Madison Area Herpetological Society

Wisconsin Science Content and Performance Standards

Content Standard Science Standard A (Science Connections)
Content Standard: Students in Wisconsin will understand that there are unifying themes: systems, order, organization, and interactions; evidence, models, and explanations; constancy, change, and measurement; evolution, equilibrium, and energy; form and function among scientific disciplines.These themes relate and interconnect the Wisconsin science standards to one another. Each theme is further defined in the Science GlossaryRationale: These unifying themes are ways of thinking rather than theories or discoveries. Students should know about these themes and realize that the more they learn about science the better they will understand how the themes organize and enlarge their knowledge. Science is a system and should be seen as a single discipline rather than a set of separate disciplines. Students will also understand science better when they connect and integrate these unifying themes into what they know about themselves and the world around them.Science Performance Standard A Grade 4

Science, Standard A: Science Connections
Performance Standards – Grade 4

By the end of grade four, students will:

A.4.1 When conducting science investigations, ask and answer questions that will help decide the general areas of science being addressed

A.4.2 When faced with a science-related problem, decide what evidence, models, or explanations previously studied can be used to better understand what is happening now

A.4.3 When investigating a science-related problem, decide what data can be collected to determine the most useful explanations

A.4.4 When studying science-related problems, decide which of the science themes are important

A.4.5 When studying a science-related problem, decide what changes over time are occurring or have occurred

Science Performance Standard A Grade 8

Science, Standard A: Science Connections
Performance Standards – Grade 8

By the end of grade eight, students will:

A.8.1 Develop their understanding of the science themes by using the themes to frame questions about science-related issues and problems

A.8.2 Describe limitations of science systems and give reasons why specific science themes are included in or excluded from those systems

A.8.3 Defend explanations and models by collecting and organizing evidence that supports them and critique explanations and models by collecting and organizing evidence that conflicts with them

A.8.4 Collect evidence to show that models developed as explanations for events were (and are) based on the evidence available to scientists at the time

A.8.5 Show how models and explanations, based on systems, were changed as new evidence accumulated (the effects of constancy, evolution, change, and measurement should all be part of these explanations)

A.8.6 Use models and explanations to predict actions and events in the natural world

A.8.7 Design real or thought investigations to test the usefulness and limitations of a model

A.8.8. Use the themes of evolution, equilibrium, and energy to predict future events or changes in the natural world

Science, Standard A: Science Connections Performance Standards – Grade 12

By the end of grade twelve, students will:

A.12.1 Apply the underlying themes of science to develop defensible visions of the future

A.12.2 Show how conflicting assumptions about science themes lead to different opinions and decisions about evolution, health, population, longevity, education, and use of resources, and show how these opinions and decisions have diverse effects on an individual, a community, and a country, both now and in the future

A.12.3 Give examples that show how partial systems, models, and explanations are used to give quick and reasonable solutions that are accurate enough for basic needs

A.12.4 Construct arguments that show how conflicting models and explanations of events can start with similar evidence

A.12.5 Show how the ideas and themes of science can be used to make real-life decisions about careers, work places, life-styles, and use of resources

A.12.6 Identify and, using evidence learned or discovered, replace inaccurate personal models and explanations of science-related events

A.12.7 Re-examine the evidence and reasoning that led to conclusions drawn from investigations, using the science themes

Content Standard Science Standard B (Nature of Science)

Content Standard: Students in Wisconsin will understand that science is ongoing and inventive, and that scientific understandings have changed over time as new evidence is found.

Rationale: Students will realize that scientific knowledge is developed from the activities of scientists and others who work to find the best possible explanations of the natural world. Researchers and those who are involved in science follow a generally accepted set of rules to produce scientific knowledge that others can confirm with experimental evidence. This knowledge is public, replicable, and undergoing revision and refinement based on new experiments and data.

Science Performance Standard B Grade 4

Science, Standard B: Nature of Science
Performance Standards – Grade 4

By the end of grade four, students will:

B.4.1 Use encyclopedias, source books, texts, computers, teachers, parents, other adults, journals, popular press, and various other sources, to help answer science-related questions and plan investigations

B.4.2 Acquire information about people who have contributed to the development of major ideas in the sciences and learn about the cultures in which these people lived and worked

B.4.3 Show* how the major developments of scientific knowledge in the earth and space, life and environmental, and physical sciences have changed over time

Science Performance Standard B Grade 8

Science, Standard B: Nature of Science
Performance Standards – Grade 8

By the end of grade eight, students will:

B.8.1 Describe how scientific knowledge and concepts have changed over time in the earth and space, life and environmental, and physical sciences

B.8.2 Identify and describe major changes that have occurred over in conceptual models and explanations in the earth and space, life and environmental, and physical sciences and identify the people, cultures, and conditions that led to these developments

