BLC Indexers' Manual

BLC Indexers' Manual


  1. Object ID

  2. Type

  3. Title

  4. Source

  5. Source Title

  6. Source ID

  7. Size

  8. Date

  9. Description

  10. URL

  11. Local CD-ROM

  12. Choosing Topics and Subtopics

  13. Choosing Outcomes

  14. Social Studies Topics

  15. Arts and Humanities

  16. Careers

  17. Conflicts

  18. Geography

  19. Global Connections

  20. Ideological Movements

  21. Peoples

  22. Religion

  23. U.S. History By Era

  24. U.S. History By Region

  25. World History By Continent

  26. World History By Era

  27. Social Studies Outcomes: Notes

  28. NCSS Social Studies Outcomes

  29. Science Topics

  30. Animals

  31. Aquatic Habitats

  32. Careers

  33. Chemistry

  34. Ecology

  35. Energy

  36. Forces

  37. Geology

  38. Human Body

  39. Inventions

  40. Meteorology

  41. Plants

  42. Space

  43. Vehicles

  44. Science Outcomes: Notes

  45. NSES Science Outcomes

  46. State Groups

  47. Continent Groups

Object ID

example: sprf001003

A. Prefix

1. Archives Text Collections, segment 200

2. Archives Special Stills Collections, segment 250

3. Archives Cartographic Collection, segement 230

4. Discovery Videos, segment numbers vary by video segment

5. Archives Films, segment 250

6. Modules

Each teacher will have his or her own segment number.
Each module will be numbered in order, following the previously indexed one.

7. Other

B. Segment

Somewhat randomly assigned; depends on the media type.

1. Text

2. Stills

3. Videos

Each program is segmented into the smallest meaningful unit, which has ranged from 40 seconds to 5 minutes. The segments are numbered in order.

4. Web sites

The following schema was designed to keep from having two indexers unknowingly assign the same Object ID to different objects.

a. Library of Congress sites all have "loco" prefix

b. NASA sites all have "nasa" prefix

c. National Archives sites all have "arch" prefix

d. None of the Above

(1) Social Studies: 000-499

(2) Maps: 500

(3) Science: 505-999

C. Sequence

If a number is assigned to the document, use the number given. If no number is assigned, number each item in order beginning with 001.



The title of the object should be concise, yet provide enough information to accurately identify it.

If a title is already assigned to the object, use it. If the object has a particularly long title or a main title and a subtitle, the indexer should decide whether the entire title is necessary or whether just a portion of it would be enough.

If a title is not already assigned the indexer should generate a title of preferably no more than 10 words. The title should give a clear indication about the content of the object. Do not use creative language or puns, as they may mislead the user. This title will be the teachers' first introduction to the item and therefore should give enough information to help them decide whether or not they want to preview it.


Note: This list should be expanded as new resources are collected.

Source Title

The Source Title indicates a specific area or collection of origin for the object. It might be a specific department or collection from an organization, a specific video title, a specific web site address, etc.

A. National Archives

B. Discovery Videos

C. World Wide Web sites

  1. Use the title of the page, the organization that authored it, or the organization that copyrighted it (whichever is most appropriate) as the Source Title.

Source ID

The source ID is some unique number given to the item by the source. It will vary depending on the originating organization and the media type.

National Archives Materials
Follow the path that you used to locate the object. For example, if the object came from a file cabinet in the reference section of the images, note the cabinet number and drawer number. If the object came from a printed volume of "Letters to the President," note the requested volume and the page number. If the object is from a copy of a film, note the film call number and title.
Discovery Channel Videos
Use the time code for the first frame of the segment. With the title of the video and the time of the first frame, someone could easily find the point of origin for a video segment.
World Wide Web Sites
Use the URL as the source ID.


Size is treated differently depending on the media type:

Text and Images
The size of the file in kilobytes. This information is listed as part of the on-screen file menu.
The length of the segment in seconds
Web sites
Originally, this was determined by counting the number of active and relevant hyperlinks that lead from the page to other pages. Current thinking is leaning towards omitting this measurement.


Generally, when assigning dates, objects from the 1800's and later will have finer grained categories than objects from before 1800:

1800 to Present
Identify the object by decade. For example, for something dated 1847, use 1840. For something dated 1952, use 1950.

1000-1799 AD
Identify the object by the century using intervals of 100. For example, for something dated 1667, use the date 1600. For something dated 1492, use 1400.

Before 1000 AD
Identify the object by the 500-year intervals immediately preceding the date. For example, for something dated 342 BC, use 500 BC. (Remember that in BC the numbers before something happened are HIGHER!!) For something dated 677 AD, use 500 AD. For something dated 2237 BC, use 2500 BC.


The description of an object should provide enough basic information that a teacher could read it and decide whether the resource is relevant to his or her needs. Any description provided by the authors or producers of the object should be used but the indexer may include additional comments if necessary. The descriptions will vary in length, depending somewhat on the complexity of the subject of the object and somewhat on media type. Web sites may have longer descriptions because they tend to have more information. However, it is recommended that descriptions be approximately 3-6 sentences.

Any particularly useful words or ideas that were not included in the title should be included in the description. This will allow keyword access to the item. For example, for an image of a battle during the American Revolution, a woman may be fighting. This could be useful to a teacher but may not be critical to the subject of the image. The indexer should note in the description that a woman is fighting or that a woman is visible so that teachers will be able to search for "woman" by keyword and find this image.


Enter the entire Web address beginning with "http://". If possible, use the cut & paste feature of the browser to capture the precise spelling and punctuation of the Web site. Misspelled URLs are lost to all users.

Local CD-ROM

For video only. This refers to the CD-ROM that teachers should use to play the video clip locally instead of by downloading or streaming it from the server. Enter the local CD by specifying title (no spaces), then a colon, then the file name for the appropriate video clip (don't forget the .mpg extension).

Spirits of the Rainforest, segment 5, sequence 4
Enter: spirits_of_the_rainforest:sprf005004.mpg

Choosing Topics and Subtopics

Main Topics
The main topics should be chosen according to the main subject content of the object. They most likely will be chosen from among the first few that pop into your mind. If there is something notable in the image that deserves mention, do not try and force the main topic to reflect the unique item; users will catch this aspect in a word search on the description field in the Resource Catalog. Do not choose one topic over another if both are equally relevant; use both.
Subtopics should be assigned according to the details given in the object, and will vary depending on the main topics selected. Choose as many as are applicable. Again, do not choose feel compelled to choose one subtopic over another; use both.

NOTE: In order to make objects easily accessible, it is recommended that objects be cross-indexed in any way that might prove useful to users.

Choosing Outcomes

This is the most difficult part of the indexing process for this database.

The most important thing to remember when selecting an outcome is that you are indexing the object, and not the main topic or subtopic. For example, if you are indexing an article about what astronauts eat in space, the obvious Main Topic/Subtopic would be Space/Exploration. The appropriate outcome might be Life Science because the article is about what astronauts eat to stay alive. Do not choose Earth and Space Science simply because the object is about Space Exploration.

Another Main Topic/Subtopic might be Human Body/Diet and Nutrition. For this combination, a useful outcome might be Earth and Space Science because this combination illustrates he same concept from different access points. For items like this, try to avoid things like Space/Exploration with Earth and Space Science because this does not indicate that the article is about life in space. Only use the Space/Exploration with Earth Space Science combination for objects that are only about Space Exploration.

Refer to the printouts of the Curriculum Standards for Social Studies and National Science Education Standards. Also refer to the sections on Social Studies Outcomes: Notes and Science Outcomes: Notes.

Social Studies Topics

A. Arts and Humanities

This topic generally refers to works of art and the people who created them. In order to be considered a work of art, the object must have contributed to the theory or practical development of the Arts and Humanities. See specific subtopic descriptions to determine what objects are appropriate. Objects with historical content belong with history topics; for example, Matthew Brady's photographs of the Civil War.

1. Architecture
Any structure built by any culture in any time period, as long as it is an example of their type of architecture.
2. Sculpture
Three-dimensional work of art.
3. Painting, Drawing, Photography
Anything that illustrates or describes the process of creating these types of images, including masterpieces or generally well-known or famous works of art that have contributed to the development of the field. Other objects should be indexed by content and not media type.
4. Music/Dance/Theater
Descriptions, illustrations, or demonstrations or vocal or instrumental music and any type of dance or drama. It could include religious dancing or singing but these objects would then also be indexed under religion.
5. Literature/Language
Generally includes all written, spoken, symbolic or body language used for communication. It may include quotations or words written on something other than paper if the indexer deems it relevant; for example, a quotation sewn into cloth.
6. Textiles
Objects made out of any type of fabric including clothes, flags, household items. Some objects will be up to the discretion of the indexer; for example, a cloth book cover. Consider its contribution to the arts and humanities.
7. Cartography

B. Careers

Anything with primary subject focus on a particular career or a particular person whose career is highlighted. Main focus generally includes educational requirements, desired personal characteristics (dedication, ability to work within a team) and responsibilities of a particular position. Most, if not all, items in this section will be cross-indexed in the Careers section of the Science Main Topics.

