Indiana Science Standards

Instructor: Shelby Golden
Get a handle on Indiana's science standards from kindergarten to 12th grade with this article. You'll learn what students will study in these grades. You can also find links to educational resources designed for students.

Indiana Elementary School Standards

Elementary and middle schoolers in Indiana will focus on studying earth and space science, life science and physical science. Elementary schoolers can check out this science course to review what they're learning in the following grades:


Kindergartners will study sunlight, the objects that appear in the sky, local weather and the effects of humans on the living world. They'll also consider the growth and features of plants and animals, along with what living creatures need to survive. Kids will learn about the properties and uses of different objects, as well as design solutions.

1st Grade

In this grade, students will learn about the patterns of celestial objects. They'll also study types of soil. Kids will explore life cycles, external parts of living things and plant and animal diversity. They'll study solids, liquids, gases, vibration and the importance of illumination.

2nd Grade

Weather, clouds, wind and water will be covered in this grade. Kids will also learn about parents, offspring, life cycles of living creatures and the classification of various organisms. They'll combine liquids and solids, consider heat and cold and look at the properties of various materials.

3rd Grade

Time will be spent discussing weather patterns, weather hazards, the characteristics of rocks and fossils. Students will focus on inherited traits, plant and animal structures and why some animals live in groups. They'll also study forces, simple machines, sound energy and the properties of sound.

4th Grade

Kids will study the movement of the moon, natural resources, geological forces and how humans influence the natural world. They'll explore differences between offspring and their parents and the survival of living things. Transportation systems, speed, energy generation and energy transfer will be studied.

5th Grade

5th graders will focus on the solar system, daily changes, protection of the environment and how the earth's different spheres interact. They'll also learn how matter moves, organisms in Indiana and how animals process information. Additionally, students will study volume, mass, weight and the Law of Conservation of Mass.

Indiana Middle School Standards

Middle schoolers in Indiana will continue to focus on physical science, earth and space science and life science. The online courses above can help students study throughout these grades.

6th-8th graders also work on science literacy standards. They need to read scientific texts, identify key ideas and support statements, follow instructions, understand structure and an author's purpose, grasp graphics and differentiate between facts and speculation. They'll also need to plan, write and produce arguments and informative texts. They'll need to research to support their writing.

6th Grade

In 6th grade, students will learn about distance, speed, velocity, time, potential and kinetic energy. They'll also study the properties of light and sound energy. They'll focus on gravity, the rotation of the Earth and all of the objects in the solar system. Kids will also explore homeostasis, photosynthesis, relationships between organisms, biotic and abiotic components and invasive species.

7th Grade

Students will study atoms, molecules, elements, compounds, solids, liquids and gases. They'll consider the Law of Conservation of Mass, Newton's laws of motion, heat transfer and energy transfer. They'll also learn about the properties of minerals, fossil records, continental drift, physical processes, the layers of the Earth, synthetic material and the environmental impacts of using natural resources. Finally, students will explore cells and organelles.

8th Grade

8th graders will learn about subatomic particles, the arrangement of atoms, the Periodic Table, density, chemical equations and physical and chemical changes. They'll also consider global temperatures, the water cycle and natural resources. Kids will study reproduction, Punnett squares, inherited traits, natural selection, DNA, taxonomic classification, evolutionary relationships, survival traits, genetic changes, viruses and bacteria.

Indiana High School Standards

High school students will complete science courses that focus on specific scientific concepts. They'll continue to apply the literacy standards introduced in middle school as well as the research standards that involve working on research assignments, collecting evidence and gathering information.

In order to graduate high school, students will need to complete a course in biology, as well as one in earth and space science or one of the physical sciences, such as chemistry. Check out the links included in each section to find fun and engaging courses that your students can use to get a better understanding of each content area.


Students studying biology will learn about macromolecules, the shape of molecules, cell membranes, cell structures and interacting systems. They'll also study photosynthesis and cellular respiration. Kids will consider the carrying capacity of an ecosystem, matter and energy in ecosystems and what happens if ecosystem conditions change. Additionally, they'll learn about DNA, cellular division, genetic variations and expressed traits. Organism classification, biological evolution, natural selection and the fossil record will be studied.

Earth and Space Science

The earth science class allows students to focus on electromagnetic radiation, the universe theory, the formation of stars, a star's life cycle and planetary systems. Students can also study the nebular theory of solar system formation, objects in the solar system and the sun. The earth's spheres, changes in temperature and resources will be considered, along with gases, heat, the water cycle, weather, climate and the Coriolis Effect. Students will learn about minerals, the rock cycle, weathering, geological time, bedrock, plate movement, the earth's layers, orogeny, volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis.


Chemistry allows students to learn about pure substances, mixtures, chemical changes, physical changes and density. Kids will study atomic structure, protons, neutrons, electrons, electron configuration, the Periodic Table, chemical reactions and nuclear reactions. They'll also explore compounds and chemical formulas, as well as different kinds of bonds. Reactions, chemical equations, the mole concept and empirical and molecular formulas will be considered.

Science and Engineering Process Standards

At all grade levels, students will work on the following process standards, which cover the scientific abilities they will need to develop over the course of their education. They'll need to learn to ask questions, define problems and use models and tools. Kids will complete investigations, understand data, use mathematics, come up with explanations, argue with evidence and communicate.

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