SEEd - Grade 8
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 eighth-grade SEEd standards describe the constant interaction of matter and energy in nature. Students will explore how matter is arranged into either simple or complex substances. The strands emphasize how substances store and transfer energy which can cause them to interact physically and chemically, provide energy to living organisms, or be harnessed and used by humans. Matter and energy cycle and change in ecosystems through processes that occur during photosynthesis and cellular respiration. Additionally, substances that provide a benefit to organisms, including humans, are unevenly distributed on Earth due to geologic and atmospheric systems. Some resources form quickly, allowing them to be renewable, while other resources are nonrenewable. Evidence reveals that Earth’s systems change and affect ecosystems and organisms in positive and negative ways.
Core Standards of the Course
Strand 8.1: MATTER AND ENERGY INTERACT IN THE PHYSICAL WORLD
The physical world is made of atoms and molecules. Even large objects can be viewed as a combination of small particles. Energy causes particles to move and interact physically or chemically. Those interactions create a variety of substances. As molecules undergo a chemical or physical change, the number of atoms in that system remains constant. Humans use energy to refine natural resources into synthetic materials.
Develop a model to describe the scale and proportion of atoms and molecules. Emphasize developing atomic models of elements and their numbers of protons, neutrons, and electrons, as well as models of simple molecules. Topics like valence electrons, bond energy, ionic complexes, ions, and isotopes will be introduced at the high school level. (PS1.A)
Obtain information about various properties of matter, evaluate how different materials’ properties allow them to be used for particular functions in society and communicate your findings. Emphasize general properties of matter. Examples could include color, density, flammability, hardness, malleability, odor, ability to rust, solubility, state, or the ability to react with water. (PS1.A)
Plan and conduct an investigation and then analyze and interpret the data to identify patterns in changes in a substance's properties to determine if a chemical reaction has occurred. Examples could include changes in properties such as color, density, flammability, odor, solubility, or state. (PS1.A, PS1.B)
Obtain and evaluate information to describe how synthetic materials come from natural resources, what their functions are, and how society uses these new materials. Examples of new materials could include medicine, foods, building materials, plastics, and alternative fuels. (PS1.A, PS1.B, ESS3.A)
Develop a model that uses computational thinking to illustrate the cause and effect relationships in particle motion, temperature, density, and state of a pure substance when heat energy is added or removed. Emphasize molecular-level models of solids, liquids, and gases to show how adding or removing heat energy can result in phase changes and on calculating density of a substance’s state. (PS3.A)
Develop a model to describe how the total number of atoms does not change in a chemical reaction, indicating that matter is conserved. Emphasize demonstrations of an understanding of the law of conservation of matter. Balancing equations and stoichiometry will be learned at the high school level. (PS1.B)
Design, construct, and test a device that can affect the rate of a phase change. Compare and identify the best characteristics of competing devices, based on data analysis, and modify them to improve the device to better meet the criteria for success. (PS1.B, PS3.A, ETS1.A, ETS1.B, ETS1.C).
Strand 8.2: ENERGY IS STORED AND TRANSFERRED IN PHYSICAL SYSTEMS
Objects can store and transfer energy within systems. Energy can be transferred between objects, which involves changes in the object’s energy. There is a direct relationship between an object’s energy, mass, and velocity. Energy can travel in waves and may be harnessed to transmit information.
