginning of the chapter reminds students of their role in explaining the differences in the wolf appearances. Students again recognize patterns and that traits are often similar between offspring and parents. In Chapter 3, students analyze flamingo families to understand how traits can also be influenced by the environment. In Chapter 3, students use information gained in all chapters to address the trait differences in the wolf pack. Chapter 4 continues to discuss traits and scientific investigations but does not refer back to the traits within the specific wolf pack.
  • In Grade 3, Unit: Weather and Climate, the Unit Map presents the questions, “Which island would be the best location for an orangutan reserve? How can you protect buildings from damage by weather-related natural hazards?” Across this unit, students have multiple opportunities to use patterns in weather as evidence to support an explanation or to make predictions (CCC-PAT-E2, CCC-PAT-E3) about weather in different areas (DCI-ESS2.D-E1) as they figure out the best location for an orangutan reserve. In Chapter 1, students take on the role of a meteorologist and are introduced to three similar islands that have different weather patterns. They look at temperature and precipitation data for different times on each island to begin making predictions about future weather (DCI-ESS2.D-E1). Students start to collect weather data to begin a long-range investigation of local weather patterns. In Chapter 2, students act as meteorologists and continue to collect data on their local environment using appropriate scientific tools. Students look for patterns in their data and make predictions. Students look at longer range data involving the islands and then revisit their initial island arguments and revise them to represent the new evidence. In Chapter 3, students move from examining weather to looking at climate. After looking at a year’s worth of data, students evaluate evidence about orangutans' survival needs, the patterns in weather data, and the climate for each island (DCI-ESS2.D-E2). Then, they choose the island that would be the most suitable for the orangutans in the long-term. In Chapter 4, students address the second question in the Unit Map and examine natural hazards and design a hurricane-proof structure.

Indicator 2a.ii

Materials have an intentional sequence where student tasks increase in sophistication.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet expectations that they have an intentional sequence where student tasks increase in sophistication. Materials are designed with a recommended sequence and student tasks related to explaining phenomena and/or solving problems increase in sophistication within each unit and across the grade band.

Within the grade, the recommended sequence of units is Balancing Forces, Inheritance and Traits, Environments and Survival, and Weather and Climate, in that order. Within each of these units, there is a single anchor phenomenon that is presented to the students with investigative phenomenon utilized within the individual units. The latter two units introduce a problem as well. Although the units are provided in a recommended order, there is no specific increase of rigor as these units are presented. Approaches to the assessment of the different dimensions are also consistent and similar throughout each unit. However, the learning tasks within the unit increase in sophistication as students work towards explaining phenomena or solving problems.

Example of student tasks with increasing in sophistication within a unit:

  • In Grade 3, Unit: Weather and Climate, students look at both short and long-range weather data to make predictions about the climate that is best-suited for the environment. Students evaluate different types of evidence (SEP-ARG-E2) and then look at how claims must be supported by evidence. Students practice organizing evidence and making a claim throughout the chapter as they learn more about the climate of each island by engaging evidence circles (SEP-ARG-E1). At the end of Chapter 3, students use the data on temperature and weather on three different islands to construct an argument (SEP-ARG-E5) about which island is best suited for the orangutan reserve.

In each K–5 grade level, there is one unit that emphasizes the practice of investigation, one that emphasizes the practice of modeling, and one that emphasizes the engineering practice of design. In addition, in Grades 3–5, there is also one unit that emphasizes the practice of argumentation. As students progress through the series, the materials connect learning of the three dimensions across the entire grade band. The way students engage with and use the three dimensions also increases in sophistication across the investigation, modeling, design, and argumentation units.

Examples of student tasks increasing in sophistication across grade levels:

  • Investigation Units: Each grade contains a unit focused on students developing the science practices related to investigations. Grade 3 and Grade 4 show continued increasing complexity and ask students to utilize practices within clearly defined investigations and topics, but Grade 5 does not show a clear increase over the previous two grades. In Grade 3, the Inheritance and Traits unit focuses on inherited traits and specifically asks “What is the origin of the traits of Wolf 44—a wolf that appears to be different from the rest of its pack?” Investigations throughout this particular unit focus on how traits are inherited. Students are investigating the process by which animals (different ones are utilized within the unit) inherit traits that are similar to and different from other animals. They use science and engineering practices (SEPs) to ask questions (SEP-ADQP-E3), investigate the phenomenon and other related information (SEP-INV-E3), and collect data on the topic to help inform their conclusions (SEP-CEDS-E1). In Grade 4, students build on their investigation skills with the Vision and Light unit, which focuses on how animals obtain information through their senses. This unit emphasizes the practice of asking of questions; students then need to investigate and collect information to answer a question (SEP-ADQP-E1, SEP-ADQP-E3) as well as use modeling to draw conclusions (SEP-MOD-E3, SEP-MOD-E4, and SEP-DATA-E2). The practices of asking questions and conducting investigations increase in complexity compared to Grade 3. The Grade 4 unit adds the use of data to the modeling process and investigation process around the phenomenon, which is an increase in the complexity from the prior investigation unit in Grade 3. Additionally, students continue to build the practice of constructing explanations and arguing from evidence. In Grade 5, the Patterns of Earth and Sky unit informs students that, “different sections of an ancient artifact show what the sky looked like from one location and depict different stars.” The phenomenon in this unit does not fully connect chapter-to-chapter, nor is there a clear unit to unit connection with prior grades. The investigation aspects within this unit focus largely on the use of developing and using models (SEP-MOD-E3 and SEP-MOD-E4), but show no additional connections to the prior to units focused on investigations.
  • Argumentation Units: Each grade contains a unit focused on students developing the science practices related to investigations. Grades 3–5 show continued increasing complexity and ask students to utilize practices related to argumentation. In Grade 3, students use data to make predictions about the climate and evaluate different types of evidence (SEP-ARG-E2) in the Weather and Climate unit. Students practice organizing evidence and making claims by engaging in evidence circles (SEP-ARG-E1). Students work in groups to review evidence provided by the teacher and make claims and write an argument together about the weather on three islands. These skills are built upon in Grade 4, Earth’s Features unit, when students collect evidence from a rocky outcrop to study fossils in this area and make claims about the area’s history. To explain the fossil phenomenon, students first learn that claims must be supported by evidence (SEP-ARG-E2); then, they engage in discourse about their claims and write an argument about this area’s past (SEP-ARG-E4). As students gain more evidence about the rocky desert outcrop, they refine their arguments based on new evidence about what could have caused changes in the landscape on their own (SEP-ARG-E1, SEP-ARG-E5). In Grade 5, Ecosystem Restoration unit, students examine a rainforest ecosystem and use investigations and models to collect their own data that supports their arguments (SEP-ARG-E4) about what factors could be impacting the lives of the organisms in the ecosystem that are not thriving. Students learn about the components of good argumentation and use scientific reasoning to discuss why the animals in the ecosystem are not thriving (SEP-ARG-E3). At the end of the series, students are using their arguments, that are inclusive of claims, evidence, and reasoning to justify a plan to restore the reforested rainforest (SEP-ARG-E5).
  • Modeling Units: Each grade contains a unit focused on students developing the science practices related to modeling. Grades 3–5 show continued increasing complexity and ask students to utilize practices related to modeling. In Grade 3, the Balancing Forces unit introduces students to the unit phenomenon of the floating train. Students take on the role of an engineer and seek information to explain why the train floats; this requires students to explain balanced and unbalanced forces. By asking questions (SEP-ADQP-E4) across the entire unit, students explore and learn how different forces act on objects. Questions build on each other as students move throughout the unit. Students are also engaged in the use of the simulation to create models (SEP-MOD-E4). Some examples of models within the simulation have students demonstrating how a magnetic force causes the train to “float” and how balanced forces act on the train. Investigations outside of the simulation ask students to explore how gravity affects different objects pulling them towards the earth and to read about the use of a hoverboard. In addition to the use of models within these explorations, students continue to ask questions (SEP-ADQP-E4, SEP-INV-E1, SEP-INV-E3). In Grade 4, the Waves, Energy, and Information unit has students study the properties of sound waves to explain the phenomenon of sound moving through water. Students use tsunamis, stadium waves, and spring toys as models to understand wave-like motion (SEP-MOD-E4). Students use musical instruments, collision investigations, and a digital simulator (SEP-MOD-E4) to make connections between sounds and waves. By the end of the unit, students use models to manipulate waves and sounds and to make connections among waves, collisions, and sounds. Students continue to use the sound simulator to manipulate waveforms to make connections between the shape of the wave and its sound (SEP-MOD-E6). To explain the phenomena, students creating and revising a model for how sound travels under water (SEP-MOD-E2). In Grade 5, the Modeling Matter unit has students use models to understand the forces among molecules (SEP-MOD-E3) and use digital simulations to make predictions about how molecules in salad dressing will behave. Students use and create models to make predictions about scientific phenomena.

