Middle Level Science Endorsement Competencies - Grades 4-9

The candidate knows and understands the science concepts and principles needed to advance learning for all students as defined by the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in the four core ideas of physical, life, Earth and space sciences, engineering design, and promotes the scientific abilities of all children (Appendix D, All Standards, All Students). Competency requires evidence of integration of Science and Engineering Practices and Crosscutting Concepts with Disciplinary Core Ideas and will include examples that illustrate this integration when teaching.

1.0 Disciplinary Core Ideas

1.A Understand and can explain the disciplinary core ideas of physical science, and can guide the learning of others (for example, identify and respond to student ideas, use productive disciplinary representations, and know how ideas are organized and connected) in the following topics:

1.A.1 Matter and its interactions.


1.A.1.A The existence of atoms, now supported by evidence from modern instruments, was first postulated as a model that could explain both qualitative and quantitative observations about matter (e.g., Brownian motion, ratios of reactants and products in chemical reactions).


1.A.1.B Matter can be understood in terms of the types of atoms  present and the interactions both between and within them. The states (i.e., solid, liquid, gas, or plasma), properties (e.g., hardness, conductivity), and reactions (both physical and chemical) of matter can be described and predicted based on the types, interactions, and motions of the atoms within it.


1.A.1.C Chemical reactions, which underlie so many observed phenomena in living and nonliving systems alike, conserve the number of atoms of each type but change their arrangement into molecules.


1.A.1.D Nuclear reactions involve changes in the types of atomic nuclei present and are key to the energy release from the sun and the balance of isotopes in matter.

    1.A.2 Motion and stability.


1.A.2.A Interactions between any two objects can cause changes in one or both of them.


1.A.2.B The forces between objects is important for describing how their motions change, as well as for predicting stability or instability in systems at any scale.

1.A.2.C All forces between objects arise from a few types of interactions: gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear interactions.


                1.A.3 Energy.


1.A.3.A Interactions of objects can be explained and predicted using the concept of transfer of energy from one object or system of objects to another.

1.A.3.B The total energy within a defined system changes only by the transfer of energy into or out of the system.


                1.A.4 Waves and their applications in technology for information transfer.


1.A.4.A Waves are a repeating pattern of motion that transfers energy from place to place without overall displacement of matter. Light and sound are wavelike phenomena.


1.A.4.B Wave properties and the interactions of electromagnetic radiation with matter, scientists and engineers can design systems for transferring information across long distances, storing information, and investigating nature on many scales— some of them far beyond direct human perception.


1.B Understand and can explain the disciplinary core ideas of life science, and can guide the learning of others in the following topics:

                  1.B.1 From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes

                               1.B.1.A All living organisms are made of cells.

1.B.1.B Life is the quality that distinguishes living things—composed of living cellsfrom nonliving objects or those that have died.


1.B.1.C While a simple definition of life can be difficult to capture, all living things—that is to say all organisms—can be characterized by common aspects of their structure and functioning.


1.B.1.D Organisms are complex, organized, and built on a hierarchical structure, with each level providing the foundation for the next, from the chemical foundation of elements and atoms, to the cells and systems of individual organisms, to species and populations living and interacting in complex ecosystems.

1.B.1.E Organisms can be made of a single cell or millions of cells working together and include animals, plants, algae, fungi, bacteria, and all other microorganisms.


1.B.1.F Organisms respond to stimuli from their environment and actively maintain their internal environment through homeostasis.


1.B.1.G Organisms grow and reproduce, transferring their genetic information to their offspring.

1.B.1.H While individual organisms carry the same genetic information over their lifetime, mutation and the transfer from parent to offspring produce new combinations of genes.

1.B.1.I Over generations natural selection can lead to changes in a species overall; hence, species evolve over time.

1.B.1.J To maintain all of these processes and functions, organisms require materials and energy from their environment; nearly all energy that sustains life ultimately comes from the sun.