B.8.3 Explain how the general rules of science apply to the development and use of evidence in science investigations, model-making, and applications

B.8.4 Describe types of reasoning and evidence used outside of science to draw conclusions about the natural world

B.8.5 Explain ways in which science knowledge is shared, checked, and extended, and show how these processes change over time

B.8.6 Explain the ways in which scientific knowledge is useful and also limited when applied to social issues

Science, Standard B: Nature of Science Performance Standards – Grade 12

By the end of grade twelve, students will:

B.12.1 Show how cultures and individuals have contributed to the development of major ideas in the earth and space, life and environmental, and physical sciences

B.12.2 Identify the cultural conditions that are usually present during great periods of discovery, scientific development, and invention

B.12.3 Relate the major themes of science to human progress in understanding science and the world

B.12.4 Show how basic research and applied research contribute to new discoveries, inventions, and applications

B.12.5 Explain how science is based on assumptions about the natural world and themes that describe the natural world

Content Standard Science Standard C – Science Inquiry

Content Standard: Students in Wisconsin will investigate questions using scientific methods and tools, revise their personal understanding to accommodate knowledge, and communicate these understandings to others.

Rationale: Students should experience science in a form that engages them in actively constructing ideas and explanations and enhances their opportunities to develop the skills of doing science. Such inquiry (problem solving) should include questioning, forming hypotheses, collecting and analyzing data, reaching conclusions and evaluating results, and communicating procedures and findings to others.

Science Performance Standard C Grade 4

Science, Standard C: Science Inquiry
Performance Standards – Grade 4

By the end of grade four, students will:

C.4.1 Use the vocabulary of the unifying themes to ask questions about objects, organisms, and events being studied

C.4.2 Use the science content being learned to ask questions, plan investigations, make observations, make predictions, and offer explanations

C.4.3 Select multiple sources of information to help answer questions selected for classroom investigations

C.4.4 Use simple science equipment safely and effectively, including rulers, balances, graduated cylinders, hand lenses, thermometers, and computers, to collect data relevant to questions and investigations

C.4.5 Use data they have collected to develop explanations and answer questions generated by investigations

C.4.6 Communicate the results of their investigations in ways their audiences will understand by using charts, graphs, drawings, written descriptions, and various other means, to display their answers

C.4.7 Support their conclusions with logical arguments

C.4.8 Ask additional questions that might help focus or further an investigation

Science, Standard C: Science Inquiry Performance Standards – Grade 8

By the end of grade eight, students will:

C.8.1 Identify* questions they can investigate* using resources and equipment they have available

C.8.2 Identify* data and locate sources of information including their own records to answer the questions being investigated

C.8.3 Design and safely conduct investigations* that provide reliable quantitative or qualitative data, as appropriate, to answer their questions

C.8.4 Use inferences* to help decide possible results of their investigations, use observations to check their inferences

C.8.5 Use accepted scientific knowledge, models*, and theories* to explain* their results and to raise further questions about their investigations*

C.8.6 State what they have learned from investigations*, relating their inferences* to scientific knowledge and to data they have collected

C.8.7 Explain* their data and conclusions in ways that allow an audience to understand the questions they selected for investigation* and the answers they have developed

C.8.8 Use computer software and other technologies to organize, process, and present their data

C.8.9 Evaluate*, explain*, and defend the validity of questions, hypotheses, and conclusions to their investigations*

C.8.10 Discuss the importance of their results and implications of their work with peers, teachers, and other adults

C.8.11 Raise further questions which still need to be answered

Science Inquiry Performance Standards C Grade 12

By the end of grade twelve, students will:

C.12.1 When studying science content, ask questions suggested by current social issues, scientific literature, and observations* of phenomena, build hypotheses that might answer some of these questions, design possible investigations*, and describe results that might emerge from such investigations

C.12.2 Identify* issues from an area of science study, write questions that could be investigated*, review previous research on these questions, and design and conduct responsible and safe investigations to help answer the questions

C.12.3 Evaluate* the data collected during an investigation*, critique the data-collection procedures and results, and suggest ways to make any needed improvements

C.12.4 During investigations*, choose the best data-collection procedures and materials available, use them competently, and calculate the degree of precision of the resulting data

C.12.5 Use the explanations* and models* found in the earth and space, life and environmental, and physical sciences to develop likely explanations* for the results of their investigations*

C.12.6 Present the results of investigations* to groups concerned with the issues, explaining* the meaning and implications of the results, and answering questions in terms the audience can understand

C.12.7 Evaluate* articles and reports in the popular press, in scientific journals, on television, and on the Internet, using criteria related to accuracy, degree of error, sampling, treatment of data, and other standards of experimental design

Content Standard Science Standard F – Life and Environmental Science

Content Standard: Students in Wisconsin will demonstrate an understanding of the characteristics and structures of living things, the processes of life, and how living things interact with one another and their environment.

