Students at any grade level should be able to ask questions of each other about the texts they read, the features of the phenomena they observe and the conclusions they draw from their models or scientific investigations (NRC Framework, 2012, p 52)


K-2: Asking questions and defining problems in grades K–2 builds on prior experiences and progresses to simple descriptive questions that can be tested.
  • Ask questions based on observations to find more information about the natural/designed world. (K-ESS3-2)

3-5 Asking questions and defining problems in 3-5 builds on K-2 experiences and progresses to specifying qualitative relationships.

  • Ask questions about what would happen if a variable is changed. (4-ESS1-1)
  • Ask questions that can be investigated and predict reasonable outcomes based on patterns such as cause and effect relationships.

6-8: Asking questions and defining problems in grades builds on grades K-5 experiences and progresses to specifying relationships between variables, and clarifying arguments and models.

  • Ask questions to identify and clarify evidence of an argument. (MS-ESS305)
  • Apply scientific principles to design an object, tool, process or system. (MS-ESS3-3) 9-12: Asking questions and defining problems in 9-12 builds on K-8 experiences and progresses to formulating, refining, and evaluating empirically testable questions and design problems using models and simulations.
  • Ask questions that arise from careful observation of phenomena, or unexpected results, to clarify and/or seek additional information and relationships.
  • Ask questions to determine relationships, including quantitative relationships, between independent and dependent variables.