Academic standards list

Science - Grade 6 — Science (2009-2018)


Academic standards define the expectations for knowledge and skills that students are to learn in a subject by a certain age or at the end of a school grade level. This page contains a list of standards for a specific content area, grade level, and/or course. The list of standards may be structured using categories and sub-categories.

Embedded Inquiry

Standard INQ — Embedded Inquiry
Science is a relentless quest for understanding how the natural world works. All of science is driven by the premise that the world is capable of being understood. Yet, scientists believe that currently accepted explanations of natural phenomena or events are never perfect or fully complete and are always amenable to revision in light of new scientific evidence. Each scientific discipline uses its distinctive tools and techniques to investigate phenomena associated with the physical, geological, or living worlds. All rely upon theories from which the development of hypotheses emerge, the collection of data, and the interpretation of evidence as the foundation for reaching logical conclusions and making reasoned predictions.Conceptual StrandUnderstandings about scientific inquiry and the ability to conduct inquiry are essential for living in the 21st century.Guiding QuestionWhat tools, skills, knowledge, and dispositions are needed to conduct scientific inquiry?
Grade Level Expectation
Design and conduct openended scientific investigations.
Use appropriate tools and techniques to gather, organize, analyze, and interpret data.
Synthesize information to determine cause and effect relationships between evidence and explanations.
Recognize possible sources of bias and error, alternative explanations, and questions for further exploration.
Communicate scientific understanding using descriptions, explanations, and models.
State Performance Indicator
Design a simple experimental procedure with an identified control and appropriate variables.
Select tools and procedures needed to conduct a moderately complex experiment.
Interpret and translate data in a table, graph, or diagram.
Draw a conclusion that establishes a cause and effect relationship supported by evidence.
Identify a faulty interpretation of data that is due to bias or experimental error.

Embedded Technology/Engineering

Standard T/E — Embedded Technology/Engineering
Scientific inquiry is fueled by the desire to understand the natural world; technological design is driven by the need to meet human needs and solve human problems. Technology exerts a more direct effect on society than science because it is focused on solving human problems, helping humans to adapt to changes, and fulfilling goals and aspirations. The engineering design cycle describes the worklives of practicing engineers. The design cycle describes a series of activities that includes a background research, problem identification, feasibility analysis, selection of design criteria, prototype development, planning and design, production and product evaluation. Because there are as many variations of this model, practicing engineers do not adhere to a rigid step-by-step interpretation of this design cycle.Conceptual StrandSociety benefits when engineers apply scientific discoveries to design materials and processes that develop into enabling technologies.Guiding QuestionHow do science concepts, engineering skills, and applications of technology improve the quality of life?
Grade Level Expectation
Explore how technology responds to social, political, and economic needs.
Know that the engineering design process involves an ongoing series of events that incorporate design constraints, model building, testing, evaluating,
Compare the intended benefits with the unintended consequences of a new technology.
Describe and explain adaptive and assistive bioengineered products.
State Performance Indicator
Identify the tools and procedures needed to test the design features of a prototype.
Evaluate a protocol to determine if the engineering design process was successfully applied.
Distinguish between the intended benefits and the unintended consequences of a new technology.
Differentiate between adaptive and assistive bioengineered products (e.g., food, biofuels, medicines, integrated pest management).


Standard 2 — Interdependence
The biosphere includes the narrow layer of Earth inhabited by living things. Elements of the biosphere interact with the lithosphere (land), hydrosphere (water), and atmosphere (air) to result in the conditions that we find on earth. The biosphere includes all of the different ecosystems in which life is found from the tundra of the Arctic to the African savannah. Many of the macroscopic interactions, such as predation and competition for limited resources are well understood. Other interactions such as the spread of disease, the impact of invasive species, and human influenced depletion of natural resources are less understood and remain the topics of active investigation.Conceptual StrandAll life is interdependent and interacts with the environment.Guiding QuestionHow do living things interact with one another and with the non-living elements of their environment?
Grade Level Expectation
Examine the roles of consumers, producers, and decomposers in a biological community.
Describe how matter and energy are transferred through an ecosystem.
Draw conclusions from data about interactions between the biotic and abiotic elements of a particular environment.
Analyze the environments and the interdependence among organisms found in the worlds major biomes.
State Performance Indicator
Classify organisms as producers, consumers, scavengers, or decomposers according to their role in a food chain or food web.
Interpret how materials and energy are transferred through an ecosystem.
Identify the biotic and abiotic elements of the major biomes.
Identify the environmental conditions and interdependencies among organisms found in the major biomes.

