The Standards

Middle School

Chemical Reactions

Students who demonstrate understanding can:




Analyze and interpret data on the properties of substances before and after the substances interact to determine if a chemical reaction has occurred. MS-PS1-2

Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary

Clarification Statement: Examples of reactions could include burning sugar or steel wool, fat reacting with sodium hydroxide, and mixing zinc with hydrogen chloride.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment is limited to analysis of the following properties: density, melting point, boiling point, solubility, flammability, and odor.


Develop and use a model to describe how the total number of atoms does not change in a chemical reaction and thus mass is conserved. MS-PS1-5

Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary

Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on law of conservation of matter and on physical models or drawings, including digital forms, that represent atoms.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include the use of atomic masses, balancing symbolic equations, or intermolecular forces.


Undertake a design project to construct, test, and modify a device that either releases or absorbs thermal energy by chemical processes. MS-PS1-6

Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary

Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on the design, controlling the transfer of energy to the environment, and modification of a device using factors such as type and concentration of a substance. Examples of designs could involve chemical reactions such as dissolving ammonium chloride or calcium chloride.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment is limited to the criteria of amount, time, and temperature of substance in testing the device.

Science and Engineering Practices

Developing and Using Models

Modeling in 6–8 builds on K–5 experiences and progresses to developing, using, and revising models to describe, test, and predict more abstract phenomena and design systems.

Develop a model to describe unobservable mechanisms. (MS-PS1-5)

Analyzing and Interpreting Data

Analyzing data in 6–8 builds on K–5 experiences and progresses to extending quantitative analysis to investigations, distinguishing between correlation and causation, and basic statistical techniques of data and error analysis.

Analyze and interpret data to determine similarities and differences in findings. (MS-PS1-2)

Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions

Constructing explanations and designing solutions in 6–8 builds on K–5 experiences and progresses to include constructing explanations and designing solutions supported by multiple sources of evidence consistent with scientific ideas, principles, and theories.

Undertake a design project, engaging in the design cycle, to construct and/or implement a solution that meets specific design criteria and constraints. (MS-PS1-6)

Connections to Nature of Science

Science Knowledge Is Based on Empirical Evidence

Science knowledge is based upon logical and conceptual connections between evidence and explanations. (MS-PS1-2)

Science Models, Laws, Mechanisms, and Theories Explain Natural Phenomena

Laws are regularities or mathematical descriptions of natural phenomena. (MS-PS1-5)

Disciplinary Core Ideas

PS1.AStructure and Properties of Matter

Each pure substance has characteristic physical and chemical properties (for any bulk quantity under given conditions) that can be used to identify it. (MS-PS1-2) (Note: This Disciplinary Core Idea is also addressed by MS-PS1-3.)

PS1.BChemical Reactions

Substances react chemically in characteristic ways. In a chemical process, the atoms that make up the original substances are regrouped into different molecules, and these new substances have different properties from those of the reactants. (MS-PS1-2), (MS-PS1-5) (Note: This Disciplinary Core Idea is also addressed by MS-PS1-3.)

The total number of each type of atom is conserved, and thus the mass does not change. (MS-PS1-5)

Some chemical reactions release energy, others store energy. (MS-PS1-6)

ETS1.BDeveloping Possible Solutions

A solution needs to be tested, and then modified on the basis of the test results in order to improve it. (secondary to MS-PS1-6)

ETS1.COptimizing the Design Solution

Although one design may not perform the best across all tests, identifying the characteristics of the design that performed the best in each test can provide useful information for the redesign process - that is, some of the characteristics may be incorporated into the new design. (secondary to MS-PS1-6)

The 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. (secondary to MS-PS1-6)

Common Core State Standards Connections

  • RST.6-8.1 - Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts. (MS-PS1-2)
  • RST.6-8.3 - Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks. (MS-PS1-6)
  • 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). (MS-PS1-2), (MS-PS1-5)
  • WHST.6-8.7 - Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration. (MS-PS1-6)
  • 6.RP.A.3 - Use ratio and rate reasoning to solve real-world and mathematical problems, e.g., by reasoning about tables of equivalent ratios, tape diagrams, double number line diagrams, or equations. (MS-PS1-2), (MS-PS1-5)
  • 6.SP.B.4 - Display numerical data in plots on a number line, including dot plots, histograms, and box plots. (MS-PS1-2)
  • 6.SP.B.5 - Summarize numerical data sets in relation to their context. (MS-PS1-2)
  • MP.2 - Reason abstractly and quantitatively. (MS-PS1-2), (MS-PS1-5)
  • MP.4 - Model with mathematics. (MS-PS1-5)

Model Course Mapping

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