• IPAC

National and State Standards met by NITARP

NITARP is often asked which standards we help teachers meet. In reality, NITARP prepares teachers to teach the standards, and helps teachers understand how real science is done. NITARP gives the teachers concrete examples of the application of these standards.

The NITARP experience, because it is authentic science, requires that participants bring together skills from many different areas, including basic science methodology and literacy, math, computer science (from basic literacy including installing software to programming), astronomy, physics, chemistry, written communication (reading comprehension and writing), and presentation skills.

Here we provide a partial list of the standards our participant teachers tell us that NITARP helps them meet. Our participants are drawn from a nation-wide applicant pool, so many different state standards apply.


Standards extracted from here are summarized in this pdf document.


Strand One: Inquiry Process

  • Science as inquiry is basic to science education and a controlling principle in the continuing organization and selection of students' activities. Students at all grade levels and in every domain of science should have the opportunity to use scientific inquiry and develop the ability to think and act in ways associated with inquiry. (NSES 1995). Inquiry Process establishes the basis for students' learning in science. Students use scientific processes: questioning, planning and conducting investigations, using appropriate tools and techniques to gather data, thinking critically and logically about relationships between evidence and explanations, and communicating results.

Strand Two: History and Nature of Science

  • Knowledge of the nature of science is central to the understanding of the scientific enterprise.(NAEP 2000) Scientific investigation grows from the contributions of many people. History and Nature of Science emphasizes the importance of the inclusion of historical perspectives and the advances that each new development brings to technology and human knowledge. This strand focuses on the human aspects of science and the role that scientists play in the development of various cultures.

Strand Three: Science in Personal and Social Perspectives

  • Science in Personal and Social Perspectives emphasizes developing the ability to design a solution to a problem, to understand the relationship between science and technology, and the ways people are involved in both. Students understand the impact of science and technology on human activity and the environment. This strand affords students the opportunity to understand their place in the world - as living creatures, consumers, decision makers, problem solvers, managers, and planners.

Strand Six: Earth and Space Science

  • Earth science is the study of the planets, Earth's composition, processes, environments and history, focusing on the solid Earth, and its interaction with air and water. (NAEP 2000) Earth and Space Science provides the foundation for students to develop an understanding of the Earth, its history, composition, and formative processes, and an understanding of the solar system and the universe. Students study the regularities of the interrelated systems of the natural world. In doing so, they develop understandings of the basic laws, theories, and models that explain the world (NSES, 1995). By studying the Earth from both a historical and current time frame, students can make informed decisions about issues affecting the planet on which they live.


(Taken from "Science Content Standards for California Public Schools" here.)


  • Heat and Thermodynamics
    • 3. Energy cannot be created or destroyed, although in many processes energy is transferred to the environment as heat.
    • As a basis for understanding this concept:
      c. Students know the internal energy of an object includes the energy of random motion of the object's atoms and molecules, often referred to as thermal energy. The greater the temperature of the object, the greater the energy of motion of the atoms and molecules that make up the object.
  • Waves
    • 4. Waves have characteristic properties that do not depend on the type of wave.
    • As a basis for understanding this concept:
      a. Students know waves carry energy from one place to another.
      c. Students know how to solve problems involving wavelength, frequency, and wave speed.
      e. Students know radio waves, light, and X-rays are different wavelength bands in the spectrum of electromagnetic waves whose speed in a vacuum is approximately 186,000 miles/second.

Earth Sciences

  • Earth's Place in the Universe
    • 2. Earth-based and space-based astronomy reveal the structure, scale, and changes in stars, galaxies, and the universe over time.
    • As a basis for understanding this concept:
      a. Students know the solar system is located in an outer edge of the disc-shaped Milky Way galaxy, which spans 100,000 light years.
      b. Students know galaxies are made of billions of stars and comprise most of the visible mass of the universe.
      c. Students know the evidence indicating that all elements with an atomic number greater than that of lithium have been formed by nuclear fusion in stars.
      d. Students know that stars differ in their life cycles and that visual, radio, and X-ray telescopes may be used to collect data that reveal those differences.
      e. Students know accelerators boost subatomic particles to energy levels that simulate conditions in the stars and in the early history of the universe before stars formed.

Investigation and Experimentation

  • 1. Scientific progress is made by asking meaningful questions and conducting careful investigations. As a basis for understanding this concept and addressing the content in the other four strands, students should develop their own questions and perform investigations. Students will:
    a. Select and use appropriate tools and technology (such as computer-linked probes, spreadsheets, and graphing calculators) to perform tests, collect data, analyze relationships, and display data.
    b. Identify and communicate sources of unavoidable experimental error.
    c. Identify possible reasons for inconsistent results, such as sources of error or uncontrolled conditions.
    d. Formulate explanations by using logic and evidence.
    f. Distinguish between hypothesis and theory as scientific terms.
    g. Recognize the usefulness and limitations of models and theories as scientific representations of reality.
    i. Analyze the locations, sequences, or time intervals that are characteristic of natural phenomena (e.g., relative ages of rocks, locations of planets over time, and succession of species in an ecosystem).
    j. Recognize the issues of statistical variability and the need for controlled tests.
    k. Recognize the cumulative nature of scientific evidence.
    l. Analyze situations and solve problems that require combining and applying concepts from more than one area of science.
    n. Know that when an observation does not agree with an accepted scientific theory, the observation is sometimes mistaken or fraudulent (e.g., the Piltdown Man fossil or unidentified flying objects) and that the theory is sometimes wrong (e.g., the Ptolemaic model of the movement of the Sun, Moon, and planets).

(These taken from a slightly different document)

CA Grade Eight Science Content Standards.

