SEEd - Grade 7
Utah Science with Engineering Education Standards
Utah’s Science and Engineering Education (SEEd) standards were written by Utah educators and scientists, using a wide array of resources and expertise. A great deal is known about good science instruction. The writing team used sources including A Framework for K–12 Science Education1, the Next Generation Science Standards2, and related works to craft research-based standards for Utah. These standards were written with students in mind, including developmentally appropriate progressions that foster learning that is simultaneously age-appropriate and enduring. The aim was to address what an educated citizenry should know and understand to embrace the value of scientific thinking and make informed decisions. The SEEd standards are founded on what science is, how science is learned, and the multiple dimensions of scientific work.
Principles of Scientific Literacy
Science is a way of knowing, a process for understanding the natural world. Engineering applies the fields of science, technology, and mathematics to produce solutions to real-world problems. The process of developing scientific knowledge includes ongoing questioning, testing, and refinement of ideas when supported by empirical evidence. Since progress in modern society is tied so closely to this way of knowing, scientific literacy is essential for a society to be engaged in political and economic choices on personal, local, regional, and global scales. As such, the Utah SEEd standards are based on the following essential elements of scientific literacy.
Science is valuable, relevant, and applicable.
Science produces knowledge that is inherently important to our society and culture. Science and engineering support innovation and enhance the lives of individuals and society. Science is supported from and benefited by an equitable and democratic culture. Science is for all people, at all levels of education, and from all backgrounds.
Science is a shared way of knowing and doing.
Science learning experiences should celebrate curiosity, wonder, skepticism, precision, and accuracy. Scientific habits of mind include questioning, communicating, reasoning, analyzing, collaborating, and thinking critically. These values are shared within and across scientific disciplines, and should be embraced by students, teachers, and society at large.
Science is principled and enduring.
Scientific knowledge is constructed from empirical evidence; therefore, it is both changeable and durable. Science is based on observations and inferences, an understanding of scientific laws and theories, use of scientific methods, creativity, and collaboration. The Utah SEEd standards are based on current scientific theories, which are powerful and broad explanations of a wide range of phenomena; they are not simply guesses nor are they unchangeable facts. Science is principled in that it is limited to observable evidence. Science is also enduring in that theories are only accepted when they are robustly supported by multiple lines of peer reviewed evidence. The history of science demonstrates how scientific knowledge can change and progress, and it is rooted in the cultures from which it emerged. Scientists, engineers, and society, are responsible for developing scientific understandings with integrity, supporting claims with existing and new evidence, interpreting competing explanations of phenomena, changing models purposefully, and finding applications that are ethical.
Principles of Science Learning
Just as science is an active endeavor, students best learn science by engaging in it. This includes gathering information through observations, reasoning, and communicating with others. It is not enough for students to read about or watch science from a distance; learners must become active participants in forming their ideas and engaging in scientific practice. The Utah SEEd standards are based on several core philosophical and research-based underpinnings of science learning.
Science learning is personal and engaging.
Research in science education supports the assertion that students at all levels learn most when they are able to construct and reflect upon their ideas, both by themselves and in collaboration with others. Learning is not merely an act of retaining information but creating ideas informed by evidence and linked to previous ideas and experiences. Therefore, the most productive learning settings engage students in authentic experiences with natural phenomena or problems to be solved. Learners develop tools for understanding as they look for patterns, develop explanations, and communicate with others. Science education is most effective when learners invests in their own sense-making and their learning context provides an opportunity to engage with real-world problems.
Science learning is multi-purposed.
Science learning serves many purposes. We learn science because it brings us joy and appreciation but also because it solves problems, expands understanding, and informs society. It allows us to make predictions, improve our world, and mitigate challenges. An understanding of science and how it works is necessary in order to participate in a democratic society. So, not only is science a tool to be used by the future engineer or lab scientist but also by every citizen, every artist, and every other human who shares an appreciation for the world in which we live.
All students are capable of science learning.
Science learning is a right of all individuals and must be accessible to all students in equitable ways. Independent of grade level, geography, gender, economic status, cultural background, or any other demographic descriptor, all K–12 students are capable of science learning and science literacy. Science learning is most equitable when students have agency and can engage in practices of science and sense-making for themselves, under the guidance and mentoring of an effective teacher and within an environment that puts student experience at the center of instruction. Moreover, all students are capable learners of science, and all grades and classes should provide authentic, developmentally appropriate science instruction.
