Massachusetts Science Standards

Instructor: Shelby Golden
Discover the science standards used in Massachusetts and get information regarding what students study in each grade. Helpful study resources for elementary, middle and high school are also discussed.

Science Standards in Massachusetts

Massachusetts science standards outline the scientific knowledge students will gain as well as the skills they will develop throughout their schooling. These standards were updated in 2016 to include technology and engineering learning objectives as well. Standards for each grade in elementary and middle school are organized around a unique theme, while high school standards are organized by subject area.

Science Standards for Elementary School

Elementary school students begin their study of science by observing their environment and learning how scientific phenomena lead to the changes they witness in nature. Check out some of the elementary school topics of study outlined below and use these science lessons for kids to help students go over the information they learn in class.

Pre-Kindergarten - The World Around Me

Students learn about visible changes in the Moon and Sun. They'll focus on classifying non-living objects, studying local weather and identifying the locations of water around them. Students also study local resources, the basic needs of living creatures and how organisms are the same or different. The causes of motion, sounds and shadows is discussed.

Kindergarten - Reasons for Change

In kindergarten, students explore weather forecasting, the effects of living things on the environment and options for conserving natural resources. Ways that living creatures grow are considered, along with the effects of pushes and pulls. Students also consider the Sun's warmth.

1st Grade - Describing Patterns

1st grade students learn about the movement of stars, the Sun and the Moon as well as seasonal changes. The parts of plants are taught, along with the parenting behaviors of different creatures. The role of vibration in sound and the reaction of light to different materials is covered.

2nd Grade - Wholes and Parts

Options for controlling changes to the landscape brought on by wind and water are discussed in this grade. Students focus on the landforms and water bodies that exist in their area as well as ways that living things use resources in their environment to survive. Students learn about the physical characteristics of materials and the changes associated with heating or cooling different objects.

3rd Grade - Human Interactions

3rd graders use data to predict weather and learn about the climate of different places around the world. They'll consider the life cycles of different organisms as well as the traits that living creatures can inherit from their parents. The importance of reproduction is covered. Students discover how magnets interact with one another.

4th Grade - Matter and Energy

In this grade, students study erosion and rock formation as well as the process of weathering. They'll also learn to understand maps. The connection between speed and energy is discussed in addition to methods of energy transfer and ways to transmit information.

5th Grade - Connections and Relationships in Systems

The relationship between the Earth, Sun, Moon and additional celestial objects is covered. Students get information about the water cycle and the growth and reproduction of plants. The flow of energy between plants, animals and fungi or bacteria is also explored. Students are introduced to chemical reactions as well.

Science Standards for Middle School

Middle schoolers get the chance to build on what they've already learned. Consider using these courses in life, Earth and physical science to help students stay on track with their education.

6th Grade - Structure and Function

The process for determining the age of rock formations and fossils is covered in this grade. Students also study evidence for tectonic plate movement as well as the presence of cells. Cellular functions and interactions between body systems are covered, and students discuss the different kinds of chemical reactions, mixtures and wave properties.

7th Grade - Systems and Cycles

In this grade, students consider the roles of gravity and the Sun's energy in the water cycle. Ways that animals and plants raise their chances to reproduce successfully are covered along with the effects of resource scarcity and abundance on ecosystems. Students focus on electric charges, kinetic energy, potential energy and energy transfer.

8th Grade - Cause and Effect

8th grade students discover how gravity and the Earth's orbit affect the ocean, weather and climate. They also study the geologic processes determining the location of Earth's petroleum and metal ore resources and the effects of their use by humans. Cellular respiration, genetic mutations, sexual reproduction, asexual reproduction, natural selection and artificial selection are covered. Students learn about atoms, chemical reactions, particle motion and Newton's Laws.

Science Standards for High School

High school standards in Massachusetts are set up to focus on the following subject areas. They also include technology and engineering standards that cover such topics as the processes involved in engineering design, various production and manufacturing techniques and the uses of energy technologies.

Earth and Space Science

Students learn about the life of the Sun, the Big Bang Theory, Kepler's laws and plate tectonics. They also build up their understanding of the hydrosphere and connections between Earth's systems. The uses of natural resources, biodiversity and climate change on the local and global scales are covered.

Consider using this Earth science course to give students study time outside of class.


In this class, students study the importance of DNA and RNA. Homeostasis and the functions of body systems are discussed alongside the cell cycle, photosynthesis, the makeup of organic molecules and aerobic cellular respiration. Additionally, students learn about the biodiversity and carrying capacity of an ecosystem and how humans impact the natural world. They focus on genetic variations, Mendelian inheritance, the theory of evolution and the adaptability of viruses and bacteria.

High schoolers can review what they're learning about biology with this course.


Students taking chemistry learn about the uses of the periodic table. They'll focus on different kinds of chemical reactions, kinetic molecular theory, Le Chatelier's principle, the conservation of mass and oxidation-reduction models. Polymers, ionic compounds, enthalpy change and entropy change are considered as well.

Working on these chemistry lessons is a great way for students to reinforce what they're covering in class.

Introductory Physics

Nuclear reactions, the principles of motion, Coulomb's law and magnetic fields are discussed in this class. Students also study parallel circuits, free-body force diagrams, energy conservation and conversion, magnetic fields and electromagnetic waves.

Students can complete this physics course at their own pace to ensure they understand this advanced subject.

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