C. Conflicts

Generally refers to the motivation or original disagreement of a war. Objects in this topic are limited to those that show people fighting. They may include accounts of famous battles, images of battles, munitions, etc. May also include accounts or documents that indicate the nature of the war or contributed to the original conflict. It does not include objects depicting cultural, political, or other non-confrontational events of the times.

1. Imperialism
2. Religious Wars
3. Revolutions
4. Social Justice
5. Civil Wars
6. Territorialism

D. Geography

Landscapes, maps, or textual comments about specific geographic regions.

E. Global Connections

Foreign relations (international treaties or agreements), inter-country efforts (relief or aid to countries with disasters), international business (Internet, currency, tourism).

F. Ideological Movements

The Red Cross, civil rights movement, Abolition.

G. Peoples

1. Women
2. Children
3. African Americans
4. Asian Americans
5. Hispanic Americans
6. Africans
7. Asians
8. Australians
9. Europeans
10. North Americans: Canada, Mexico
11. North Americans: United States
12. South Americans
13. World Leaders
14. U.S. Leaders
15. Miscellaneous U.S. Notables

H. Religion

Any description, example, or artifacts of religious beliefs, customs, ceremonies, or prayers. This includes any ceremonial items, traditional dress, or costume. In the description, include the specific sect or group name when applicable.

1. Christianity
2. Judaism
3. Buddhism
4. Islam
5. Other

I. U.S. History By Era

Any object whose main subject has valuable historical content about the United States. The subtopics are in loose chronological order. For the subtopics that overlap chronologically, the indexer should determine the subtopic that is most relevant to the subject focus of the item. More than one subtopic may be relevant.

These divisions were determined based on a survey of middle school and high school social studies textbooks as well as from consideration of the National Center for History in the Schools, Nationals Standards for United States History for Grades 5-12.

1. Native Americans

Anything about Native American Indians whose primary residence was/is within the present day boundaries of the United States. This is a somewhat general topic that may include objects about Native Americans from the beginnings of their histories through modem times. Generally, many of the objects in this subtopic will also be cross-indexed under another subtopic that reflects the time period of the situation (e.g. Native Americans who helped Louis & Clark and "The Trail of Tears," the Cherokee resettlement) would go under Expansion and Reform. Many of the objects indexed here will also be cross-indexed under Peoples, Native Americans.

Native American Indians from other areas of North and South American should be indexed under World History By Region or By Era; or Peoples, Native Americans.

2. Exploration

Anything about explorers, mainly European, coming to North American to investigate, build settlements, or claim land in the name of their mother country. Generally includes exploration from the beginnings (900s, Eric the Red) through the 1700s.

3. Colonization

Anything about new European settlements in areas of the present-day U. S. Should cover all settlements from the 1500s-on. Includes French and Indian War (1750s-1763) and all aspects of colonization:

4. Revolutionary War (primarily 1760s-1770s)

Anything about colonial discontent with British Rule and the actual Declaration of Independence and the Revolutionary War.

Any friction with Great Britain over restrictions, taxes, laws, or acts (e.g. first signs of discontent such as Bacon's Rebellion even through it was in 1676). Majority of problems, events, philosophies during 1763-1776.

Includes all aspects of the actual war: battles, supplies, causes, effects on economics, daily life, politics, governments.

Boston Massacre, Boston Tea Party, Lexington and Concord, Battle of Breed's (Bunker) Hill, Declaration of Independence.

5. Constitution and Independence

Anything about setting up "home rule" within the colonies and eventually within the United States of America.

Includes disputes and resolutions about how the government should be created and enforced.

6. Expansion and Reform (1800s-1860s)

Development of a prosperous new nation including development of the western territories until the time of the Civil War.

Includes but is not limited to the following:

7. Civil War Age

1845-1861 Feelings of Discontent
1861-1865 The War
1865-1877 Reconstruction

Includes but is not limited to the following:

8. Westward Expansion (1860s-1900s)

Activities and events related to the settlement and economic development of the western territory ("the last frontier") during and after the Civil War Age.

Includes but is not limited to the following:

9. Industrial Revolution (1860s-1910s)

Causes, effects, and indications of growth of American Industry; note cause and effect of improved transportation and communication industries.

Includes but is not limited to:

10. World War I (1900s-1919)

Foreign policy and developments leading up to the war; United States' involvement in the war. Limit to U.S. perspective and interests. Accounts from other points of view or interest of other countries should be indexed in the World History: By Era subtopic.

Includes but is not limited to:

11. Roaring Twenties (1900s)

Anything related to the time period's feeling or prosperity and success, and other US events from this time period.

Includes but is not limited to:

12. Great Depression & New Deal (1930s)

Causes and effects of the Great Depression, government policy to help people survive, daily life, economic activity.

Includes but is not limited to:

13. World War II (1920s-1940s)

Efforts to prevent war (1920s-1930s), U.S. involvement in 1940s, effects at home and abroad; financing, supplies, cooperation, errors. Limit to U.S. perspective and interests. Accounts from other points of view or interests of other countries should be indexed in the World History: By Era subtopic.

Includes but not limited to:

14. Cold War Era (1940s-1980s)

Recovery from World war II, foreign relations policies and economic development during this time period, daily life and events in the U.S., civil rights, other wars, government development programs.

Includes but is not limited to:

15. Modern Age (1990s)

New developments spurred by the end of the Cold War, foreign relations policies and economic development, daily life and events in the U.S., government development programs.

Includes but is not limited to:

J. U.S. History By Region

Any object whose subject focus includes an identified region of the U. S. This may include a photograph with an identified location, a treaty about a particular land region, a Web site from a tourists' bureau, etc. If more than one region of the U. S is identified, the object could be indexed under multiple sub-topics. Generally, if only one state is identified, the object should be indexed in the appropriate region. If multiple states from one region and only one (or a few) state(s) from a second region is(are) identified, the indexer should use his or her own discretion to determine if enough of a region is represented to warrant indexing under that subtopic. Consider the object's relevance to the state history or current events. See the list of State Groups to determine states in each region.

If the entire U. S. is the subject focus of an object (for example, a historical map of the country, presidential election results, etc.), then the object should be indexed under World History By Continent, North America. Specific regions could also be indexed under this Main Topic when relevant.

1. Northeast
2. Mid-Atlantic
3. Southwest
4. Midwest
5. Northwest
6. Southwest

K. World History By Continent

Any object whose subject focus includes an identified region of a country, a specific country, or a specific continent. This may include a photograph with an identified location, a treaty about a particular land region, a Web site from a tourists' bureau, etc. If more than one continent is identified, the object could be indexed under multiple sub-topics. Generally, if only one country is identified, the object should be indexed in the appropriate continent. If multiple countries from one continent and only one (or a few) country (or countries) from a second continent is (are) identified, the indexer should use his or her own discretion to determine if enough of a continent is represented to warrant indexing under that subtopic. Consider the object's relevance to the country history, continent history, or current events.

See the List of Countries to determine which continent to index under.

1. Africa
2. Antarctica
3. Asia
4. Australia and Oceania
5. Europe
6. North America
7. South America

L. World History By Era

Any object whose main subject has valuable historical content about some area of the World. The subtopics are in loose chronological order. For the subtopics that overlap chronologically, the indexer should determine the subtopic that is most relevant to the subject focus of the object. More than one subtopic may be relevant.

These division were determined based on a survey of middle school and high school social studies textbooks as well as from consideration of the National center for History in the Schools, National Standards for World History for Grades 5-12.