Focus on Physical Science

Earth in the Solar System (Earth Sciences) : The structure and composition of the universe can be learned from studying stars and galaxies and their evolution. As a basis for understanding this concept:

  • 1. Students know galaxies are clusters of billions of stars and may have different shapes.
  • 2. Students know that the Sun is one of many stars in the Milky Way galaxy and that stars may differ in size, temperature, and color.
  • 3. Students know how to use astronomical units and light years as measures of distances between the Sun, stars, and Earth.
  • 4. Students know that stars are the source of light for all bright objects in outer space and that the Moon and planets shine by reflected sunlight, not by their own light.
  • 5. Students know the appearance, general composition, relative position and size, and motion of objects in the solar system, including planets, planetary satellites, comets, and asteroids.

Scientific progress is made by asking meaningful questions and conducting careful investigations.: As a basis for understanding this concept and addressing the content in the other three strands, students should develop their own questions and perform investigations. Students will:

  • 1. Plan and conduct a scientific investigation to test a hypothesis.
  • 2. Evaluate the accuracy and reproducibility of data.
  • 3. Distinguish between variable and controlled parameters in a test.
  • 4. Recognize the slope of the linear graph as the constant in the relationship y=kx and apply this principle in interpreting graphs constructed from data.
  • 5. Construct appropriate graphs from data and develop quantitative statements about the relationships between variables.
  • 6. Apply simple mathematic relationships to determine a missing quantity in a mathematic expression, given the two remaining terms (including speed = distance/time, density = mass/volume, force = pressure ? area, volume = area ? height).
  • 7. Distinguish between linear and nonlinear relationships on a graph of data.

Physics - Grades Nine Through Twelve

Science Content Standards.

Waves (this is standard 4 in a list of 5)

  • Waves have characteristic properties that do not depend on the type of wave. As a basis for understanding this concept:
    • a. Students know waves carry energy from one place to another.
    • b. Students know how to identify transverse and longitudinal waves in mechanical media, such as springs and ropes, and on the earth (seismic waves).
    • c. Students know how to solve problems involving wavelength, frequency, and wave speed.
    • d. Students know sound is a longitudinal wave whose speed depends on the properties of the medium in which it propagates.
    • e. Students know radio waves, light, and X-rays are different wavelength bands in the spectrum of electromagnetic waves whose speed in a vacuum is approximately 3x10^8 m/s (186,000 miles/second).
    • f. Students know how to identify the characteristic properties of waves: interference (beats), diffraction, refraction, Doppler effect, and polarization.


3. Earth Systems Science

  • 1. The history of the universe, solar system and Earth can be inferred from evidence left from past events
  • 2. As part of the solar system, Earth interacts with various extraterrestrial forces and energies such as gravity, solar phenomena, electromagnetic radiation, and impact events that influence the planet's geosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere in a variety of ways
  • 3. The theory of plate tectonics helps to explain geological, physical, and geographical features of Earth
  • 4. Climate is the result of energy transfer among interactions of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere, and biosphere
  • 5. There are costs, benefits, and consequences of exploration, development, and consumption of renewable and nonrenewable resources
  • 6. The interaction of Earth's surface with water, air, gravity, and biological activity causes physical and chemical changes
  • 7. Natural hazards have local, national and global impacts such as volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, and thunderstorms

Colorado also has competencies:

  • Apply an understanding that energy exists in various forms, and its transformation and conservation occur in processes that are predictable and measurable
  • Apply an understanding of atomic and molecular structure to explain the properties of matter, and predict outcomes of chemical and nuclear reactions
  • Observe, explain, and predict natural phenomena governed by Newton's laws of motion, acknowledging the limitations of their application to very small or very fast objects
  • Describe and interpret how Earth's geologic history and place in space are relevant to our understanding of the processes that have shaped our planet
  • Evaluate evidence that Earth's geosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere interact as a complex system
  • Describe how humans are dependent on the diversity of resources provided by Earth and sun


The Florida standards are here, in PDF form.


(from here).

Students demonstrate the skills necessary to engage in scientific inquiry:

  • "Develop and clarify questions and hypotheses that guide scientific investigations."
  • "Design and conduct scientific investigations to test hypotheses."
  • "Organize, analyze, validate and display data/information in ways appropriate to scientific investigations, using technology and mathematics."
  • "Formulate scientific explanations and conclusions and models using logic and evidence."
  • "Communicate and defend scientific explanations and conclusions."
  • "Identify and analyze alternative explanations and conclusions and models."
  • "Revise scientific explanations and conclusions based on additional information/data gathered."

Students explain the process of how scientific knowledge is generated by scientific inquiry, and be able to critique a scientific investigation:

  • "Critique a scientific investigation for logic and validity based on evidence."
  • "Describe scientific inquiry including the asking of questions, conducting investigations, answering the questions, and presenting the results to others."
  • "Explain how scientific methods for understanding are not perfect and results are not "magic"."
  • "Explain how knowledge is acquired through scientific investigation."

Students apply the values, attitudes, and commitments characteristic of an inquiring mind:

  • "Report findings accurately without alterations and draw conclusions from unaltered findings."
  • "Acknowledge references, contributions, and work done by others."
  • "Ask questions to clarify or validate purpose, perspective, assumptions, interpretations, and implications of a problem, situation, or solution."

Students explain the relationship between force, mass and motion of objects; they analyze the nature of sound and electromagnetic radiation.

  • "Explain how electromagnetic waves are produced."
  • "Explain that the observed wavelength of a wave depends upon the relative motion of the source and the observer."

Students discuss current scientific views of the Universe:

  • "Describe the tools used to gather information about the solar system"
  • "Illustrate how information about the Universe is collected and analyzed by using technology"

(from here -- "Hawaii Content & Performance Standards III Database")

The Scientific Process: SCIENTIFIC INVESTIGATION: Discover, invent, and investigate using the skills necessary to engage in the scientific process

Benchmark SC.ES.1.1 -
Describe how a testable hypothesis may need to be revised to guide a scientific investigation.
Sample Performance Assessment: The student describes a testable hypothesis and how it might be revised based on data from physics investigations and primary sources (e.g., results, class data, information from a reputable source).
Example of How NITARP Addresses This Standard: Students hypothesize that targets either are or are not YSOs based on limited data. The preliminary candidates are then further tested as additional data are obtained.


