K-12 Educator Resources (TEKS)
TEKS by Grade
- 112.14. Science, Grade 3, Adopted 2017.
- (a) Introduction.
- (1) In Grade 3, students learn that the study of science uses appropriate tools and safe practices in planning and implementing investigations, asking and answering questions, collecting data by observing and measuring, and using models to support scientific inquiry about the natural world.
- (A) Within the physical environment, students recognize that patterns, relationships, and cycles exist in matter. Students will investigate the physical properties of matter and will learn that changes occur. They explore mixtures and investigate light, sound, and thermal energy in everyday life. Students manipulate objects by pushing and pulling to demonstrate changes in motion and position.
- (B) Within the natural environment, students investigate how the surface of Earth changes and provides resources that humans use. As students explore objects in the sky, they describe how relationships affect patterns and cycles on Earth. Students will construct models to demonstrate Sun, Earth, and Moon system relationships.
- (C) Within the living environment, students explore patterns, systems, and cycles within environments by investigating characteristics of organisms, life cycles, and interactions among all components of the natural environment. Students examine how the environment plays a key role in survival. Students know that when changes in the environment occur organisms may thrive, become ill, or perish.
- (4) The study of elementary science includes planning and safely implementing classroom and outdoor investigations using scientific practices, analyzing information, making informed decisions, and using tools to collect and record information while addressing the content and vocabulary in physical, earth, and life sciences. Districts are encouraged to facilitate classroom and outdoor investigations for at least 60% of instructional time
- (7) Earth and space. The student knows that Earth consists of natural resources and its surface is constantly changing. The student is expected to: revised August 2022 14
- (A) explore and record how soils are formed by weathering of rock and the decomposition of plant and animal remains;
- (B) investigate rapid changes in Earth's surface such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and landslides; and
- (C) explore the characteristics of natural resources that make them useful in products and materials
- 113.14. Social Studies, Grade 3, Adopted 2018
- (3) Geography. The student understands how humans adapt to and/or modify the physical environment. The student is expected to:
- (A) describe similarities and differences in the physical environment, including climate, landforms, natural resources, and natural hazards;
- 112.15. Science, Grade 4, Adopted 2017
- (B) Within the natural environment, students know that earth materials have properties that are constantly changing due to Earth's forces. The students learn that the natural world consists of resources, including renewable and nonrenewable, and their responsibility to conserve our natural resources for future generations. They will also explore Sun, Earth, and Moon
- (7) Earth and space. The students know that Earth consists of useful resources and its surface is constantly changing. The student is expected to:
- (B) observe and identify slow changes to Earth's surface caused by weathering, erosion, and deposition from water, wind, and ice; and
- (C) identify and classify Earth's renewable resources, including air, plants, water, and animals, and nonrenewable resources, including coal, oil, and natural gas, and the importance of conservation
- (8) Earth and space. The student knows that there are recognizable patterns in the natural world and among the Sun, Earth, and Moon system. The student is expected to:
- (B) describe and illustrate the continuous movement of water above and on the surface of Earth through the water cycle and explain the role of the Sun as a major source of energy in this process; and
- 113.15. Social Studies, Grade 4, Adopted 2018
- (1) History. The student understands the origins, similarities, and differences of American Indian groups in Texas before European exploration. The student is expected to:
- (A) explain the possible origins of American Indian groups in Texas;
- (B) identify and compare the ways of life of American Indian groups in Texas before European exploration such as the Lipan Apache, Karankawa, Caddo, and Jumano;
- (C) describe the cultural regions in which American Indians lived such as Gulf, Plains, Puebloan, and Southeastern; and
- (5) History. The student understands important issues, events, and individuals of the 20th century in Texas. The student is expected to:
- (A) explain the impact of various events on life in Texas such as the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, and World War II and notable individuals such as Audie Murphy, Cleto Rodríguez, and Bessie Coleman and other local individuals;
- (C) compare the positive and negative consequences of human modification of the environment in Texas, past and present.
- Knowledge & Skill Statement - 5.5: The student understands important issues, events, and individuals in the United States during the 20th and 21st centuries. The student is expected to:
- Student Expectation - 5.5A: Explain the significance of issues and events of the 20th century such as, industrialization, urbanization, the Great Depression, the world wars, the civil rights movement, and military actions.
