Blanket of Air – Standards


The activities in this unit help children understand the basic concepts in the Disciplinary Core Ideas listed here. You can use the following list as a guide for lesson planning. These Disciplinary Core Ideas are taken from Grade Band Endpoints in A Framework for K-12 Science Education. Additionally, our activities give children opportunities to engage in many of the Science and Engineering Practices and reflect on the Crosscutting Concepts as identified in the Next Generation Science Standards.

Grades K-2 Disciplinary Core Ideas
PS1A: Different kinds of matter exist. Matter can be described & classified by its observable properties, its uses, & whether it occurs naturally or is manufactured. p.108
PS1B: Heating or cooling a substance may cause changes that can be observed. p.110
ESS2E: Plants and animals (including humans) depend on the land, water, and air to live and grow. p.190
ESS3A: Living things need water, air, and resources from the land, and they try to live in places that have the things they need. p.192
LS2A: Plants depend on air, water, minerals (in the soil), and light to grow. p.151
ETS1B: Designs can be conveyed through sketches, drawings, or physical models. These representations are useful in communicating ideas for a problem’s solutions to other people. p.207
ETS1C: Because there is always more than one possible solution to a problem, it is useful to compare designs, test them, and discuss their strengths and weaknesses. p.209

Grades 3-5 Disciplinary Core Ideas
PS1A: Matter of any type can be subdivided into particles that are too small to see, but even then the matter still exists and can be detected by other means. For example a model showing that gases are made from matter particles that are too small to see and are moving freely around in space can explain many observations, including the inflation and shape of a balloon; the effects of air on larger particles or objects; p.108
ESS2A: Earth’s major systems are the geosphere (solid and molten rock, soil, and sediments), the hydrosphere (water and ice), the atmosphere (air), and the biosphere (living things, including humans). These systems interact in multiple ways to affect Earth’s surface materials and processes. p.181
ESS2E: Living things affect the physical characteristics of their regions (e.g., plants’ roots hold soil in place, beaver shelters and human-built dams alter the flow of water, plants’ respiration affects the air). p.190
LS1C: Animals and plants alike generally need to take in air and water, animals must take in food, and plants need light and minerals; …Plants acquire their material for growth chiefly from air and water. p.148
LS2B: Organisms obtain gases, water, and minerals from the environment and release waste matter (gas, liquid, or solid) back into the environment. p.153
ETS1B: An often productive way to generate ideas is for people to work together to brainstorm, test, and refine possible solutions. At whatever stage, communicating with peers about proposed solutions is an important part of the design process, and shared ideas can lead to improved designs. p.207
ETS1C: Different solutions need to be tested in order to determine which of them best solves the problem, given the criteria and the constraints. p.209

Grades 6-8 Disciplinary Core Ideas
PS1A: Gases & liquids are made of molecules or inert atoms that are moving about relative to each other. In a liquid, the molecules are constantly in contact with each other; in a gas, they are widely spaced except when they happen to collide. In a solid, atoms are closely spaced & vibrate in position but do not change relative locations. p.108-109
LS1C: Plants, algae (including phytoplankton), and many microorganisms use the energy from light to make sugars (food) from carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and water through the process of photosynthesis, which also releases oxygen. p.148
ETS1B: A solution needs to be tested, and then modified on the basis of the test results, in order to improve it. p.208
ETS1C: This iterative process of testing the most promising solutions and modifying what is proposed on the basis of the test results leads to greater refinement and ultimately to an optimal solution. Once such a suitable solution is determined, it is important to describe that solution, explain how it was developed, and describe the features that make it successful. p.209-210


In addition to science content, activities in this unit also can help students to practice the following mathematics and language arts concepts. The Common Core Standards listed here are in addition to the ones that our activities typically address, as listed in the Four Winds document, The Nature Program: Alignment with Learning Standards.

Grades 3-5 Common Core Standards
Mathematics Standard 3.MD: Multiply side lengths to find areas of rectangles with whole-number side lengths in the context of solving real world and mathematical problems, and represent whole-number products as rectangular areas in mathematical reasoning.
Mathematics Standard 5.NBT: Fluently multiply multi-digit whole numbers using the standard algorithm.

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