The Standards

3rd Grade

Inheritance and Variation of Traits

Students who demonstrate understanding can:




Develop models to describe that organisms have unique and diverse life cycles but all have in common birth, growth, reproduction, and death. 3-LS1-1

Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary

Clarification Statement: Changes organisms go through during their life form a pattern.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment of plant life cycles is limited to those of flowering plants. Assessment does not include details of human reproduction.


Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence that plants and animals have traits inherited from parents and that variation of these traits exists in a group of similar organisms. 3-LS3-1

Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary

Clarification Statement: Patterns are the similarities and differences in traits shared between offspring and their parents, or among siblings. Emphasis is on organisms other than humans.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include genetic mechanisms of inheritance and prediction of traits. Assessment is limited to non-human examples.


Use evidence to support the explanation that traits can be influenced by the environment. 3-LS3-2

Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary

Clarification Statement: Examples of the environment affecting a trait could include normally tall plants grown with insufficient water are stunted; and, a pet dog that is given too much food and little exercise may become overweight.

Assessment Boundary: none


Use evidence to construct an explanation for how the variations in characteristics among individuals of the same species may provide advantages in surviving, finding mates, and reproducing. 3-LS4-2

Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary

Clarification Statement: Examples of cause and effect relationships could be plants that have larger thorns than other plants may be less likely to be eaten by predators; and, animals that have better camouflage coloration than other animals may be more likely to survive and therefore more likely to leave offspring.

Assessment Boundary: none

Science and Engineering Practices

Developing and Using Models

Modeling in 3–5 builds on K–2 experiences and progresses to building and revising simple models and using models to represent events and design solutions.

Develop models to describe phenomena. (3-LS1-1)

Analyzing and Interpreting Data

Analyzing data in 3–5 builds on K–2 experiences and progresses to introducing quantitative approaches to collecting data and conducting multiple trials of qualitative observations. When possible and feasible, digital tools should be used.

Analyze and interpret data to make sense of phenomena using logical reasoning. (3-LS3-1)

Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions

Constructing explanations and designing solutions in 3–5 builds on K–2 experiences and progresses to the use of evidence in constructing explanations that specify variables that describe and predict phenomena and in designing multiple solutions to design problems.

Use evidence (e.g., observations, patterns) to support an explanation. (3-LS3-2)

Use evidence (e.g., observations, patterns) to construct an explanation. (3-LS4-2)

Connections to Nature of Science

Science Knowledge Is Based on Empirical Evidence

Science findings are based on recognizing patterns. (3-LS1-1)

Common Core State Standards Connections

  • RI.3.1 - Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers. (3-LS3-1), (3-LS3-2), (3-LS4-2)
  • RI.3.2 - Determine the main idea of a text; recount the key details and explain how they support the main idea. (3-LS3-1), (3-LS3-2), (3-LS4-2)
  • RI.3.3 - Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect. (3-LS3-1), (3-LS3-2), (3-LS4-2)
  • RI.3.7 - Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur). (3-LS1-1)
  • SL.3.4 - Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace. (3-LS3-1), (3-LS3-2), (3-LS4-2)
  • SL.3.5 - Create engaging audio recordings of stories or poems that demonstrate fluid reading at an understandable pace; add visual displays when appropriate to emphasize or enhance certain facts or details. (3-LS1-1)
  • W.3.2 - Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly. (3-LS3-1), (3-LS3-2), (3-LS4-2)
  • 3.MD.B.3 - Draw a scaled picture graph and a scaled bar graph to represent a data set with several categories. Solve one- and two-step "how many more" and "how many less" problems using information presented in scaled bar graphs. (3-LS4-2)
  • 3.MD.B.4 - Generate measurement data by measuring lengths using rulers marked with halves and fourths of an inch. Show the data by making a line plot, where the horizontal scale is marked off in appropriate units— whole numbers, halves, or quarters. (3-LS3-1), (3-LS3-2)
  • 3.NBT - Number and Operations in Base Ten. (3-LS1-1)
  • 3.NF - Number and Operations—Fractions (3-LS1-1)
  • MP.2 - Reason abstractly and quantitatively. (3-LS3-1), (3-LS3-2), (3-LS4-2)
  • MP.4 - Model with mathematics. (3-LS1-1), (3-LS3-1), (3-LS3-2), (3-LS4-2)

Model Course Mapping

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