Indicator 2b

Materials present Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI), Science and Engineering Practices (SEP), and Crosscutting Concepts (CCC) in a way that is scientifically accurate.*
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet expectations that they present disciplinary core ideas (DCIs), science and engineering practices (SEPs), and crosscutting concepts (CCCs) in a way that is scientifically accurate. Across the grade, the teacher materials, student materials, and assessments accurately represent the three dimensions and are free from scientific inaccuracies.

Indicator 2c

Materials do not inappropriately include scientific content and ideas outside of the grade-level Disciplinary Core Ideas.*
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet expectations that they do not inappropriately include scientific content and ideas outside of the grade-level disciplinary core ideas (DCIs). Across the grade, the materials consistently incorporate student learning opportunities to learn and use DCIs appropriate to the grade.

Indicator 2d

Materials incorporate all grade-level Disciplinary Core Ideas.
0/0

Indicator 2d.i

Physical Sciences
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet expectations that they incorporate all grade-level disciplinary core ideas (DCIs) for physical sciences. Across the grade, the materials include all of the associated elements of the physical science DCIs. These are found in the Balancing Forces unit; however, the element PS2.B-E2 is not fully addressed in the materials.

Examples of grade-level physical science DCI elements present in the materials:

  • PS2.A-E1. In Grade 3, Unit: Balancing Forces, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.3: Forces All Around, students engage in a reading activity in which they are asked to make observations of different forces. Students are asked to use sticky notes to determine where in the book forces occur, which helps them demonstrate that forces have strength and direction.
  • PS2.A-E1. In Grade 3, Unit: Balancing Forces, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.2: Investigating Balanced Forces, students manipulate a paperclip on a string with magnets to demonstrate that two forces (gravity and magnetic) can act on a single object. Students discuss what happens when both forces are balanced and act on the paperclip showing zero net force. Students read about and collect evidence from the text and use the terminology in context.
  • PS2.A-E2. In Grade 3, Unit: Balancing Forces, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.2: Reading about Gravity, students read about gravity and connect the concept to what happened to the ball that falls towards earth. Students also investigate what happens when an unbalanced force pushes on dominoes.
  • PS2.A-E2. In Grade 3, Unit: Balancing Forces, Chapter 5, Lesson 5.3: Electromagnets and Predicting Patterns, students use a wooden block on a string and a bouncing ball to investigate patterns in forces. Students discuss the forces that initially act on the objects and then the pattern that happens as gravity slows the object down.
  • PS2.B-E1. In Grade 3, Balancing Forces, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.3: Observing Forces in Chain Reactions, students set up their own series of reactions to show that forces are exerted when objects are in contact with each other. They also show how forces act on objects and that unequal forces can change the object’s direction or location. Students examine the relationship of forces during a chain reaction within a system.

Examples of grade-level physical science DCI elements partially addressed in the materials:

  • PS2.B-E2. In Grade 3, Unit: Balancing Forces, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.1: Discovering Non-Touching Forces, students investigate how magnets are involved with the rising train. Students manipulate the magnets in different ways to demonstrate how the size of the force and distance of the magnet affects the outcome. Finally students explain their understanding related to how magnets interact with each other in magnetic forces. The materials do not address the electric forces component of this DCI element.

Indicator 2d.ii

Life Sciences
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet expectations that they incorporate all grade-level disciplinary core ideas (DCIs) for life sciences. Across the grade, the materials include all the associated elements of the life science DCIs. These are found in three units: Weather and Climate, Environment and Survival, and Inheritance and Traits.

Examples of grade-level life science DCI elements present in the materials:

  • LS1.B-E1. In Grade 3, Unit: Inheritance and Traits, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.1: Pre Unit Assessment, students create a model and have a class discussion about the life cycle of organisms, beginning with reproduction, and how they vary among organisms.
  • LS2.C.E1. In Grade 3, Unit: Environments and Survival, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.2: Environment News, students read Environment News, a book that chronicles three different environmental changes and how each change affected which traits were adaptive in a particular population of organisms. In lesson 3.3, students use the Environments and Survival Modeling Tool to create a digital model that shows their understanding of how environmental changes can cause traits that were once adaptive to become non-adaptive.
  • LS2.D.E1. In Grade 3, Unit: Inheritance and Traits, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.5: Variation in a Species, students make observations of the individual wolf and the pack. Students observe that wolves travel in groups as do other animals. Students continue, throughout the unit, to see the various benefits to an animal when traveling in a pack as well as the different roles that exist within a group or pack.
  • LS3.A.E1. In Grade 3, Unit: Inheritance and Traits, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.3: The Code, students read a book that explains genetic code and how traits are inherited by offspring from their parents. Students record information as they read.
  • LS3.A.E2. In Grade 3, Unit: Inheritance and Traits, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.5: Making Sense of Traits, students use a digital simulation to create a graphic organizer that models offspring, parents, and their shared traits. This simulation also includes the environment that the organism may live in and how that may affect the traits. Students are able to discover that characteristics of an organism result from their interaction with their environment and that many characteristics involve both inheritance and the environment.
  • LS4.A.E1. In Grade 3, Unit: Environments and Survival, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.2: Mystery Mouths, students compare mouths of different herbivores, some living and extinct. A teacher prompt and associated text inform students there are millions of extinct plants and animals that once lived on earth but are no longer found anywhere.
  • LS4.A.E2. In Grade 3, Unit: Environments and Survival, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.3: Investigating Traits and Survival, students use pictures of fossils to observe the structure of fossils of organisms that lived long ago. Students get information about what scientists think the environment and the organism’s needs for survival were like when the organism was alive.
  • LS3.B.E1. In Grade 3, Unit: Inheritance and Traits, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.1: Introducing Traits That Aren't Inherited, students look at data cards containing information about a flamingo family. Students observe and record differences amongst the flamingos, and then conduct research to understand that the environment also affects the traits that an organism develops.
  • LS3.B.E2. In Grade 3, Unit: Inheritance and Traits, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.1: Introducing Traits That Aren't Inherited, students analyze data cards of a flamingo family. Students identify traits of the flamingo offspring that the parents do not have. Students conduct reading and research to discover that the environment also affects the traits that an organism develops.
  • LS4.B.E1. In Grade 3, Unit: Environments and Survival, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.5: Making Sense of Traits and Survival, students use the Environments and Survival Modeling Tool to apply their knowledge of how different characteristics can make it easier or harder for organisms to survive in a given environment. Students engage in activities where they consolidate their understanding about how organisms’ traits affect their likelihood of survival in a given environment.
  • LS4.C.E1. In Grade 3, Unit: Weather and Climate, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.4: Evaluating Island Weather Evidence, students use evidence collected about the temperature and precipitation of each island to make a claim about the island that is similar to Borneo, the orangutan’s original habitat. Students use temperature and precipitation data as evidence to decide the island that is ideal for the survival of the new orangutan reserve.
  • LS4.C.E1. In Grade 3, Unit: Environments and Survival, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.1: Hummingbird Model, students use the grove-snail data to think about why snails with different traits survive differently. Using a Hummingbird Model, students investigate how beak shape can affect how well a hummingbird can gather food, and thus thrive or not. Students make comparisons among different beak structures to discover that different traits can make it easier or harder for an organism to survive in its environment. Students learn that variation in traits can affect how some organisms in a population can or cannot meet their needs for survival in a given environment.
  • LS4.D.E1. In Grade 3, Unit: Weather and Climate, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.6: Evaluating Evidence About Climate, students reevaluate weather data to make claims about the long-term survival of the orangutans on each island. In this lesson, students think about weather stability as they choose an island, considering that environmental changes impact the organisms that live in specific habitats.
  • LS4.D.E1. In Grade 3, Unit: Environments and Survival, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.1: The Survival Model: Changing Environments, students examine several species traits through a Survival Model game where populations live in a variety of habitats, and change in those habitats affects the organisms living there. Students make observations of different examples of environmental changes and discuss their prior knowledge about each change and how it might affect the survival of organisms with different traits.

Indicator 2d.iii

Earth and Space Sciences
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet expectations that they incorporate all grade-level disciplinary core ideas (DCIs) for earth and space sciences. Across the grade, the materials include nearly all the associated elements of the earth and space science DCIs. All of the elements are found in one unit: Weather and Climate.

Examples of grade-level earth and space science DCI elements present in the materials:

  • ESS2.D-E1. In Grade 3, Unit: Weather and Climate, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.4: Sky Notebook, students collect local temperature and precipitation data, then use data tables to track their data and mirror what they read in a companion text, Sky Notebook. They practice using the appropriate tools to collect data, then record their data with appropriate units.
  • ESS2.D-E1. In Grade 3, Unit: Weather and Climate, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.5: Making Sense of Weather Data, students are presented with additional data for each of the three fictitious islands. They evaluate the evidence and make predictions about which island would have the ideal weather for an orangutan reserve.
  • ESS2.D-E2. In Grade 3, Unit: Weather and Climate, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.2: Discovering Climate Through Data, students review weather data from several locations to determine patterns over many years. They use the ranges in temperature and precipitation, and the predictable patterns of stability and change in each year, to describe each locations’ climate.
  • ESS3.B-E1. In Grade 3, Unit: Weather and Climate, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.2: Dangerous Weather Ahead, students make predictions about potential natural hazards in different parts of the United States based on examining maps and historical data related to weather patterns.
  • ESS3.B-E1. In Grade 3, Unit: Weather and Climate, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.3: Preparing for Natural Hazards, students build a structure that could withstand the effects of a hurricane. They test it for stability through heavy rains and wind.

Indicator 2d.iv

Engineering, Technology, and Applications of Science
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed Grades 3–5 meet expectations that they incorporate all grade-band and grade-level disciplinary core ideas (DCIs) for engineering, technology, and applications of science (ETS) and all associated elements. In Grade 3, no performance expectations (PEs) are associated with physical, life, or earth and space science DCIs that also connect to an ETS DCI. However, the materials do include opportunities for students to engage with ETS elements in this grade.

Examples of ETS DCI elements present in the Grade 3 materials:

  • ETS1.A-E1. In Grade 3, Unit: Environments and Survival, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.2: Planning Designs, students learn solutions to a problem may be limited by available materials and resources (constraints), and that the success of a solution is determined by how well it meets specific criteria. Students are presented with a design challenge of developing a robot that will remove invasive species. Students are given a list of criteria that the robot must do and have the constraint of a limited amount of materials to use.
  • ETS1.B-E1. In Grade 3, Unit: Environments and Survival, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.2: Planning Designs, students learn that it is important to research a problem before beginning to design a solution, and that testing a solution involves investigating how well the design performs. Students use books and videos to research how a giraffe’s neck allows it to successfully get food and how the shape of the giraffe’s teeth allow it to grind-up its food. Students test their solutions to determine how well the teeth on their design performs.
  • ETS1.B.E2. In Grade 3, Unit: Weather and Climate, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.3: Preparing for Natural Hazards, students learn the importance of testing designs to identify failure points, then use those tests to determine where to improve their design. Students build a hurricane-proof structure to meet a set of criteria, then perform a series of tests to determine if their structures meet that criteria. Students come back together and discuss the features of each of their designs that were effective and ineffective each performance test.
  • ETS1.B-E3. In Grade 3, Unit: Environments and Survival, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.2: Planning Designs and Lesson 4.3: Making and Testing Designs, students learn that communicating with peers about proposed solutions is an important part of the design process, and shared ideas can lead to improved designs. Students communicate their design ideas before constructing their robot. In Lesson 4.3, students share their results of their tests on their design and then use the shared ideas from the class to improve their design.

In Grade 4, two PEs are associated with physical, life, or earth and space science DCIs that also connect to an ETS DCI. The materials include opportunities for students to engage with these ETS elements in this grade.

Examples of the Grade 4 grade-level ETS DCI elements present in the materials:

  • ETS1.A-E1. In Grade 4, Unit: Energy Conversions, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.3: Exploring Systems, students learn that solutions to a problem may be limited by available materials and resources (constraints) and that the success of a solution is determined by how well it meets specific criteria. Students build a simple electrical system model that is powered by a solar panel using materials that are provided to them in a bag.
  • ETS1.C-E1. In Grade 4, Unit: Energy Conversions, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.4: System Improvements, students learn that testing different designs can help them determine which solves the problem. Students share data from their design tests with their classmates. Students use a listening strategy to provide input on the designs. After this, students receive a memo from the mayor asking them to consider two potential designs and recommend one.

