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RULE §112.5Science, Grade 3, Adopted 2021

(a) Introduction.

  (1) In Kindergarten through Grade 5 Science, content is organized into recurring strands. The concepts within each grade level build on prior knowledge, prepare students for the next grade level, and establish a foundation for high school courses. In Grade 3, the following concepts will be addressed in each strand.

    (A) Scientific and engineering practices. Scientific inquiry is the planned and deliberate investigation of the natural world using scientific and engineering practices. Scientific methods of investigation are descriptive, correlative, comparative, or experimental. The method chosen should be appropriate to the grade level and question being asked. Student learning for different types of investigations includes descriptive investigations, which have no hypothesis that tentatively answers the research question and involve collecting data and recording observations without making comparisons; correlative and comparative investigations, which have a hypothesis that predicts a relationship and involve collecting data, measuring variables relevant to the hypothesis that are manipulated, and comparing results; and experimental investigations, which involve processes similar to comparative investigations but in which a hypothesis can be tested by comparing a treatment with a control.

      (i) Scientific practices. Students ask questions, plan and conduct investigations to answer questions, and explain phenomena using appropriate tools and models.

      (ii) Engineering practices. Students identify problems and design solutions using appropriate tools and models.

      (iii) To support instruction in the science content standards, it is recommended that districts integrate scientific and engineering practices through classroom and outdoor investigations for at least 60% of instructional time.

    (B) Matter and energy. Students build upon the knowledge learned in Kindergarten-Grade 2 by investigating the physical properties of matter. Students explore states of matter and observe that changes can occur to matter through heating and cooling. The students explore using substances by combining them to create or modify objects based on their physical properties.

    (C) Force, motion, and energy. Students manipulate objects by pushing and pulling to demonstrate changes in motion and position. Students also identify forces such as magnetism and gravity. Students understand energy exists in many forms, including mechanical, thermal, light, and sound. The students identify forms of energy in everyday life.

    (D) Earth and space. Students learn that there are recognizable processes that change the Earth over time. Students compare day-to-day changes in weather. They also investigate how soil is formed through the processes of weathering and decomposition. Students model rapid changes to Earth's surface as well as explore ways to conserve Earth's resources. Students recognize that there are identifiable objects and patterns in Earth's solar system. Students model the orbits of the Sun, Earth, and Moon as well as describe their relationship to each other. This will set the foundation for Grade 4 when they look at changes in the appearance of the Moon. Students also identify the sequence of the planets in Earth's solar system.

    (E) Organisms and environments. Students explore patterns, systems, and cycles within environments by investigating characteristics of organisms, life cycles, and interactions among all components of the natural environment. Students examine how environment and the structures and functions of animals play a key role in survival. Students know that when changes in the environment occur, organisms may thrive, become ill, or perish. Students also examine fossils as evidence of past living organisms.

  (2) Nature of science. Science, as defined by the National Academy of Sciences, is the "use of evidence to construct testable explanations and predictions of natural phenomena, as well as the knowledge generated through this process." This vast body of changing and increasing knowledge is described by physical, mathematical, and conceptual models. Students should know that some questions are outside the realm of science because they deal with phenomena that are not currently scientifically testable.

  (3) Scientific observations, inferences, hypotheses, and theories. Students are expected to know that:

    (A) observations are active acquisition of either qualitative or quantitative information from a primary source through the senses;

    (B) inferences are conclusions reached on the basis of observations or reasoning supported by relevant evidence;

    (C) hypotheses are tentative and testable statements that must be capable of being supported or not supported by observational evidence. Hypotheses of durable explanatory power that have been tested over a wide variety of conditions are incorporated into theories; and

    (D) scientific theories are based on natural and physical phenomena and are capable of being tested by multiple independent researchers. Unlike hypotheses, scientific theories are well established and highly reliable explanations, but they may be subject to change as new areas of science and new technologies are developed.

  (4) Science and social ethics. Scientific decision making is a way of answering questions about the natural world involving its own set of ethical standards about how the process of science should be carried out. Students distinguish between scientific decision-making practices and ethical and social decisions that involve science.

  (5) Recurring themes and concepts. Science consists of recurring themes and making connections between overarching concepts. Recurring themes include structure and function, systems, models, and patterns. All systems have basic properties that can be described in space, time, energy, and matter. Change and constancy occur in systems as patterns and can be observed, measured, and modeled. Models have limitations but provide a tool for understanding the ideas presented. Students analyze a system in terms of its components and how these components relate to each other, to the whole, and to the external environment.

  (6) Statements containing the word "including" reference content that must be mastered, while those containing the phrase "such as" are intended as possible illustrative examples.

(b) Knowledge and skills.

  (1) Scientific and engineering practices. The student asks questions, identifies problems, and plans and safely conducts classroom, laboratory, and field investigations to answer questions, explain phenomena, or design solutions using appropriate tools and models. The student is expected to:

    (A) ask questions and define problems based on observations or information from text, phenomena, models, or investigations;

    (B) use scientific practices to plan and conduct descriptive investigations and use engineering practices to design solutions to problems;

    (C) demonstrate safe practices and the use of safety equipment during classroom and field investigations as outlined in Texas Education Agency-approved safety standards;

    (D) use tools, including hand lenses; metric rulers; Celsius thermometers; wind vanes; rain gauges; graduated cylinders; beakers; digital scales; hot plates; meter sticks; magnets; notebooks; Sun, Earth, Moon system models; timing devices; materials to support observation of habitats of organisms such as terrariums, aquariums, and collecting nets; and materials to support digital data collection such as computers, tablets, and cameras, to observe, measure, test, and analyze information;

    (E) collect observations and measurements as evidence;

    (F) construct appropriate graphic organizers to collect data, including tables, bar graphs, line graphs, tree maps, concept maps, Venn diagrams, flow charts or sequence maps, and input-output tables that show cause and effect; and

    (G) develop and use models to represent phenomena, objects, and processes or design a prototype for a solution to a problem.

  (2) Scientific and engineering practices. The student analyzes and interprets data to derive meaning, identify features and patterns, and discover relationships or correlations to develop evidence-based arguments or evaluate designs. The student is expected to:

    (A) identify advantages and limitations of models such as their size, scale, properties, and materials;

    (B) analyze data by identifying any significant features, patterns, or sources of error;

    (C) use mathematical calculations to compare patterns and relationships; and

    (D) evaluate a design or object using criteria.

  (3) Scientific and engineering practices. The student develops evidence-based explanations and communicates findings, conclusions, and proposed solutions. The student is expected to:

    (A) develop explanations and propose solutions supported by data and models;


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