Three Dimensions of Science
Science is composed of multiple types of knowledge and tools. These include the processes of doing science, the structures that help us organize and connect our understandings, and the deep explanatory pieces of knowledge that provide predictive power. These facets of science are represented as “three dimensions” of science learning, and together these help us to make sense of all that science does and represents. These include science and engineering practices, crosscutting concepts, and disciplinary core ideas. Taken together, these represent how we use science to make sense of phenomena, and they are most meaningful when learned in concert with one another. These are described in A Framework for K–12 Science Education, referenced above, and briefly described here:
Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs):
Practices refer to the things that scientists and engineers do and how they actively engage in their work. Scientists do much more than make hypotheses and test them with experiments. They engage in wonder, design, modeling, construction, communication, and collaboration. The practices describe the variety of activities that are necessary to do science, and they also imply how scientific thinking is related to thinking in other subjects, including math, writing, and the arts. For a further understanding of science and engineering practices see Chapter 3 in A Framework for K–12 Science Education.
Crosscutting Concepts (CCCs):
Crosscutting concepts are the organizing structures that provide a framework for assembling pieces of scientific knowledge. They reach across disciplines and demonstrate how specific ideas are united into overarching principles. For example, a mechanical engineer might design some process that transfers energy from a fuel source into a moving part, while a biologist might study how predators and prey are interrelated. Both of these would need to model systems of energy to understand how all of the features interact, even though they are studying different subjects. Understanding crosscutting concepts enables us to make connections among different subjects and to utilize science in diverse settings. Additional information on crosscutting concepts can be found in Chapter 4 of A Framework for K-12 Science Education.
Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs):
Core ideas within the SEEd Standards include those most fundamental and explanatory pieces of knowledge in a discipline. They are often what we traditionally associate with science knowledge and specific subject areas within science. These core ideas are organized within physical, life, and earth sciences, but within each area further specific organization is appropriate. All these core ideas are described in chapters 5 through 8 in the K–12 Framework text, and these are employed by the Utah SEEd standards to help clarify the focus of each strand in a grade level or content area.
Even though the science content covered by SEPs, CCCs, and DCIs is substantial, the Utah SEEd standards are not meant to address every scientific concept. Instead, these standards were written to address and engage in an appropriate depth of knowledge, including perspectives into how that knowledge is obtained and where it fits in broader contexts, for students to continue to use and expand their understandings over a lifetime.
Articulation of SEPs, CCCs, and DCIs
|Science and Engineering Practices||Crosscutting Concepts||Disciplinary Core Ideas|
Asking questions or defining problems:
Developing and using models:
Planning and carrying out investigations:
Analyzing and interpreting data:
Using mathematics and computational thinking:
Constructing explanations and designing solutions:
Engaging in argument from evidence:
Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information:
Cause and effect:
Scale, proportion, and quantity:
Systems and system models:
Energy and matter:
Structure and function:
Stability and change:
Earth and Space Sciences:
Organization of Standards
The Utah SEEd standards are organized into strands which represent significant areas of learning within grade level progressions and content areas. Each strand introduction is an orientation for the teacher in order to provide an overall view of the concepts needed for foundational understanding. These include descriptions of how the standards tie together thematically and which DCIs are used to unite that theme. Within each strand are standards. A standard is an articulation of how a learner may demonstrate their proficiency, incorporating not only the disciplinary core idea but also a crosscutting concept and a science and engineering practice. While a standard represents an essential element of what is expected, it does not dictate curriculum—it only represents a proficiency level for that grade. While some standards within a strand may be more comprehensive than others, all standards are essential for a comprehensive understanding of a strand’s purpose.
The standards of any given grade or course are not independent. SEEd standards are written with developmental levels and learning progressions in mind so that many topics are built upon from one grade to another. In addition, SEPs and CCCs are especially well paralleled with other disciplines, including English language arts, fine arts, mathematics, and social sciences. Therefore, SEEd standards should be considered to exist not as an island unto themselves, but as a part of an integrated, comprehensive, and holistic educational experience.
Each standard is framed upon the three dimensions of science to represent a cohesive, multi-faceted science learning outcome.
An example of a SEEd standard:
Each part of the above SEEd standard is identified in the following diagram:
Goal of the SEEd Standards
The Utah SEEd Standards is a research-grounded document aimed at providing accurate and appropriate guidance for educators and stakeholders. But above all else, the goal of this document is to provide students with the education they deserve, honoring their abilities, their potential, and their right to utilize scientific thought and skills for themselves and the world that they will build.
1 National Research Council. 2012. A Framework for K–12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/13165. This consensus research document and its chapters are referred to throughout this document as a research basis for much of Utah’s SEEd standards.