Benchmark SC.ES.1.2 -
Design and safely implement an experiment, including the appropriate use of tools and techniques to organize, analyze, and validate data
Sample Performance Assessment: The student prepares a physics lab report documenting the procedure(s) and the safe and appropriate use of tools (e.g., computer probes, meter sticks, timers) and techniques (e.g., repeated trials, statistics, significant figures, spreadsheets, databases) to organize, analyze, and validate data.
Example of How NITARP Addresses This Standard: Students perform a scientific investigation wich includes measurement of targets from images, error analysis, orginization of data in tables and data bases.


Benchmark SC.ES.1.3 -
Defend and support conclusions, explanations, and arguments based on logic, scientific knowledge, and evidence from data.
Sample Performance Assessment: The student: Prepares a physics lab report that draws logical conclusions, including error analysis, and formulates explanations and arguments from the results of investigations.
Example of How NITARP Addresses This Standard: Students prepare a poster which includes: experimental, procedure data analysis, error analysis, formulas, explanations, and arguements from the result of the investigation. The poster is presented to experts in the field at the annual AAS winter meeting.


Standard 2: The Scientific Process: NATURE OF SCIENCE: Understand that science, technology, and society are interrelated

Benchmark SC.ES.2.4 -
Describe technologies used to collect information about the universe
Sample Performance Assessment: The student describes several different technologies used to study the universe (e.g., optical, radio, and X-ray telescopes, space probes, satellites, spectroscope) and the types of information gathered from each.
Example of How NITARP Addresses This Standard: Students use data from ground and satellite based observatories. Based on their analysis the students learn what physical properties are made by each of the instruments.


Standard 6: Waves - Understand the nature of waves, including the characteristic properties of the electromagnetic spectrum, optics, and sound waves

Benchmark SC.PH.6.4 -
Describe the range of the electromagnetic spectrum (e.g., radio waves, microwaves, infrared radiation)
Sample Performance Assessment: The student explains the range of wavelengths that exist on the electromagnetic spectrum.
Example of How NITARP Addresses This Standard: Students investigate YSO candidaes using images taken in several wavelengths ranging from 100 microns to visible.


Standard 8: Physical, Earth, and Space Sciences: EARTH AND SPACE SCIENCE: Understand the Earth and its processes, the solar system, and the universe and its contents

Benchmark SC.ES.8.3-
Explain the possible origins and evolution of the solar system
Sample Performance Assessment: The student describes and diagrams the formation of the solar system.
Example of How NITARP Addresses This Standard: The students investigate the formation of stars/solar systems, by searching for YSO's. The analysis requires that the student understands the following steps in stellar formation: mollecular cloud, compression, fragmentation, and disk formation.



Illinois Science Assessment Framework PSAE Grade 11


  • 11.11.01 Understand and follow procedures relating to scientific investigations, including understanding the design and procedures used to test a hypothesis, organizing and analyzing data accurately and precisely, producing and interpreting data tables and graphs, performing appropriate calculations, applying basic statistical methods to the data, identifying appropriate conclusions, making predictions, and evaluating competing models.
  • 11.11.02 Distinguish among the following: observing, drawing a conclusion based on observation, forming a hypothesis, conducting an experiment, organizing data, comparing data.
  • 11.11.03 Identify possible sources of error in an experiment.
  • 11.11.04 Distinguish and define the following components of typical experiments: constants, variables, experimental group, control group (or control setup).


  • 11.11.05 Identify a technological design problem inherent in a given product.
  • 11.11.06 Out of different lists of criteria, select the list of criteria outlining a successful design solution to a given problem.
  • 11.11.07 Given test results on different models, choose the model which best solves the design problem.
  • 11.11.08 Given a description of a test to be performed on a model, select from a list of options what are the possible sources of error in conducting the test.


  • 12.11.102 Understand and describe the physical characteristics of galaxies and the objects within galaxies (e.g., stars, pulsars, black holes, planets, comets, asteroids). Describe physical characteristics of the sun (e.g., corona, prominences, sunspots, solar flares), and know that solar events can cause phenomena such as auroras.
  • 12.11.103 Analyze the life cycles of stars, and compare stars of different masses.
  • 12.11.104 Know the theory that over 10 billion years ago the universe began in a huge expansion called the Big Bang. Understand that in this event, all matter, energy, space, and time were created as the universe expanded from a single point. Understand that one piece of evidence for this theory is the 3K background radiation.
  • 12.11.105 Understand the Doppler effect with respect to light (red and blue shifts) and sound (e.g., the sound of an approaching train?s whistle vs. the sound of the whistle moving away). Understand that astronomers use the Doppler shift to estimate the distance of objects millions and billions of light-years away.
  • 12.11.106 Understand the effects of gravity within the solar system. Understand that the tides are caused by the gravitational interaction among the earth, moon, and sun.


  • 13.11.02 Understand why experimental replication is essential to scientific claims.
  • 13.11.03 Understand how scientific knowledge, explanations, and technological designs may change with new information.
  • 13.11.04 Understand that scientists must be responsible about how they conduct their experiments.
  • 13.11.05 Determine the degree of accuracy in measurements. Identify possible sources of error in measurement.


  • 13.11.06 Analyze scientific breakthroughs in terms of societal and technological effects.
  • 13.11.07 Analyze examples of resource use, technology use or conservation program and make recommendations for improvements.
  • 13.11.08 Analyze careers and occupations that are affected by knowledge of science.
  • 13.11.09 Select appropriate scientific instruments and technological devices to perform tests, measure, and collect data.