- Knowledge & Skill Statement - 5.7: The student knows Earth's surface is constantly changing and consists of useful resources. The student is expected to:
- Student Expectation - 5.7A: Explore the processes that led to the formation of sedimentary rocks and fossil fuels.
- Student Expectation - 5.7B: Recognize how landforms such as deltas, canyons, and sand dunes are the result of changes to Earth's surface by wind, water, or ice.
- 6.Intro.1B.i: Matter can be classified as elements, compounds, or mixtures. Students have already had experience with mixtures in Grade 5, so Grade 6 will concentrate on developing an understanding of elements and compounds. It is important that students learn the differences between elements and compounds based on observations, description of physical properties, and chemical reactions. Elements are represented by chemical symbols, while compounds are represented by chemical formulas. Subsequent grades will learn about the differences at the molecular and atomic level.
- Knowledge & Skill Statement - 6.5: The student understands the impact of interactions between people and the physical environment on the development and conditions of places and regions. The student is expected to:
- Student Expectation - 6.5A: Describe ways people have been impacted by physical processes such as earthquakes and climate.
- Student Expectation - 6.5B: Identify and analyze ways people have adapted to the physical environment in various places and regions.
- Student Expectation - 6.5C: Identify and analyze ways people have modified the physical environment such as mining, irrigation, and transportation infrastructure.
- Knowledge & Skill Statement - 6.10: The student understands the structure of Earth, the rock cycle, and plate tectonics. The student is expected to:
- Student Expectation - 6.10A: Build a model to illustrate the compositional and mechanical layers of Earth, including the inner core, outer core, mantle, crust, asthenosphere, and lithosphere.
- Student Expectation - 6.10B: Classify rocks as metamorphic, igneous, or sedimentary by the processes of their formation.
- Student Expectation - 6.10C: Identify the major tectonic plates, including Eurasian, African, Indo-Australian, Pacific, North American, and South American.
- Student Expectation - 6.10D: Describe how plate tectonics causes major geological events such as ocean basin formation, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and mountain building.
- 7.Intro.1C: Force, motion, and energy. Force, motion, and energy are observed in living systems and the environment in several ways. Interactions between muscular and skeletal systems allow the body to apply forces and transform energy both internally and externally. Force and motion can also describe the direction and growth of seedlings, turgor pressure, and geotropism. Catastrophic events of weather systems such as hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes can shape and restructure the environment through the force and motion evident in them. Weathering, erosion, and deposition occur in environments due to the forces of gravity, wind, ice, and water.
- Student Expectation - 7.1A: Identify the major eras in Texas history, describe their defining characteristics, and explain the purpose of dividing the past into eras, including Natural Texas and its People; Age of Contact; Spanish Colonial; Mexican National; Revolution and Republic; Early Statehood; Texas in the Civil War and Reconstruction; Cotton, Cattle, and Railroads; Age of Oil; Texas in the Great Depression and World War II; Civil Rights; and Contemporary Texas.
- 8.Intro.1C: Force, motion, and energy. Students experiment with the relationship between forces and motion through the study of Newton's three laws. Students learn how these forces relate to geologic processes and astronomical phenomena. In addition, students recognize that these laws are evident in everyday objects and activities. Mathematics is used to calculate speed using distance and time measurements.
- 8.Intro.1E: Organisms and environments. In studies of living systems, students explore the interdependence between these systems. Students describe how biotic and abiotic factors affect the number of organisms and populations present in an ecosystem. In addition, students explore how organisms and their populations respond to short- and long-term environmental changes, including those caused by human activities.
- ESS.Intro.6: Earth and space science strands. ESS has three strands used throughout each of the three themes: systems, energy, and relevance.
- Intro.6A: Systems. A system is a collection of interacting physical, chemical, and biological processes that involves the flow of matter and energy on different temporal and spatial scales. Earth's system is composed of interdependent and interacting subsystems of the geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, cryosphere, and biosphere within a larger planetary and stellar system. Change and constancy occur in Earth's system and can be observed, measured as patterns and cycles, and described or presented in models used to predict how Earth's system changes over time.
