Academic standards list

Science - Grade 8 — 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 open-ended 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).

Biodiversity and Change

Standard 5 — Biodiversity and Change
Current day life demonstrates a staggering number of forms. Yet, when viewed through the lens of the fossil record, what appears on earth today is a mere smidgen of the variety of life that one time or another wandered this planet. Contemporary science has discovered that within this amazing array of living things there are many structural and biochemical similarities that argue for the existence of ancestral relationships. The fossil record also provides evidence for the connection between present and ancestral species. These lines of evidence support a unifying principle for understanding the history of life on earth, relationships among all living things, and the dependence of life on the physical environment.Conceptual StrandA rich variety of complex organisms have developed in response to a continually changing environment.Guiding QuestionHow does natural selection explain how organisms have changed over time?
Grade Level Expectation
Identify various criteria used to classify organisms into groups.
Use a simple classification key to identify a specific organism.
Analyze how structural, behavioral, and physiological adaptations affect an organisms ability to survive in a particular environment.
Explain why variation within a population can enhance the chances for group survival.
Describe the importance of maintaining the earths biodiversity.
Investigate fossils in sedimentary rock layers to gather evidence of changing life forms.
State Performance Indicator
Use a simple classification key to identify an unknown organism.
Analyze structural, behavioral, and physiological adaptations to predict which populations are likely to survive in a particular environment.
Analyze data on levels of variation within a population to make predictions about survival under particular environmental conditions.
Identify several reasons for the importance of maintaining the earths biodiversity.
Compare fossils found in sedimentary rock to determine their relative age.


Standard 9 — Matter
The physical world consists of an amazing variety of materials whose differences can be described in terms of their physical and chemical properties. Depending on temperature and pressure, every substance also exists in different states. What materials share in common is that they are all derived from various combinations of approximately 100 naturally occurring elements which in turn consist of different kinds of atoms. All atoms consist of a central, positively charged nucleus surrounded by a cloud of much lighter, negatively charged electrons. When the atoms of two or more substances interact to form something new the elements of which they are composed enter into new combinations. The properties of these new compounds are likely to be different from the original substances.Conceptual StrandThe composition and structure of matter is known, and it behaves according to principles that are generally understood.Guiding QuestionHow does the structure of matter influence its physical and chemical behavior?
Grade Level Expectation
Understand that all matter is made up of atoms.
Explain that matter has properties that are explained by the structure and arrangement of its atoms.
Interpret data from an investigation to differentiate between physical and chemical changes.
Distinguish among elements, compounds, and mixtures.
Apply the chemical properties of the atmosphere to illustrate a mixture of gases.
Use the periodic table to determine the characteristics of an element.
Explain the Law of Conservation of Mass.
Interpret the events represented by a chemical equation.
Explain the basic difference between acids and bases.
State Performance Indicator
Recognize that all matter consists of atoms.
Identify the common outcome of all chemical changes.
Classify common substances as elements or compounds based on their symbols or formulas.
Differentiate between a mixture and a compound.
Describe the chemical makeup of the atmosphere.
Compare the particle arrangement and type of particle motion associated with different states of matter.
Apply an equation to determine the density of an object based on its mass and volume.
Interpret the results of an investigation to determine whether a physical or chemical change has occurred.
Use the periodic table to determine the properties of an element.
Identify the reactants and products of a chemical reaction.
Recognize that in a chemical reaction the mass of the reactants is equal to the mass of the products (Law of Conservation of Mass).
Identify the basic properties of acids and bases.

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
Investigate the relationship between magnetism and electricity.
Design an investigation to change the strength of an electromagnet.
Compare and contrast the Earths magnetic field to that of a magnet and an electromagnet.
Identify factors that influence the amount of gravitational force between objects.
Recognize that gravity is the force that controls the motion of objects in the solar system.
State Performance Indicator
Recognize that electricity can be produced using a magnet and wire coil.
Describe the basic principles of an electromagnet.
Distinguish among the Earths magnetic field, a magnet, and the fields that surround a magnet and an electromagnet.
Distinguish between mass and weight using appropriate measuring instruments and units.
Determine the relationship among the mass of objects, the distance between these objects, and the amount of gravitational attraction.
Illustrate how gravity controls the motion of objects in the solar system.
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