(Next set from here:)

STATE GOAL 11: Understand the processes of scientific inquiry and technological design to investigate questions, conduct experiments and solve problems.
Why This Goal Is Important: The inquiry process prepares learners to engage in science and apply methods of technological design. This understanding will enable students to pose questions, use models to enhance understanding, make predictions, gather and work with data, use appropriate measurement methods, analyze results, draw conclusions based on evidence, communicate their methods and results, and think about the implications of scientific research and technological problem solving.

  • 11.A.5a Formulate hypotheses referencing prior research and knowledge.
  • 11.A.5b Design procedures to test the selected hypotheses.
  • 11.A.5c Conduct systematic controlled experiments to test the selected hypotheses.
  • 11.A.5d Apply statistical methods to make predictions and to test the accuracy of results.
  • 11.A.5e Report, display and defend the results of investigations to audiences that may include professionals and technical experts.

STATE GOAL 12: Understand the fundamental concepts, principles and interconnections of the life, physical and earth/space sciences.
Why This Goal Is Important: This goal is comprised of key concepts and principles in the life, physical and earth/space sciences that have considerable explanatory and predictive power for scientists and non-scientists alike. These ideas have been thoroughly studied and have stood the test of time. Knowing and being able to apply these concepts, principles and processes help students understand what they observe in nature and through scientific experimentation. A working knowledge of these concepts and principles allows students to relate new subject matter to material previously learned and to create deeper and more meaningful levels of understanding.

  • 12.F.4b Describe and compare the chemical and physical characteristics of galaxies and objects within galaxies (e.g., pulsars, nebulae, black holes, dark matter, stars).
  • 12.F.5a Compare the processes involved in the life cycle of stars (e.g., gravitational collapse, thermonuclear fusion, nova) and evaluate the supporting evidence.

STATE GOAL 13: Understand the relationships among science, technology and society in historical and contemporary contexts.
Why This Goal Is Important: Understanding the nature and practices of science such as ensuring the validity and replicability of results, building upon the work of others and recognizing risks involved in experimentation gives learners a useful sense of the scientific enterprise. In addition, the relationships among science, technology and society give humans the ability to change and improve their surroundings. Learners who understand this relationship will be able to appreciate the efforts and effects of scientific discovery and applications of technology on their own lives and on the society in which we live.

  • 13.A.4b Assess the validity of scientific data by analyzing the results, sample set, sample size, similar previous experimentation, possible misrepresentation of data presented and potential sources of error.
  • 13.A.5b Explain criteria that scientists use to evaluate the validity of scientific claims and theories.
  • 13.A.5c Explain the strengths, weaknesses and uses of research methodologies including observational studies, controlled laboratory experiments, computer modeling and statistical studies.
  • 13.A.4d Explain how peer review helps to assure the accurate use of data and improves the scientific process.
  • 13.A.5d Explain, using a practical example (e.g., cold fusion), why experimental replication and peer review are essential to scientific claims.

(Next set from here:)

11A - Students who meet the standard know and apply the concepts, principles, and processes of scientific inquiry.

12F - Students who meet the standard know and apply concepts that explain the composition and structure of the universe and Earth's place in it. Including specifically #2 under this: Apply scientific inquiries or technological designs to investigate current and proposed research studies of the universe, comparing schematics, optics, development and capabilities of spectrophotometric technologies, explaining the Doppler effect in terms of red and blue shifts, reporting on the newest discoveries from the Hubble Space Telescope, ground-based or satellite counterparts, etc.exploring the mathematical calculations and evidence associated with the Big Bang Theory.

13A - Students who meet the standard know and apply accepted practices of science. Including specifically #2 under this: Apply scientific habits of mind to current pure and applied research studies in life, environmental, physical, earth, and space sciences, interviewing scientists about how they address validity of scientific claims and theories and/or their understanding of scientific habits of mind (including sheer luck) and how they have been integral to their own research, recognizing limitations of investigation methods, sample sets, technologies, or procedures, questioning sources of information and representation of data, recognizing selective or distorted use of data, discrepancies and poor argument, distinguishing opinion from supported theory, tracing citations from research studies for validity and reliability, or reporting on peer review and juried panel review in research approval and scientific community acceptance.

(next set from a slightly different origin, and educator:)

I think that the "category 11" items are those most often missed by our standard classes and the ones best met by the NITARP-type experience.

More specifically for 11:

  • 11A1:  Specifically "reviewing literature"  
    • Becoming acquainted with other work with light curves and specifically the various types of light curves for different types of variable stars.  
    • Use of the AAVSO data base and reading through some of the "Variable Star of the Month/'Season" documents was interesting and helpful.
  • 11C1: "testing applicable simulation models, or completing all data collection requirements."  
    • Our work on using assorted spectral power peaks and FFT results seems to fit in here.  
    • Going through the rather large catalog of available Spitzer IRAC data to select an optimal subset for by-hand analysis with APT and subsequent batch photometry analysis was a great experience for me and my students.
    • Using other data sets, such as the 2MASS J, H and K catalogs with magnitudes helped us identify our target stars in the IRAC data.
  • 11C1:"Report, display and defend the process and findings of issue investigation, critiquing findings by self and peer review, generating further questions or issues for consideration, ....."   Most aspects of this standard are fulfilled.  
    • We presented to one another, to a national peer audience at AAS/Seattle, to our Niles District 219 school board, our superintendent and two building principals, and most recently, Alex presenting at LMU.  
    • We have also tried to follow-up, by taking images of NITARP-V1 in other wavelengths through the Skynet program.

11A Students who meet the standard know and apply the concepts, principles, and processes of scientific inquiry.