1. Prehistoric Beginnings (2,000,000 BC to 500 BC)

Early humans

Stone Age

Bronze Age

2. Early Civilizations

Ancient Middle East: Mesopotamia, Egypt, Hittites, Phoenicians, Israelites, Assyrians, Persians

Ancient Europe: Greeks, Romans

Ancient Asia: China, India

Ancient African Kingdoms: peoples of the Sahara before it became a desert (6000 BC to 1500 BC), Axum in present day Ethiopia (500 BC to 650 AD), Kush in present day Sudan (750 BC to 300 AD), Nok in present day Nigeria (500 BC to 200 AD)

Early American Civilization: Mayas (500 BC to 1200 AD), Toltecs (700-1200), Incas (1000-1532), Aztecs (1200-1520), Iroquois (1000-1600), Pueblos (500-1690)

3. Religious Empires

Rise of Christianity (1-800), began in Rome and spread throughout Europe to encompass present day Italy, France, Spain, Greece, Germany, Great Britain, the rest of Eastern Europe, and some areas of the Middle East; Church as preserver of civilization

Rise of Islam and the Muslim Empire (622-1683), Islamic civilization (700-1100)

African Kingdoms: Axum in present day Ethiopia (500 BC to 600 AD), Ghana (400-1235), Kanem around Lake Chad (800-1400)

Japanese Periods: Nara promoted Buddhism, developed written language (600-784) Heian and the Great Age of Prose and Poetry (794-1192)

4. Middle Ages (800s-1400s)


African States:

Chinese Dynasties:

Japanese Periods:

5. European Renaissance and Reformation (1300s-1600s)

Include anything about the life and times of the Renaissance including notable people and their work, also include similar information about the split of Christianity.



6. Exploration, Trade, and Colonization (1400s-1800s)

Anything about the emergence of modern nations.

Anything about explorers or traders (European) going to North and South America, Africa, Asia, or other islands to investigate, trade, build settlements or claim land in the name of their mother country. Should include exploration from the beginnings (900s-Eric the Red) through the 1700s, with a heavy focus on 1400s-1700s.

Anything about new European colonies; should cover all settlements from the 900s on. In other parts of the world:

African States:

Early American Civilizations:

Chinese Dynasties:

Japanese Periods:

Russian Empire (1700s)
European Empire (1400s-1800s)

7. Age of Revolutions (1750-1920s)

American Revolution (1760s-1770s)

French Revolution (1750s-1814)

Congress of Vienna, which occurred after the European defeat of Napoleon (1814-1815), set up monarchy rule with strict oppression of liberal ideas in Austria and Germany, Russia, Prussia, France, and Great Britain. This philosophy was also implemented in Spain, Naples, and the state of Northern Italy. Eventually led to uprisings and revolts that forced the rulers to restore the original constitutions (1832-1870s).

Latin America gains independence (1780s-1825)

Japanese Periods:

Hungarian revolt to gain independence from Austria failed (1848)

Balkan Revolt against the Ottoman Empire (1875-1878) (1912-1913)

Russian Revolution (1905) (1917)

Mexican Revolution (1911-1917)

Turkish Revolution (1922)

8. Imperialism/Industrialism (1700s-1900s)

Anything about imperialism, "the practice of establishing colonies in order to control raw materials and markets. Practiced mainly from 1870-1914 by European nations, the U.S., and Japan.

Anything about move to factory-made products, transformation of science and technology, transportation, communication, new methods and new types of businesses.







Pacific Islands:

United States:


9. World War II (1899-1917)

Began with conflicting national interests, role of each nation, terms for peace. Foreign policy and developments that led up to the war, world involvement in the war, accounts from all point of view or interest of all countries except the U.S.

Includes but is not limited to:

10. Rise of New Political Forces (1918-1936)



Great Britain



United States



Establishment of new countries

11. World War II (1937-1945)

12. Era of the Super Powers (1946-1980s)

13. Modern Society (1990s)

Space Exploration

Technology Explosion

Information Age

Current Events

New Directions of the Arts

Social Studies Outcomes: Notes

SOCIAL STUDIES OUTCOMES NOTES: These represent condensed versions of the lengthier curriculum standards compiled by the National Council for Social Studies. To see the complete unedited version, use the hyperlink embedded in the "SS" number.

SS 1: Cultures

SS 2: Chronology

SS 3: Environment

SS 4: Individuals, Groups, and Institutions

SS 5: Political Systems

SS 6: Economics

SS 7: Science and Technology

SS 8: Civics

There are many portraits in the BLC database, and they merit special instructions for indexing:

NCSS Social Studies Outcomes

Table of Contents:

1. Culture

2. Chronology

3. Environment

4. Individuals, Groups, and Institutions

5. Political Systems

6. Economics

7. Science and Technology

8. Civics

1. Culture

Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of culture and cultural diversity.

Human beings create, learn, and adapt culture. Culture helps us to understand ourselves as both individuals and members of various groups. Human cultures exhibit both similarities and differences. We all, for example, have systems of beliefs, knowledge, values, and traditions. Each system also is unique. In a democratic and multicultural society, students need to understand multiple perspectives that derive from different cultural vantage points. This understanding will allow them to relate to people in our nation and throughout the world.

Cultures are dynamic and ever-changing. The study of culture prepares students to ask and answer questions such as: What are the common characteristics of different cultures? How do belief systems, such as religion or political ideals of the culture, influence the other parts of the culture? How does the culture change to accommodate different ideas and beliefs? What does language tell us about the culture? In schools, this theme typically appears in units and courses dealing with geography, history, and anthropology, as well as multicultural topics across the curriculum.

During the early years of school, the exploration of the concepts of likeness and differences in school subjects such as language arts, mathematics, science, music, and art makes the study of culture appropriate. Socially, the young learner is beginning to interact with other students, some of whom are like the student and some different; naturally, he or she wants to know more about others. In the middle grades, students begin to explore and ask questions about the nature of culture and specific aspects of culture, such as language and beliefs, and the influence of those aspects on human behavior. As students progress through high school, they can understand and use complex cultural concepts such as adaptation, assimilation, acculturation, diffusion, and dissonance drawn from anthropology, sociology, and other disciplines to explain how culture and cultural Systems function.

Middle Grades Performance Expectations

Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of culture and cultural diversity, so that the learner can:

A. Compare similarities and differences in the ways groups, societies, and cultures meet human needs and concerns.

B. Explain how information and experiences maybe interpreted by people from diverse cultural perspectives and frames of reference.

C. Explain and give examples of how language, literature, the arts, architecture, other artifacts, traditions, beliefs. values, and behaviors contribute to the development and transmission of culture.

D. Explain why individuals and groups respond differently to their physical and social environments and/or changes to them on the basis of shared assumptions, values, and beliefs.

E. Articulate the implications of cultural diversity, as well as cohesion, within and across groups.

2. Chronology (Time, Continuity, and Change)

Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of the ways human beings view themselves in and overtime.

Human beings seek to understand their historical roots and to locate themselves in time. Such understanding involves knowing what things were like in the past and how things change and develop. Knowing how to read and reconstruct the past allows one to develop a historical perspective and to answer questions such as: Who am I? What happened in the past? How am I connected to those in the past? How has the world changed and how might it change in the future? Why does our personal sense of relatedness to the past change? How can the perspective we have about our own life experiences be viewed as part of the larger human story across time? How do our personal stories reflect varying points of view and inform contemporary ideas and actions?

This theme typically appears in courses that (1) include perspectives from various aspects of history, (2) draw upon historical knowledge during the examination of social issues, and (3) develop the habits of mind that historians and scholars in the humanities and social sciences employ to study the past and its relationship to the present in the United States and other societies.

Learners in early grades gain experience with sequencing to establish a sense of order and time. They enjoy hearing stories of the recent past as well as of long ago. In addition, they begin to recognize that individuals may hold different views about the past and to understand the linkages between human decisions and consequences. Thus, the foundation is laid for the development of historical knowledge, skills, and values. In the middle grades, students, through a more formal study of history, continue to expand their understanding of the past and of historical concepts and inquiry. They begin to understand and appreciate differences in historical perspectives, recognizing that interpretations are influenced by individual experiences, societal values, and cultural traditions. High school students engage in more sophisticated analysis and reconstruction of the past, examining its relationship to the present and extrapolating into the future. They integrate individual stories about people, events, and situations to form a more holistic conception, in which continuity and change are linked in time and across cultures. Students also learn to draw on their knowledge of history to make informed choices and decisions in the present.

Middle Grades Performance Expectations

Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of the ways human beings view themselves in and over time, so that the learner can:

A. Demonstrate an understanding that different scholars may describe the same event or situation in different ways but must provide reasons or evidence for their views.

B. Identity and use key concepts such as chronology, causality, change, conflict, and complexity to explain, analyze, and show connections among patterns of historical change and continuity.

C. Identify and describe selected historical periods and patterns of change within and across cultures, such as the rise of civilizations, the development of transportation systems, the growth and breakdown of colonial systems, and others.

D. Identify and use processes important to reconstructing and reinterpreting the past, such as using a variety of sources, providing, validating, and weighing evidence for claims, checking credibility of sources, and searching for causality.