- Intro.6B: Energy. The uneven distribution of Earth's internal and external thermal energy is the driving force for complex, dynamic, and continuous interactions and cycles in Earth's subsystems. These interactions are responsible for the movement of matter within and between the subsystems resulting in, for example, plate motions and ocean-atmosphere circulation.
- Intro.6C: Relevance. The interacting components of Earth's system change by both natural and human-influenced processes. Natural processes include hazards such as flooding, earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, meteorite impacts, and climate change. Some human-influenced processes such as pollution and nonsustainable use of Earth's natural resources may damage Earth's system. Examples include climate change, soil erosion, air and water pollution, and biodiversity loss. The time scale of these changes and their impact on human society must be understood to make wise decisions concerning the use of the land, water, air, and natural resources. Proper stewardship of Earth will prevent unnecessary degradation and destruction of Earth's subsystems and diminish detrimental impacts to individuals and society.
- Knowledge & Skill Statement - ESS.7: The student knows that scientific dating methods of fossils and rock sequences are used to construct a chronology of Earth's history expressed in the geologic time scale. The student is expected to:
- Student Expectation - ESS.7A: Evaluate relative dating methods using original horizontality, rock superposition, lateral continuity, cross-cutting relationships, unconformities, index fossils, and biozones based on fossil succession to determine chronological order.
- Student Expectation - ESS.7B: Calculate the ages of igneous rocks from Earth and the Moon and meteorites using radiometric dating methods.
- Student Expectation - ESS.7C: Understand how multiple dating methods are used to construct the geologic time scale, which represents Earth's approximate 4.6-billion-year history.
- Knowledge & Skill Statement - ESS.8: The student knows that fossils provide evidence for geological and biological evolution. Students are expected to:
- Student Expectation - ESS.8A: Analyze and evaluate a variety of fossil types such as transitional fossils, proposed transitional fossils, fossil lineages, and significant fossil deposits with regard to their appearance, completeness, and alignment with scientific explanations in light of this fossil data.
- Student Expectation - ESS.8B: Explain how sedimentation, fossilization, and speciation affect the degree of completeness of the fossil record.
- Student Expectation - ESS.8C: Evaluate the significance of the terminal Permian and Cretaceous mass extinction events, including adaptive radiations of organisms after the events.
Lessons and Activities
Exploring caves: teaching packet for grades K – 3
From the U.S. Geological Survey
"Exploring Caves" is an interdisciplinary set of materials on caves for grades K-3. Caves entail at least five scientific disciplines: earth science, hydrology, mapping, biology, and anthropology. Each of these disciplines involves a unique content area as well as the development of particular intellectual skills. This unit aims at helping teachers to sort and organize the most important ideas in this rich scientific area.
Junior Cave Scientist
From the National Park Service
The Junior Cave Scientist Program is a part of the National Park Service Junior Ranger Program. The goal of the Junior Ranger Program is to connect young people to their national parks through a variety of in-park activities that are designed to introduce them to the national park system and cultivate future generations of park stewards. While become a Junior Cave Scientist, students will explore a fascinating and fragile underground world, learn about the values of caves and karst landscapes, and complete fun educational activities.
Bring a Cave to Your School!
How would you like to bring a cave to your school to give your students an immersive, educational experience with caves? CaveSim exists to do exactly that. Based in Colorado, CaveSim is a mobile cave system that travels around the country to do educational programs at schools, parks, museums, and public events. K-12 students (and adventuresome adults) put on helmets and crawl and climb through 60 feet of cave passage. To make learning fun, a computer system keeps track of how carefully students explore -- students who avoid touching the fragile cave formations get a better score.
CaveSim programs are about a lot more than just crawling. The owner and inventor of CaveSim is an MIT graduate who teaches students about a wide variety of STEM concepts, from mechanical systems (with hands-on experience on a 12' ropes tower) to chemistry (with demos of working carbide lamps) to biology (with bat physiology lessons and live-culture labs) to engineering and math (with hands-on labs). Thanks to the teachers on staff, CaveSim programs are standards aligned and filled with educational content for the full K-12 range. To learn more about our school programs, visit www.cavesim.com/schools. CaveSim LLC also creates mobile and permanent cave installations.