In Grade 5, no PEs associated with physical, life, or earth and space science DCIs connect to an ETS DCI. However, the materials do include opportunities for students to engage with ETS elements in this grade.

Examples of ETS DCI elements present in the Grade 5 materials:

  • ETS1.A-E1. In Grade 5, Unit: The Earth System, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.7: Design Freshwater Collection Systems, students learn that solutions to a problem may be limited by available materials and resources (constraints) and that the success of a solution is determined by how well it meets specific criteria. Students are challenged to design a system that will provide fresh water from salt water. They discuss constraints that engineers would face with this design and then are presented with constraints on the materials they can use. Students also determine that providing fresh water would be the indication of success.
  • ETS1.B-E1. In Grade 5, Unit: Modeling Matter, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.1: Investigating Dissolving: Why do some salad dressings have sediments and others do not?, students begin to design a salad dressing that must have particles dissolve. Past lessons contribute to the research that must be done before designing a solution. Testing is also done to see how the dressing performs with various ingredients.
  • ETS1.B-E2. In Grade 5, Unit: The Earth System, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.4: Iterating on Freshwater Collection Systems, students discuss how testing their designs can identify failure points and this information can be used to determine what aspects of the design needs to be improved. Students measure how much freshwater their initial systems collect. Students then identify where their design failed and record which aspects of their design did not work and which aspects succeeded. Students improve their design based on the test results. This includes an explanation of why they think these successes and failures occurred.
  • ETS1.B-E3. In Grade 5, Unit: The Earth System, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.4: Iterating on Freshwater Collection Systems, students learn that communicating with peers about proposed solutions is an important part of the design process, and that shared ideas can lead to improved designs. After completing their design of a freshwater collection system, students participate in an Engineer’s Jigsaw routine to see other groups’ designs and discuss their successes and failures. Students gather information from the jigsaw routine about how they can redesign their own systems. They discuss these plans in their groups and then improve their design.

The Grades 3–5 band includes three DCI PEs that are designed to be taught at any point across the grade band. These PEs include five elements. The materials provide opportunities to engage with ETS DCIs and their elements in all three grades within this band.

Examples of the 3–5 grade-band ETS DCI elements present in the materials:

  • ETS1.A-E1. In Grade 3, Unit: Weather and Climate, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.3: Preparing for Natural Hazards, students learn that solutions to a problem may be limited by available materials and resources (constraints) and that the success of a solution is determined by how well it meets specific criteria. Students are tasked to design a structure that would be protective against the damage caused by a hurricane. Students are given a specific amount of tape, craft sticks, straws, scissors, and a single index card to build a structure to meet a set of criteria. Their structure must hold a penny above water, stay upright through wind and rain, be stable, and fit in a given container.
  • ETS1.B-E1. In Grade 3, Unit: Environments and Survival, Chapter 4, lesson 4.2: Planning Designs, students learn that it is important to research a problem before beginning to design a solution and that testing a solution involves investigating how well the design performs. Students use books and videos to research how a giraffe’s neck allows it to successfully get food and how the shape of the giraffe’s teeth allow it to grind-up its food. Students test their solutions to determine how well the teeth on their design performs.
  • ETS1.B-E2. In Grade 5, Unit: The Earth System, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.4: Iterating on Freshwater Collection Systems, students discuss how testing their designs can identify failure points and this information can be used to determine what aspects of the design needs to be improved. Students measure how much freshwater their initial systems collect. Students then identify where their design failed and record which aspects of their design did not work and which aspects succeeded. Students improve their design based on the test results. This includes an explanation of why they think these successes and failures occurred.
  • ETS1.B-E3. In Grade 5, Unit: The Earth System, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.4: Iterating on Freshwater Collection Systems, students learn that communicating with peers about proposed solutions is an important part of the design process, and that shared ideas can lead to improved designs. After completing their design of a freshwater collection system, students participate in an Engineer’s Jigsaw routine to see other groups’ designs and discuss their successes and failures. Students gather information from the jigsaw routine about how they can redesign their own systems. They discuss these plans in their groups and then improve their design.
  • ETS1.C-E1. In Grade 4, Unit: Energy Conversions, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.4: System Improvements, students learn that testing different designs can help them determine which solves the problem. Students share data from their design tests with their classmates. Students utilize a listening strategy to provide input on the designs. After this, students receive a memo from the mayor asking them to consider two potential designs and recommend one.

Indicator 2e

Materials incorporate all grade-band Science and Engineering Practices.
0/0

Indicator 2e.i

Materials incorporate grade-level appropriate SEPs within each grade.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet expectations that they incorporate all grade-level science and engineering practices (SEPs) and associated elements. Across the grade level, the units fully incorporate all the grade-band elements associated with the performance expectations (PEs) for Grade 3.

Across the grade, students are provided opportunities to engage with the SEPs multiple times and in multiple contexts. Students repeatedly engage with grade-band elements of SEPs multiple times across the units; students have multiple opportunities to ask questions, conduct investigations, use models, analyze data, and obtain information from text or other media to support explanations they construct about phenomena.

Examples of SEP elements associated with grade-level performance expectations present in the materials:

  • AQDP-E3. In Grade 3, Unit: Balancing Forces, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.1: Discovering Non-Touching Forces, students ask questions about what causes the train to rise and how magnets are part of the train moving. Students then investigate the questions they had as they manipulate the magnets in different ways.
  • AQDP-E5. In Grade 3, Unit: Environments and Survival, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.2: Planning Designs, students define the design problem of building a robot that will remove an invasive plant species from a tree. Students develop a system, in the form of a robot, to solve their design problem. Students work within the criteria of an effective removal and the constraints of materials available for their system.
  • MOD-E4. In Grade 3, Unit: Inheritance and Traits, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.5: Making Sense of Traits, students use a digital simulation to develop a model to describe the traits of parents and their offspring and the influence on the environment.
  • INV-E1. In Grade 3, Unit: Inheritance and Traits, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.3: Investigating What Determines Traits, students design an experiment using celery to determine how pieces of celery got their color. Students must discuss and decide on which variables are controlled. Students then conduct their investigation and collect data.
  • INV-E3. In Grade 3, Unit: Environments and Survival, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.3: Making and Testing Designs, students make and test their first test-versions of the neck design, share their designs and test results with another pair, and then revise their test-versions based on new ideas. Students are reminded of the procedure for neck-testing, take turns testing their giraffe-inspired necks, and record test data in their notebooks. Students share their designs and test results with another pair, and then record their new data about their designs. Students make a second test-version of the robot necks and test them.
  • DATA-E1. In Grade 3, Unit: Environments and Survival, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.3: Investigating Traits and Survival, students examine grove snail data from populations across Europe and observe that there is variation in the grove snails' trait for shell strength. Students sort snail cards into groups and record data in a table located in their notebooks. Students discuss recorded data to answer questions. By classifying snails according to different traits, students discover that snails with yellow shells have weaker shells than the snails with banded shells. Students consider how the variation in the grove snail’s trait for shell strength could affect their survival in the coastal Wales environment, as well as in a contrasting environment.
  • DATA-E2. In Grade 3, Unit: Weather and Climate, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.6: Evaluating Evidence about Climate, students analyze and interpret data organized in charts and graphs to evaluate the evidence and make a claim about the climate on the three fictitious islands. Students use this data as evidence to write a claim.
  • CEDS-E2. In Grade 3, Unit: Weather and Climate, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.2: Dangerous Weather Ahead, students use evidence from a text, Dangerous Weather Ahead, from a digital simulation, Weather and Climate Practice Tool, and from weather maps to construct an explanation about why natural disasters happen in some areas and not in others.
  • ARG-E4. In Grade 3, Unit: Inheritance and Traits, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.3: Investigating What Determines Traits, students construct a scientific explanation that describes why the wolf does not hunt like the Bison Valley hunting pack. Students use guidelines that describe the components of a scientific explanation. Students use data compiled in their notebooks to construct their explanation.
  • ARG-E6. In Grade 3, Unit: Environments and Survival, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.5: Presenting Design Arguments, students learn that they will participate in a Biomimicry Engineering Conference in which they will present design arguments for how their RoboGrazer designs meet the criteria. Students prepare their arguments by reviewing their test data and describing how their designs meet each of the criteria. Then, the engineering conference begins, students present their designs and design arguments and listen to others present.
  • INFO-E4. In Grade 3, Unit: Inheritance and Traits, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.7: Explaining Variation, students use data cards and two books to record information about a fictitious wolf pack. Students record evidence of similarities and differences in traits amongst the organisms.