                1.B.2 Ecosystems and their interactions, energy, and dynamics.


1.B.2.A Ecosystems are complex, interactive systems that include both biological communities (biotic) and physical (abiotic) components of the environment.


1.B.2.B As with individual organisms, a hierarchal structure exists; groups of the same organisms (species) form populations, different populations interact to form communities, communities live within an ecosystem, and all of the ecosystems on Earth make up the biosphere.

1.B.2.C Organisms grow, reproduce, and perpetuate their species by obtaining necessary resources through interdependent relationships with other organisms and the physical environment.


1.B.2.D These same interactions can facilitate or restrain growth and enhance or limit the size of populations, maintaining the balance between available resources and those who consume them.

1.B.2.E These interactions can also change both biotic and abiotic characteristics of the environment.


1.B.2.F Similar to individual organisms, ecosystems are sustained by the continuous flow of energy, originating primarily from the sun, and the recycling of matter and nutrients within the system.


1.B.2.G Ecosystems are dynamic, experiencing shifts in population composition and abundance and changes in the physical environment over time, which ultimately affects the stability and resilience of the entire system.

1.B.3 Heredity, inheritance, and variation of traits.


1.B.3.A Heredity explains why offspring resemble, but are not identical to, their parents and is a unifying biological principle. Heredity refers to specific mechanisms by which characteristics or traits are passed from one generation to the next via genes.

1.B.3.B Genes encode the information for making specific proteins, which are responsible for the specific traits of an individual.


1.B.3.C Each gene can have several variants, called alleles, which code for different variants of the trait in question.

1.B.3.D Genes reside in a cell’s chromosomes, each owhich contains many genes.


1.B.3.E Every cell of any individual organism contains the identical set of chromosomes.


1.B.3.F When organisms reproduce, genetic information is transferred to their offspring. 

1.B.3.G In species that reproduce sexually, each cell contains two variants of each chromosome, one inherited from each parent. Thus sexual reproduction gives rise to a new combination of chromosome pairs with variations between parent and offspring.


1.B.3.H Very rarely, mutations also cause variations, which may be harmful, neutral, or occasionally advantageous for an individual.

1.B.3.I Environmental as well as genetic variation and the relative dominance of each of the genes in a pair play an important role in how traits develop within an individual.


1.B.3.J Complex relationships between genes and interactions of genes with the environment determine how an organism will develop and function.


1.B.4 Biological evolution, unity, and diversity.

1.B.4.A Explains both the unity and the diversity of species and provides a unifying principle for the history and diversity of life on Earth.


1.B.4.B Is supported by extensive scientific evidence ranging from the fossil record to genetic relationships among species.


1.B.4.C Researchers continue to use new and different techniques, including DNA and protein sequence analyses, to test and further their understanding of evolutionary relationships.

1.B.4.D Is continuous and ongoing, occurs when natural selection acts on the genetic variation in a population and changes the distribution of traits in that population gradually over multiple generations.

1.B.4.E Natural selection can act more rapidly after sudden changes in conditions, which can lead to the extinction of species.

1.B.4.F Through natural selection, traits thaprovide an individual with an advantage to best meet environmental challenges and reproduce are the ones most likely to be passed on to the next generation.

1.B.4.G Over multiple generations, this process can lead to the emergence of new species.


1.B.4.H Explains both the similarities of genetic material across all species and the multitude of species existing in diverse conditions on Earth—its biodiversitywhich humans depend on for natural resources and other benefits to sustain themselves.


1.C Understand and can explain the disciplinary core ideas of earth and space science and can guide the learning of others in the following topics:

                     1.C.1 Earth’s place in the universe.

                               1.C.1.A Planet Earth is a tiny part of a vast universe that has developed over a huge expanse of time.

1.C.1.B The history of the universe, and of the structures and objects within it, can be deciphered using observations of their present condition together with knowledge of physics and chemistry.