E. Develop critical sensitivities such as empathy and skepticism regarding attitudes, values, and behaviors of people in different historical contexts.

F. Use knowledge of facts and concepts drawn from history, along with methods of historical inquiry, to inform decision-making about and action-taking on public issues.

3. Environment (People, Places and Environment)

Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of people, places, and environments.

Technological advances connect students at all levels to the world beyond their personal locations. The study of people, places, and human-environment interactions assists learners as they create their spatial views and geographic perspectives of the world. Today's social, cultural, economic, and civic demands on individuals mean that students will need the knowledge, skills, and understanding to ask and answer questions such as: Where are things located? Why are they located where they are? What patterns are reflected in the groupings of things? What do we mean by region? How do landforms change? What implications do these changes have for people? This area of study helps learners make informed and critical decisions about the relationship between human beings and theft environment. In schools, this theme typically appears in units and courses dealing with area studies and geography.

In the early grades, young learners draw upon immediate personal experiences as a basis for exploring geographic concepts and skills. They also express interest in things distant and unfamiliar and have concern for the use and abuse of the physical environment. During the middle school years, students relate their personal experiences to happenings in other environmental contexts. Appropriate experiences will encourage increasingly abstract thought as students use data and apply skills in analyzing human behavior in relation to its physical and cultural environment. Students in high school are able to apply geographic understanding across a broad range of fields, including the fine arts, sciences, and humanities. Geographic concepts become central to learners' comprehension of global connections as they expand their knowledge of diverse cultures, both historical and contemporary. The importance of core geographic themes to public policy is recognized and should be explored as students address issues of domestic and international significance.

Middle Grades Performance Expectations

Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of people, places, and environments, so that the learner can:

A. Elaborate mental maps of locales, regions, and the world that demonstrate understanding of relative location, direction, size, and shape.

B. Create, interpret, use, and distinguish various representations of the Earth, such as maps, globes, and photographs.

C. Use appropriate resources, data sources, and geographic tools such as aerial photographs, satellite images, geographic information systems (GIS), map projections, and cartography to generate, manipulate, and interpret information such as atlases, data bases, grid systems, charts, graphs, and maps.

D. Estimate distance, calculate scale, and distinguish other geographic relationships such as population density and spatial distribution patterns.

E. Locate and describe varying landforms and geographic features, such as mountains, plateaus, islands, rain forests, deserts, and oceans, and explain their relationships within the ecosystem.

F. Describe physical system changes such as seasons, climate and weather, and the water cycle and identify geographic patterns associated with them.

G. Describe how people create places that reflect cultural values and ideals as they build neighborhoods, parks, shopping centers, and the like.

H. Examine, interpret, an analyze physical and cultural patterns and their interactions, such as land use, settlement patterns, cultural transmission of customs and ideas, and ecosystem changes.

I. Describe ways that historical events have been influenced by, and have influenced, physical and human geographic factors in local, regional, national, and global settings.

J. Observe and speculate about social and economic effects of environmental changes and crises resulting from phenomena such as floods, storms, and drought.

K. Propose, compare, and evaluate alternative uses of land and resources in communities, regions, nations, and the world.

4. Individuals, Groups, and Institutions

(For the BLC project, this standard is considered a combination of two NCSS Standards: "Individual Development" and "Identity, and Individuals, Groups, and Institutions." Both descriptions are included below.)

Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of individual development and identity.

Personal identity is shaped by one's culture, by groups, and by institutional influences. How do people learn? Why do people behave as they do? What influences how people learn, perceive, and grow? How do people meet their basic needs in a variety of contexts? Questions such as these are central to the study of how individuals develop from youth to adulthood. Examination of various forms of human behavior enhances understanding of the relationships among social norms and emerging personal identities, the social processes that influence identity formation, and the ethical principles underlying individual action. In schools, this theme typically appears in units and courses dealing with psychology and anthropology. Given the nature of individual development and out own cultural context, students need to be aware of the processes of learning, growth, and development at every level of their school experience. In the early grades, for example, observing brothers, sisters, and older adults, looking at family photo albums, remembering past achievements and projecting oneself into the future, can comparing the patterns of behavior evident in people of different age groups are appropriate activities because young learners develop their personal identities in the context of families, peers, schools, and communities. Central to this development are the exploration, identification, and analysis of how individuals relate to others. In the middle grades, issues of personal identity are refocused as the individual begins to explain self in relation to others in the society and cultures. At the high school level, students need to encounter multiple opportunities to examine contemporary patterns of human behaviors, using methods from the behavioral sciences to apply core concepts drawn from psychology, social psychology, sociology, and anthropology as they apply to individuals, societies, and cultures.

Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of interactions among individuals, groups, and institutions.

Institutions such as schools, churches, families, government agencies, and the courts all play an integral role in our lives. These and other institutions exert enormous influence over us, yet institutions are no more than organizational embodiments to further the core social values of those who comprise them. Thus, it is important that students know how institutions are formed, what controls and influences them, how they control and influence individuals and culture, and how institutions can be maintained or changed. The study of individuals, groups, and institutions, drawing upon sociology, anthropology, and other disciplines, prepares students to ask and answer questions such as: What is the role of institutions in this and other societies? How am I influenced by institutions? How do institutions change? What is my role in institutional change? In schools, this theme typically appears in units and courses dealing with sociology, anthropology. psychology, political science, and history.

Young children should he given opportunities to examine various institutions that affect their lives and influence their thinking. They should be assisted in recognizing the tensions that occur when the goals, values, and principles of two or more institutions or groups conflict-for example, when the school board prohibits candy machines in schools vs. a class project to install a candy machine to help raise money for the local hospital. They should also have opportunities to explore ways in which institutions such as churches or health care networks are created to respond to changing individual and group needs. Middle school learners will benefit from varied experiences through which they examine the ways in which institutions change over time, promote social conformity, and influence culture. They should be encouraged to use this understanding to suggest ways to work through institutional change for the common good. High school students must understand the paradigms and traditions that undergird social and political institutions. They should be provided with opportunities to examine, use, and add to the body of knowledge related to the behavioral sciences and social theory as it relates to the ways people and groups organize themselves around common needs, beliefs, and interests.

Middle Grades Performance Expectations

Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of individual development and identity, so that the learner can:

A. Relate personal changes to social, cultural, and historical contexts.

B. Describe personal connections to place as associated with community, nation, and world.

C. Describe the ways family, gender, ethnicity, nationality, and institutional affiliations contribute to personal identity.

D. Relate such factors as physical endowment and capabilities, learning, motivation, personality, perception, and behavior to individual development.

E. Identify and describe ways regional, ethnic, and national cultures influence individuals' daily lives.

F. Identify and describe the influences of perception, attitudes, values, and beliefs on personal identity.

G. Identify and interpret examples of stereotyping, conformity, and altruism.

H. Work independently and cooperatively to accomplish goals.

Socials studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of interactions among individuals, groups, and institutions, so that the learner can:

A. Demonstrate an understanding of concepts such as role, status, and social class is describing the interactions of individuals and social groups.

B. Analyze group and institutional influences on people, events, and elements of culture.

C. Describe the various forms institutions take and the interactions of people with institutions.

D. Identify and analyze examples of tensions between expressions of individuality and group of institutional efforts to promote social conformity.

E. Identify and describe examples of tensions between belief systems and government policies and laws.

F. Describe the role of institutions in furthering both continuity and change.

G. Apply knowledge of how groups and institutions work to meet individual needs and promote the common good.

5. Political Systems (Power, Authority, and Governance)

Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of how people create and change structures of power, authority, and governance.

Understanding the historical development of structures of power, authority, and governance and their evolving functions in contemporary US society, as well as in other parts of the world, is essential for developing civic competence. In exploring this theme, students confront questions such as: What is power? What forms does it take? Who holds it? How is it gained, used, and justified? What is legitimate authority? How are governments created, structured, maintained, and changed? How can we keep government responsive to its citizens' needs and interests? How can individual rights be protected. within the context of majority rule? By examining the purposes and characteristics of various governance systems, learners develop an understanding of how groups and nations attempt to resolve conflicts and seek to establish order and security. Through study of the dynamic relationships among individual rights and responsibilities, the needs of social groups, and concepts of a just society, learners become more effective problem-solvers and decision-makers when addressing the persistent issues and social problems encountered in public life. They do so by applying concepts and methods of political science and law. In schools, this theme typically appears in units and courses dealing with government, politics. political science, history, law, and other social sciences.