Indicator 2e.ii

Materials incorporate all SEPs across the grade band.
4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 3–5 meet expectations that they incorporate all grade-level science and engineering practices (SEPs) and associated elements. Across the grade band, the units fully incorporate all the SEPs and elements associated with the performance expectations (PEs) within the 3–5 grade band.

Across the grade band, students are provided opportunities to engage with the SEPs multiple times and in multiple contexts. Students repeatedly engage with grade-band elements of SEPs multiple times across the units; students have multiple opportunities to conduct investigations, develop and use models, analyze data, and obtain information from text or other media to support explanations they construct about phenomena. Many SEP elements were met multiple times across the units and grade levels.

Examples of SEP elements associated with performance expectations within the 3–5 grade band present in the materials:

  • AQDP-E3. In Grade 3, Unit: Balancing Forces, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.1: Discovering Non-Touching Forces, students ask questions about what causes the train to rise and how magnets are part of the train moving. Students then investigate the questions they had as they manipulate the magnets in different ways.
  • AQDP-E5. In Grade 3, Unit: Environments and Survival, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.2: Planning Designs, students define the design problem of building a robot that will remove an invasive plant species from a tree. Students develop a system, in the form of a robot, to solve their design problem. Students work within the criteria of an effective removal and the constraints of materials available for their system.
  • MOD-E3. In Grade 4, Unit: Earth’s Features, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.4: Modeling Erosion: Speed, students use the stream table model to construct their ideas about erosion and continue to investigate the question, “What affects the amount of rock that water can erode? Students discuss how they could use the Erosion Model to test how the speed of water affects erosion.
  • MOD-E4. In Grade 5, Unit: Modeling Matter, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.5: Models of Emulsifiers, students use a digital simulation and knowledge from this unit to create a nanoscale drawing that highlights the behavior of molecules in solutions. Students are able to predict how molecules will behave even though we are not able to see them.
  • MOD-E6. In Grade 4, Unit: Waves, Energy, and Information, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.3: How Sounds Can Differ, students use a digital simulation model where they manipulate wave patterns to show that changes in wavelength and amplitude affect a sound’s volume and pitch.
  • INV-E1. In Grade 5, Unit: Earth’s Systems, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.7: Designing Freshwater Collection Systems, students are introduced to a hands-on design challenge: to design and build freshwater collection systems that will get freshwater from saltwater and then collect the freshwater for people to use. Students control variables by using the same amount of hot, colored salt water. Students all have the same amount of time. The measurement technique of the resulting fresh water is identical. Students do two trials, the second one after revisions of their devices. Students reflect on what they have learned so far to help them design their systems, identifying evaporation and condensation as processes that can distill freshwater from saltwater.
  • INV-E3. In Grade 3, Unit: Environment and Survival, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.3: Making and Testing Designs, students make and test their first test-versions of the neck design, share their designs and test results with another pair, and then revise their test-versions based on new ideas. Students are reminded of the procedure for neck-testing, take turns testing their giraffe-inspired necks, and record test data in their notebooks. Students share their designs and test results with another pair, and then record their new data about their designs. Students make a second test-version of the robot necks and test them.
  • DATA-E1. In Grade 5, Unit: Earth’s Systems, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.2: Making Sense of Where Raindrops Form, students begin by predicting which areas of the atmosphere in a simulated landscape will have the most condensation. They use The Earth System Simulation to collect data on where and at what temperatures water vapor condenses in the atmosphere. They then graph their data set in The Earth System Data Tool to look for patterns, concluding that more condensation occurs high in the atmosphere because it is colder there.
  • DATA-E2. In Grade 4, Unit: Earth’s Features, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.2: Exploring Rock Formation and Environment, students collect data about rock samples, read about the rock types they’ve observed, and use the simulation to consider the question, “How do rocks provide information about what an environment was like in the past? Students observe two rock samples⁠—conglomerate and sandstone⁠—and record their observations about how sedimentary rocks differ. Students share preliminary ideas about where the rocks may have formed.
  • DATA-E4. In Grade 3, Unit: Environments and Survival, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.3: Making and Testing Designs, students test their initial design for the RoboGrazer. Students measure and record the length of the robot neck and test how many leaves are touched within 30 seconds. Students share their data with classmates, analyzing which designs best met the criteria. Students then use that information to refine their designs.
  • MATH-E3. In Grade 3, Unit: Weather and Climate, Chapter 1, Lessons 1.2 and 1.3, students learn that data needs to be accurately recorded to recognize and predict patterns. Students perform a short experiment to determine the most effective way to measure rain data and collect temperature data. While students record and graph quantities to address scientific questions related to volume and temperature, they don’t specifically use quantities related to area, weight, or time.
  • MATH-E3. In Grade 5, Unit: Earth’s Systems, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.2: Making Sense of Where Raindrops Form, students use The Earth System Simulation to collect data on where and at what temperatures water vapor condenses in the atmosphere. They record and graph temperature, atmosphere height, and number of molecules for various landscapes to show that water vapor condenses at colder, higher elevations. Students then use the information from different condensation patterns on the different landscapes to future out why more water vapor gets cold over the west side of the island. While students record and graph quantities to address scientific questions, they don’t specifically use quantities related to area, volume, weight, or time.
  • CEDS-E2. In Grade 3, Unit: Weather and Climate, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.2: Dangerous Weather Ahead, students use evidence from a text, Dangerous Weather Ahead, from a digital simulation, Weather and Climate Practice Tool, and from weather maps to construct an explanation about why natural disasters happen in some areas and not in others.
  • CEDS-E3. In Grade 4, Unit: Energy Conversions, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.1: Investigating Energy Sources, students gather evidence and information to explain why the hospital lights and devices continue to work during a blackout. In this activity, students are examining evidence and asking questions about why the hospital still has electricity.
  • CEDS-E5. In Grade 4, Unit: Energy Conversions, Chapter 4, students construct circuits and make them fail. Another group analyzes the failed circuit to determine what is the failure point and provides solutions for fixing the circuit. Students then apply this understanding to the blackout problem in Ergstown and compare multiple solutions for minimizing the town’s blackouts.
  • ARG-E4. In Grade 5, Unit: Modeling Matter, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.2: Investigating Dissolving, students use evidence from a digital simulation along with observations from a lab on dissolving to support the argument that molecules exist and are moving, but are too small to see. This data also supports the argument that molecules have charges and specific arrangements that influence the solubility of substances.
  • ARG-E6. In Grade 3, Unit: Environments and Survival, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.5: Presenting Design Arguments, students learn that they will participate in a Biomimicry Engineering Conference in which they will present design arguments for how their RoboGrazer designs meet the criteria. Students prepare their arguments by reviewing their test data and describing how their designs meet each of the criteria. Then the engineering conference begins, and students present their designs and design arguments and listen to others present.
  • INFO-E4. In Grade 5, Unit: Ecosystem Restoration, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.3: Matter Makes it All Up, students use information from a digital simulation model and the text, Matter Makes it All Up, to describe how animals use food to grow.