1.C.1.C The patterns of motion of the objects in the solar system can be described and predicted on the basis of observations and an understanding of gravity.


1.C.1.D These patterns can be used to explain many Earth phenomena, such as day and night, seasons, tides, and phases of the moon.

1.C.1.E Observations of other solar system objects and of Earth itself can be used to determine Earth’s age and the history of large-scale changes in its surface. 

                    1.C.2 Earth’s systems.

                               1.C.2.A Earth’s surface is a complex and dynamic seof interconnected systemsprincipally the geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biospherethat interact over a wide range of temporal and spatial scales.

1.C.2.B All of Earth’s processes are the result of energy flowing and matter cycling within and among these systems, e.g., rocks and the rock cycle.

                               1.C.2.C The motion of tectonic plates is part of the cycles of convection in Earth’s mantle, driven by outflowing heat and the downward pull of gravity, which result in the formation and changes of many features of Earth’s land and undersea surface.


1.C.2.D Weather and climate are shaped by complex interactions involving sunlight, the ocean, the atmosphere, clouds, ice, land, and life forms.

1.C.2.E Earth’s biosphere has changed the makeup of the geosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere over geological time; conversely, geological events and conditions have influenced the evolution of life on the planet.


1.C.2.F Water is essential to the dynamics of most earth systems, and it plays a significant role in shaping Earth’s landscape.


                    1.C.3 Earth and human activity.

                               1.C.3.A Earth’s surface processes affect and are affected by human activities.

                               1.C.3.B Humans depend on all of the planet’s systems for a variety of resources, some of which are renewable or replaceable and some of which are not.

1.C.3.C Natural hazards and other geological events can significantly alter human populations and activities.


1.C.3.D Human activities can contribute to the frequency and intensity of some natural hazards. Humans have become one of the most significant agents of change in Earth’s surface systems.


1.C.3.E Climate changewhich could have large consequences for all of Earth’s surface systems, including the biosphere—is driven not only by natural effects but also by human activities.

1.C.3.F Sustaining the biosphere will require detailed knowledge and modeling of the factors that affect climate, coupled with the responsible management of natural resources.

1.D Understand and can explain the disciplinary core ideas of engineering, technology, and application of science, and can guide the learning of others in the following topics:


    1.D.1 Engineering design.

                                1.D.1.A The design process, engineers’ basic approach to problem solving, involves many different practices.

                                1.D.1.B These practices include problem definition, model development and use, investigation, analysis and interpretation of data, application of mathematics and computational thinking, and determination of solutions.

                                1.D.1.C Engineering practices incorporate specialized knowledge about criteria and constraints, modeling and analysis, and optimization and trade-offs.

   1.D.2 Links among engineering, technology, science, and society.


1.D.2.A New insights from science often catalyze the emergence of new technologies and their applications, which are developed using engineering design.


1.D.2.B New technologies open opportunities for new scientific investigations.

1.D.2.C Advances in science, engineering, and technology can have profound effects on human society, in such areas as agriculture, energy and energy use, transportation, health care, and communication, and on the natural environment.


1.D.2.D Systems can change significantly when new technologies are introduced, with both desired effects and unexpected outcomes.

1.E Understand and apply the learning progressions in  Appendix E, Disciplinary Core Ideas and Appendix I, Engineering Design in NGSS.

2.0 Science and Engineering Practices

2.A Understand and apply Science and Engineering Practices in NGSS.

                        2.A.1 Ask questions (for science) and define problems (for engineering).

                        2.A.2 Develop and use models.

                        2.A.3 Plan and carry out investigations.

                        2.A.4 Analyze and interpret data.

                        2.A.5 Use mathematics and computational thinking.

                        2.A.6 Construct explanations (for science) and design solutions (for engineering).

                        2.A.7 Engage in argument from evidence.

                        2.A.8 Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information.

2.B Have experience with and model the practices by which scientists and engineers develop and refine ideas.