Learners in the early grades explore their natural and developing sense of fairness and order as they experience relationships with others. They develop an increasingly comprehensive awareness of rights and responsibilities in specific contexts. During the middle school years, these rights and responsibilities are applied in more complex contexts with emphasis on new applications. High school students develop their abilities in the use of abstract principles. They study the various systems that have been developed over the centuries to allocate and employ power and authority in the governing process. At every level, learners should have opportunities to apply their knowledge and skills to and participate in the workings of the various levels of power, authority, and governance.

Middle Grades Performance Expectations

Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of how people create and change structures of power, authority, and governance, so that the learner can:

A. Examine persistent issues involving the rights, roles, and status of the individual in relation to the general welfare.

B. Describe the purpose of government and how its powers are acquired, used, and justified.

C. Analyze and explain ideas and governmental mechanisms to meet needs and wants of citizens, regulate territory, manage conflict, and establish order and security.

D. Describe the ways nations and organizations respond to forces of unity and diversity affecting order and security.

E. Identify and describe the basic features of the political system in the United States and identify representative leaders from various levels and branches of government.

F. Explain conditions, actions, and motivations that contribute to conflict and cooperation within and among nations.

G. Describe and analyze the role of technology in communications, transportation, information-processing, weapons development or other areas as it contributes to or helps resolve conflicts.

H. Explain and apply concepts such as power, role, status, justice, and influence to the examination of persistent issues and social problems.

I. Give examples and explain how governments attempt to achieve their stated ideals at home and abroad.

6. Economics (Production, Distribution, and Consumption)

Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of how people organize for the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.

People have wants that often exceed the limited resources available to them. As a result, a variety of ways have been invented to decide upon answers to four fundamental questions: What is to be produced? How is production to be organized? How are goods and services to be distributed? What is the most effective allocation of the factors of production (land, labor, capital, and management)? Unequal distribution of resources necessitates systems of exchange, including trade, to improve the well-being of the economy, while the role of government in economic policymaking varies over time and from place to place. Increasingly these decisions are global in scope and require systematic study of an interdependent world economy and the role of technology in economic decision-making. In schools, this theme typically appears in units and courses dealing with concepts, principles, and issues drawn from the discipline of economics.

Young learners begin by differentiating between wants and needs. They explore economic decisions as they compare their own economic experiences with those of others and consider the wider consequences of those decisions on groups, communities, the nation, and beyond. In the middle grades, learners expand their knowledge of economic concepts and principles, and use economic reasoning processes in addressing issues related to the four fundamental economic questions. High school students develop economic perspectives and deeper understanding of key economic concepts and processes through systematic study of a range of economic and sociopolitical systems, with particular emphasis on the examination of domestic and global economic policy options related to matters such as health care, resource use, unemployment, and trade.

Middle Grades Performance Expectations

Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of how people organize for the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services, so that the learner can:

A. Give and explain examples of ways that economic systems structure choices about how goods and services are to be produced and distributed.

B. Describe the role that supply and demand, prices, incentives, and profits play in determining what is produced and distributed in a competitive market system.

C. Explain the difference between private and public goods and services.

D. Describe a range of examples of the various institutions that make up economic systems such as households, business firms, banks, government agencies, labor unions, and corporations.

E. Describe the role of specialization and exchange in the economic process.

F. Explain and illustrate how values and beliefs influence different economic decisions.

G. Differentiate among various forms of exchange and money.

H. Compare basic economic systems according to who determines what is produced, distributed, and consumed.

I. Use economic concepts to help explain historical and current developments and issues in local, national, or global contexts.

J. Use economic reasoning to compare different proposals for dealing with a contemporary social issue such as unemployment, acid rain, or high quality education.

7. Science and Technology

Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of relationships among science, technology, and society.

Technology is as old as the first crude tool invented by prehistoric humans, but today's technology forms the basis for some of our most difficult social choices. Modern life as we know it would be impossible without technology and the science that supports it. But technology brings with it many questions: Is new technology always better than that which it will replace? What can we learn from the past about how new technologies result in broader social change, some of which is unanticipated? How can we cope with the ever-increasing pace of change, perhaps even with the feeling that technology has gotten out of control? How can we manage technology so that the greatest number of people benefit from it? How can we preserve our fundamental values and beliefs in a world that is rapidly becoming one technology-linked village? This theme appears in units or courses dealing with history, geography, economics, and civics and government. It draws upon several scholarly fields from the natural and physical sciences, social sciences, and the humanities for specific examples of issues and the knowledge base for considering responses to the societal issues related to science and technology.

Young children can learn how technologies form systems and how their daily lives are intertwined with a host of technologies. They can study how basic technologies such as ships, automobiles, and airplanes have evolved and how we have employed technology such as air conditioning, dams, and irrigation to modify our physical environment. From history, their own and others', they can construct examples of how technologies such as the wheel, the stirrup, and the transistor radio altered the course of history. By the middle grades, students can begin to explore the complex relationships among technology, human values, and behavior. They will find that science and technology bring changes that surprise us and even challenge our beliefs, as in the case of discoveries and their applications related to our universe, the genetic basis of life, atomic physics, and others. As they move from the middle grades to high school, students will need to think more deeply about how we can manage technology so that we control it rather than the other way around. There should be opportunities to confront such issues as the consequences of using robots to produce goods, the protection of privacy in the age of computers and electronic surveillance, and the opportunities and challenges of genetic engineering, test-tube life, and medical technology with all their implications for longevity and quality of life and religious beliefs.

Middle Grades Performance Expectations

Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of relationships among science, technology, and society, so that the learner can:

A. Examine and describe the influence of culture on scientific and technological choices and advancement, such as in transportation, medicine, and warfare.

B. Show through specific examples how science and technology have changed people's perceptions of the social and natural world, such as in their relationship to the land, animal life, family life, and economic needs, wants, and security.

C. Describe examples in which values, beliefs, and attitudes have been influenced by new scientific and technological knowledge, such as the invention of the printing press, conceptions of the universe, applications of atomic energy, and genetic discoveries.

D. Explain the need for laws and policies to govern scientific and technological applications, such as in the safety and well-being of workers and consumers and the regulation of utilities, radio, and television.

E. Seek reasonable and ethical solutions to problems that arise when scientific advancements and social norms or values come into conflict.

8. Civics (Civic Ideals and Practices)

Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of the ideals, principles, and practices of citizenship in a democratic republic.

An understanding of civic ideals and practices of citizenship is critical to full participation in society and is a central purpose of the social studies. All people have a stake in examining civic ideals and practices across time and in diverse societies as well as at home, and in determining how to close the gap between present practices and the ideals upon which our democratic republic is based. Learners confront such questions as: What is civic participation and how can I be involved? How has the meaning of citizenship evolved? What is the balance between rights and responsibilities? What is the role of the citizen in the community and the nation, and as a member of the world community? How can I make a positive difference? In schools, this theme typically appears in units or courses dealing with history, political science, cultural anthropology, and fields such as global studies and law-related education, while also drawing upon content from the humanities.

In the early grades, students are introduced to civic ideals and practices through activities such as helping to set classroom expectations, examining experiences in relation to ideals, and determining flow to balance the needs of individuals and the group. During these years, children also experience views of citizenship in other times and places through stories and drama. By the middle grades, students expand their ability to analyze and evaluate the relationships between ideals and practice. They are able to see themselves taking civic roles in their communities. High school students increasingly recognize the rights and responsibilities of citizens in identifying societal needs, setting directions for public policies, and working to support both individual dignity and the common good. They learn by experience bow to participate in community service and political activities and how to use democratic process to influence public policy.

Middle Grades Performance Expectations

Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of the ideals, principles, and practices of citizenship in a democratic republic, so that the learner can:

A. Examine the origins and continuing influence of key ideals of the democratic republican form of government, such as individual human dignity, liberty, justice, equality, and the rule of law.

B. Identify and interpret sources and examples of the rights and responsibilities of citizens.

C. Locate, access, analyze, organize, and apply information about selected public issues; recognizing and explaining multiple points of view.

D. Practice forms of civic discussion and participation consistent with the ideals of citizens in a democratic republic.

E. Explain and analyze various forms of citizen action that influence public policy decisions.

F. Identify and explain the roles of formal and informal political actors in influencing and shaping public policy and decision-making.

G. Analyze the influence of diverse forms of public opinion on the development of public policy and decision-making.

H. Analyze the effectiveness of selected public policies and citizen behaviors in realizing the stated ideals of a democratic republican form of government.

I. Explain the relationship between policy statements and action plans used to address issues of public concern.

J. Examine strategies designed to strengthen the "common good," which consider a range of options for citizen action.

Science Topics

A. Animals

Any information about the animals listed. May include physical characteristics, eating habits, mating habits, habitat, natural predators and prey, unnatural behaviors, common uses of (as pets, food, workers); include common name in the description.