Indicator 2f

Materials incorporate all grade-band Crosscutting Concepts.
8/8
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 3-5 meet expectations that they incorporate all grade-level crosscutting concepts (CCCs) and associated elements. Across the grade band, the units incorporate all of the elements associated with the performance expectations within the 3-5 grade band.

Across the grade band, students have multiple opportunities to engage with the grade-level CCCs that are implicitly connected to SEPs or DCIs as they build toward grade-level performance expectations. For example, students have frequent opportunities to conduct investigations or use a model to observe or test cause and effect relationships (SEP-MOD-E6), such as when they observe that mixing two substances can cause a new substance to form (DCI-PS1.B-E1). Students have multiple opportunities to use tests to gather evidence to support or refute ideas; however, opportunities to explicitly discuss this idea (CCC-CE-E1) are limited. When the materials provide opportunities to make the crosscutting concepts explicit for students, this is generally through sentence frames to help students use targeted CCCs, or through teacher prompts that provide explicit connections and guide student discussions about how scientists and engineers use different CCCs to answer scientific questions or solve engineering problems.

Examples of CCC elements associated with performance expectations within the 3-5 grade band present in the materials:

  • PAT-E1. In Grade 3, Unit: Weather and Climate, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.2: Discovering Climate Through Data, students analyze monthly weather data organized in graphs from three different places over the course of three years. Students analyze yearly patterns and recognize that the repetitive patterns represent the climate for that area.
  • PAT-E2. In Grade 3, Unit: Inheritance and Traits, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.3: Investigating Sparrow Offspring, students use the knowledge of inheritance patterns obtained throughout the unit to make predictions of the sparrow offspring that will result from designated parents.
  • PAT-E3. In Grade 4, Unit: Earth’s Features, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.4: Sedimentary Rock Formation, students investigate rock samples and patterns of rock formation in the simulation to learn about how sedimentary rock forms. Students use a simulation to investigate the patterns of sedimentary rock formation. Students observe rocks forming in the simulation and record their observations about how this process happens. In doing so, students begin to make sense of the patterns that water and sediment have in a rock formation. Finally, students reflect on the information they gathered from the simulation by making a prediction of how the rock samples they observed at the beginning of the lesson may have formed.
  • CE-E1. In Grade 3, Unit: Balancing Forces, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.1: Exploring Forces in a Chain Reaction, students watch a video about chain reactions, develop their own set of chain reactions, and explain how different forces caused each reaction. Throughout the series of reactions, students are demonstrating the relationships of the components in the series of interactions in a system. Teacher prompts focus students on what caused each object to start moving and the effect of the movement, additionally, they help students understand that scientists use cause and effect relationships to test and explain change or relationships.
  • CE-E1. In Grade 4, Unit: Earth’s Features, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.2: Exploring Rock Formation and Environment, students observe two samples of sedimentary rock to see what information they give about the environment in which they formed and discuss what caused the different properties of each sample to determine if they were formed in the same way. Students use the cause-and-effect relationship to explain change. SYS-E2. In Grade 3, Unit: Environment and Survival, students examine population data for two snail species where one is thriving and one is not. After reflecting on survival in snails and other organisms in particular environments, students describe the snail’s environment in terms of the different components and their interactions as they examine snail population data across different environments and with various predators. Students think about the causes of these differences and predict what would happen if another organism was introduced to the system.
  • SPQ-E1. In Grade 5, Unit 2: Modeling Matter, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.5: Making Sense of Solubility, students read information about molecules to understand that they exist at a small scale then use a simulation that models varying degrees of solubility to evaluate explanations of two solutions and discuss what is happening at the molecular level.
  • SPQ-E1. In Grade 5, Unit: Patterns in the Night Sky, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.4: Distances to the Stars, students investigate why stars look so small. Students use the simulation to investigate the distance from earth to the sun and to other stars. Students use the data that was collected to create a scale model of the earth, sun, and four other stars as they build understanding that natural systems can be immensely large.
  • SPQ-E1. In Grade 4, Unit: Earth’s Features, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.4: students use the Earth’s Features Sim to explore how various processes on earth can occur over very long time periods.
  • SPQ-E2. In Grade 3, Unit: Weather and Climate, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.2: Future Weather on Three Islands, students perform a short experiment to determine the most effective way to measure rain data. As they measure rainfall and compare varying data with other groups, they learn that standard units are vital when communicating measurements.
  • SYS-E2. In Grade 4, Unit: Environment and Survival, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.2: Investigating Needs for Survival, students consider what organisms need to survive; they complete the Investigating Needs for Survival activity and investigate an organism with particular needs. Students read about four different environments (systems) and consider whether their organism can meet its needs in each of the four systems. Students start to think about the relationship between an organism and the system it is a part of.
  • SYS-E2. In Grade 5, Unit: The Earth System, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.1: Investigating the Movement of Water Vapor, students examine how the shape of the land and movement of water vapor within the atmosphere affects rainfall. Students consider the island’s shape, landscape, direction of wind, and compare that to other islands using the online simulation and then use the simulation program to model what factors affect how water vapor moves in the air. Students describe each component of this system and how they interact to produce the patterns of rainfall.
  • EM-E2. In Grade 5, Unit: Ecosystem Restoration, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.5: Modeling How Animals Use Plant Matter, students use a simulation and a text about alligators to understand how animals grow from food at a molecular level. In the simulation, students track the volume of matter eaten to see that the matter that animals consume help the animals grow or becomes waste. Students begin to understand how matter moves within an ecosystem.
  • EM-E3. In Grade 4, Unit: Waves, Energy, and Information, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.4: Exploring Sound Waves, students are introduced to energy moving through the water as they examine the wave patterns caused by tsunamis. They learn that the water (the matter) hardly moves as energy is transferred but rather as the energy wave moves through, water moves perpendicularly, not with the wave. The students then look at how the energy from the waves causes damage as it approaches land. The waves impact land and energy is transferred to objects as the wave moves over them, causing additional energy transfer, sound, and damage. They model this by simulating a sports stadium wave and “pass” energy to one another.

