Kentucky Science Standards

Instructor: Shelby Golden
Read this article when you're ready to learn more about the science standards used in Kentucky. You can get information about what students are expected to learn and find study options that can help students excel.

Science Standards in Kentucky

Kentucky officially adopted the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in 2013. These standards deal with four major areas of scientific knowledge which are called Disciplinary Core Ideas. They are:

  • Life Science
  • Physical Science
  • Earth and Space Science
  • Engineering, Technology and Applications of Science

The NGSS also include science and engineering practices that focus on the skills students will develop, and crosscutting concepts that can be applied across multiple grades to help students build their scientific understanding.

Kentucky Elementary School Science Standards

As students move through their elementary school years, they can check out these science lessons for kids to make studying easy.


In this grade, students will explore and identify the basic needs of animals and plants. Furthermore, they'll figure out ways to reduce the impact of the sun's heat on a specific location. Kindergartners will also get the opportunity to examine the connection between motion and pushes and pulls.

1st Grade

1st graders will focus on how sound causes vibrations. They'll learn about the external parts of organisms and behaviors associated with parents and offspring. Students will discuss seasonal patterns and the movement of celestial objects. They'll also create models.

2nd Grade

In this grade, kids will learn how matter can be classified. They'll also learn what plants need. Students will consider the effects of wind and water on the Earth. Additionally, they will learn about the various forms of water.

3rd Grade

Kids will find out more about force, electricity, magnetism and patterns of motion. They'll learn about group behavior in animals and consider fossils of extinct creatures. The processes of reproduction and the effects of the environment on traits will be discussed. Finally, students will study weather patterns and natural hazards associated with our planet.

4th Grade

Energy and natural energy sources will be covered in this grade. Students will study the properties of waves, in addition to information about the structures of living organisms and sense receptors. They'll focus on learning about rock formations and the effects of rainfall.

5th Grade

Students will be able to learn about the subdivision of matter. They'll study mixtures, energy in food and the cycle of matter. Earth's systems, water and the consequences of human actions on the environment will be considered. Kids will find out more about gravity, stars and the Earth's orbit and rotation.

Kentucky Middle School Science Standards

Students can work on these physical, life and Earth science courses throughout these grades.

Middle School Physical Science

In these grades, students will learn about atoms, molecules, gases, liquids, solids, chemical reactions, heat and energy. They'll also study pure substances. Students will discuss different forces, including electromagnetism. Energy transfer will be covered, along with wave transmission.

Middle School Life Science

Students will work on understanding cells, multicellular organisms and sense receptors. They'll learn about photosynthesis, food webs, ecosystems and cellular respiration. Time will be spent studying biodiversity. Genes and artificial selection will be considered.

Middle School Earth and Space Science

The motion of celestial objects and the formation of the solar system will be covered in these grades. Students will learn about geologic time, the flow of energy in Earth systems and global climate changes. Students will also study the impact of humanity on the biosphere.

Kentucky High School Science Standards

High school standards in Kentucky are broken down by subject. These physical science, biology and Earth science courses can make great study guides for students.

High School Physical Science

Students will learn about the parts of an atom, the periodic table, nuclear processes and charges related to atoms. They'll study stable molecules, chemical processes and chemical reactions. Newton's Laws, Coulomb's Law and fields will be covered. Finally, students will discuss solar energy.

High School Life Science

Specialized cells, DNA, hierarchical structural organization and feedback mechanisms will be studied in these grades. Students will focus on food webs, the carrying capacities of ecosystems, anthropogenic changes, speciation and extinction. Mitosis and chromosomes will be discussed. Information on evolution, natural selection and adaptation will be provided.

High School Earth and Space Science

In high school, students will study the life of the Sun, laws concerning orbital motion and nuclear fusion. They'll also learn about the history of the planet and spontaneous radioactive decay. Students will focus on the physical makeup of the Earth, Earth's climate system and atmospheric changes. The effects of searching for natural resources and sustainability will be covered in class.

Engineering, Technology and Applications of Science

Students will also focus on engineering skills at each grade level. They will be learning how to identify and understand engineering problems. They'll also have the chance to work towards engineering solutions. The importance of considering all possible solutions to these problems will also be covered by the NGSS.

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