Science Standards

The ACE Assembly, as well as Our Climate Our Future, addresses many standards within the new Next Generation Science Standards, as well as other state standards and the Essential Principles of Climate Literacy.

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Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

ACE is very excited about the release of the Next Generation Science Standards, particularly about the inclusion of climate science within multiple grade levels of NGSS. As a true interdisciplinary topic, climate change is addressed within all three disciplines of Life Science, Physical Science and Earth and Space Science. Many of the fundamentals of climate science are covered in middle school and those standards (Performance Expectations) that are addressed in the ACE Assembly are also included here.

Note: Each Performance Expectation combines a practice with a science concept or disciplinary core idea. The ACE Assembly addresses the science concept component of the standard, not the practice. See our resources page for lesson plans that address the practices of science as well as the content.

Middle School NGSS Performance Expectations

Physical Science

Life Science

Earth and Space Science

  • MS-ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
    • MS-ESS3-3. Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment
    • MS-ESS3-4. Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth’s systems.
    • MS-ESS3-5. Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.

High School NGSS Performance Expectations

Physical Science

Life Science

  • HS-LS2 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
    • HS-LS2-1. Use mathematical and/or computational representations to support explanations of factors that affect carrying capacity of ecosystems at different scales.
    • HS-LS2-5. Develop a model to illustrate the role of photosynthesis and cellular respiration in the cycling of carbon among the biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and geosphere.
    • HS-LS2-6. Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.

Earth and Space Science

  • HS-ESS2 Earth’s Systems
    • HS-ESS2-2. Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth’s surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth’s systems.
    • HS-ESS2-4. Use a model to describe how variations in the flow of energy into and out of Earth’s systems result in changes in climate.
    • HS-ESS2-6. Develop a quantitative model to describe the cycling of carbon among the hydrosphere, atmosphere, geosphere, and biosphere.
    • HS-ESS2-7. Construct an argument based on evidence about the simultaneous coevolution of Earth’s systems and life on Earth.
  • HS-ESS3 Earth and Human Activity
    • HS-ESS3-1. Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity.
    • HS-ESS3-2. Evaluate competing design solutions for developing, managing, and utilizing energy and mineral resources based on cost-benefit ratios.
    • HS-ESS3-4. Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
    • HS-ESS3-5. Analyze geoscience data and the results from global climate models to make an evidence-based forecast of the current rate of global or regional climate change and associated future impacts to Earth systems.
    • HS-ESS3-6. Use a computational representation to illustrate the relationships among Earth systems and how those relationships are being modified due to human activity.

Engineering Design

  • HS-ETS1 Engineering Design
    • HS-ETS1-2. Design a solution to a complex real-world problem by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable problems that can be solved through engineering.

State Science Standards

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Georgia State Science Standards

The ACE Assembly addresses the following science standards prescribed by the state of Georgia.
Source: Georgia Department of Education Standards


  • SAST6.d: Explain how astronomical hazards and global atmospheric changes have impacted the evolution of life on Earth.


  • SO3.d: Explain relationships between climate change, the greenhouse effect, and the consequences of global warming on the ocean.
  • SO4.c: Describe the role of waves, tides, and sea level change on the physical structure of the coast.
  • SO4.e: Identify natural hazards (e.g., tsunamis, hurricanes, and sea level change) and their impact on coastal communities.
  • SO6.b: Identify how the oceans are used as sources for alternative energy


  • SEC2.d: Relate the rapid growth of human population to environmental problems.
  • SEC5.c: Evaluate the causes and impacts on ecosystems of natural and anthropogenic climate change.

Environmental Sciences

  • SEV4.a: Differentiate between renewable and nonrenewable resources including how different resources are produced, rates of use, renewal rates, and limitations of sources. Distinguish between natural and produced resources.
  • SEV4.b: Describe how technology is increasing the efficiency of utilization and accessibility of resources.
  • SEV4.c: Describe how energy and other resource utilization impact the environment and recognize that individuals as well as larger entities (businesses, governments, etc.) have impact on energy efficiency.
  • SEV4.d: Describe the relationship of energy consumption and the living standards of societies.
  • SEV4.e: Describe the commonly used fuels (e.g. fossil fuels, nuclear fuels, etc.) and some alternative fuels (e.g. wind, solar, ethanol, etc.) including the required technology, availability, pollution problems and implementation problems.  Recognize the origin of fossil fuels and the problems associated with our dependence on this energy source.
  • SEV4.f: Describe the need for informed decision making of resource utilization. (i.e. energy and water usage allocation, conservation, food and land, and long-term depletion.)
  • SEV5.c: Explain how human activities affect global and local sustainability.


  • SB4.d: Assess and explain human activities that influence and modify the environment such as global warming, population growth, pesticide use, and water and power consumption.

Earth Systems

  • SES5.e: Describe the hazards associated with extreme weather events and climate change (e.g., hurricanes, tornadoes, El Nino/La Nina, global warming).
  • SES5.f: Relate changes in global climate to variation in Earth/Sun relationships and to natural and anthropogenic modification of atmospheric composition.

Massachusetts Science Standards

The ACE Assembly addresses the following science standards prescribed by the state of Massachusetts.
Source: Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Curriculum Framework

Earth and Space Science

1. Matter and Energy in the Earth System

  • 1.1 Identify Earth’s principal sources of internal and external energy, such as radioactive decay, gravity, and solar energy.