2 Most Utah SEEd Standards are based on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS Lead States. 2013. Next Generation Science Standards: For States, By States. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press) http://www. nextgenscience.org
The seventh-grade SEEd standards look for relationships of cause and effect which enable students to pinpoint mechanisms of nature and allow them to make predictions. Students will explore how forces can cause changes in motion and are responsible for the transfer of energy and the cycling of matter. This takes place within and between a wide variety of systems from simple, short-term forces on individual objects to the deep, long-term forces that shape our planet. In turn, Earth’s environments provide the conditions for life as we know it. Organisms survive and reproduce only to the extent that their own mechanisms and adaptations allow. Evidence for the evolutionary histories of life on Earth is provided through the fossil record, similarities in the various structures among species, organism development, and genetic similarities across all organisms. Additionally, mechanisms shaping Earth are understood as forces affecting the cycling of Earth’s materials. Questions about cause and effect and the ongoing search for evidence in science, or science’s ongoing search for evidence, drive this storyline.
Core Standards of the Course
Strand 7.1: FORCES ARE INTERACTIONS BETWEEN MATTER
Forces are push or pull interactions between two objects. Changes in motion, balance and stability, and transfers of energy are all facilitated by forces on matter. Forces, including electric, magnetic, and gravitational forces, can act on objects that are not in contact with each other. Scientists use data from many sources to examine the cause and effect relationships determined by different forces.
Carry out an investigation which provides evidence that a change in an object's motion is dependent on the mass of the object and the sum of the forces acting on it. Various experimental designs should be evaluated to determine how well the investigation measures an object's motion. Emphasize conceptual understanding of Newton's First and Second Laws. Calculations will only focus along one-dimensional movement; the use of vectors will be introduced in high school. (PS2.A, PS2.C, ETS1.A, ETS1.B, ETS1.C)
Apply Newton's Third Law to design a solution to a problem involving the motion of two colliding objects in a system. Examples could include collisions between two moving objects or between a moving object and a stationary object. (PS2.A, ETS1.A, ETS1.B, ETS1.C)
Construct a model using observational evidence to describe the nature of fields that exist between objects that exert forces on each other even though the objects are not in contact. Emphasize the cause and effect relationship between properties of objects (such as magnets or electrically-charged objects) and the forces they exert. (PS2.B)
Collect and analyze data to determine the factors that affect the strength of electric and magnetic forces. Examples could include electromagnets, electric motors, or generators. Examples of data could include the effect of the number of turns of wire on the strength of an electromagnet, or of increasing the number or strength of magnets on the speed of an electric motor. (PS2.B)
Engage in argument from evidence to support the claim that gravitational interactions within a system are attractive and dependent upon the masses of interacting objects. Examples of evidence for arguments could include mathematical data generated from various simulations. (PS2.B)
Strand 7.2: CHANGES TO EARTH OVER TIME
Earth's processes are dynamic and interactive, and are the result of energy flowing and matter cycling within and among Earth’s systems. Energy from the sun and Earth's internal heat are the main sources driving these processes. Plate tectonics is a unifying theory that explains crustal movements of Earth’s surface, how and where different rocks form, the occurrence of earthquakes and volcanoes, and the distribution of fossil plants and animals.
Develop a model of the rock cycle to describe the relationship between energy flow and matter cycling that create igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks. Emphasize the processes of melting, crystallization, weathering, deposition, sedimentation, and deformation, which act together to form minerals and rocks. (ESS1.C, ESS2.A)
Construct an explanation based on evidence for how processes have changed Earth’s surface at varying time and spatial scales. Examples of processes that occur at varying time scales could include slow plate motions or rapid landslides. Examples of processes that occur at varying spatial scales could include uplift of a mountain range or deposition of fine sediments. (ESS2.A, ESS2.C)
Ask questions to identify constraints of specific geologic hazards and evaluate competing design solutions for maintaining the stability of human-engineered structures such as homes, roads and bridges. Examples of geologic hazards could include earthquakes, landslides, or floods. (ESS2.A, ESS2.C, ETS1.A, ETS1.B, ETS1.C)
Develop and use a scale model of the matter in Earth’s interior to demonstrate how differences in density and chemical composition (silicon, oxygen, iron, and magnesium) cause the formation of the crust, mantle, and core. (ESS2.A)
Ask questions and analyze and interpret data about the patterns between plate tectonics and:
1) The occurrence of earthquakes and volcanoes.
2) Continental and ocean floor features.
3) The distribution of rocks and fossils.
