Academic standards list

Physical World Concepts — 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?
Course Level Expectation
Recognize that science is a progressive endeavor that reevaluates and extends what is already accepted.
Design and conduct scientific investigations to explore new phenomena, verify previous results, test how well a theory predicts, and compare opposing theories.
Use appropriate tools and technology to collect precise and accurate data.
Apply qualitative and quantitative measures to analyze data and draw conclusions that are free of bias.
Compare experimental evidence and conclusions with those drawn by others about the same testable question.
Communicate and defend scientific findings.

Embedded Mathematics

Standard MATH — Embedded Mathematics
Conceptual StrandScience applies mathematics to investigate questions, solve problems, and communicate findings.Guiding QuestionWhat mathematical skills and understandings are needed to successfully investigate biological topics?
Course Level Expectation
Understand the mathematical principles that underlie the science of physics.
Utilize appropriate mathematical equations and processes to solve basic physics problems.

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?
Course Level Expectation
Explore the impact of technology on social, political, and economic systems.
Differentiate among elements of the engineering design cycle: design constraints, model building, testing, evaluating, modifying, and retesting.
Explain the relationship between the properties of a material and the use of the material in the application of a technology.
Describe the dynamic interplay among science, technology, and engineering within living, earth-space, and physical systems.


Standard 1 — Mechanics
Mechanics is perhaps the broadest topic within the study of natural law or physics. The study of mechanics explains the rules of how objects move. The forces that hold the planets to the sun, the energy of a tidal wave, the nature of black holes, are all described within mechanics. Predicting the outcome of collisions between atoms or asteroids is also part of the mechanical realm as is how a massive aircraft carrier floats. Conceptual StrandThe laws and properties of mechanics provide the foundations of Conceptual Physics.Guiding QuestionHow do the laws and properties of mechanics govern the basic understanding of physics concepts?
Course Level Expectation
Investigate fundamental physical quantities of mass and time.
Analyze and apply Newtons three laws of motion.
Differentiate among work, energy, and power.
Investigate kinematics and dynamics.
Investigate and apply Archimedess Principle.
Explore Pascals Principle.
Analyze applications of Bernoullis Principle.


Standard 2 — Thermodynamics
Conceptual StrandThe principles and laws of thermodynamics are essential for understanding the concept of energy.Guiding QuestionHow do the laws of thermodynamics relate to understanding the conservation of energy?
Course Level Expectation
Explore the relationships among temperature, heat, and internal energy.
Compare Fahrenheit, Celsius, and Kelvin temperature scales.
Investigate exchanges in internal energy.

Waves and Optics

Standard 3 — Waves and Optics
Conceptual StrandInvestigating wave behavior reveals information about sound and light.Guiding QuestionHow does the wave model explain the phenomena of sound and light?
Course Level Expectation
Explore conditions associated with simple harmonic motion.
Investigate Hookes law.
Understand wave mechanics.
Examine the Doppler Effect.
Explore the characteristics and properties of sound.
Describe the characteristics of the electromagnetic spectrum.
Investigate the interaction of light waves.
Explore the optical principles of mirrors and lenses.
Investigate the phenomenon of color.

Electricity and Magnetism

Standard 4 — Electricity and Magnetism
Conceptual StrandVarious tools and equipment can be used to investigate the interplay between magnetic fields and the generation of electricity.Guiding QuestionWhat force and energy concepts are needed to explain magnetism and electricity?
Course Level Expectation
Distinguish among electric forces, electric charges, and electric fields.
Explore static and current electricity.
Investigate Ohm's law.
Compare and contrast series and parallel circuits.
Analyze components of electrical schematic diagrams.
Investigate magnetic poles, magnetic fields, and electromagnetic induction.

Nuclear Science

Standard 5 — Nuclear Science
Conceptual StrandA deep understanding of particle physics is accomplished by investigating the principles of nuclear science.Guiding QuestionWhat particle physics concepts explain nuclear science?
Course Level Expectation
Investigate the properties and structure of the atom.
Explore the dynamics of the nucleus: radioactivity, nuclear decay, radiocarbon/uranium dating, and half-life.
Compare and contrast nuclear fission and nuclear fusion.
Investigate quantum theory.
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