Includes but is not limited to:

1. microorganisms

2. echinoderms

3. arthropods

4. mollusks

5. worms

6. porifera

7. cnidaria

8. amphibians

9. reptiles

10. fish

11. birds

12. mammals

B. Aquatic Habitats

1. oceans (salt water)

2. rivers/lakes/streams (fresh water)

3. estuaries

4. exploration

5. marine habitats (salt water plants and animals)

6. freshwater habitats

7. other

C. Careers

Anything with primary subject focus on a particular career or a particular person whose career is highlighted. Main focus generally includes educational requirements, desired personal characteristics such as dedication or ability to work within a team, and responsibilities of a particular position. Many items in this section will be cross-indexed in the Careers section of the Social Studies Main Topics. This topic may also include more detailed information about scientific careers.

D. Chemistry

1. atoms

2. elements

3. matter

4. chemical properties

5. interactions

E. Ecology

1. environment

2. pollution

3. biomes

4. natural resources

5. food web


7. conservation

8. habitats

9. societies

10. interdependence

F. Energy

Anything about characteristics, detection, measuring, examples, effects.

1. heat

2. sound

3. light

G. Forces

Characteristics, measuring, examples, application to solid, liquid, gaseous matter.

1. motion

2. balanced forces

3. unbalanced forces

4. machines

H. Geology

1. Earth

2. rocks and minerals

3. volcanoes

4. plate tectonics and earthquakes

5. geomezic time

6. fossils

7. natural resources

8. erosion and weathering

I. Human Body

Any information about the systems and the organs that make them work. May include physical characteristics, stages of development, descriptions of processes, problems, evolution.

Includes but not limited to:

1. cells

2. tissue

3. excretory system

4. skeletal system

5. muscular system

6. endocrine system

7. nervous system

8. digestive system

9. circulatory system/cardiovascular system

10. respiratory system

11. reproductive system

12. diet and nutrition

J. Inventions

Includes earliest version of any modern appliance or tool

Any new appliances or tools that have been recently developed

For tools and appliances that have been recently developed and also have become a staple in modern society, only include the earliest versions in this topic. For example, the modern PC computer would not be indexed here. However, the prototype machines from the 1960s would be appropriate for this topic.

K. Meteorology

Descriptions, examples, features, causes, effects, instruments to measure.

1. atmosphere

2. forecasting

3. weather

L. Plants

1. cellular

2. herbaceous

3. woody

4. photosynthesis

5. reproduction

6. other

M. Space

1. sun

2. moon

3. stars

4. planets

5. exploration

N. Vehicles

Image, description, or demonstration of how physical vehicle works. Description or demonstration of uses of the vehicle to do work or provide transportation. The history of the vehicle itself.

1. Automobiles/Trucks

2. Ships/Water Transport

3. Trains/Trolleys

4. Airplanes/Space

5. Bicycles

Science Outcomes: Notes

SCIENCE OUTCOMES NOTES: These represent condensed versions of the lengthier content standards compiled by the National Academy of Sciences. To see the complete unedited version, use the hyperlink embedded in the "SC" number.

SC 1: Unifying Concepts and Processes in Science

SC 2: Science as Inquiry

SC 3: Physical Science

SC 4: Life Science

SC 5: Earth and Space Science

SC 6: Science and Technology

SC 7: Science in Personal and Social Perspectives

SC 8: History of Science

NSES Science Outcomes

Table of Contents:

1. Unifying Concepts and Processes

2. Science As Inquiry

3. Physical Science

4. Life Science

5. Earth and Space Science

6. Science and Technology

7. Science In Personal and Social Perspectives

8. History Of Science

All information copied with permission from the National Science Education Standards: Chapter 6, Science Content Standards for grades 5-8. Copyright(c)1995. National Academy of Sciences. For more information, please see or call the National Academy of Sciences at 1-800-624-6242.

1. Unifying Concepts and Processes

Conceptual and procedural schemes unify science disciplines and provide students with powerful ideas to help them understand the natural world. Because of the underlying principles embodied in this standard, the understandings and abilities described here are repeated in the other content standards. Unifying concepts and processes include:

This standard describes some of the integrative schemes that can bring together students' many experiences in science education across grades K-12. The unifying concepts and processes standard can be the focus of instruction at any grade level but should always be closely linked to outcomes aligned with other content standards. In the early grades, instruction should establish the meaning and use of unifying concepts and processes-for example, what it means to measure and how to use measurement tools. At the upper grades, the standard should facilitate and enhance the learning of scientific concepts and principles by providing students with a big picture of scientific ideas-for example, how measurement is important in all scientific endeavors.

2. Science as Inquiry

Content Standard A: As a result of activities in grades 5-8, all students should develop abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry and understandings about scientific inquiry. Fundamental abilities and concepts that underlie this standard include the abilities necessary to scientific inquiry:

A. Identify questions that can be answered through scientific investigations.
Students should develop the ability to refine and refocus broad and ill-defined questions. An important aspect of this ability consists of students' ability to clarify questions and inquiries and direct them toward objects and phenomena that can be described, explained, or predicted by scientific investigations. Students should develop the ability to identify their questions with the scientific ideas, concepts, and quantitative relationships that guide investigation.

B. Design and Conduct a Scientific Investigation
Students should develop general abilities, such as systematic observation, making accurate measurements, and identifying and controlling variables. They should also develop the ability to clarify the ideas that are influencing and guiding their inquiry, and to understand how those ideas compare with current scientific knowledge. Students can learn to formulate questions, design investigations, execute investigations, interpret data, use evidence to generate explanations, propose alternative explanations, and critique explanations and procedures.

C. Use Appropriate Tools and Techniques to Gather, Analyze, and Interpret Data
The use of tools and techniques, including mathematics, will be guided by the question asked and the investigations student design. The use of computers for the collection, summary, and display of evidence is part of this standard. Students should be able to access, gather, store, retrieve, and organize data, using hardware and software designed for these purposes.

D. Develop Descriptions, Explanations, Predictions, and Models Using Evidence
Students should base their explanation on what they observed, and as they develop cognitive skills, they should be able to differentiate explanation from description-providing causes for effects and establishing relationships based on evidence and logical argument. This standard requires a subject-matter knowledge base so the students can effectively conduct investigations, because developing explanations establishes connections between the content of science and the contexts within which students develop new knowledge.

E. Think Critically and Logically to Make the Relationships Between Evidence and Explanations
Thinking critically about evidence includes deciding what evidence should be used and accounting for anomalous data. Specifically, students should be able to review data from a simple experiment, summarize the data, and form a logical argument about the cause-and-effect relationships in the experiment. Students should being to state some explanations in terms of the relationship between two or more variables.

F. Recognize and Analyze Alternative Explanations and Predictions
Students should develop the ability to listen to and respect he explanations proposed by other students. They should remain open to and acknowledge different ideas and explanations, be able to accept the skepticism of others, and consider alternative explanations.

G. Communicate Scientific Procedures and Explanations
With practice, students should become competent at communicating experimental methods, following instructions, describing observations, summarizing the results of other groups, and telling other students about investigations and explanations.

H. Use Mathematics In All Aspects of Scientific Inquiry
Mathematics is essential to asking and answering questions about the natural world. Mathematics can be used to ask questions; to gather, organize, and present data; and to structure convincing explanations.

3. Physical Science

Content Standard B: As a result of their activities in grades 5-8, all students should develop an understanding of

Fundamental concepts and principals that underlie this standard include:

A. Properties and Changes of Properties in Matter
  1. A substance has characteristic properties, such as density, a boiling point, and solubility, all of which are independent of the amount of the sample. A mixture of substances often can be separated into the original substances using one or more of the characteristic properties.
  2. Substances react chemically in characteristic ways with other substances to form new substances (compounds) with different characteristics properties. In chemical reactions, the total mass is conserved. Substances often are placed in categories or groups if they react in similar ways; metals is an example of such a group.
  3. Chemical elements do not break down during normal laboratory reactions involving such treatments as heating, exposure to electric current, or reaction with acids. There are more than 100 know elements that combine in a multitude of ways to produce nonliving substances that we encounter.

B. Motions and Forces
  1. The motion of an object can be described by its position, direction of motion, and speed. That motion can be measured and represented on a graph.
  2. An object that is not being subjected to a force will continue to move at a constant speed and in a straight line.
  3. If more than one force acts on an object along a straight line, then the forces will reinforce or cancel one another, depending on their direction and magnitude. Unbalanced forces will cause changes in the speed or direction of an object's motion.