  • 1. Formulate issue-hypothesis, reviewing literature as primary reading sources, differentiating between subjective/objective data and their usefulness to the issue, or examining applicable existent surveys, impact studies, or models.
  • 2. ...
  • 3. Conduct issue investigation (following all procedural and safety precautions), using appropriate technologies, interviewing associated entities or experts, testing applicable simulation models, or completing all data collection requirements.
  • 4. Interpret and analyze results to produce findings and issue resolution options, evaluating data sets and trends to explore unexpected responses and data distractors, evaluating validity and reliability, or substantiating basis of inferences, deductions, and perceptions.
  • 5. Report, display and defend the process and findings of issue investigation, critiquing findings by self and peer review, generating further questions or issues for consideration, evaluating comparable issue resolutions or responses for action, or generalizing public opinion responses.


My work with NITARP will help me reach the following Science and Technology Standards (grade 9-Diploma). In some cases, standards are subdivided (a-g) and in some cases they are not. In cases that they are subdivided, I have only included the relevant portions of the standard.

  • Standard A2 Models
    • Students evaluate the effectiveness of a model by comparing its predictions to actual observations from the physical setting, the living environment, and the technological world.
  • Standard B1 Skills and Traits of Scientific Inquiry
    • Students methodically plan, conduct, analyze data from, and communicate results of in-depth scientific investigations, including experiments guided by a testable hypothesis.
      • a. Identify questions, concepts, and testable hypotheses that guide scientific investigations.
      • b. Design and safely conduct methodical scientific investigations, including experiments with controls.
      • c. Use statistics to summarize, describe, analyze, and interpret results.
      • d. Formulate and revise scientific investigations and models using logic and evidence.
      • e. Use a variety of tools and technologies to improve investigations and communications.
      • f. Recognize and analyze alternative explanations and models using scientific criteria.
      • g. Communicate and defend scientific ideas.
  • Standard B2 Skills and Traits of Technological Design
    • Students use a systematic process, tools and techniques, and
    • a variety of materials to design and produce a solution or product that meets new needs or improves existing designs.
      • a. Identify new problems or a current design in need of improvement.
      • b. Generate alternative design solutions.
      • c. Select the design that best meets established criteria.
      • d. Use models and simulations as prototypes in the design planning process.
      • e. Implement the proposed design solution.
      • f. Evaluate the solution to a design problem and the consequences of that solution.
      • g. Present the problem, design process, and solution to a design problem including models, diagrams, and demonstrations.
  • Standard D3 Matter and Energy
    • Students describe the structure, behavior, and interactions of matter at the atomic level and the relationship between matter and energy.
      • d. Describe how light is emitted and absorbed by atoms' changing energy levels, and how the results can be used to identify a substance
  • Standard D4 Force and Motion
    • Students understand that the laws of force and motion are the same across the universe.
      • b. Explain and apply the ideas of relative motion and frame of reference.
      • c. Describe the relationship between electric and magnetic fields and forces, and give examples of how this relationship is used in modern technologies.
      • d. Describe and apply characteristics of waves including wavelength, frequency, and amplitude.


Michigan Earth Science Cross Reference Guide


  • Statement E1.1 Scientific Inquiry
    • E1.1A Generate new questions that can be investigated in the laboratory or field.
    • E1.1B Evaluate the uncertainties or validity of scientific conclusions using an understanding of sources of measurement error, the challenges of controlling variables, accuracy of data analysis, logic of argument, logic of experimental design, and/or the dependence on underlying assumptions.
    • E1.1C Conduct scientific investigations using appropriate tools and techniques (e.g., selecting an instrument that measures the desired quantity (length, volume, weight, time interval, temperature) with the appropriate level of precision).
    • E1.1D Identify patterns in data and relate them to theoretical models.
    • E1.1E Describe a reason for a given conclusion using evidence from an investigation.
    • E1.1g Based on empirical evidence, explain and critique the reasoning used to draw a scientific conclusion or explanation.
    • E1.1h Design and conduct a systematic scientific investigation that tests a hypothesis. Draw conclusions from data presented in charts or tables.
    • E1.1i Distinguish between scientific explanations that are regarded as current scientific consensus and the emerging questions that active researchers investigate.
    Statement E1.2 Scientific Reflection and Social Implications
    • E1.2A Critique whether or not specific questions can be answered through scientific investigations.
    • E1.2C Develop an understanding of a scientific concept by accessing information from multiple sources. Evaluate the scientific accuracy and significance of the information.
    • E1.2D Evaluate scientific explanations in a peer review process or discussion format.
    • E1.2E Evaluate the future career and occupational prospects of science fields.
    • E1.2f Critique solutions to problems, given criteria and scientific constraints.
    • Statement E5.2x Stellar Evolution
    • E5.2f Explain how you can infer the temperature, life span, and mass of a star from its color. Use the HR diagram to explain the life cycles of stars.


From the Minnesota Academic Standards in Science (Grades 9-12).


  • Substrand 1: The Practice of Science
    • Standard 1. Understandings about science
    • Standard 2. Scientific inquiry and investigation
  • substrand 2: The Practice of Engineering
    • Standard 1. Understandings about engineering
    • Standard 2. Engineering design
  • substrand 3: Interactions Among Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Society
    • Standard 1. Systems
    • Standard 2. Careers and contributions in science and engineering
    • Standard 3. Mutual influence of science, engineering andsociety
    • Standard 4. The role of mathematics and technology in science and engineering


  • substrand 1. Earth Structure and Processes
    • Standard 1. Plate tectonics
    • Standard 2. EarthÕs changing surface
    • Standard 3. Rock sequences and Earth history
  • substrand 2. Interdependence within the Earth System
    • Standard 1. Sources and transfer of energy
    • Standard 2. Weather and climate
    • Standard 3. Materials cycles
  • substrand 3. The Universe
    • Standard 1. Solar system motion
    • Standard 2. Formation of the solar system
    • Standard 3. Age, scale and origin of the universe
  • substrand 4. Human Interactions with Earth Systems
    • Standard 1. Interaction with the environment

1. Science is a way of knowing about the natural world and is characterized by empirical criteria, logical argument and skeptical review Understand that scientists conduct investigations for a variety of reasons, including: to discover new aspects of the natural world, to explain observed phenomena, to test the conclusions of prior investigations, or to test the prediction current theories.