Indicator 2g

Materials incorporate NGSS Connections to Nature of Science and Engineering
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 3–5 meet expectations that they incorporate NGSS connections to the nature of science (NOS) and engineering. The NOS and engineering elements are represented and attended multiple times throughout the grade-band units. They are used in correlation with the content and not used as isolated lessons. The NOS and Engineering elements are used in a variety of fashions throughout the units including videos, readings, and class discussions. Although most of the elements are present in the lessons, they are not explicitly called out in the instructional material.

Examples of grade-band connections to NOS elements associated with SEPs present in the materials:

  • VOM-E1. In Grade 4, Unit: Vision and Light, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.2: Crow Scientist, students read a text describing the investigations of a wildlife biologist. Students read about the scientist asking questions about crow behavior and then determining how to investigate the questions.
  • VOM-E2. In Grade 5, Unit: Ecosystem Restoration, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.3: Differences in Soil, students read about an ecologist in A Walk in the Woods, and how that scientist uses various methods to collect data about soil composition and health. Students then use the ecologist's data to make claims about soil health.
  • BEE-E1. In Grade 3, Unit: Weather and Climate, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.2: Seeing the World Through Numbers, students read about organizing data to better make sense of it. In the text, Seeing the World Through Numbers, students read about a boy and his friends and how they compare temperature patterns from around the world. They then discuss how the patterns can help people make predictions about weather.
  • BEE-E2. In Grade 4, Unit: Waves, Energy, and Information, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.4: Seeing Sound, students read the text, Seeing Sound, and discover the different ways that scientists use tools to visualize sounds to make sense of the world. Students discuss how tools and technologies are important for helping these professionals accurately see sound.
  • OTR-E1. In Grade 3, Unit: Inheritance and Traits, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.1: Scorpion Scientist, students read a book called, Scorpion Scientist. The text describes a scientist gathering evidence that can be used to identify new species of scorpions. The scientist asks questions and performs investigations to seek answers on how to classify the new species and if that classification will result in changes to classification of current identified scorpions.
  • ENP-E1. In Grade 3, Unit: Balancing Forces, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.2: Discussing Gravity Acting Between Two Objects, students use a reading strategy related to setting a purpose for reading and complete a Gravity Anticipatory Chart to record their understanding and questions about gravity. Within the Reader, Handbook of Forces, students read about gravity and how it is a force that acts on objects without touching. Students read about how objects such as the earth exert a force called gravity that pulls you towards it.
  • ENP-E2. In Grade 5, Unit: Modeling Matter, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.2: Science You Can’t See, students read text describing how science and scientists can describe the ocean floor, atomic structure, and other natural events we can not see.

Examples of grade-band connections to NOS elements associated with CCCs present in the materials:

  • WOK-E1. In Grade 3, Unit: Inheritance and Traits, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.1: Scorpion Scientist, students read a text that describes how a scientist asks questions and investigates to answer their questions. The text also describes answers leading to more questions to gain new knowledge.
  • HE-E2. In Grade 4, Unit: Vision and Light, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.2: Crow Scientist, students read a text where a wildlife biologist describes the team he works with to conduct investigations.
  • HE-E3. In Grade 5, Unit: Modeling Matter, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.7: Break It Down, students read text describing how scientists separate mixtures to provide water and save lives.
  • HE-E4. In Grade 3, Unit: Environment and Survival, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.1: Pre Unit Assessment, students read the book, Biomimicry, which is about scientists who study organisms to get ideas for solutions to design problems. The teacher leads discussion about how engineers design solutions to problems and that they use their imaginations to get design ideas from observing organisms’ traits.

Examples of grade-band connections to ENG elements associated with CCCs present in the materials:

  • INTER-E3. In Grade 5, Unit: Earth’s Systems, Chapter 3, Lesson 3.4: Iterating on Freshwater Collection Systems, students discuss how the engineers in the book revised their designs for pumps using the same process that the students use to improve their freshwater reclamation models.
  • INTER-E4. In Grade 5, Unit: Earth’s Systems, Chapter 2: Why does more rain form over West Ferris than East Ferris?, students read text and discuss how engineers use the design process to plan, make, and test water treatment systems.
  • INFLU-E1. In Grade 4, Unit: Energy Conversions, Chapter 1, Lesson 1.1: Pre Unit Assessment, students discuss what happens when the power goes out in Ergstown and within the discussion, the teacher helps students make connections to the ideas that an engineers’ work is determined by people’s want and needs, and that people’s lives and interactions are influenced by the technologies that engineers develop.
  • INFLU-E3. In Grade 4, Unit: Waves, Energy and Information, Chapter 4, Lesson 4.3: Communicating with Codes!, after discussing the various ways that humans communicate with one another, students create a communication plan and use codes to communicate with one another. Students recognize that, although humans can be far apart, they can still communicate and interact across long distances by using new technology.

Gateway Three

Usability

Not Rated

+
-
Gateway Three Details
This material was not reviewed for Gateway Three because it did not meet expectations for Gateways One and Two

Criterion 3a - 3d

Materials are designed to support teachers not only in using the materials, but also in understanding the expectations of the standards.

Indicator 3a

Materials include background information to help teachers support students in using the three dimensions to explain phenomena and solve problems (also see indicators 3b and 3l).
N/A

Indicator 3b

Materials provide guidance that supports teachers in planning and providing effective learning experiences to engage students in figuring out phenomena and solving problems.
N/A

Indicator 3c

Materials contain teacher guidance with sufficient and useful annotations and suggestions for how to enact the student materials and ancillary materials. Where applicable, materials include teacher guidance for the use of embedded technology to support and enhance student learning.
N/A

Indicator 3d

Materials contain explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research-based strategies.
N/A

Criterion 3e - 3k

Materials are designed to support all students in learning.

Indicator 3e

Materials are designed to leverage diverse cultural and social backgrounds of students.
N/A

Indicator 3f

Materials provide appropriate support, accommodations, and/or modifications for numerous special populations that will support their regular and active participation in learning science and engineering.
N/A

Indicator 3g

Materials provide multiple access points for students at varying ability levels and backgrounds to make sense of phenomena and design solutions to problems.
N/A

Indicator 3h

Materials include opportunities for students to share their thinking and apply their understanding in a variety of ways.
N/A

Indicator 3i

Materials include a balance of images or information about people, representing various demographic and physical characteristics.
N/A

Indicator 3j

Materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies.
N/A

Indicator 3k

Materials are made accessible to students by providing appropriate supports for different reading levels.
N/A

Criterion 3l - 3s

Materials are designed to be usable and also to support teachers in using the materials and understanding how the materials are designed.

