Strand II: Content of Science
Standard III (Earth and Space Science): Understand the structure of Earth, the solar system, and the universe, the interconnections among them, and the processes and interactions of Earth’s systems.
K-4 Benchmark I: Know the structure of the solar system and the objects in the universe.
  1. Observe that there are many objects in the night sky and that some are brighter than others.
  2. Describe the location and movements of objects in the sky (e.g., stars, sun, moon).
1st Grade
  1. Observe the changes that occur in the sky as day changes into night and night into day.
  2. Describe the basic patterns of objects as they move through the sky:
     • sun appears in the day
     • moon appears at night but can sometimes be seen during the day
     • sun and moon appear to move across the sky
     • moon appears to change shape over the course of a month.
  3. Recognize that the sun, moon, and stars all appear to move slowly across the sky.
2nd Grade
  1. Observe that the phase of the moon appears a little different every day but looks the same again after about four
  2. Observe that some objects in the night sky are brighter than others.
  3. Know that the sun is a star.
3rd Grade
  1. Describe the objects in the solar system (e.g., sun, Earth and other planets, moon) and their features (e.g., size,
  2. Describe the relationships among the objects in the solar system (e.g., relative distances, orbital motions).
  3. Observe that the pattern of stars stays the same as they appear to move across the sky nightly.
  4. Observe that different constellations can be seen in different seasons.
  5. Know that telescopes enhance the appearance of some distant objects in the sky (e.g., the moon, planets).
4th Grade
  1. Understand that the number of stars visible through a telescope is much greater than the number visible to the naked eye.
  2. Know that there are various types of telescopes that use different forms of light to observe distant objects in the sky.
  3. Know that the pattern of stars (e.g., constellations) stays the same although they appear to move across the sky
    nightly due to Earth’s rotation.
5-8 Benchmark I: Describe how the concepts of energy, matter, and force can be used to explain the observed behavior of the solar system, the universe, and their structures.
5th Grade
  1. Know that many objects in the universe are huge and are separated from one another by vast distances (e.g., many stars are larger than the sun but so distant that they look like points of light).
  2. Understand that Earth is part of a larger solar system, which is part of an even larger galaxy (Milky Way), which is one of many galaxies.
  3. Know that there have been manned and unmanned journeys to space and to the moon.
6th Grade
  1. Describe the objects in the universe, including:
    • billions of galaxies, each containing billions of stars
    • different sizes, temperatures, and colors of stars in the Milky Way galaxy.
  2. Locate the solar system in the Milky Way galaxy.
  3. Identify the components of the solar system, and describe their defining characteristics and motions in space,
    • sun as a medium sized star
    • sun’s composition (i.e., hydrogen, helium) and energy production
    • nine planets, their moons, asteroids.
  4. Know that the regular and predictable motions of the Earth-moon-sun system explain phenomena on Earth,
    • Earth’s motion in relation to a year, a day, the seasons, the phases of the moon, eclipses, tides, and shadows
    • moon’s orbit around Earth once in 28 days in relation to the phases of the moon.
7th Grade
  1. Explain why Earth is unique in our solar system in its ability to support life.
  2. Explain how energy from the sun supports life on Earth. 
8th Grade
  1. Understand how energy from the sun and other stars, in the form of light, travels long distances to reach Earth.
  2. Explain how the properties of light (e.g., emission, reflection, refraction) emitted from the sun and stars are used to
    learn about the universe, including:
    • distances in the solar system and the universe
    • temperatures of different stars.
  3. Understand how gravitational force acts on objects in the solar system and the universe, including:
    • similar action on masses on Earth and on other objects in the solar system
    • explanation of the orbits of the planets around the sun.