2. Energy Resources in the Earth System

  • 2.1 Recognize, describe, and compare renewable energy resources (e.g., solar, wind, water, biomass) and nonrenewable energy resources (e.g., fossil fuels, nuclear energy).
  • 2.2 Describe the effects on the environment and on the carbon cycle of using both renewable and nonrenewable sources of energy.


4. Energy and Power Technologies—Thermal Systems

  • 4.4 Identify and explain alternatives to nonrenewable energies (e.g., wind and solar energy conversion systems)

New York Science Standards

The ACE Assembly addresses the following science standards prescribed by the state of New York.
Source: The Living Environment: Core Curriculum

Standard 4, Performance Indicator 6.3c: A stable ecosystem can be altered, either rapidly or slowly, through the activities of organisms (including humans), or through climatic changes or natural disasters. The altered ecosystem can usually recover through gradual changes back to a point of long-term stability.

Standard 4, Performance Indicator 7.1c: Human beings are part of the Earth’s ecosystems.  Human activities can, deliberately or inadvertently, alter the equilibrium in ecosystems.  Humans modify ecosystems as a result of population growth, consumption, and technology.  Human destruction of habitats through direct harvesting, pollution, atmospheric changes, and other factors is threatening current global stability, and if not addressed, ecosystems may be irreversibly affected.

Standard 4, Performance Indicator 7.2c: Industrialization brings an increased demand for and use of energy and other resources including fossil and nuclear fuels. This usage can have positive and negative effects on humans and ecosystems.

Standard 4, Performance Indicator 7.3a: Societies must decide on proposals which involve the introduction of new technologies. Individuals need to make decisions which will assess risks, costs, benefits, and trade-offs.

Standard 4, Performance Indicator 7.3b: The decisions of one generation both provide and limit the range of possibilities open to the next generation.

Standard 4, Performance Indicator 2.2d: Temperature and precipitation patterns are altered by:                               

  • Natural events such as El Nino and volcanic eruptions                                                                                                   
  • Human influences including deforestation, urbanization, and the production of greenhouse gasses such as carbon dioxide and methane

North Carolina Science Standards

The ACE Assembly addresses the following science standards prescribed by the state of North Carolina.
Source: North Carolina Department of Public Instruction

Essential Standards Biology

  • Bio.2.1.1 Analyze the flow of energy and cycling of matter (water, carbon, nitrogen and oxygen) through ecosystems relating the significance of each to maintaining the health and sustainability of an ecosystem.

  • Bio.2.2 Understand the impact of human activities on the environment (one generation affects the next).

  • Bio.2.2.1 Infer how human activities (including population growth, pollution, global warming, burning of fossil fuels, habitat destruction and introduction of nonnative species) may impact the environment.
  • Bio.2.2.2 Explain how the use, protection and conservation of natural resources by humans impact the environment from one generation to the next.

Essential Standards Earth/Environmental Science

  • EEn.1.1 Explain the Earth’s role as a body in space.
  • EEn.1.1.2 Explain how the Earth’s rotation and revolution about the Sun affect its shape and is related to seasons and tides.
  • EEn.1.1.3 Explain how the sun produces energy which is transferred to the Earth by radiation.
  • EEn.1.1.4 Explain how incoming solar energy makes life possible on Earth.
  • EEn.2.2 Understand how human influences impact the lithosphere.
  • EEn.2.2.1 Explain the consequences of human activities on the lithosphere (such as mining, deforestation, agriculture, overgrazing, urbanization, and land use) past and present.
  • EEn.2.2.2 Compare the various methods humans use to acquire traditional energy sources (such as peat, coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear fission, and wood).
  • EEn.2.5 Understand the structure of and processes within our atmosphere.
  • EEn.2.5.1 Summarize the structure and composition of our atmosphere.
  • EEn.2.5.5 Explain how human activities affect air quality.
  • EEn.2.6 Analyze patterns of global climate change over time.
  • EEn.2.6.1 Differentiate between weather and climate.
  • EEn.2.6.2 Explain changes in global climate due to natural processes.
  • EEn.2.6.3 Analyze the impacts that human activities have on global climate change (such as burning hydrocarbons, greenhouse effect, and deforestation).
  • EEn.2.6.4 Attribute changes in Earth systems to global climate change (temperature change, changes in pH of ocean, sea level changes, etc.).
  • EEn.2.7 Explain how the lithosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere individually and collectively affect the biosphere.
  • EEn.2.7.3 Explain how human activities impact the biosphere.
  • EEn.2.8 Evaluate human behaviors in terms of how likely they are to ensure the ability to live sustainably on Earth.
  • EEn.2.8.1 Evaluate alternative energy technologies for use in North Carolina.
  • EEn.2.8.4 Evaluate the concept of “reduce, reuse, recycle” in terms of impact on natural resources.

Climate Literacy: Essential Principles of Climate Science

These principles are published by U.S. Global Change Research Program

  1. The Sun is the primary source of energy for Earth’s climate system.
  2. Climate is regulated by complex interactions among the components of the Earth system.
  3. Life on earth depends on, and is shaped by, and affects climate.
  4. Climate varies over space and time through both natural and man-made processes.
  5. Our understanding of the climate system is improved through observations, theoretical studies and modeling.
  6. Human activities are impacting the climate system.
  7. Climate change will have consequences for the Earth system and human lives.