2.C Understand and apply the progressions in  Appendix F, Scientific anEngineering Practices in NGSS.

2.D Collaborate with other content-area experts and STEM professionals to solve real-world problems, to promote equitable opportunities (see Appendix D) for in-depth experiences, and to include different perspectives.


3.0 Crosscutting Concepts

3.A Understands and can explain how the Crosscutting Concepts bridge disciplinary boundaries, uniting core ideas throughout the fields of science and engineering as described in  Appendix G, Section 2, Crosscutting Concepts Matrix of the NGSS.

                         3.A.1 Patterns. 

                        3.A.2 Cause and effect.

                        3.A.3 Scale, proportion, and quantities.  

                        3.A.4 Systems and systems models.  

                        3.A.5 Energy and matter; flows, cycles, and conservation.

                        3.A.6 Structure and function. 

                        3.A.7 Stability and change.

3.B Have experience with and model the application of Crosscutting Concepts by which scientists and engineers develop and refine ideas.

3.C Understand and apply the progressions in  Appendix G, Section 2, Crosscutting Concepts Matrix of the NGSS.

3.D Understand the nature of science, and be able to address student misconceptions, as described in  Appendix H, Understanding the Scientific Enterprise: The Nature of Science in the NGSS.

4.0 Science-specific Instructional Methodology

4.A Incorporate instructional materials and teaching strategies to create a community of diverse student learners who can construct meaning from scientific experiences and possess a disposition for further inquiry and learning in Appendix D, All Standards, All Students in NGSS.

4.B Anticipate learner ideas in the planning of instruction, identify students’ specific prior knowledge and skills on which instruction can be built, monitor the development of student understanding, interpret student needs, develop responsive actions to meet these needs, and provide multiple opportunities for students to practice their learning.

4.C Integrate the Disciplinary Core Ideas, Crosscutting Concepts, and Science and Engineering Practices to immerse students in the manner in which scientific and engineering ideas are developed and refined.

                        4.C.1 Implement the Disciplinary Core Ideas of physical, life, earth and space science, and engineering progressions in  Appendix E, Disciplinary Core Ideas and Appendix I,  Engineering Design in NGSS.


                        4.C.2 Implement the  Science and Engineering Practices in Appendix F in NGSS.

                        4.C.3 Implement the progressions of the Crosscutting Concepts across the grades in order to help students deepen their understanding of the Disciplinary Core Ideas and develop coherent and scientifically-based view of the world in                                  Appendix G, Section 2, Crosscutting Concepts Matrix in NGSS.

4.D Understand and be able to appropriately respond to potential safety hazards in different learning environments, e.g., laboratory, classroom, or field.

    4.D.1 Establish and enforce laboratory safety (including storage and disposal of hazardous waste) in the science laboratory.


    4.D.2 Demonstrate responsible use and disposal of live organisms according to Washington State law.

4.E Demonstrate an understanding of the CCSS for Mathematics and align instruction in science with instruction that students receive in mathematics, examples of which are described in  Appendix L, Connections to the CCSS for Mathematics in NGSS.

4.F Demonstrate an understanding of the CCSS for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects and align instruction in science with instruction that students receive in English Language Arts, examples of which are described in  Appendix M, Connections to the CCSS for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects in NGSS.

4.G Develop an understanding of how science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines are interrelated to each other, society, the workplace, and the environment in Appendix J, Science, Technology, Society and the Environment; and how they promote equitable learning opportunities for all students in Appendix D, All Standards, All Students in the NGSS.

4.H Know and understand the interactions between culture and science, and the contributions of diverse individuals to the development of science and technology, and how science and technology have affected individuals, cultures, and societies throughout human history e.g., analysis of local, regional, national, and/or global environmental and resource issues in Appendix D, All Standards, All Students and Appendix H, Nature of Science in the NGSS.

4.I Implement intentional learning strategies and opportunities to scaffold practice for the adolescent learner as science content moves from concrete to abstract.