The Universe

Standard 6 — The Universe
The universe includes the sum total of everything that exists including all matter and energy, the planets, stars, galaxies, and the contents of intergalactic space. As someone once said, what makes the universe so hard to comprehend is that there is nothing to compare it with. The most widely accepted model for the origin of the universe is the Big Bang. According to this theory, the universe is 13.7 billion years old, was infinitely hot at birth, and has cooled down as it has expanded. Even with technologies that allow different wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum to be recorded, only a small fraction of the universe is open to exploration.Conceptual StrandThe cosmos is vast and explored well enough to know its basic structure and operational principles.Guiding QuestionWhat big ideas guide human understanding about the origin and structure of the universe, Earths place in the cosmos, and observable motions and patterns in the sky?
Grade Level Expectation
Analyze information about the major components of the universe.
Describe the relative distance of objects in the solar system from earth.
Explain how the positional relationships among the earth, moon, and sun control the length of the day, lunar cycle, and year.
Describe the different stages in the lunar cycle.
Produce a model to demonstrate how the moon produces tides.
Illustrate the relationship between the seasons and the earth-sun system.
Describe the causes of lunar and solar eclipses.
State Performance Indicator
Use data to draw conclusions about the major components of the universe.
Explain how the relative distance of objects from the earth affects how they appear.
Distinguish among a day, lunar cycle, and year based on the movements of the earth, sun, and moon.
Explain the different phases of the moon using a model of the earth, moon, and sun.
Predict the types of tides that occur when the earth and moon occupy various positions.
Use a diagram that shows the positions of the earth and sun to explain the four seasons.
Explain the difference between a solar and a lunar eclipse.

The Atmosphere

Standard 8 — The Atmosphere
Events that occur in this layer of gases surrounding the Earth control its weather and climate. The atmosphere contains oxygen needed for life and carbon dioxide used by plants during photosynthesis. Nitrogen is the most abundant element found in the atmosphere. By blocking some solar radiation, the atmosphere protects living organisms from genetic damage. The composition of this thin envelope of gases developed over time as plants evolved and in response to physical conditions on the earth's surface. Any serious alteration in the concentration of its natural components is apt to have dire consequences for life on Earth.Conceptual StrandThe earth is surrounded by an active atmosphere and an energy system that controls the distribution of life, local weather, climate, and global temperature.Guiding QuestionHow do the physical characteristics and the chemical makeup of the atmosphere influence the surface processes and life on earth?
Grade Level Expectation
Design and conduct an investigation to determine how the sun drives atmospheric convection.
Describe how the suns energy produces the wind.
Investigate the relationship between currents and oceanic temperature differences.
Analyze meteorological data to predict weather conditions.
State Performance Indicator
Analyze data to identify events associated with heat convection in the atmosphere.
Recognize the connection between the suns energy and the wind.
Describe how temperature differences in the ocean account for currents.
Interpret meteorological data to make predictions about the weather.


Standard 10 — Energy
Energy is what causes things to happen. Simply stated, energy is the ability to do work. Energy exists in a number of different forms. The various forms of energy include: chemical, electrical, heat (thermal), light (radiant), mechanical, and nuclear. Fortunately energy can be transformed from one type to another. A battery operated car will transfer electrical energy produced either from nuclear or chemical (coal or gas) into chemical energy stored into its batteries, into mechanical energy as it moves. Energy can also transferred from place to place or between objects. When this happens, energy always flows from where it is at higher levels to where it is lowest.Conceptual StrandVarious forms of energy are constantly being transformed into other types without any net loss of energy from the system.Guiding QuestionWhat basic energy related ideas are essential for understanding the dependency of the natural and man-made worlds on energy?
Grade Level Expectation
Compare and contrast the three forms of potential energy.
Analyze various types of energy transformations.
Explain the principles underlying the Law of Conservation of Energy.
State Performance Indicator
Distinguish among gravitational potential energy, elastic potential energy, and chemical potential energy.
Interpret the relationship between potential and kinetic energy.
Recognize that energy can be transformed from one type to another.
Explain the Law of Conservation of Energy using data from a variety of energy transformations.

Forces in Nature

Standard 12 — Forces in Nature
Every event that occurs in the universe is governed by forces that are capable of acting at a distance, that is, no direct interaction among the objects is required. Gravity is the weakest of all forces, but the most pervasive because it is generated by all bodies that have mass. Electromagnetic forces which act between electrically charged particles are responsible for all chemical reactions and the most recognizable physical properties, such as heat and light. These forces along with those that control interactions within atoms are the fundamental forces that govern all known natural phenomena.Conceptual StrandEverything in the universe exerts a gravitational force on everything else; there is an interplay between magnetic fields and electrical currentsGuiding QuestionWhat are the scientific principles that explain gravity and electromagnetism?
Grade Level Expectation
Describe how simple circuits are associated with the transfer of electrical energy.
Explain how simple electrical circuits can be used to determine which materials conduct electricity.
State Performance Indicator
Identify how simple circuits are associated with the transfer of electrical energy when heat, light, sound, and chemical changes are produced.
Identify materials that can conduct electricity.
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