Ice Caves of Lake Superior
From Into the Outdoors
When winters become especially cold, ice can fill caves along lakes and seashores and create a place begging to be explored. Watch the Serious Science video to discover nature's secrets about these fascinating features. An elementary lesson plan introduces students to the characteristics of rocks using various observational techniques. A high school lesson plan integrates an understanding of the geologic processes that resulted in the formation of the Great Lakes.
Lessons from National Groundwater Association
Lesson plans are available about water in general, groundwater, aquifers (for middle and high school levels), and wetlands.
Mammoth Cave Curriculum Materials
From the National Park Service
These lesson plans from the Mammoth Cave national park help students conceptualize how caves are created, learn about national parks, and more.
Project Underground is a source of interdisciplinary instructional activities, and its staff conducts workshops and in-service training programs. These materials and workshops are designed for classroom teachers, cavern, park, museum, and nature center staff, or any youth-oriented group leaders.For more information on holding a workshop about the curriculum, contact: Carol Zokaites, National Coordinator of Project Underground; 540-382-5437; or [email protected].
Cave Animals: http://teacher.scholastic.com/lessonrepro/lessonplans/theme/caves05.htm
Animals use caves in different ways.
Introduction: The Science of Caves: http://teacher.scholastic.com/lessonrepro/lessonplans/theme/caves01.htm
More Than Skin Deep: A Teacher’s Guide to Caves and Groundwater
From the National Park Service
Check out this web page for links to lessons about bats, making a cave, groundwater, cave formation, and stalactites.
Walking on Water
From the University of Florida
Walking on Water is an immersive environmental education program for 5th graders in Florida. It consists of a field trip to the springs to learn underwater photography and a classroom visit where students explore the aquifer via a 360° virtual tour. View the 360° virtual tour in YOUR classroom at https://walkingonwaterfl.org/virtual-tour/. If you are a Florida teacher or school administrator interested in having the Walking on Water program come to your school, contact Jennifer Adler at [email protected]
From Luray Caverns
Check out eight lesson plans about caves and karst.
Caves and Karst
From PBS Learning Media
This interactive web site depicts caves and other karst features and includes videos about cave formation.
From Noelle Grunwalk, University of Minnesota – Duluth
Check out 14 lessons plans from the basics (introducing students to caves) to learning about cave critters.
From the National Park Service
Students learn how the source of water can be traced through a cave and then can discuss the effect that polluted water could have on a cave.
From Squire Boone Caverns
While these lessons refer to Squire Boone Caverns in Indiana, the unit is applicable for all caves. Students will learn to identify the different types of caves and speleothems and how limestone dissolve and speleothems grow.
Indiana Bats, Kids & Caves – Oh My!: An Activity Book for Teachers
From the Education Department of Evansville’s Mesker Park Zoo and Botanic Garden
This curriculum offers a wide range of activities about bats, karst topography, and caves.
Prehistoric Caves Art
From Art Room 104
Follow the art instructions in the lesson plan and have your students create cave paintings like those found in Lascaux Cave in France. First, crinkle a huge sheet of brown butcher paper to create physical texture like rocks in a cave. Then, take natural colored chalk that and rub it all over the wrinkled paper. Using paper towels, wipe it to blend all the colors together. Then, fill in the “cave wall” with large paintings.
Sinkholes in a Cup
From Earth Science Week
Sinkholes are natural depressions in the land caused when limestone and soils dissolve. They form when groundwater removes rock underground. They can form by slow gradual sinking or by sudden collapse of an underlying hole.
Karst Landscapes and Caves of Southeast Alaska: A Resource for Teachers
From the USDA Forest Service
CLICK HERE for .pdf
This resource guide provides information and teaching ideas about the caves and karst lands of Southeast Alaska. The guide includes: a map depicting the karst lands and geology of Southeast Alaska; a descriptive guide with glossary and student activities; goals and objectives for activities; and useful appendices.
Material for Teachers
From the National Caves Association
Check out lessons plans about bats, cavern geology, cavern life, and people and caverns.
The Mysterious Life of Caves
Students will understand that microorganisms can survive in many different environments and that microorganisms live in places where conditions are suitable for their growth.