2. Standards and Curriculum Connections

Concept 1 (Science & Mathematics): SCALE

From Project 2061: Science for All Americans 1999 (Chapter 11: Common Themes, "Scale"):

"The ranges of magnitudes in our universe—sizes, durations, speeds, and so on—are immense. Many of the discoveries of physical science are virtually incomprehensible to us because they involve phenomena on scales far removed from human experience. We can measure, say, the speed of light, the distance to the nearest stars, the number of stars in the galaxy, and the age of the sun, but these magnitudes are far greater than we can comprehend intuitively. In the other direction, we can determine the size of atoms, their vast numbers, and how quickly interactions among them occur, but these extremes also exceed our powers of intuitive comprehension. Our limited perceptions and information-processing capacities simply cannot handle the whole range. Nevertheless, we can represent such magnitudes in abstract mathematical terms (for example, billions of billions) and seek relationships among them that make sense.

Large changes in scale typically are accompanied by changes in the kind of phenomena that occur. For instance, on a familiar human scale, a small puff of gas emitted from an orbiting satellite dissipates into space; on an astronomical scale, a gas cloud in space with enough mass is pulled together by mutual gravitational forces into a hot ball that ignites nuclear fusion and becomes a star. On a human scale, substances and energy are endlessly divisible; on an atomic scale, matter cannot be divided and still keep its identity, and energy can change only by discrete jumps. The distance around a tree is much greater for a small insect than for a squirrel—in that on the scale of the insect's size there are many hills and valleys to traverse, whereas for the squirrel there are none."

From Principles and Standards for School Mathematics 2000 (NCTM Grades 6-8: Measurement):
In grades 6-8, all students should solve problems involving scale factors, using ratio and proportion.

From National Science Education Standards 1996 (CSMEE, p. 118):

Scale includes understanding that different characteristics, properties, or relationships within a system might change as its dimensions are increased or decreased.

Concept 2 (Mathematics & Science): SURFACE AREA TO VOLUME RATIO

From Principles and Standards for School Mathematics (NCTM Grades 6-8 Geometry):
In grades 6-8, all students should use two-dimensional representations of three-dimensional objects to visualize and solve problems such as those involving surface area and volume.

From Principles and Standards for School Mathematics (NCTM Grades 6-8: Measurement):
In grades 6-8, all students should:
  • understand both metric and customary systems of measurement;
  • understand relationships among units and convert from one unit to another within the same system;
  • understand, select, and use units of appropriate size and type to measure angles, perimeter, area, surface area, and volume.
  • select and apply techniques and tools to accurately find length, area, volume, and angle measures to appropriate levels of precision;
  • develop strategies to determine the surface area and volume of selected prisms, pyramids, and cylinders.

Concept 3 (Engineering & Materials Science): MATERIAL PROPERTIES
From National Science Education Standards (Physical Science Strand: Structure and Properties of Matter):
The physical properties of compounds reflect the nature of the interactions among its molecules. These interactions are determined by the structure of the molecule, including the constituent atoms and the distances and angles between them.

From National Science Education Standards (Physical Science Strand: Forces and Motion):
Between any two charged particles, electric force is vastly greater than the gravitational force. Most observable forces such as those exerted by a coiled spring or friction may be traced to electric forces acting between atoms and molecules.

From National Science Education Standards (Physical Science Strand: Transfer of Energy):
Energy is a property of many substances and is associated with heat, light, electricity, mechanical motion, sound, nuclei, and the nature of a chemical. Energy is transferred in many ways.

From National Science Education Standards (Physical Science Strand: Properties and Changes in Properties in Matter):
A substance has characteristic properties, such as density, a boiling point, and solubility, all of which are independent of the amount of the sample. A mixture of substances often can be separated into the original substances using one or more of the characteristic properties.

From National Science Education Standards (Unifying Concepts and Processes: Form and Function):
Form and function are complementary aspects of objects, organisms, and systems in the natural and designed world. The form or shape of an object or system is frequently related to use, operation, or function. Function frequently relies on form. Understanding of form and function applies to different levels of organization. Students should be able to explain function by referring to form and explain form by referring to function.

Concept 4 (Technology and Engineering): MATERIALS AND TOOLS
Technology and Society (Influence of technology on history):
In the past, an invention or innovation was not usually developed with the knowledge of science.

Massachusetts State Science and Technology/Engineering Frameworks (Technology/Engineering Standards: Materials , Tools, and Machines, grades 6-8):

1.1.   Given a design task, identify appropriate materials (e.g., wood, paper, plastic, aggregates, ceramics, metals, solvents, adhesives) based on specific properties and characteristics (e.g., strength, hardness, and flexibility).

1.2   Identify and explain appropriate measuring tools, hand tools, and power tools used to hold, lift, carry, fasten, and separate, and explain their safe and proper use.

1.3   Identify and explain the safe and proper use of measuring tools, hand tools, and machines (e.g., band saw, drill press, sander,
        hammer, screwdriver, pliers, tape measure, screws, nails, and other mechanical fasteners) needed to construct a prototype of an
        engineering design.

Concept 5 (Science): SCIENTIFIC ETHICS
From National Science Education Standards (Science and Technology in local challenges):
People continue inventing new ways of doing things, solving problems, and getting work done. New ideas and inventions often affect other people; sometimes the effects are good and sometimes they are bad. It is helpful to try to determine in advance how ideas and inventions will affect other people.