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Wisconsin Science Standards

Instructor: Shelby Golden
Check out this article when you're ready to learn about Wisconsin's science standards. Get familiar with what students will learn in elementary, middle and high school. Find educational resources that can help students develop their science skills.

Science Standards in Wisconsin

Wisconsin uses the Model Academic Standards for Science on the state level. However, you should be aware that some school districts around the state have adopted the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Because of this difference, the science standards in your area may differ from the standards used by the state.

The Model Academic Standards for Science focus on what students should know by the time they reach grades 4, 8 and 12. There are 8 standards covered at each of these grade levels:

  • Science Connections
  • Nature of Science
  • Science Inquiry
  • Physical Science
  • Earth and Space Science
  • Life and Environmental Science
  • Science Applications
  • Science in Personal and Social Perspectives

4th Grade Science Standards in Wisconsin

By the conclusion of fourth grade, students will have learned to ask questions, examine evidence, investigate data, understand science themes and consider changes over time. They will conduct research, learn about scientists and consider scientific developments. Students will develop their vocabulary, use proper sources, work with scientific equipment, apply data, consider additional questions. They will practice communicating results and data through graphs and drawings, and learn to support their arguments.

4th graders will learn about the properties of earth materials, the classification of objects, states of matter, changes in objects and physical events. They will also consider energy, light, electricity, magnetism, sound and heat. Students will focus on rocks, soil, minerals and land masses. Celestial objects, weather and resources will also be studied. The needs and life cycles of living organisms will be discussed, along with environments.

Additionally, kids will focus on technology, scientific discoveries and simple machines. They'll also look at pros and cons of technological advances, as well as considering how science helps people. Students will also learn how to stay informed about scientific matters.

Elementary students can review what they're learning in class with this online science for kids course.

8th Grade Science Standards in Wisconsin

By the end of grade 8, students will be familiar with science themes, limits of science systems, collecting evidence, using models and coming up with investigations. Additionally, they'll look at major changes in earth and space science. They'll also explore reasoning and scientific knowledge. Kids will carry out investigations, use inferences, communicate what they learn, work with computers and hold scientific discussions.

The properties of elements will be considered in this grade, along with atomic and molecular theory. Students will focus on chemical interactions, physical interactions, motion, properties of different kinds of energy and atomic structure.

They'll also consider earth structures, climate, weather and how living organisms affect the Earth. Students will learn about the history of the planet, resources and the structure of the solar system and universe. Cells, tissues, organs and organ systems will be studied, along with single-celled and multi-celled organisms. Students will learn about heredity, the behavior of organisms and how organisms adapt.

In this grade, students will look at science careers, the impact of science, local problems that might have scientific solutions and the connection between science and technology. They will become comfortable with using various types of texts and with using evidence for scientific arguments. Additionally, they'll consider scientific evidence in mass media, and personal decisions about health and safety.

Middle school students can get extra help studying these concepts by checking out these life science, earth science and physical science courses for middle schoolers.

12th Grade Science Standards in Wisconsin

By the end of this grade, kids will know about conflicting scientific assumptions and partial systems, as well as how to use science to make real-life decisions. They'll look at the scientific contributions of various cultures, examine human progress and focus on the assumptions that inform science. Additionally, kids will consider relevant questions, write papers, collect data properly and evaluate information in the world around them.

Atoms, atomic structure, nuclear interactions and chemical interactions will also be covered by twelfth grade. Students will learn about mixtures, chemical and physical changes and chemical reactions. Time will be spent studying gravity, electromagnetism, the conservation of energy and applications of science themes.

Students will focus on internal and external energy, cycles of the earth, geologic time and the origin of the universe. The functions of cells, genetics, heredity and the theory of evolution will be discussed, along with energy systems. Students will also study the nervous systems of living organisms.

In addition, 12th graders will consider future educational choices. They'll look at the impact of science on communities and on a personal level. Finally, students will consider resource management and policy decisions that relate to science. They'll also learn to come up with a plan when making decisions.

Working on these biology, physical science and earth science courses can help high schoolers go over the concepts they're learning in class at this grade level.

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