Use computational thinking to analyze data about the relationship between the mass and speed of objects to the relative amount of kinetic energy of the objects. Emphasis should be on the quantity of mass and relative speed to the observable effects of the kinetic energy. Examples could include a full cart vs. an empty cart or rolling spheres with different masses down a ramp to measure the effects on stationary masses. Calculations of kinetic and potential energy will be learned at the high school level. (PS3.A, PS3.C)
Ask questions about how the amount of potential energy varies as distance within the system changes. Plan and conduct an investigation to answer a question about potential energy. Emphasize comparing relative amounts of energy. Examples could include a cart at varying positions on a hill or an object being dropped from different heights. Calculations of kinetic and potential energy will be learned at the high school level. (PS3.A, PS3.B)
Engage in argument to identify the strongest evidence that supports the claim that the kinetic energy of an object changes as energy is transferred to or from the object. Examples could include observing temperature changes as a result of friction, applying force to an object, or releasing potential energy from an object. (PS4.A)
Use computational thinking to describe a simple model for waves that shows the pattern of wave amplitude being related to wave energy. Emphasize describing waves with both quantitative and qualitative thinking. Examples could include using graphs, charts, computer simulations, or physical models to demonstrate amplitude and energy correlation. (PS4.A)
Develop and use a model to describe the structure of waves and how they are reflected, absorbed, or transmitted through various materials. Emphasize both light and mechanical waves. Examples could include drawings, simulations, and written descriptions of light waves through a prism, mechanical waves through gas vs. liquids vs. solids, or sound waves through different mediums. (PS4.A, PS4.B)
Obtain and evaluate information to communicate the claim that the structure of digital signals are a more reliable way to store or transmit information than analog signals. Emphasize the basic understanding that waves can be used for communication purposes. Examples could include using vinyl record vs. digital song files, film cameras vs. digital cameras, or alcohol thermometers vs. digital thermometers. (PS4.C)
Strand 8.3: LIFE SYSTEMS STORE AND TRANSFER MATTER AND ENERGY
Living things use energy from their environment to rearrange matter to sustain life. Photosynthetic organisms are able to transfer light energy to chemical energy. Consumers can break down complex food molecules to utilize the stored energy and use the particles to form new, life-sustaining molecules. Ecosystems are examples of how energy can flow while matter cycles through the living and nonliving components of systems.
Plan and conduct an investigation and use the evidence to construct an explanation of how photosynthetic organisms use energy to transform matter. Emphasize molecular and energy transformations during photosynthesis. (PS3.D, LS1.C)
Develop a model to describe how food is changed through chemical reactions to form new molecules that support growth and/or release energy as matter cycles through an organism. Emphasis is on describing that during cellular respiration molecules are broken apart and rearranged into new molecules, and that this process releases energy. (PS3.D, LS1.C)
Ask questions to obtain, evaluate, and communicate information about how changes to an ecosystem affect the stability of cycling matter and the flow of energy among living and nonliving parts of an ecosystem. Emphasize describing the cycling of matter and flow of energy through the carbon cycle. (LS2.B, LS2.C)
Strand 8.4: INTERACTIONS WITH NATURAL SYSTEMS AND RESOURCES
Interactions of matter and energy through geologic processes have led to the uneven distribution of natural resources. Many of these resources are nonrenewable, and per-capita use can cause positive or negative consequences. Global temperatures change due to various factors, and can cause a change in regional climates. As energy flows through the physical world, natural disasters can occur that affect human life. Humans can study patterns in natural systems to anticipate and forecast some future disasters and work to mitigate the outcomes.
Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence that shows that the uneven distribution of Earth's mineral, energy, and groundwater resources is caused by geological processes. Examples of uneven distribution of resources could include Utah's unique geologic history that led to the formation and irregular distribution of natural resources like copper, gold, natural gas, oil shale, silver, and uranium. (ESS3.A)
Engage in argument supported by evidence about the effect of per-capita consumption of natural resources on Earth's systems. Emphasize that these resources are limited and may be non-renewable. Examples of evidence include rates of consumption of food and natural resources such as freshwater, minerals, and energy sources. (ESS3.A, ESS3.C)
Design a solution to monitor or mitigate the potential effects of the use of natural resources. Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well each solution meets the criteria and constraints of the problem. Examples of uses of the natural environment could include agriculture, conservation efforts, recreation, solar energy, and water management. (ESS3.A, ESS3.C, ETS1.A, ETS1.B, ETS1.C)
Analyze and interpret data on the factors that change global temperatures and their effects on regional climates. Examples of factors could include agricultural activity, changes in solar radiation, fossil fuel use, and volcanic activity. Examples of data could include graphs of the atmospheric levels of gases, seawater levels, ice cap coverage, human activities, and maps of global and regional temperatures. (ESS3.D)
Analyze and interpret patterns of the occurrence of natural hazards to forecast future catastrophic events, and investigate how data is used to develop technologies to mitigate their effects. Emphasize how some natural hazards, such as volcanic eruptions and severe weather, are preceded by phenomena that allow prediction, but others, such as earthquakes, may occur without warning. (ESS3.B)
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.