2. Scientific inquiry uses multiple interrelated processes to investigate and explain the natural world.

3. Interactions Among Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Society

4. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics rely on each other to enhance knowledge and understanding. Formulate a testable hypothesis, design and conduct an experiment to test the hypothesis, analyze the data, consider alternative explanations and draw conclusions supported by evidence from the investigation. Select and use appropriate numeric, symbolic, pictorial, or graphical representation to communicate scientific ideas, procedures and experimental results. Relate the reliability of data to consistency of results, identify sources of error, and suggest ways to improve data collection and analysis. For example : Use statistical analysis or error analysis to make judgments about the validity of results. Demonstrate how unit consistency and dimensional analysis can guide the calculation of quantitative solutions and verification of results. Analyze the strengths and limitations of physical, conceptual, mathematical and computer models used by scientists and engineers

3. The Universe

3. The big bang theory states that the universe expanded from a hot, dense chaotic mass, after which chemical elements formed and clumped together to eventually form stars and galaxies. Explain how evidence, including the Doppler shift of light from distant stars and cosmic background radiation, is used to understand the composition, early history and expansion of the universe. Explain how gravitational clumping leads to nuclear fusion, producing energy and the chemical elements of a star.

New Hampshire

Science (S:SPS1:4:1.2) Make and record observations for a given purpose.

Science (S:SPS1:4:1.3) Differentiate between observations and inferences.

Science (S:SPS1:4:1.4) Record observations using standard units of measurement.

Science (S:SPS1:4:1.6) Compare methods of classifying based on the goal.

Science (S:SPS1:4:1.8) Pose questions to investigate and practical problems to solve.

Science (S:SPS1:2:2.1) Select tools and procedures, in a purposeful way, to explore objects and materials.

Science (S:SPS1:2:2.2) Suggest a plan and describe a sequence of events for conducting an exploration.

Science (S:SPS1:2:2.3) Predict how changing one part of an exploration will affect the outcome.

Science (S:SPS1:4:2.1) Plan a step-by-step process to solve a practical problem or to carry out a "fair test" of a simple scientific question.

Science (S:SPS2:11:1.2) Test how well a theory predicts a phenomena.

Science (S:ESS2:4:4.1) Recognize that although star patterns seen in the sky appear to move slowly each night from east to west they actually remain the same, and explain why different stars can be seen during different seasons. Earth Space Science ESS3- The origin and evolution of galaxies and the universe demonstrate fundamental principles of physical science across vast distances and time.

Science (S:ESS2:4:4.2) Explain why the planets look like stars, and why, over a period of time, they appear to wander among the constellations. Earth Space Science ESS3- The origin and evolution of galaxies and the universe demonstrate fundamental principles of physical science across vast distances and time. K-2

Science (S:ESS3:4:1.1) Recognize that astronomical objects in space are massive in size and are separated from one another by vast distances.

Science (S:ESS3:4:1.2) Explain that telescopes magnify the size of distant objects and significantly increase the number of these objects that can be viewed from Earth.

Science (S:ESS3:2:2.1) Recognize there are too many stars to count, and that they are unequal in their brightness.

And, "too many more to copy and paste".

New York

From: New York State: Intermediate Level Science Core Curriculum

Standard 1 Analysis Inquiry Design

Mathematical Design

  • Key Idea 1:
    • Abstraction and symbolic representation are used to communicate mathematically.
    • M1.1 Extend mathematical notation and symbolism to include variables and algebraic expressions in order to describe and compare quantities and express mathematical relationships.
      • 1. M1.1a identify independent and dependent variables
      • 2. M1.1b identify relationships among variables including: direct, indirect, cyclic, constant; identify non-related material
      • 3. M1.1c apply mathematical equations to describe relationships among variables in the natural world
  • Key Idea 2:
    • Deductive and inductive reasoning are used to reach mathematical conclusions.
    • M2.1 Use inductive reasoning to construct, evaluate, and validate conjectures and arguments, recognizing that patterns and relationships can assist in explaining and extending mathematical phenomena.
      • 1. M2.1a interpolate and extrapolate from data
      • 2. M2.1b quantify patterns and trends
  • Key Idea 3:
    • Critical thinking skills are used in the solution of mathematical problems.
    • M3.1 Apply mathematical knowledge to solve real-world problems and problems that arise from the investigation of mathematical ideas, using representations such as pictures, charts, and tables.
      • M3.1a use appropriate scientific tools to solve problems about the natural world