C. Transfer of Energy
  1. Energy is a property of many substances and is associated with heat, light, electricity, mechanical motion, sound, nuclei, and the nature of a chemical. Energy is transferred in many ways.
  2. Heat moves in predictable ways, flowing from warmer object to cooler ones, until both reach the same temperature.
  3. Light interacts with matter by transmission (including refraction), absorption, or scattering (including reflection). To see an object, light from that object-either emitted by or scattered from it-must enter the eye.
  4. Electrical circuits provide a means of transferring electrical energy when heat, light, sound, and chemical changes are produced.
  5. In most chemical and nuclear reactions, energy is transferred into or out of a system. Heat, light, mechanical motion, or electricity might all be involved in such transfers.
  6. The sun is a major source of energy for changes on the earth's surface. The sun loses energy by emitting light. A tiny fraction of that light reaches the earth, transferring energy from the sun to the earth. The sun's energy arrives as light with a range of wavelengths, consisting of visible light, infrared, and ultraviolet radiation.

4. Life Science

Content Standard C: As a result of their activities in grades 5-8, all students should develop understanding of:

Fundamental concepts and principles that underlie this standard include:

A. Structure and Function in Living Systems
  1. Living systems at all levels of organization demonstrate the complementary nature of structure and function. Important levels of organization for structure and function include cells, organs, tissues, organ systems, whole organisms, and ecosystems.
  2. All organisms are composed of cells, the fundamental unit of life. Most organisms are single cells; other organisms, including humans, are multicellular.
  3. Cells carry on the many functions needed to sustain life. They grow and divide, thereby producing more cells. This requires that they take in nutrients, which they use to provide energy for the work that cells do and to make the materials that a cell or an organism needs.
  4. Specialized cells perform specialized functions in multicellular organisms. Groups of specialized cells cooperate to form a tissue, such as a muscle. Different tissues are in turn grouped together to form larger functional units, called organs. Each type of cell, tissue, and organ has a distinct structure and set of functions that serve the organism as a whole.
  5. The human organism has systems for digestion, respiration, reproduction, circulation, excretion, movement, control, and coordination, and for protection from disease. These systems interact with one another.
  6. Disease is a breakdown in structures or functions of an organism. Some diseases are the result of intrinsic failures of the system. Others are the result of damage by infection by other organisms.

B. Reproduction and Heredity
  1. Reproduction is characteristic of all living systems; because no individual organism lives forever, reproduction is essential to the continuation of every species. Some organisms reproduce asexually. Other organisms reproduce sexually.
  2. In many species, including humans, females produce eggs and males produce sperm. Plants also reproduce sexually-the egg and sperm are produced in the flowers of flowering plants. An egg and sperm unite to begin development of a new individual. That new individual receives genetic information from its mother (egg) and its father (sperm). Sexually produced offspring never are identical to either of their parents.
  3. Every organism requires a set of instructions for specifying its traits. Heredity is the passage of these instructions from one generation to another.
  4. Hereditary information is contained in genes, located in the chromosomes of each cell. Each gene carries a single unit of information. An inherited trait of an individual can be determined by one or by many genes, and a single gene can influence more than one trait. A human cell contains many thousands of different genes.
  5. The characteristics of an organism can be described in terms of a combination of traits. Some traits are inherited and others result from interactions with the environment.

C. Regulation and Behavior
  1. All organisms must be able to obtain and use resources, grow, reproduce, and maintain stable internal conditions while living in a constantly changing external environment.
  2. Regulation of an organism's internal environment involves sensing the internal environment and changing physiological activities to keep conditions within the range required to survive.
  3. Behavior is one kind of response an organism can make to an internal or environmental stimulus. A behavioral response requires coordination and communication at many levels, including cells, organ systems, and whole organisms. Behavioral response is a set of actions determined in part by heredity and in part from experience.
  4. An organism's behavior evolves through adaptation to its environment. How a species moves, obtains food, reproduces, and responds to danger are based in the species' evolutionary history.

D. Populations and Ecosystems
  1. A population consists of all individuals of a species that occur together at a given place and time. All populations living together and the physical factors with which they interact compose an ecosystem.
  2. Populations or organisms can be categorized by the function they serve in an ecosystem. Plants and some microorganisms are producers-they make their own food. All animals, including humans, are consumers, which obtain food by eating other organisms. Decomposers, primarily bacteria and fungi, are consumers that use waste materials and dead organisms for food. Food webs identify the relationships among producers, consumers, and decomposers in an ecosystem.
  3. For ecosystems, the major source of energy is sunlight. Energy entering ecosystems as sunlight is transferred by producers into chemical energy through photosynthesis. That energy then passes from organism to organism in food webs.
  4. The number of organisms an ecosystem can support depends on the resources available and abiotic factors, such as quantity of light and water, range of temperatures, and soil composition. Given adequate biotic and abiotic resources, and no disease or predators, populations (including humans), increase at rapid rates. Lack or resources and other factors, such as predators and climate, limit the growth of populations in specific niches in the ecosystem.

E. Diversity and Adaptations of Organisms
  1. Millions of species of animals, plants, and microorganisms are alive today. Although different species might look dissimilar, the unity among organisms becomes apparent from an analysis of internal structures, the similarity of their chemical processes, and the evidence of common ancestry.
  2. Biological evolution accounts for the diversity of species developed through gradual processes over many generations. Species acquire many of their unique characteristics through biological adaptation, which involves the selection of naturally occurring variations in populations. Biological adaptations include changes in structures, behaviors, or physiology that enhance survival and reproductive success in a particular environment.
  3. Extinction of a species occurs when the environment changes and the adaptive characteristics of a species are insufficient to allow its survival. Fossils indicate that many organisms that lived long ago are extinct. Extinction of species is common, most of the species that have lived on the earth no longer exist.

5. Earth and Space Science

Content Standard D: As a result of their activities in grades 5-8, all students should develop an understanding of:

Fundamental concepts and principals that underlie this standard include:

A. Structure of the Earth System
  1. The solid Earth is layered with lithosphere; hot, convecting mantle; and dense, metallic core.
  2. Lithospheric plates on the scales of continents and oceans constantly move at rates of centimeters per year in response to movements in the mantle. Major geological events, such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and mountain building, result from these plate motions.
  3. Land forms are the result of a combination of constructive and destructive forces. Constructive forces include crustal deformation, volcanic eruption, and deposition of sediment; destructive forces include weathering and erosion.
  4. Some changes in the solid earth can be described as the "rock cycle." Old rocks at the Earth's surface weather, forming sediments that are buried and then compacted and heated; they are then often re-crystallized into new rock. Eventually, those new rocks may be brought to the surface by the forces that drive plate motions, and the rock cycle continues.
  5. Soil consists of weathered rocks and decomposed organic material from dead plants, animals, and bacteria. Soils are often found in layers, with each having a different chemical composition and texture.
  6. Water, which covers the majority of the earth's surface, circulates through the crust, oceans, and atmosphere in what is known as the "water cycle." Water evaporates from the earth's surface; rises and cools as it moves to higher elevations; condenses as rain or snow; and falls to the surface where it collects in lakes, oceans, soil, and in rocks underground.
  7. Water is a solvent. As it passes through the water cycle it dissolves minerals and gases and carries them to the oceans.
  8. The atmosphere is a mixture of nitrogen, oxygen, and trace gases that include water vapor. The atmosphere has different properties at different elevations.
  9. Clouds, formed by the condensation of water vapor, affect weather and climate.
  10. Global patterns of atmospheric movement influence local weather. Oceans have a major effect on climate, because water in the oceans holds a large amount of heat.
  11. Living organisms have played many roles in the earth system, including affecting the composition of the atmosphere, producing some types of rocks, and contributing to the weathering of rocks.

B. Earth's History
  1. The earth processes we see today, including erosion, movement of lithospheric plates, and changes in atmospheric composition, are similar to those that occurred in the past. Earth history is also influenced by occasional catastrophes, such as the impact of an asteroid or comet.
  2. Fossils provide important evidence of how life and environmental conditions have changed.

