Science Standards

Note: Annotations refer to appropriate NGSS performance expectations, science and engineering practices, or core disciplinary ideas.

MS-PS: middle school physical science performance expectation

MS-LS: middle school life science performance expectation

MS-ESS: middle school earth and space science performance expectation

MS-ETS: middle school engineering design performance expectation

sp: science and engineering practice


6th Grade:

Scientific Processes:

  1. Make measurements using metric units (sp-4)
  2. Convert metric measurements (sp-5)
  3. Use standard measuring tools safely (beakers, graduated cylinders, beam balances, etc.) (sp-3)
  4. Define the nature of science and scientific models (sp-1, sp-2, sp-6)
  5. Describe steps of the scientific method (sp-1, sp-3)
  6. Write hypotheses supported by current or previous observations (sp-2, sp-3)
  7. Describe types of observations (qualitative, quantitative) (sp-1, sp-3)
  8. Make inferences supported by evidence (sp-6, sp-7)
  9. Identify types of variables in a scientific investigation (sp-3)
  10. Design and carry out a scientific investigation (sp-3)
  11. Describe (in essay form) the outcomes and real-world implications of scientific investigations (sp-7, sp-8, MS-ESS3-4)

Classification of Organisms:

  1. Identify and describe characteristics of living things (MS-LS1-1)
  2. Describe the difference between sexual and asexual reproduction (i.e., asexual reproduction results in offspring identical to the parent) (MS-LS1-2, MS-LS1-5)
  3. Identify and describe needs of living things (MS-LS1-1, MS-LS1-5)
  4. Identify criteria used to classify organisms by most biologists (sp-8)
  5. Identify six kingdoms of organisms; identify and describe general characteristics of organisms in each kingdom (sp-8)
  6. Identify sub-groups with kingdoms (sp-8)
  7. Classify a given organism based on its behavior and physical characteristics (MS-LS1-3)


  1. Define and give examples of microorganisms (MS-LS1-1)
  2. Model the structure of viruses (MS-LS1-1)
  3. Describe how viruses reproduce (MS-LS1-2)
  4. Demonstrate that viruses are not usually considered to be living things (MS-LS1-3)
  5. Model the structure of bacteria (MS-LS1-1)
  6. Design and carry out a scientific investigation that determines conditions favorable to bacterial growth and reproduction (MS-LS1-5)
  7. Identify ways that bacteria are helpful and/or harmful to humans (MS-LS1-4, MS-LS1-5)
  8. Demonstrate, using evidence, the importance of bacteria to other life on Earth (MS-LS1-5)
  9. Describe the characteristics of Protista (MS-LS1-3)
  10. Identify & describe features of common species of Protista (amoeba, paramecium, euglena) (MS-LS1-3)
  11. Describe behavior of Protista based on observation (MS-LS1-4)
  12. Describe causes and effects of algal blooms (MS-LS1-3)
  13. Identify & describe characteristics of fungi (MS-LS1-3)
  14. Identify & describe common types of fungi (MS-LS1-3)
  15. Design and carry out a scientific investigation which demonstrates fungi’s role as a decomposer


  1. Identify uses and dangers of fungi to humans (MS-LS1-5)

Earth Science:

  1. Identify & describe the layers of Earth’s interior (MS-ESS2-1)
  2. Demonstrate, using evidence, the cause of Earth’s magnetic field (MS-ESS2-1)
  3. Identify types of rock in Earth’s lithosphere (MS-ESS2-2)
  4. Develop a model to describe the cycling of Earth’s materials and the flow of energy that drives this process (MS-ESS2-1)
  5. Describe the theory of plate tectonics (MS-ESS2-1)
  6. Construct an explanation based on evidence for how plate tectonic processes have changed Earth’s surface features over geologic time scales (MS-ESS2-2, MS-ESS2-3)
  7. Describe the role of convection currents in Earth’s mantle in geological processes on Earth’s surface (MS-ESS2-1)
  8. Model the process of sea floor spreading (MS-ESS2-3)
  9. Give observational evidence for the theory of plate tectonics (MS-ESS2-3)
  10. Identify where earthquakes are most likely to occur (MS-ESS2-2)
  11. Use the theory of plate tectonics to make inferences about causes of earthquakes (MS-ESS2-2)
  12. Describe consequences of earthquakes (MS-ESS2-2)
  13. Identify & describe design features that make human-made structures more resistant to earthquake damage (MS-ESS3-2, MS-ETS1-3)
  14. Describe how earthquake intensity is measured (MS-ESS3-2)
  15. Describe how volcanoes form (MS-ESS2-1)
  16. Identify and describe volcanic landforms (MS-ESS2-2)
  17. Describe short-term and long-term consequences of volcanic eruptions (MS-ESS2-2)
  18. Model volcanic landform creation (MS-ESS2-2)
  19. Analyze and interpret data used to forecast future catastrophic events (i.e, earthquakes and volcanoes) (MS-ESS3-3)
  20. Identify major types of rocks; describe how each type is formed (MS-ESS2-2)
  21. Identify rock types based on their characteristics (i.e., by using a taxonomic guide) (MS-ESS2-3)
  22. Model the creation of fossils (MS-LS4-1)

Environmental Science:

  1. Define what an ecosystem is (MS-LS2-2)
  2. Identify and describe elements of an ecosystem (MS-LS2-2)
  3. Define/differentiate ecosystem, community and population (MS-LS2-2)
  4. Differentiate between biotic and abiotic elements of an ecosystem (MS-LS2-4)
  5. Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on populations of organisms in an ecosystem (MS-LS2-1)
  6. Develop a model that demonstrates how energy moves through an ecosystem (MS-LS2-5)
  7. Use food chains and food webs to describe interactions between elements of an ecosystem MS-LS2-3)
  8. Model the water, carbon, and nitrogen cycles in ecosystems (MS-LS2-3)
  9. Describe how population changes in one species within an ecosystem can effect changes in other populations (MS-LS2-2)
  10. Describe how changes in abiotic elements within an ecosystem can effect changes among biotic elements within that system (MS-LS2-4)
  11. Describe the process of succession within a given ecosystem (MS-LS2-4)
  12. Identify and describe major biomes of the Earth (MS-LS2-4)
  13. Describe specific interactions between biotic and abiotic elements with a given biome (MS-LS2-4)
  14. Construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems (MS-LS2-3)
  15. Describe consequences of human activity within specific ecosystems (MS-LS2-4)
  16. Identify & describe land use patterns of human societies (MS-2-3)
  17. Describe major renewable and non-renewable resources important to humans; using evidence, describe how resource-use choices can affect ecosystems (MS-LS2-4)
  18. Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth’s natural systems (MS-LS2-5)
  19. Identify & describe major environmental challenges facing human societies; using evidence, propose solutions to these challenges, and evaluate competing solutions (MS-LS2-5)
  20. Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact natural systems(MS-ESS3-4)