Examples could include identifying patterns on maps of earthquakes and volcanoes relative to plate boundaries, the shapes of the continents, the locations of ocean structures (including mountains, volcanoes, faults, and trenches), and similarities of rock and fossil types on different continents. (ESS1.C, ESS2.B)
Make an argument from evidence for how the geologic time scale shows the age and history of Earth. Emphasize scientific evidence from rock strata, the fossil record, and the principles of relative dating such as superposition, uniformitarianism and recognizing unconformities. (ESS1.C)
Strand 7.3: STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION OF LIFE
Living things are made of smaller structures, which function to meet the needs of survival. The basic structural unit of all living things is the cell. Parts of a cell work together to function as a system. Cells work together and form tissues, organs, and organ systems. Organ systems interact to meet the needs of the organism.
Plan and carry out an investigation that provides evidence that the basic structures of living things are cells. Emphasize that cells can form single-celled or multicellular organisms and that multicellular organisms are made of different types of cells. (LS1.A)
Develop and use a model to describe the function of a cell in living systems and the way parts of cells contribute to cell function. Emphasize the cell as a system, including the interrelating roles of the nucleus, chloroplasts, mitochondria, cell membrane, and cell wall. (LS1.A)
Construct an explanation using evidence to explain how body systems have various levels of organization. Emphasize understanding that cells form tissues, tissues form organs, and organs form systems specialized for particular body functions. Examples could include relationships between the circulatory, excretory, digestive, respiratory, muscular, skeletal, and nervous systems. Specific organ functions will be taught at the high school level. (LS1.A)
Strand 7.4: REPRODUCTION AND INHERITANCE
The great diversity of species on Earth is a result of genetic variation. Genetic traits are passed from parent to offspring. These traits affect the structure and behavior of organisms, which affect the organism's ability to survive and reproduce. Mutations can cause changes in traits that may affect an organism. As technology has developed, humans have been able to change the inherited traits in organisms which may impact society.
Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information about specific animal and plant adaptations and structures that affect the probability of successful reproduction. Examples of adaptations could include nest building to protect young from the cold, herding of animals to protect young from predators, vocalization of animals and colorful plumage to attract mates for breeding, bright flowers attracting butterflies that transfer pollen, flower nectar and odors that attract insects that transfer pollen, and hard shells on nuts that squirrels bury. (LS1.B)
Develop and use a model to describe why genetic mutations may result in harmful, beneficial, or neutral effects to the structure and function of the organism. Emphasize the conceptual idea that changes to traits can conceptual idea that changes to traits can happen because of genetic mutations. Specific changes of genes at the molecular level, mechanisms for protein synthesis, and specific types of mutations will be introduced at the high school level. (LS3.A, LS3.B)
Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information about the technologies that have changed the way humans affect the inheritance of desired traits in organisms. Analyze data from tests or simulations to determine the best solution to achieve success in cultivating selected desired traits in organisms. Examples could include artificial selection, genetic modification, animal husbandry, and gene therapy. (LS4.B, ETS1.A, ETS1.B, ETS1.C)
Strand 7.5: CHANGES IN SPECIES OVER TIME
Genetic variation and the proportion of traits within a population can change over time. These changes can result in evolution through natural selection. Additional evidence of change over time can be found in the fossil record, anatomical similarities and differences between modern and ancient organisms, and embryological development.
Construct an explanation that describes how the genetic variation of traits in a population can affect some individuals' probability of surviving and reproducing in a specific environment. Over time, specific traits may increase or decrease in populations. Emphasize the use of proportional reasoning to support explanations of trends in changes to populations over time. Examples could include camouflage, variation of body shape, speed and agility, or drought tolerance. (LS4.B, LS4.C)
Analyze and interpret data for patterns in the fossil record that document the existence, diversity, extinction, and change of life forms throughout the history of life on Earth, under the assumption that natural laws operate today as in the past. (LS4.A, ESS2.E)
Construct explanations that describe the patterns of body structure similarities and differences between modern organisms, and between ancient and modern organisms, to infer possible evolutionary relationships. (LS4.A)
http://www.uen.org - in partnership with Utah State Board of Education (USBE) and Utah System of Higher Education (USHE). Send questions or comments to USBE Specialist - Richard Scott and see the Science - Secondary website. For general questions about Utah's Core Standards contact the Director - Jennifer Throndsen. These materials have been produced by and for the teachers of the State of Utah. Copies of these materials may be freely reproduced for teacher and classroom use. When distributing these materials, credit should be given to Utah State Board of Education. These materials may not be published, in whole or part, or in any other format, without the written permission of the Utah State Board of Education, 250 East 500 South, PO Box 144200, Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-4200.