C. Earth in the Solar System
  1. The Earth is the third planet from the Sun in a system that includes the moon, the Sun, eight other planets and their moons, and smaller object such as asteroids and comets. The Sun, an average star, is the central and largest body in the solar system.
  2. Most objects in the solar system are in regular and predictable motion. Those motions explain such phenomena as the day, the year, phases of the moon, and eclipses.
  3. Gravity is the force that keeps planets in orbit around the sun and governs the rest of the motion in the solar system. Gravity alone holds us to the earth's surface and explains the phenomena of the tides.
  4. The sun is the major source of energy for phenomena on the earth's surface, such as growth of plants, winds, ocean currents, and the water cycle. Seasons result from variations in the amount of the sun's energy hitting the surface, due to the tilt of the earth's rotation on its axis and the length of the day.
  5. Note from BLC indexers: In addition to the concepts and principles listed above, this outcome is also used to indicate items that deal with concepts and principles of space and space exploration, independent of any relationship to Earth. Refer to section "XIV. Choosing Outcomes" in the Indexers Manual for more information.

6. Science and Technology

Content Standard E: As a result of activities in grades 5-8, all students should develop:

Fundamental abilities and concepts that underlie this standard include:

A. Abilities of Technological Design
  1. Identify appropriate problems for technological design. Students should develop their abilities by identifying a specified need, considering its various aspects, and talking to different potential users or beneficiaries. They should appreciate that for some needs, the cultural backgrounds and beliefs of different groups can affect the criteria for a suitable product.
  2. Design a solution or product. Students should make and compare different proposals in the light of the criteria they have selected. They must consider constraints-cost, time, trade-offs, materials-and communicate ideas with drawings and simple models.
  3. Implement a proposed design. Students should organize materials and other resources, plan their work, make good use of group collaboration where appropriate, choose suitable tools and techniques, and work with appropriate measurement methods to ensure adequate accuracy.
  4. Evaluate completed technological designs or products. Students should use criteria relevant to the original purpose or need, consider a variety of factors that might affect acceptability and suitability for intended users or beneficiaries, and develop measures or quality with respect to such criteria and factors; they should also suggest improvements, and, for their own products, try proposed modifications.
  5. Communicate the process of technological design. Students should review and describe any completed piece of work and identify the stages of problem identification, solution design, implementation, and evaluation.

B. Understandings about Science and Technology.
  1. Scientific inquiry and technological design have similarities and differences. Scientists propose explanations for questions about the natural world, and engineers propose solutions relating to human problems, needs, and aspirations. Technological solutions are temporary; technologies exist within nature and so they cannot contravene physical or biological principles; technological solutions have side effects; and technologies cost, carry risks, and provide benefits.
  2. Many different people in different cultures have made and continue to make contributions to science and technology.
  3. Science and technology are reciprocal. Science helps drive technology, as it addresses questions that demand more sophisticated instruments and provides principles for better instrumentation and technique. Technology is essential to science because it provides instruments and techniques that enable observations of objects and phenomena that are otherwise unobservable due to factors such as quantity, distance, location, size, and speed. Technology also provides tools for investigations, inquiry, and analysis.
  4. Perfectly designed solutions do not exist. All technological solutions have trade-offs, such as safety, cost, efficiency, and appearance. Engineers often build in back-up systems to provide safety. Risk is part of living in a highly technological world. Reducing risk often results in new technology.
  5. Technological designs have constraints. Some constraints are unavoidable, for example, properties of materials, or effects of weather and friction; other constraints limit choices in the design, for example, environmental protection, human safety, and aesthetics.
  6. Technological solutions have intended benefits and unintended consequences. Some consequences can be predicted, others cannot.

7. Science in Personal and Social Perspectives

Content Standard F: As a result of activities in grades 5-8, all students should develop understanding of:

Fundamental concepts and principles that underlie this standard include:

A. Personal Health
  1. Regular exercise is important to the maintenance and improvement of health. The benefits of physical fitness include maintaining healthy weights, having energy and strength for routine activities, good muscle tone, bone strength, strong hear/lung systems, and improved mental health. Personal exercise, especially developing cardiovascular endurance, is the foundation of physical fitness.
  2. The potential for accidents and the existence of hazards imposes the need for injury prevention. Safe living involves the development and use of safety precautions and the recognition of risk in personal decisions. Injury prevention has personal and social dimensions.
  3. The use of tobacco increases the risk of illness. Students should understand the influence of short-term social and psychological factors that lead to tobacco use, and the possible long-term detrimental effects of smoking and chewing tobacco.
  4. Alcohol and other drugs are often abused substances. Such drugs change how the body functions and can lead to addiction.
  5. Food provides energy and nutrients for growth and development. Nutrition requirements vary with body weight, age, sex, activity, and body functioning.
  6. The sex drive is a natural human function that requires understanding. Sex is also a prominent means of transmitting diseases. These diseases can be prevented through a variety of precautions.
  7. Natural environments may contain substances (radon, lead) that are harmful to human beings. Maintaining environmental health involves establishing or monitoring quality standards related to use of soil, water, and air.

B. Populations, Resources, and Environments
  1. When an area becomes overpopulated, the environment will become degraded due to the increased use of resources.
  2. Causes of environmental degradation and resource depletion vary from region to region and from country to country.

C. Natural Hazards
  1. Internal and external processes of the earth system cause natural hazards. These are events that change or destroy human and wildlife habitats, damage property, and harm or kill humans. Natural hazards include earthquakes, landslides, wildfires, volcanic eruptions, floods, storms, and even possible impacts of asteroids.
  2. Human activities also can induce hazards through resource acquisition, urban growth, land-use decisions, and waste disposal. Such activities can accelerate many natural changes.
  3. Natural hazards can present personal and societal challenges because misidentifying the change or incorrectly estimating the rate and scale of change may result in either too little attention and significant human costs or too much cost for unneeded preventive measures.

D. Risks and Benefits
  1. Risk analysis considers the type of hazard and estimates the number of people that might be exposed and the number likely to suffer consequences. The results are used to determine the options for reducing or eliminating risks.
  2. Students should understand the risks associated with natural hazards such as fires, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions; with chemical hazards such as pollutants in air, water, soil, and food; with biological hazards such as pollen, viruses, bacterial, and parasites; with social hazards such as occupational safety and transportation; and with personal hazards such as smoking, dieting, and drinking.
  3. Individuals can use a systematic approach to thinking critically about risks and benefits. Examples include applying probability estimates to risks and comparing them to estimated personal and social benefits.
  4. Important personal and social decisions are made based on perceptions of benefits and risks.

E. Science and Technology in Society
  1. Science influences society through its knowledge and world view. Scientific knowledge and the procedures used by scientists influence the way many individuals in society think about themselves, others, and the environment. The effect of science on society is neither entirely beneficial nor entirely detrimental.
  2. Societal challenges often inspire questions for scientific research, and social priorities often influence research priorities through the availability of funding for research.
  3. Technology influences society through its products and processes. Technology influences the quality of life and the ways people act and interact. Technological changes are often accompanied by social, political, and economic changes that can be beneficial or detrimental to individuals and to society. Social needs, attitudes, and values influence the direction of technological development.
  4. Science and technology have advanced through contributions of many different people, in different cultures, at different times in history. Science and technology have contributed enormously to economic growth and productivity among societies and groups within societies.
  5. Scientists and engineers work in many different settings, including colleges and universities, businesses and industries, specific research institutes, and government agencies.
  6. Scientists and engineers have ethical codes requiring that human subjects involved with research be fully informed about risks and benefits associated with the research before the individuals choose to participate. This ethic extends to potential risks to communities and property. In short, prior knowledge and consent are required for research involving human subjects or potential damage to property.
  7. Science cannot answer all questions and technology cannot solve all human problems or meet all human needs. Students should understand the difference between scientific and other questions. They should appreciate what science and technology can reasonably contribute to society and what they cannot do. For example, new technologies often will decrease some risks and increase others.

8. History and Nature of Science

Content Standard G: As a result of activities in grades 5-8, all students should develop an understanding of:

Note: For the purposes of the BLC Project, this outcome has been limited to the History of Science. To view the full outcome, please see Or, call the National Academy of Sciences at 800-624-6242.

Fundamental concepts and principles that underlie this standard include:

A. History of Science
  1. Many individuals have contributed to the tradition of science. Studying some of these individuals provides further understanding of scientific inquiry, science as a human endeavor, the nature of science, and the relationships between science and society.
  2. In historical perspective, science has been practiced by different individuals in different cultures. In looking at the history of many peoples one finds that scientists and engineers of high achievement are considered to be among the most valued contributors to their culture.
  3. Tracing the history of science can show how difficult it was for scientific innovators to break through the accepted ideas of their time to reach the conclusions that we currently take for granted.


State Groups

1. Northeast:

2. Mid-Atlantic:

3. Southeastern States:

4. Midwest:

5. Northwestern States

6. Southwest:

Continent Groups

1. Africa

2. Antarctica

3. Asia

4. Australia and Oceania

5. Europe

6. North America

7. South America

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