Note: For more details of the content of life and environmental sciences, see National Science Education Standards* (1996, p. 115 – 201).

Rationale: Students will enhance their natural curiosity about living things and their environment through study of the structure and function of living things, ecosystems, life cycles, energy movement (transfer), energy change (transformation), and changes in populations of organisms through time. Knowledge of these concepts and processes of life and environmental science will assist students in making informed choices regarding their lifestyles and the impact they have on communities of living things in their environment.

Science, Life and Environmental, Performance Standards F Grade 4

By the end of grade four, students will:


F.4.1 Discover* how each organism meets its basic needs for water, nutrients, protection, and energy* in order to survive

F.4.2 Investigate* how organisms, especially plants, respond to both internal cues (the need for water) and external cues (changes in the environment)


F.4.3 Illustrate* the different ways that organisms grow through life stages and survive to produce new members of their type


F.4.4 Using the science themes*, develop explanations* for the connections among living and non-living things in various environments

Science, Standard F: Life and Environmental Science Performance Standards – Grade 8

By the end of grade eight, students will:


F.8.1 Understand the structure and function of cells, organs, tissues, organ systems, and whole organisms

F.8.2 Show how organisms have adapted structures to match their functions, providing means of encouraging individual and group survival within specific environments

F.8.3 Differentiate between single-celled and multiple-celled organisms (humans) through investigation, comparing the cell functions of specialized cells for each type of organism


F.8.4 Investigate and explain that heredity is comprised of the characteristic traits found in genes within the cell of an organism

F.8.5 Show how different structures both reproduce and pass on characteristics of their group


F.8.6 Understand that an organism is regulated both internally and externally

F.8.7 Understand that an organism’s behavior evolves through adaptation to its environment


F.8.8 Show through investigations how organisms both depend on and contribute to the balance or imbalance of populations and/or ecosystems, which in turn contribute to the total system of life on the planet


F.8.9 Explain how some of the changes on the earth are contributing to changes in the balance of life and affecting the survival or population growth of certain species

F.8.10 Project how current trends in human resource use and population growth will influence the natural environment, and show how current policies affect those trends.

Science Performance Standard F Grade 12

Science, Standard F: Life and Environmental Science
Performance Standards – Grade 12

By the end of grade twelve, students will:


F.12.1 Evaluate the normal structures and the general and special functions of cells in single-celled and multiple-celled organisms

F.12.2 Understand how cells differentiate and how cells are regulated


F.12.3 Explain current scientific ideas and information about the molecular and genetic basis of heredity

F.12.4 State the relationships between functions of the cell and functions of the organism as related to genetics and heredity


F.12.5 Understand the theory of evolution, natural selection, and biological classification

F.12.6. Using concepts of evolution and heredity, account for changes in species and the diversity of species, include the influence of these changes on science, e.g. breeding of plants or animals


F.12.7 Investigate how organisms both cooperate and compete in ecosystems

F.12.8 Using the science themes, infer changes in ecosystems prompted by the introduction of new species, environmental conditions, chemicals, and air, water, or earth pollution


F.12.9 Using the science themes, investigate energy systems (related to food chains) to show how energy is stored in food (plants and animals) and how energy is released by digestion and metabolism

F.12.10 Understand the impact of energy on organisms in living systems

F.12.11 Investigate how the complexity and organization of organisms accommodates the need for obtaining, transforming, transporting, releasing, and eliminating the matter and energy* used to sustain an organism


F.12.12 Trace how the sensory and nervous systems of various organisms react to the internal and external environment and transmit survival or learning stimuli to cause changes in behavior or responses

Content Standard Science Standard G – Science Applications

Content Standard: Students in Wisconsin will demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between science and technology and the ways in which that relationship influences human activities.

Rationale: Science and technology compliment each other. Science helps drive technology and technology provides science with tools for investigation, inquiry, and analysis. Together, science and technology applications provide solutions to human problems, needs, and aspirations. Students should understand that advances in science and technology affect the earth’s systems.