Standard 1 Scientific Inquiry

  • Key Idea 1:
    • The central purpose of scientific inquiry is to develop explanations of natural phenomena in a continuing, creative process.
    • S1.1 Formulate questions independently with the aid of references appropriate for guiding the search for explanations of everyday observations.
      • 1. S1.1a formulate questions about natural phenomena
      • 2. S1.1b identify appropriate references to investigate a question
      • 3. S1.1c refine and clarify questions so that they are subject to scientific investigation
    • S1.2 Construct explanations independently for natural phenomena, especially by proposing preliminary visual models of phenomena.
      • 1. S1.2a independently formulate a hypothesis
      • 2. S1.2b propose a model of a natural phenomenon
      • 3. S1.2c differentiate among observations, inferences, predictions, and explanations
    • S1.3 Represent, present, and defend their proposed explanations of everyday observa- tions so that they can be understood and assessed by others.
    • S1.4 Seek to clarify, to assess critically, and to reconcile with their own thinking the ideas presented by others, including peers, teachers, authors, and scientists.
  • Key Idea 2:
    • Beyond the use of reasoning and consensus, scientific inquiry involves the testing of proposed explanations involving the use of conventional techniques and procedures and usually requiring considerable ingenuity.
    • S2.1 Use conventional techniques and those of their own design to make further observations and refine their explanations, guided by a need for more information.
      • 1. S2.1a demonstrate appropriate safety techniques
      • 2. S2.1b conduct an experiment designed by others
      • 3. S2.1c design and conduct an experiment to test a hypothesis
      • 4. S2.1d use appropriate tools and conventional techniques to solve problems about the natural world, including: measuring, observing, describing, classifying, sequencing
    • S2.2 Develop, present, and defend formal research proposals for testing their own explanations of common phenomena, including ways of obtaining needed observations and ways of conducting simple controlled experiments.
      • 1. S2.2a include appropriate safety procedures
      • 2. S2.2b design scientific investigations (e.g., observing, describing, and compar- ing; collecting samples; seeking more information, conducting a controlled experiment; discovering new objects or phenomena; making models)
      • 3. S2.2c design a simple controlled experiment
      • 4. S2.2d identify independent variables (manipulated), dependent variables (responding), and constants in a simple controlled experiment
      • 5. S2.2e choose appropriate sample size and number of trials
    • S2.3 Carry out their research proposals, recording observations and measurements (e.g., lab notes, audiotape, computer disk, videotape) to help assess the explanation.
      • 1. S2.3a use appropriate safety procedures
      • 2. S2.3b conduct a scientific investigation
      • 3. S2.3c collect quantitative and qualitative data
  • Key Idea 3:
    • The observations made while testing proposed explanations, when analyzed using conven- tional and invented methods, provide new insights into phenomena.
    • S3.1 Design charts, tables, graphs, and other representations of observations in conven- tional and creative ways to help them address their research question or hypothesis.
      • 1. S3.1a organize results, using appropriate graphs, diagrams, data tables, and other models to show relationships
      • 2. S3.1b generate and use scales, create legends, and appropriately label axes
    • S3.2 Interpret the organized data to answer the research question or hypothesis and to gain insight into the problem.
      • 1. S3.2a accurately describe the procedures used and the data gathered
      • 2. S3.2b identify sources of error and the limitations of data collected
      • 3. S3.2c evaluate the original hypothesis in light of the data

Standard 2 Information Systems

  • Key Idea 1:
    • Through systems thinking, people can recognize the commonalities that exist among all systems and how parts of a system interrelate and combine to perform specific functions.
      • 1. 1.1 Describe the differences between dynamic systems and organizational systems.
      • 2. 1.2 Describe the differences and similarities among engineering systems, natural sys- tems, and social systems.
      • 3. 1.3 Describe the differences between open- and closed-loop systems.
      • 4. 1.4 Describe how the output from one part of a system (which can include material, energy, or information) can become the input to other parts.

Physical Setting Earth Science Core Curriculum

STANDARD 6 Interconnectness Common Themes: Magnitude and Scale

  • Key Idea 3:
    • The grouping of magnitudes of size, time, frequency, and pressures or other units of measurement into a series of relative order provides a useful way to deal with the immense range and the changes in scale that affect the behavior and design of systems.
      • 1. 3.1 Cite examples of how different aspects of natural and designed systems change at different rates with changes in scale.
      • 2. 3.2 Use powers of ten notation to represent very small and very large numbers.
  • Performance Indicator 1.2
    • Describe current theories about the origin of the universe and solar system. Major Understandings:
      • 1.2a The universe is vast and estimated to be over ten billion years old. The current the- ory is that the universe was created from an explosion called the Big Bang. Evidence for this theory includes:
        * cosmic background radiation
        * a red-shift (the Doppler effect) in the light from very distant galaxies.
      • 1.2b Stars form when gravity causes clouds of molecules to contract until nuclear fusion of light elements into heavier ones occurs. Fusion releases great amounts of energy over millions of years.
        * The stars differ from each other in size, temperature, and age.
        * Our Sun is a medium-sized star within a spiral galaxy of stars known as the Milky Way. Our galaxy contains billions of stars, and the universe contains billions of such galaxies.
      • 1.2c Our solar system formed about five billion years ago from a giant cloud of gas and debris. Gravity caused Earth and the other planets to become layered according to density differences in their materials.
        * The characteristics of the planets of the solar system are affected by each planet's location in relationship to the Sun.
        * The terrestrial planets are small, rocky, and dense. The Jovian planets are large, gaseous, and of low density.
      • 1.2d Asteroids, comets, and meteors are components of our solar system.
        * Impact events have been correlated with mass extinction and global climatic change.
        * Impact craters can be identified in EarthÕs crust.


Earth & Space Science

  • H.1E.1 Classify the bodies in our solar system based on properties and composition. Describe attributes of our galaxy and evidence for multiple galaxies in the universe.
  • H.2E.3 Describe how the universe, galaxies, stars, and planets evolve over time.

Scientific Inquiry

  • 8.3S.2 Organize, display, and analyze relevant data, construct an evidence-based explanation of the results of a scientific investigation, and communicate the conclusions including possible sources of error. Suggest new investigations based on analysis of results.
  • 8.3S.3 Explain how scientific explanations and theories evolve as new information becomes available.
  • H.3S.3 Analyze data and identify uncertainties. Draw a valid conclusion, explain how it is supported by the evidence, and communicate the findings of a scientific investigation.
  • H.3S.5 Explain how technological problems and advances create a demand for new scientific knowledge and how new knowledge enables the creation of new technologies

Engineering Design

  • H.4D.5 Describe how new technologies enable new lines of scientific inquiry and are largely responsible for changes in how people live and work.
  • H.4D.6 Evaluate ways that ethics, public opinion, and government policy influence the work of engineers and scientists, and how the results of their work impact human society and the environment.


Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) covered using NITARP

112.33. Astronomy, Beginning with School Year 2010-2011

  • (2) Scientific processes. The student uses scientific methods during laboratory and field investigations. The student is expected to:
    • (H) communicate valid conclusions in writing, oral presentations, and through collaborative projects; and
    • (I) use astronomical technology such as telescopes, binoculars, sextants, computers, and software.
  • (3) Scientific processes. The student uses critical thinking, scientific reasoning, and problem solving to make informed decisions within and outside the classroom. The student is expected to:
    • (A) in all fields of science, analyze, evaluate, and critique scientific explanations by using empirical evidence, logical reasoning, and experimental and observational testing, including examining all sides of scientific evidence of those scientific explanations, so as to encourage critical thinking by the student;
    • (B) communicate and apply scientific information extracted from various sources such as current events, news reports, published journal articles, and marketing materials;
  • (6) Science concepts. The student knows our place in space. The student is expected to:
    • (C) examine the scale, size, and distance of the stars, Milky Way, and other galaxies through the use of data and modeling;
    • (E) demonstrate the use of units of measurement in astronomy, including Astronomical Units and light years.
  • (9) Science concepts. The student knows that planets of different size, composition, and surface features orbit around the Sun. The student is expected to:
    • (D) explore the origins and significance of small solar system bodies, including asteroids, comets, and Kuiper belt objects.
  • (11) Science concepts. The student knows the characteristics and life cycle of stars. The student is expected to:
    • (A) identify the characteristics of main sequence stars, including surface temperature, age, relative size, and composition;
    • (B) characterize star formation in stellar nurseries from giant molecular clouds, to protostars, to the development of main sequence stars;
    • (D) differentiate among the end states of stars, including white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes;
    • (F) relate the use of spectroscopy in obtaining physical data on celestial objects such as temperature, chemical composition, and relative motion; and
  • (12) Science concepts. The student knows the variety and properties of galaxies. The student is expected to:
    • (A) describe characteristics of galaxies;
    • (B) recognize the type, structure, and components of our Milky Way galaxy and location of our solar system within it; and
    • (C) compare and contrast the different types of galaxies, including spiral, elliptical, irregular, and dwarf.
  • (13) Science concepts. The student knows the scientific theories of cosmology. The student is expected to:
    • (A) research and describe the historical development of the Big Bang Theory, including red shift, cosmic microwave background radiation, and other supporting evidence;
    • (B) research and describe current theories of the evolution of the universe, including estimates for the age of the universe; and
    • (C) research and describe scientific hypotheses of the fate of the universe, including open and closed universes and the role of dark matter and dark energy.
  • (14) Science concepts. The student recognizes the benefits and challenges of space exploration to the study of the universe. The student is expected to:
    • (B) recognize the advancement of knowledge in astronomy through robotic space flight;
    • (C) analyze the importance of ground-based technology in astronomical studies;
    • (D) recognize the importance of space telescopes to the collection of astronomical data across the electromagnetic spectrum; and
    • (E) demonstrate an awareness of new developments and discoveries in astronomy.


6-8 INQA Question. Scientific inquiry involves asking and answering questions and comparing the answer with what scientists already know about the world.

6-8 INQC Investigate. Collecting, analyzing, and displaying data are essential aspects of all investigations.

6-8 INQG Communicate. Clearly Scientific reports should enable another investigator to repeat the study to check the results.

6-8 APPC Science and technology are interdependent. Science drives technology by demanding better instruments and suggesting ideas for new designs. Technology drives science by providing instruments and research methods.

6-8 ES1E Our Sun is one of hundreds of billions of stars in the Milky Way galaxy. Many of these stars have planets orbiting around them. The Milky Way galaxy is one of hundreds of billions of galaxies in the universe.


(From here)

    • D.12.1 Describe atomic structure and the properties of atoms, molecules, and matter during physical and chemical interactions
    • D12.2 Explain the forces that hold the atom together and illustrate how nuclear interactions change the atom
    • D.12.3 Explain exchanges of energy in chemical interactions and exchange of mass and energy in atomic/nuclear reactions
    • D.12.11 Using the science themes, explain common occurrences in the physical world
    • D.12.12 Using the science themes and knowledge of chemical, physical, atomic, and nuclear interactions, explain changes in materials, living things, earth's features, and stars
    • E.12.3 Using the science themes, describe theories of the origins and evolution of the universe and solar system, including the earth system as a part of the solar system, and relate these theories and their implications to geologic time on earth
    • E.12.4 Analyze the benefits, costs, and limitations of past, present, and projected use of resources and technology and explain the consequences to the environment
    • E.12.5 Using the science themes, understand that the origin of the universe is not completely understood, but that there are current ideas in science that attempt to explain its origin

Standards for Teachers

From the National Board Standards for Teaching Profession

  • Proposition 4: Teachers Think Systematically about Their Practice and Learn from Experience.
    • NBCTs model what it means to be an educated person - they read, they question, they create and they are willing to try new things.
    • They critically examine their practice on a regular basis to deepen knowledge, expand their repertoire of skills, and incorporate new findings into their practice.
  • Proposition 5: Teachers are Members of Learning Communities.
    • NBCTs collaborate with others to improve student learning.
    • They work with other professionals on instructional policy, curriculum development and staff development.

From the CA Standard for Developing as a Professional Educator

  • Teachers establish professional learning goals, pursue opportunities to develop professional knowledge and skill, and participate in the extended professional community.
  • Teachers learn about and work with local communities to improve their professional practice.
  • Teachers contribute to school activities, promote school goals and improve professional practice by working collegially with all school staff.

We're back from the Jan 2017 AAS and we had a grand time!