Science Practice: Developing and Using Models

Earth's Energy Budget

Example Questions:

  1. What relationships can be found between the various components of the Earth System in the energy budget model?
  2. What factors are affecting the energy that is being reflected and absorbed by the Earth?
Modeling can begin in the earliest grades, with students’ models progressing from concrete “pictures” and/or physical scale models (e.g., a toy car) to more abstract representations of relevant relationships in later grades, such as a diagram representing forces on a particular object in a system. (NRC Framework, 2012, p 58)
K-2: Modeling in K-2 builds on prior experiences and progresses to include using and developing models (i.e., diagrams, drawing, physical replica, diorama, dramatization, storyboard) that represent concrete events or design solutions.
  • Use a model to represent relationships in the natural world. (K-ESS3-1)
  • Develop a model to represent patterns in the natural world. (2-ESS2-2)

3-5: Modeling in 3-5 builds on K-2 experiences and progresses to building and revising simple models and using models to represent events and design solutions.

  • Develop a model using an example to describe a scientific principle. (5-ESS2-1)

6-8: Modeling in 6-8 builds on K-5 experiences and progresses to developing, using, and revising models to describe, test and predict more abstract phenomena and design systems.

  • Develop and use a model to describe phenomena. (MS-ESS1-1) (MS-ESS1-2)
  • Develop a model to describe unobservable mechanisms. (MS-ESS2-4)

9-12: Modeling in 9-12 builds on K-8 experiences and progresses to using, synthesizing, and developing models to predict and show relationships among variables between systems and their components in the natural and designed world(s).

  • Develop a model based on evidence to illustrate the relationships between systems or between components of a system. (HS-ESS1-1) (HS-ESS2-1) (HS-ESS2-3) (HS-ESS2-6)
  • Use a model to provide mechanistic accounts of phenomena. (HS-ESS2-4)