Indicator 3l

The teacher materials provide a rationale for how units across the series are intentionally sequenced to build coherence and student understanding.
N/A

Indicator 3m

Materials document how each lesson and unit align to NGSS.
N/A

Indicator 3n

Materials document how each lesson and unit align to English/Language Arts and Math Common Core State Standards, including the standards for mathematical practice.
N/A

Indicator 3n.i

Materials document how each lesson and unit align to English/Language Arts Common Core State Standards.
N/A

Indicator 3n.ii

Materials document how each lesson and unit align to Math Common Core State Standards, including the standards for mathematical practice.
N/A

Indicator 3o

Resources (whether in print or digital) are clear and free of errors.
N/A

Indicator 3p

Materials include a comprehensive list of materials needed.
N/A

Indicator 3q

Materials embed clear science safety guidelines for teacher and students across the instructional materials.
N/A

Indicator 3r

Materials designated for each grade level are feasible and flexible for one school year.
N/A

Indicator 3s

Materials contain strategies for informing students, parents, or caregivers about the science program and suggestions for how they can help support student progress and achievement.
N/A

Criterion 3t - 3y

Materials are designed to assess students and support the interpretation of the assessment results.

Indicator 3t

Assessments include a variety of modalities and measures.
N/A

Indicator 3u

Assessments offer ways for individual student progress to be measured over time.
N/A

Indicator 3v

Materials provide opportunities and guidance for oral and/or written peer and teacher feedback and self reflection, allowing students to monitor and move their own learning.
N/A

Indicator 3w

Tools are provided for scoring assessment items (e.g., sample student responses, rubrics, scoring guidelines, and open-ended feedback).
N/A

Indicator 3x

Guidance is provided for interpreting the range of student understanding (e.g., determining what high and low scores mean for students) for relevant Science and Engineering Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Disciplinary Core Ideas.
N/A

Indicator 3y

Assessments are accessible to diverse learners regardless of gender identification, language, learning exceptionality, race/ethnicity, or socioeconomic status.
N/A

Criterion 3z - 3ad

Materials are designed to include and support the use of digital technologies.

Indicator 3z

Materials integrate digital technology and interactive tools (data collection tools, simulations, modeling), when appropriate, in ways that support student engagement in the three dimensions of science.
N/A

Indicator 3aa

Digital materials are web based and compatible with multiple internet browsers. In addition, materials are “platform neutral,” are compatible with multiple operating systems and allow the use of tablets and mobile devices.
N/A

Indicator 3ab

Materials include opportunities to assess three-dimensional learning using digital technology.
N/A

Indicator 3ac

Materials can be customized for individual learners, using adaptive or other technological innovations.
N/A

Indicator 3ad

Materials include or reference digital technology that provides opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate with each other (e.g., websites, discussion groups, webinars, etc.).
N/A
abc123

Additional Publication Details

Report Published Date: 10/08/2020

Report Edition: 2018

Title ISBN Edition Publisher Year
Balancing Forces Book Set 978-1-64089-484-6 Amplify Education 2018
Weather and Climate Book Set 978-1-64089-676-5 Amplify Education 2018
Inheritance and Traits Book Set 978-1-64089-678-9 Amplify Education 2018
Environments and Survival Book Set 978-1-64089-680-2 Amplify Education 2018
Balancing Forces Investigation Notebook 978-1-943228-76-8 Amplify Education 2018
Environments and Survival Investigation Notebook 978-1-943228-94-2 Amplify Education 2018
Inheritance and Traits Investigation Notebook 978-1-945192-78-4 Amplify Education 2018
Weather and Climate Investigation Notebook 978-1-945192-90-6 Amplify Education 2018

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The EdReports.org’s rubric supports a sequential review process through three gateways. These gateways reflect the importance of standards alignment to the fundamental design elements of the materials and considers other attributes of high-quality curriculum as recommended by educators.

Advancing Through Gateways

  • Materials must meet or partially meet expectations for the first set of indicators to move along the process. Gateways 1 and 2 focus on questions of alignment. Are the instructional materials aligned to the standards? Are all standards present and treated with appropriate depth and quality required to support student learning?
  • Gateway 3 focuses on the question of usability. Are the instructional materials user-friendly for students and educators? Materials must be well designed to facilitate student learning and enhance a teacher’s ability to differentiate and build knowledge within the classroom. In order to be reviewed and attain a rating for usability (Gateway 3), the instructional materials must first meet expectations for alignment (Gateways 1 and 2).

Key Terms Used throughout Review Rubric and Reports

  • Indicator Specific item that reviewers look for in materials.
  • Criterion Combination of all of the individual indicators for a single focus area.
  • Gateway Organizing feature of the evaluation rubric that combines criteria and prioritizes order for sequential review.
  • Alignment Rating Degree to which materials meet expectations for alignment, including that all standards are present and treated with the appropriate depth to support students in learning the skills and knowledge that they need to be ready for college and career.
  • Usability Degree to which materials are consistent with effective practices for use and design, teacher planning and learning, assessment, and differentiated instruction.

Science K-5 Rubric and Evidence Guides

The science review rubric identifies the criteria and indicators for high quality instructional materials. The rubric supports a sequential review process that reflects the importance of alignment to the standards then considers other high-quality attributes of curriculum as recommended by educators.

For science, our rubrics evaluate materials based on:

  • Three-Dimensional Learning
  • Phenomena and Problems Drive Learning
  • Coherence and Full Scope of the Three Dimensions
  • Design to Facilitate Teacher Learning
  • Instructional Supports and Usability

The Evidence Guides complement the rubric by elaborating details for each indicator including the purpose of the indicator, information on how to collect evidence, guiding questions and discussion prompts, and scoring criteria.

To best read our reports we recommend utilizing the Codes for NGSS Elements document that provides the code and description of elements cited as evidence in each report.

 

The EdReports rubric supports a sequential review process through three gateways. These gateways reflect the importance of alignment to college and career ready standards and considers other attributes of high-quality curriculum, such as usability and design, as recommended by educators.

Materials must meet or partially meet expectations for the first set of indicators (gateway 1) to move to the other gateways. 

Gateways 1 and 2 focus on questions of alignment to the standards. Are the instructional materials aligned to the standards? Are all standards present and treated with appropriate depth and quality required to support student learning?

Gateway 3 focuses on the question of usability. Are the instructional materials user-friendly for students and educators? Materials must be well designed to facilitate student learning and enhance a teacher’s ability to differentiate and build knowledge within the classroom. 

In order to be reviewed and attain a rating for usability (Gateway 3), the instructional materials must first meet expectations for alignment (Gateways 1 and 2).

Alignment and usability ratings are assigned based on how materials score on a series of criteria and indicators with reviewers providing supporting evidence to determine and substantiate each point awarded.

For ELA and math, alignment ratings represent the degree to which materials meet expectations, partially meet expectations, or do not meet expectations for alignment to college- and career-ready standards, including that all standards are present and treated with the appropriate depth to support students in learning the skills and knowledge that they need to be ready for college and career.

For science, alignment ratings represent the degree to which materials meet expectations, partially meet expectations, or do not meet expectations for alignment to the Next Generation Science Standards, including that all standards are present and treated with the appropriate depth to support students in learning the skills and knowledge that they need to be ready for college and career.

For all content areas, usability ratings represent the degree to which materials meet expectations, partially meet expectations, or do not meet expectations for effective practices (as outlined in the evaluation tool) for use and design, teacher planning and learning, assessment, differentiated instruction, and effective technology use.

Math K-8

Math High School

ELA K-2

ELA 3-5

ELA 6-8


ELA High School

Science Middle School

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