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e expectation calls for students to engage in constructing an

argument using evidence that pure substances have characteristic properties. This

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might involve students measuring properties of substances such as boiling point and

density. The blending of practices, the DCI element and the crosscutting concept is

important at the lesson level and will support students in developing knowledge in

use that can be used to explain phenomena and solve problems. In meeting NGSS

PEs, several related lesson level expectations must be developed.

Step 7: Determine the Acceptable Evidence for Assessing Lesson Level Performances

Step 7 involves determining acceptable evidence that students have met lesson level

performances (Shin, Steven, & Krajcik, 2011). This is a critical step as it allows

teachers to monitor students’ developing understanding. For instance, for the lesson

level performance expectation: Construct an argument that pure substances have

characteristic properties, we would expect students to write a claim regarding

which samples are the same substances and provide at least two forms of evidence

supporting this claim (the density and melting point are the same) and reasoning

(that if two samples were the same substance, they would have the same properties).

Once we specified the evidence, we could design assessments that would elicit

evidence of meeting the lesson level learning performances, for example as

illustrated in Table 5.

Joe wasn’t sure if the any of the materials described in the data table below were

the same substance. He was confused because two samples had the same mass, but

different melting points. Some of the other samples had the same density but

different mass. Using the data below, write an argument supporting an explanation

of whether any of the samples are the same substance.

In responding to this assessment item, students would need to make the claim that

samples 2 and 4 are the same materials because they have the same density and

melting points. Density and melting point are properties that don’t change with the

amount of sample. That the masses of the two samples are different does not matter.

Samples 2 and 3 are not the same materials even though samples have the same

mass. Mass is not a characteristic that can be used in an argument to identify

materials that are the same.

Step 8: Select Related Common Core Mathematics Standards (CCSS-M) and Common Core Literacy Standards (CCSS-L)

The NGSS identifies CCSS-M and CCSS-L that align with various PEs. Related

CCSS-M and CCSS-L are found in the connections boxes just below the foundation/

Next Generation Science Standards 169




dimensions boxes. The Common Core Literacy Standards that align with MS-PS1-2


• RST.6-8.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to the precise details of explanations or descriptions.

• RST.6-8.7 Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart,

diagram, model, graph, or table).

The Common Core Mathematics Standards that align with MS-PS1-2 include:

• MP.2 Reason abstractly and quantitatively. • 6.RP.A.3 Use ratio and rate reasoning to solve real-world and mathematical


• 6.SP.B.4 Display numerical data in plots on a number line, including dot plots, histograms, and box plots.

• 6.SP.B.5 Summarize numerical data sets in relation to their context.

Develop lesson level expectations and performance tasks, and select resources

that scaffold learning to meet the PEs, while applying and reinforcing literacy and

mathematics standards.

Step 9: Carefully Construct a Storyline

The storyline should show how the DCIs, science and engineering practices, and

crosscutting concepts develop overtime. It should also show how learners build

sophisticated ideas from prior ideas, using evidence that builds to the understanding

described in the PEs as students engage in the practices to explain phenomena. Here

we present one possible storyline that shows how student understanding could

develop over time to reach the level of proficiency expected in the bundle of PEs

discussed above (MS-PS1-1, MS-PS1-2 and MS-PS1-5).

Instruction should begin with students exploring the questions: How can we

identify a substance? How can we distinguish one substance from another?

Answering these questions engages students in developing an explanation. Students

need to apply ideas that substances have characteristic properties that distinguish

Table 4 Creating lesson level performance expectations

Practice crossed with element of DCI and crosscutting concept gives lesson level performance


Practice DCI Crosscutting


Lesson level expectation




Each pure substance has characteristic

physical and chemical properties (for

any bulk quantity under given

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