Science, Standard G: Science Applications Performance Standards – Grade 4

By the end of grade four, students will:

G.4.1 Identify* the technology used by someone employed in a job or position in Wisconsin and explain* how the technology helps

G.4.2 Discover* what changes in technology have occurred in a career chosen by a parent, grandparent, or an adult friend over a long period of time

G.4.3 Determine what science discoveries have led to changes in technologies that are being used in the workplace by someone employed locally

G.4.4 Identify* the combinations of simple machines in a device used in the home, the workplace, or elsewhere in the community, to make or repair things, or to move goods or people

G.4.5 Ask questions to find answers about how devices and machines were invented and produced

Science Applications, Performance Standards G Grade 8

By the end of grade eight, students will:

G.8.1 Identify* and investigate* the skills people need for a career in science or technology and identify the academic courses that a person pursuing such a career would need

G.8.2 Explain* how current scientific and technological discoveries have an influence on the work people do and how some of these discoveries also lead to new careers

G.8.3 Illustrate* the impact that science and technology have had, both good and bad, on careers, systems, society, environment, and quality of life

G.8.4 Propose a design (or re-design) of an applied science model or a machine that will have an impact in the community or elsewhere in the world and show* how the design (or re-design) might work, including potential side-effects

G.8.5 Investigate* a specific local problem to which there has been a scientific or technological solution, including proposals for alternative courses of action, the choices that were made, reasons for the choices, any new problems created, and subsequent community satisfaction

G.8.6 Use current texts, encyclopedias, source books, computers, experts, the popular press, or other relevant sources to identify* examples of how scientific discoveries have resulted in new technology

G.8.7 Show* evidence* of how science and technology are interdependent, using some examples drawn from personally conducted investigations*

Science Performance Standard G Grade 12

Science, Standard G: Science Applications
Performance Standards – Grade 12

By the end of grade twelve, students will:

G.12.1 Identify personal interests in science and technology, implications that these interests might have for future education, and decisions to be considered

G.12.2 Design, build, evaluate, and revise models and explanations related to the earth and space, life and environmental, and physical sciences

G.12.3 Analyze the costs, benefits, or problems resulting from a scientific or technological innovation, including implications for the individual and the community

G.12.4 Show how a major scientific or technological change has had an impact on work, leisure, or the home

G.12.5 Choose a specific problem in our society, identify alternative scientific or technological solutions to that problem and argue it merits

Content Standard Science Standard H (Science in Personal and Social Perspectives)

Content Standard: Students in Wisconsin will use scientific information and skills to make decisions about themselves, Wisconsin, and the world in which they live.

Rationale: An important purpose of science education is to give students a means to understand and act on personal, economic, social, political, and international issues. Knowledge and methodology of the earth and space, life and environmental, and physical sciences facilitate analysis of topics related to personal health, environment, and management of resources, and help evaluate the merits of alternative courses of action.

Science, Standard H: Science in Personal and Social Perspectives Performance Standards – Grade 4

By the end of grade four, students will:

H.4.1 Describe* how science and technology have helped, and in some cases hindered, progress in providing better food, more rapid information, quicker and safer transportation, and more effective health care

H.4.2 Using the science themes*, identify* local and state issues that are helped by science and technology and explain* how science and technology can also cause a problem

H.4.3 Show* how science has contributed to meeting personal needs, including hygiene, nutrition, exercise, safety, and health care

H.4.4 Develop* a list of issues that citizens must make decisions about and describe* a strategy for becoming informed about the science behind these issues

Science, Standard H: Science in Personal and Social Perspectives Performance Standards – Grade 8

By the end of grade eight, students will:

H.8.1 Evaluate the scientific evidence used in various media (for example, television, radio, Internet, popular press, and scientific journals) to address a social issue, using criteria of accuracy, logic, bias, relevance of data, and credibility of sources

H.8.2 Present a scientific solution to a problem involving the earth and space, life and environmental, or physical sciences and participate in a consensus-building discussion to arrive at a group decision

H.8.3 Understand the consequences of decisions affecting personal health and safety

Science Performance Standard H Grade 12

Science, Standard H: Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
Performance Standards – Grade 12

By the end of grade twelve, students will:

H.12.1 Using the science themes and knowledge of the earth and space, life and environmental, and physical sciences, analyze the costs, risks, benefits, and consequences of a proposal concerning resource management in the community and determine the potential impact of the proposal on life in the community and the region

H.12.2 Evaluate proposed policy recommendations (local, state, and/or national) in science and technology for validity, evidence, reasoning, and implications, both short and long-term

H.12.3 Show how policy decisions in science depend on social values, ethics, beliefs, and time-frames as well as considerations of science and technology

H.12.4 Advocate a solution or combination of solutions to a problem in science or technology

H.12.5 Investigate how current plans or proposals concerning resource management, scientific knowledge, or technological development will have an impact on the environment, ecology, and quality of life in a community or region

H.12.6 Evaluate data and sources of information when using scientific information to make decisions

H.12.7 When making decisions, construct a plan that includes the use of current scientific knowledge and scientific reasoning

Source: Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Wisconsin’s Model Academic Standards for Science
Accessed 15 July 1016.